Get daily culture news like this, sent to your inbox every weekday morning. Subscribe to Newcity Today here.
Vote early, if you haven’t already: amid heavy weather, tornadoes are even possible for Tuesday afternoon and early evening, says the National Weather Service.
Clouds Over Lake Michigan Moving To UChicago
“Completed in the 1970s by artist Ruth Duckworth, ‘Clouds Over Lake Michigan’ replicates ‘a sort of topographical grid you’d see on satellite views,'” reports the Sun-Times. Long installed at the financial exchange building that houses Cboe Global Markets, the mural is moving to the University of Chicago’s Joseph Regenstein Library in Hyde Park. The artwork “is about twenty-three feet across and nine feet tall and weighs a staggering 2,500 pounds. It’s so big that it was essentially mortared into a wall in the lobby at 400 South LaSalle.” After it was removed, “the mural underwent a restoration to fix some ‘broken bits’ and clean off grime… ‘It was totally coated in nicotine. It’s much brighter now.'”
Dallas “Pauses” $308 Million Revamp Of Frank Lloyd Wright Theater
“Dallas Theater Center officials have hit the brakes on a proposed $308 million plan to revamp the Kalita Humphreys Theater and the surrounding ten-acre park after pushback over the price tag and size,” reports the Dallas Morning News.
DINING & DRINKING
McDonald’s Shutters U. S. Offices Before Wave Of Firings
McDonald’s Corporation, reports the Wall Street Journal, “is temporarily closing its U.S. offices this week as it prepares to inform corporate employees about layoffs undertaken… as part of a broader company restructuring. The Chicago-based fast-food chain said in an internal email… to U.S. employees and some international staff that they should work from home from Monday-Wednesday so [that the company] can deliver staffing decisions virtually. The company, in the message, asked employees to cancel all in-person meetings with vendors and other outside parties at its headquarters.”
OpenTable Employs AI Chatbot ChatGPT For Reservations
“We may be the OG of the online restaurant reservation scene, but that doesn’t hold us back from keeping things fresh. We’re proud to be the first brand to bring restaurant recommendations to ChatGPT–aka the internet’s favorite chatbot–via its newly launched plugins. Even better: the recommendations come with a direct link to book on OpenTable,” the company promotes on its site. The move, adds Crain’s, “give diners conversational restaurant recommendations and [gets] them to secure reservations quickly. ChatGPT is a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence that converses with users in a way that many have said is indistinguishable from [a] human.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Producers Guild Mag Sees “Chi Town On The Rise”
The Producers Guild of America magazine rehearses the standard introduction to Chicago film and television production since the 1980s in their March-April issue, but in the present day, does a good job of detailing just how the Illinois tax credit works. There are also specific, telling interviews with producers and others working on shows currently in the city. Tyson Bidner, producer of FX’s “The Bear,” says, “What’s great about Chicago is that it’s a film and television powerhouse. They have deep crews. So even if during the pilot and the first season there were eight or nine shows going on, they could support them. Not every city can. We have crews with a deep level of experience, which brings professionalism to every aspect.”
Kurt Vonnegut Museum And Library Vandalized
“The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library was vandalized in the early morning hours on Thursday when someone walked by the building and threw a rock through the glass door,” reports WISH-TV Indianapolis. “Some at the museum believe the vandalism was related to the organization’s newsletter that went out Wednesday and came out against banning books in Indiana… The newsletter also publicly supported Indy Reads, a business in Fountain Square that.. received a bomb threat over hosting a drag story hour. [Founder and chief executive officer Julia] Whitehead said [the] organization stands in support of free speech in the way Kurt Vonnegut did.” So it goes.
Electric Vehicles Sunsetting AM Radio
“Some major EV manufacturers are not including AM radio in their… vehicles, because electric motors interfere with AM frequencies. With governments pushing for wider adoption of electric cars, it could signal the end of a broadcasting era,” reports Axios Chicago. “Elected officials argue AM is essential for public emergencies, while some automakers counter that the government’s emergency management system must adapt to new tech… Despite radio’s continued reach, its listenership has declined in recent years due to new [media] such as streaming and podcasts. Today, most radio is heard in the car, which makes cutting it in EVs a concern for radio executives.”
South Works: A South Side Ravinia?
“Chicago needs a major, permanent fairground and outdoor performance venue. Why not build one at South Works? Now to get U.S. Steel, and maybe the next mayor, to agree,” writes Sun-Times architecture critic Lee Bey in his monthly column. “The old U.S. Steel South Works site—nearly 500 acres of cleared land right on the lakefront—has been largely quiet since the big mill was demolished thirty years ago… A South Side Ravinia. There is the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park and… a 30,000-seat amphitheater on Northerly Island—and those are all well and good. But given how neighborhood parks are being overburdened as event hosts, the city needs more. And something big, new and exciting.”
A Glance At A History Of Drag Performance In Chicago
“Since the 1890s, drag has been a fixture of Chicago’s nightlife and entertainment scene. The legacy of diversity, experimentation and community carries on today,” report JP Swenson and Marie Mendoz at WBEZ. “On any day of the week you can catch drag performances at venues across the city: Clubs like Roscoe’s, Berlin and La Cueva all host popular evening events, and the Walnut Room and Furama are just two venues that host some of the city’s celebrated drag brunches. The history of drag in Chicago [goes] all the way back to the late 1890s, at gathering places like Dill Pickle Club and political fundraisers for the city’s 1st Ward… ‘I’ve been in a lot of different drag scenes, but nothing that I’ve seen compares to Chicago as far as the amount of entertainers that we have and the diversity that we have,’ Miss Toto says. ‘You can get a drag king, drag queen, anything in between.'”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Disney World Makes Full-To-Bursting Orlando Art Scene Possible
Florida offers a glimpse of how regular work in television and film production in Illinois can make side gigs by casts and crews possible. “From supporting educational efforts to assisting professional theaters to funding performance spaces, Walt Disney World has been an engine driving the growth of the Central Florida arts scene. The contributions not only come in dollars but also through costumes, equipment and other artistic necessities—even the carpet under theatergoers’ feet,” reports the Orlando Sentinel. “And then there’s people power. Disney draws talent to Central Florida, provides professional growth—and then unleashes that creativity across the region.” Says Winter Park Playhouse executive director Heather Alexander, “The pool of talent that is at our disposal because of Walt Disney World’s recruiting has been a really strong bonus for us and I’m sure all the professional theaters.”
Norfolk Southern Workers Say Profit Push Compromises Safety
“Federal officials are investigating the railroad’s safety practices and culture after the derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, and worker deaths,” reports the New York Times. “The company has gone from an industry leader [in safety] to a laggard. The rate at which its trains are involved in accidents and its workers are injured on the job has soared, putting it at or near the bottom on those safety measures among the country’s four largest freight railroads. Employees, former workers and some rail experts blame decisions by executives to cut thousands of jobs and put pressure on employees to speed up deliveries in a drive to bolster profits.”
What Ties Recent Railway Toxic Chemical Spills Together?
“The growing oil and gas industry means more incidents like East Palestine,” reports Rebecca Leber in a deeply reported piece at Vox. “There’s a reason plastics and petrochemicals are in nearly everything. They’re dirt cheap—and useful. The industry has become extremely efficient at converting fossil fuels into sets of materials that are lighter in weight and pliable, making them as adaptable for medical equipment as they are for lip balm, nail polish, clothing and single-use coffee cups… But the adaptability comes at a cost. These chemicals can conceivably be produced and transported safely—at least on paper. But the volume of accidents shows how often they aren’t. In 2022, according to federal data, there were more than 20,000 recorded times hazardous materials caused injury, accidents, or death while in transit. ‘It’s a very risky chain every step of the way,’ said Judith Enck, a former regional EPA administrator and president of the advocacy group Beyond Plastics.”
Plans For $100 Million Militia Marshaled By Florida Governor Contested
“The Florida State Guard, reactivated last year despite concerns that it would become Ron DeSantis’ private army, is to become larger, more powerful and costlier, at an increase to taxpayers of $98 million,” writes the South Florida Sun Sentinel editorial board. “Part of it would become a police agency, with the same arrest powers as any local force that it might be assigned to assist. The budget for this volunteer, unsalaried army would swell from $10 million this budget year to $107.5 million in the next. The bill is so broad that the State Guard’s potential assignments are essentially unlimited. That is too much power to invest in a governor who has shown scant regard for civil liberties.” It would have “the potential to break up any demonstration that displeases the governor. The appropriations bill also earmarks $750,000 for a ‘Digital Forensic Center of Excellence,’ which the Tampa Bay Times reports is meant for an Israeli company, Cellebrite, that helps police agencies break into iPhones.”
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]