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Feds Will Demolish Vacant State Street Building Between Century And Consumers Buildings
“A vacant and neglected three-story building [at 208-12 South State] between the Consumers and Century buildings is a safety hazard to pedestrians, the Government Services Agency announced,” reports Crain’s.
Microsoft Ends Measurement Of Chicago Air Pollution
“A citywide project that tracked Chicago’s air pollution using more than a hundred low-cost air quality sensors ended last week after the tech company Microsoft, which led the project, quietly announced to its users that it was shuttering the program,” reports MuckRock. “Microsoft’s air quality monitoring program, called Project Eclipse, began in July 2021 when it placed air sensors atop bus shelters across the city in partnership with the city of Chicago, the advertising firm JCDecaux, which designs the city’s bus shelters, Chicago’s Environmental Law and Policy Center and… community organizations. For almost two years, the sensors delivered one of the few detailed pictures of how air pollution varies by neighborhood in the U.S.” In a statement from the company, which just laid off thousands of workers: “Microsoft said it decided to close its air quality initiative after its research arm, which ‘continuously evaluates research projects to determine directions and future investment,’ had decided now was ‘a natural point to conclude the work.'”
DINING & DRINKING
Kimski’s Korean Comeback
The new Kimski menu under chef Won Kim will feature Korean cuisine rather than the restaurant’s prized Korean-Polish fusion, reports Eater Chicago. “You know, basically, I lean toward Asia; I’m fucking Asian—there’s nothing I can do about that, I can’t change it, and I can’t change what I crave either,” Kim tells Eater. “Not to say that Polish food isn’t respectable and amazing in its own right. It had nothing to do with feeling weird about appropriating Eastern European food or anything. It was just really just a matter of, the joke’s been done… I was just in a rut… I didn’t go to Korea and then use tweezers—you know, on fucking pubic hair, fucking herbs and shit… But I think the hustle and the grind is equivalent to any fucking experience in any job.” Writes Eater, “A big part of Kim’s journey is discovering what he’s worth. His ssam platter will cost $55 with a special white kimchi and sauce.”
Writes Anthony Todd at Chicago magazine: “You’ll see classic Korean dishes listed on the menu (bulgogi, chap chae, Korean BBQ), but don’t expect familiar presentations. That Korean BBQ is actually smoked brisket, made for Kimski and served with traditional Korean condiments. ‘It’s presented in an American way, where you taste the great American smokiness and the fatty unctuousness of brisket.'”
Foxtrot’s New CEO To Put Brakes On Expansion
Foxtrot CEO Liz Williams, “who took the helm this week, has plans to continue expanding the upscale convenience store, albeit a bit slower than the company had originally planned,” posts Crain’s.
A Visit To The Peeps Factory
The New York Times takes a tour.
Lou Malnati’s Makes A Wish
It’s for a deep-dish pizza emoji, reports NBC 5.
Community Pressure Leads Englewood Save A Lot To Postpone Opening
“A Save A Lot grocery that was set to open in Englewood on Thursday will remain closed after demonstrators who gathered outside the store demanded to first meet with owners,” reports the Sun-Times. “The owners of the Yellow Banana company, which operates six other Chicago stores under the Save A Lot brand, came out of the store… Yellow Banana CEO Joe Canfield told reporters that after several minutes of back and forth with those in the crowd, leadership decided to postpone the grand opening until they can… address the community’s needs. A new opening date was unclear.”
Rocky Rollout For Robot Servers
Waist-high, want not: the reception for robot waiters is not great even in the face of a claimed “labor shortage,” reports AP. “Sales of them have been growing… with tens of thousands now gliding through dining rooms worldwide.” Some observers “say robot waiters aren’t much more than a gimmick that have a long way to go before they can replace humans. They can’t take orders, and many restaurants have steps, outdoor patios and other physical challenges they can’t adapt to.”
Portillo’s Production Workers Unionizing In Addison
Workers at Portillo’s Addison production facility have announced a union-organizing drive with the Iron Workers, advises Arise Chicago. “The workers have a National Labor Relations Board election scheduled for Thursday, April 13. This announcement comes one day after Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared April 5 as ‘Portillo’s Day,’ during which Portillo’s rolled out its multi-week sixtieth anniversary celebration to the public.” The company is “under federal investigation by the NLRB for thirty-five unfair labor practice complaints. Several of the Addison workers have been employed by Portillo’s for years or decades, some for more than half of the company’s sixty years.”
Berlin Workers Scale Union Wall
Berlin staff voted to unionize, reports the Trib. “The nightclub workers, including bartenders, barbacks, security staff, coat check workers and stage managers, voted 16-4 to unionize with Unite Here Local 1… Drag performers and DJs at the club work on a gig basis… and are therefore not eligible to be part of its bargaining unit.”
McDonald’s Eliminates Field Offices
McDonald’s is eliminating its field offices, reports Crain’s. “McDonald’s is closing its ten field office facilities in the coming months as part of a broader restructuring, but the divisions will remain in place and the work done by employees based in those offices will continue. The hamburger giant shut down its corporate offices in the West Loop for the first part of this week as it virtually notified employees about layoffs. The company had warned in January that layoffs would likely be coming, as it worked to retool its growth strategy and cut back on certain initiatives.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Repertory Film Attendance: Still A “Thing”
John Carpenter’s “The Thing” has shown in recent weeks at multiple venues, and on Wednesday night, the Music Box posted on Twitter: “700 people showed up to tonight’s 35mm screening of John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing.'”
Fate Of New 400 Theater Remains Uncertain
“As a theater that survived the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak, the pandemic, and the… rise of streaming services, many assumed the New 400 was here to stay,” writes RogersEdge Reporter. “The theater is not making an adequate profit due to slow business after COVID, a small staff, marketing struggles, and competition from larger theaters and streaming platforms. With its full bar and four screens, however, the indie movie house has a lot to offer, even in the face of competition.” Owner Tony Fox tells the site, “I do not see the theater surviving… There is some active community support but not nearly enough to make a business out of it. I think it will likely be a daycare center or a private school.” General manager Aaron Lawson: “The hope we have now is that somebody will come along that wants to run a movie theater… And the best possible scenario… would be to keep it as The New 400 and give it more of the tools that it needs to do better than before.”
James Patterson: New York Times Bestseller Lists Rigged
“James Patterson is mad at the New York Times. Specifically, this author of more than 260 New York Times bestselling books is mad at the New York Times bestseller list,” reports Laura Miller at Slate. “On March 29, Patterson posted to Twitter a letter that he says the newspaper refused to print… He insists that his new book, ‘Walk the Blue Line: No Right, No Left—Just Cops Telling Their True Stories to James Patterson’ (written with Matt Eversmann) has outsold all but three of the other fourteen titles on the Times’ hardcover nonfiction bestseller list on the week of March 26, 2023, yet ‘Walk the Blue Line’ was ranked only at number six… Patterson calls for the Times to stop ‘cooking the books’ when it comes to the nation’s most prestigious bestseller list.”
Audacy Chicago Exec Leaves After A Third Of A Century
“Todd Cavanah, vice president of programming at Audacy Chicago and program director at B96 and 104.3 Jams, has resigned from his position after thirty-three years,” posts Crain’s. “Cavanah was named to the role in 2016 at then-CBS Radio, where he has been since 1990. There was no word on who will take over his position. ‘It’s unheard of especially in this business, to work for the same station for thirty-three years, but I did it. I have been fortunate to work with so many amazing people these past three decades,’ Cavanah said in a statement.” He “made the decision to leave… his position to travel with his sons who ‘play basketball all over the country.'”
Silver Room Block Party Caps Off July
The League Of American Orchestras Today
The League of American Orchestras reports on the state of its efforts to sustain and bolster its industry in a twelve-page PDF report here.
Roxanna Conner Named Director Of NIU School Of Theatre And Dance
Roxanna Conner, an experienced theater professional with a background in education, administration, production and as a community builder and mentor, will be the director of the Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance. Conner begins her role at NIU on July 1. Conner was most recently acting managing director of Victory Gardens Theatre, where she had previously worked as producing director of engagement and as director of education. She has also served as education director at Congo Square Theatre and audience education director for the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois. She said she was intrigued by the opportunity at NIU, and her interest was only heightened by the students, faculty and staff she met during the search process.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Massive Clarence Thomas Conflict Of Interest Reported
A bombshell report at ProPublica delineates a massive conflict of interest by Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas: in “Clarence Thomas and The Billionaire,” which reveals that Republican megadonor Harlan Crow finances a life of luxury, gifts and travel that Thomas did not disclose.
Writing The First Draft Of History Of Brandon Johnson’s Election; Finding “Boho Chicago” and “Hipster Milwaukee Avenue Corridor”
The Tribune editorial board was disappointed in the loss of its twice-endorsed candidate, and also thought Brandon Johnson should have thanked Barack Obama, who visibly turned away from the campaign of the Mayor-elect. “He found a place for God, but not, strikingly, for Barack Obama, inarguably the most important leader this city ever has produced. The omission was telling, a reminder that the progressive movement of which Johnson now is a Midwest standard-bearer, feels ambivalent about the former Chicago community organizer and his more pragmatic legacy… It’s pretty clear that some of the voters on the South and West sides, especially, who did not feel comfortable voting for Johnson, also did not show up at the runoff and vote for Vallas… Combine that with the rise of so-called Boho Chicago along Milwaukee Avenue and in neighborhoods such as Rogers Park and Andersonville and a coalition was achieved.”
Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times took up the “hipster” tag to define Johnson voters: He “sealed the deal by padding his February 28 vote totals along the progressive-minded north Lakefront, the hipster Milwaukee Avenue corridor and in three Northwest Side wards with Hispanic majorities, two of them represented by Democratic Socialists: the 33rd and 35th.”
One of election night’s media surprises was the stirring WGN-TV appearance of the TRIIBE publisher Morgan Elise Johnson, who writes, “My background is in documentary film. I like asking the questions, so this was my first TV panel of this nature, and on a historic night… There was no prep or itineraries that broke down the topics that we would be discussing. We had to react in real time. The panelists, who I met for the first time, had laptops, phones and binders full of notes in front of them. I was like, oh wow. I had some notes but not much. One thing I wanted to make sure to communicate to WGN-TV‘s audience was that a youth-led movement has risen into political power. And to once and for all say live on TV news that Chicago media and mainstream media at large is responsible for the harmful crime narratives that have done nothing to create thoughtful conversations or transformative policies in our city.”
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