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Owner Says The Warehouse Building Is Safe For Now
Life continues for the building that was the birthplace of house music, reports Zach Mortice at the Architect’s Newspaper. “The building’s new owner is a holding company attached to Shneur Nathan and Avi Kamionski, founders of a law firm (Nathan and Kamionski) with offices in Chicago. Nathan [said] he plans to keep the building intact, as law offices, with a light interior refresh. He declined to comment on whether they would pursue landmarking.”
Auction Of Influential Design At Wright
From iconic standards to one-of-a-kind works, “Design” collects influential and important designs of the twentieth century for a March 30 auction at Wright. Highlights include a Carlo Mollino Unique Copenhagen chair, a Shiro Kuramata Feather stool, works by Fernando and Humberto Campana, a Rei floor lamp by Studio Wieki Somers, sculpture by Harry Bertoia, designs by George Nakashima, Ettore Sottsass, Gio Ponti, Jean Prouvé, Pierre Jeanneret and a First-generation iPhone. More here.
NeoCon 2023 Keynotes Designated
NeoCon has announced keynote speakers for its 2023 edition, June 12-14 at THE MART. Futurist Amy Webb (founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute); designer, writer and teacher Michael Murphy (co-founder of MASS Design Group); “The Hip Hop Architect” Michael Ford, AIA, NOMA; and Chicago hip-hop artist and visiting MIT professor Wasalu Muhammad Jaco (Lupe Fiasco) will headline this year’s conference. “As a resource for timely education, we are committed to delivering a rich and varied NeoCon conference program that brings together the most provocative and influential leaders across all verticals and beyond,” Allison Kearns, NeoCon director of programming says in a release. “Our 2023 keynotes are emblematic of how diverse perspectives can drive and affect positive change.” Programming registration opens April 3, but you can register here.
Skokie Gets $2 Million To Replace Lead Pipes
“The village of Skokie has received $2 million in federal funding to replace lead pipes,” reports CBS 2. The federal funding “will go towards replacing hundreds of lead service lines in Skokie, where as many as 11,000 of the 17,667 active water accounts will eventually need to have lead pipes replaced.”
Why Are Public Restrooms Rare?
The question’s been asked in Chicago, and now the New York Times is on the story: “On average, the United States has only eight public toilets per 100,000 people… That’s far behind Iceland, the country with the highest density of public bathrooms: fifty-six per 100,000 people. That number drops to four per 100,000 in New York City. Madison, Wisconsin, led the way for U.S. cities, with thirty-five per 100,000.” The history and customs worldwide get a look-see, but it comes down to: “Given that this really is a public health issue, someone has to take responsibility… and no one is.”
John Lautner’s Garcia House Goes To Pritzker Heir For $12.5 Million
“The Los Angeles property, which appeared in the 1989 movie, ‘Lethal Weapon 2,’ came on the market in January for $16 million,” reports the Wall Street Journal. The house, “designed in the early 1960s by the famed architect John Lautner,” has sold for $12.5 million… The buyer “is Nicholas C. Pritzker, a member of the Pritzker family, which made much of its multibillion-dollar fortune through the Hyatt Corporation hotel chain.”
Little Village Discount Mall Vendors Take Legal Action
“Discount Mall vendors have just days before some of them will be locked out, so they’re taking legal action to buy themselves more time to find a new home… The tenants—who were set to be kicked out by Sunday—want a judge to recognize they’re tenants, which would mean they could stay at the mall until their lease is up as long as they pay their rent on time and don’t break rules,” reports Block Club. “Vendors were expected to have vacated their booths by the end of this week—or be locked out and have their goods confiscated and moved off-site into storage at their expense,” adds the Tribune. “If vendors are locked out of the mall, the complaint filed Tuesday states, they would potentially face irreparable harm and suffer the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars of merchandise and goods, given that they operate on small margins and day-to-day sales.”
DINING & DRINKING
The Understudy Café Finds Its Light
Andersonville café-bookstore The Understudy opens Saturday, March 25, including “a massive collection of theater scripts and books for readers of all ages,” sneaks Eater Chicago. “Chicago firm Siren Betty Design [took] the venue from page to stage, intertwining their nostalgic memories of grand performance venues—seen in marble tabletops and rich Rococo-style wallpaper—with the gritty, handmade character of the city’s theater scene. Large, industrial worktables dot the space, and artist Susan Williams wheat-pasted thousands of script pages (complete with handwritten notes in the margins) on the walls of a narrow hallway near the restroom… The bookcase-lined store [sells] hundreds of titles, a sliding ladder to reach the highest shelves, and a lounge area with couches for meetings or curling up with a script.”
It Wouldn’t Be That Easy For Congress To Unplug TikTok
“Making TikTok safe from Chinese exploitation—as a tool for Chinese officials to surveil Americans’ tastes and whereabouts, as an entry point into the phones that contain their whole lives and as a way to pump out disinformation—turns out to be harder than it looks,” reports the New York Times. “Any decision to remove the app, either banning it for 150 million users in the United States or blocking further downloads, would be politically fraught for [the president]. No one encapsulated the political dilemma more pithily than Gina Raimondo, the commerce secretary… ‘The politician in me thinks you’re going to literally lose every voter under thirty-five, forever,’ she said recently.”
Sideshow Theatre Company has shuttered, reports American Theatre. “The storefront theater company, known for producing world and American premieres, will donate all remaining funds to seven other Chicago nonprofits.” Sideshow’s staff said in a statement, “Following the turnover of our artistic and administrative staff, a core governing ensemble has spent the past six months considering various structures that would allow Sideshow to continue sustainably… A storefront company closing its doors is a regrettably common occurrence in 2023, but we know that our community of artists will continue to be a part of the necessary reimagining and rebuilding of the American theater.”
Since 2013, Sideshow had been in residence at Victory Gardens. “In the fall of 2022, Sideshow and other resident theatre companies left Victory Gardens in response to the board’s firing of artistic director Ken-Matt Martin… Founding ensemble member Walt McGough said that the saga with Victory Gardens and the cancelation of [commissioned production] ‘Pro-Am’ ‘was the event that set a lot of this in motion, though there were a number of factors all at play simultaneously.'”
Victory Gardens Board Speaks
“After a prolonged silence that was attributed to legal obligations and the advice of lawyers, the Victory Gardens Theater board of directors hit back at its critics… by posting two open letters… one directly addressing recent controversies at the nonprofit theater involving the exit of former artistic director Ken-Matt Martin and other staffers, and the other addressed to Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, a famously progressive nonprofit theater from Washington, D.C., that had implicitly accused the Victory Gardens board of poor stewardship,” writes Chris Jones at the Tribune. “‘There has been a lot of conversation about what happened at our theater with accusations and even attacks and threats directed towards our board members… We’d like to share our side of the story to correct the misinformation that has been spread and return our focus to nurturing relevant, new theater work that reflects the diverse stories of our world and contributes to the vitality of the American Theater,’ the Victory Gardens letter said, as signed collectively by the board. Victory Gardens owns and operates the historic Biograph Theatre in Lincoln Park, which has been dark for months.”
How Is The Theater Business Doing, Really?
“While we can’t say we are in a post-pandemic world as long as the virus’ daily death count remains in the hundreds and COVID safety advisors remain on theatres’ payrolls, we are, for better or worse, in a post-pandemic posture as a society,” reports American Theatre. The “pressing question, now that theaters are back in some kind of business, is: How is business? Are audiences coming back at anything like pre-pandemic levels? And are theaters able to make ends meet? … The theater administrators and researchers I spoke to, many of whom shared both hard figures and anecdata with me, told me that audiences and income are down from pre-pandemic levels by anywhere from twenty to fifty percent. That’s a wide chasm, over which the fortunes of America’s theater industry may hang in the balance.”
Chicago Theatre Week Breaks All-Time Sales Records
Chicago Theatre Week, the annual celebration of Chicago’s theater scene, sold 20,650 tickets, surpassing the past all-time record of 13,400 tickets in 2020. Over the span of Chicago Theatre Week, February 16-26, with an extension on HotTix.org through March 5, sixty-one participating organizations sold tickets to a total of 483 individual performances of seventy-eight different productions. Chicago Theatre Week is presented by the League of Chicago Theatres in partnership with Choose Chicago. More here.
Kokandy Productions Announces Season
Kokandy Productions has announced a season with two fully produced musicals, plus plans for the return of the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival. Kokandy will “dive into Bikini Bottom” with “The Spongebob Musical,” directed by JD Caudill and with original songs from Sara Bareilles, David Bowie, Aerosmith, John Legend and Cyndi Lauper. Kokandy will then “indulge eighties excess and ‘pure, decadent pleasure'” with the Chicago premiere of “American Psycho: The Musical,” directed by producing artistic director Derek Van Barham. Both productions will be at The Chopin Theatre; single tickets are on sale here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Lolla Expected To Yield Triple The Benefits Of NASCAR To Chicago In Less Time
“Lollapalooza generated a third of a billion dollars in economic activity in Chicago last year, three times higher than the NASCAR Fourth of July weekend street race is expected to rake in,” reports NBC 5. The street race, supported by outgoing Mayor Lightfoot, “although less lucrative for Chicago businesses, will occupy parts of Grant Park for nearly twice as much time during the busy summer season…. ‘The impact to the city in terms of cost and congestion will be more than Lolla, and the returns are significantly less,’ said Ald. Brian Hopkins… NASCAR may take up space in Grant Park between twenty and forty days, depending on weather, Hopkins said. NASCAR will also need to modify curbs and remove manhole covers, which could add more time.” Lollapalooza will occupy Grant Park for twenty-four days, July 21-August 13; the fest is August 3-6.
Soft Sheen Products Co-Founder And Philanthropic Power Edward Gardner Was Ninety-Eight
“Edward Gardner and his wife, Bettiann, founded Soft Sheen in 1964. The company grew exponentially, and was the latest Black-owned beauty company in the U.S. by the late 1980s,” reports CBS 2. Gardner and his wife “spearheaded the development of the New Regal Theater at 1641 East 79th… Gardner also helped create the nonprofit Black On Black Love, which addressed violence… Gardner used Soft Sheen’s advertising and communication resources–leveraging an effort to raise $300,000 and staff to mount a campaign that registered more than 200,000 voters forty years ago, [an] effort [that] led to the election of Mayor Harold Washington as Chicago’s first Black mayor. Gardner was also a co-owner of the Chicago Bulls and a board member at Chicago United and The Chicago Urban League.”
Notebaert Nature Museum Workers Want Union
“Employees of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park are calling on colleagues to support their campaign to unionize with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,” reports the Sun-Times. “The drive to join AFSCME’s Council 31 follows the local’s successful organizing at the Field Museum, Newberry Library and the Art Institute of Chicago and its school.”
Michigan Cannabis Corp Fronts Shooting Victim For Social Equity Licenses
“As Edna Patterson recovered from being shot a second time, she started searching for a job and came across an offer on Craigslist that sounded too good to be true,” reports the Sun-Times. “‘Interested in a quick $2,000?’ read an ad placed by Canna Zoned MLS, a Michigan firm seeking people who meet the social equity criteria for cannabis permits in Illinois and who could be placed on applications. To earn that initial payment, the ad asked respondents to provide certain private records to prove they qualified: tax and medical documents, pay stubs and a driver’s license, among other things. It promised another $20,000 to anyone awarded one of the permits—without mentioning the fifty-one-percent stake social equity applicants are required to hold in a company to score a license… Patterson sent documents proving she was a victim of gun violence, a new way to earn social equity status in an upcoming licensing round for fifty-five pot shops. She later received an electronic transfer of $2,000. But she also signed a contract that could potentially make her a front person. She would be listed as a company’s majority owner on an application but would then have to sell her lucrative share for just $1 if a license is awarded.”
West Texas A&M University Drag Ban
“In a letter sent to students, faculty and staff,” reports Amarillo’s MyHighPlains.com, “West Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler announced that a planned drag show for later this month will not happen, stating his view that drag shows exaggerate and stereotype women in ‘cartoon-like extremes’… Wendler said in the letter that he believes drag shows do not preserve ‘a single thread of human dignity.'” Protests and contrasting petitions from students are detailed in the story. Continues the university president: “Drag shows are derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny…. Such conduct runs counter to the purpose of [this university]. A person or group should not attempt to elevate itself or a cause by mocking another person or group. As a university president, I would not support ‘blackface’ performances on our campus, even if told the performance is a form of free speech or intended as humor. It is wrong. I do not support any show, performance or artistic expression which denigrates others—in this case, women—for any reason.”
Adderall Shortfall Persists
The FDA declared an Adderall shortage all the way back in October 2022: “FDA is in frequent communication with all manufacturers of amphetamine mixed salts, and one of those companies, Teva, is experiencing ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays. Other manufacturers continue to produce amphetamine mixed salts, but there is not sufficient supply to continue to meet U.S. market demand through those producers.” “An explosion of telemedicine during the pandemic has contributed to a surge in Adderall prescriptions, helping to set the stage for a shortage that has dragged on for months. Patients and even hospitals are struggling to obtain the medication, while regulators are moving to clamp down on telehealth prescriptions for drugs prone to abuse,” reports the Washington Post.
The New York Times reports that those with A.D.H.D. say Adderall is “different” now: but standard factors seem to be at work, including stop-start usage, sleep patterns and increased tolerance. Posts cultural critic Mark Harris: “The lack of movement, of urgency, of transparency, and of clear information on this is a disgrace. Adderall is a medication many people need, and it’s vanished. That’s a crisis. It’s not a punchline or a luxury item or an indulgence to be shrugged off.”
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