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Landmarking Of Century And Consumer Buildings To Be Considered
On Thursday, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks will consider whether to give preliminary landmark protection to the early twentieth-century high-rises at 202 and 220 South State, reports the Sun-Times. “The panel recommends whether buildings or areas get landmark protection, with the City Council having the final call.” The federal government owns the building and wants to tear them down as alleged security risks for the Dirksen Federal Building on Dearborn.
The Sun-Times editorial board writes: “We strongly encourage the city commission to recommend preliminary landmark status for the buildings, an act that could set the towers on a path toward a permanent designation. While the federal government has the power to override such a designation and wreck the buildings anyway, it would risk the embarrassment of doing so in the face of a credible argument by the city that the Century and Consumers are not only worthy of preservation, but can be reused without endangering judges at the Dirksen… And given that State Street—like most downtown commercial corridors and North Michigan Avenue—needs all the help it can get, wrecking rather than redeveloping the site makes little sense.”
Walmart Closing Four Chicago Stores
“Walmart is closing four stores in Chicago by April 16, citing underperformance. Three of the stores—in Kenwood, Lakeview and Little Village—are Walmart’s smaller ‘neighborhood market’ formats. The fourth is the Walmart Supercenter in Chatham,” reports Crain’s. This is half their stores in the city, reports CBS 2, and they will close by Sunday.
The Feud That’s Keeping Edgar Miller’s Kogen-Miller Studios From Public View
Edgar Miller’s Kogen-Miller Studios, “one of Chicago’s most idiosyncratic and astonishing architectural sites,” reports Zach Mortice at The Architect’s Newspaper, “has been ensnared in a disagreement that has shut down public access and programming, as one set of owners of the condo complex in the Near North Side Old Town neighborhood are pushing for landmarking as a way to protect its historic integrity. Founded in 2014, Edgar Miller Legacy for years hosted tours, residency programs for artists, and other public programming… Designed and built by a rotating cast of early-twentieth-century bohemian designers, artist, and craftspeople, the Kogen-Miller Studios showcase Miller’s virtuosity across nearly every design medium: stained glass, painting, sculpture, architecture [and] interior design… The mélange is indicative of a richly representational and often overlooked countercurrent to the dictates of the International Style that were seeping across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe in the 1920s and thirties.”
DINING & DRINKING
Behind The Bar At Bob Inn
Logan Square Preservation will host a behind-the-scenes event at one of Chicago’s oldest family-owned taverns. The Bob Inn has been operated by the same family for nearly eighty years, and was established in the 1890s, although it spent Prohibition as an “ice cream parlor and billiards hall.” In 1945, local brothers Bob and Harold Hanson bought the bar, much of the investment coming from Harold’s WWII Navy pay, and the family has operated it ever since. From 1961–2002, locals also frequented the attached Bob Inn Grill, famous for the “Goethe burgers” named for the grade school next door. Since then, Harold’s son, Jimmy, has run the bar with his wife Ann and help from his three sisters and two daughters.
Attendees can view pictures and other historic memorabilia from the bar which are now part of the Logan Square Preservation Archive, and chat with the family about the neighborhood, which includes other iconic spots including Fireside Bowl and Logan Hardware arcade. “Snacks will be served and there will be—as always—cheap drink specials.” Those who register for the free event will be allowed to step behind the bar for a rare look at the original tin ceiling and walls, what remains of the grill soda counter, and get a chance to win vintage Bob Inn mementos. The Bob Inn, 2609 West Fullerton. Wednesday, April 19, from 6pm-8pm. Register here.
Inside Pearl’s Club, A Sleek Cocktail Lounge Where Emmit’s Irish Pub Once Sat
“The Pearl Club, the new cocktail bar replacing twenty-six-year-old Emmit’s Irish Pub, has a Saturday opening date on the corner of Grand, Milwaukee and Halsted,” writes Eater Chicago. “Visitors can expect a dramatic transformation as Kehoe Designs has turned the bar into an elegant cocktail lounge, wiping out all traces of the old sporty tavern… Just north of the West Loop, the Pearl Club’s owners, Matt Ruder and Rob Katz, are banking that [they] can mimic some of the upscale success… along Randolph… The area includes places like the Dawson, Piccolo Sogno, Richard’s Bar, and La Scarola. New residential construction could mean more business.” Photos at the link. Reservations here.
PorkChop Introduces Meet & Whiskey In The Alley
“Local barbecue mini-chain PorkChop is among those catching the rising tide of covert Jazz age-influenced cocktail bars with Meet & Whiskey, tucked behind its fourth location at 6341 North Broadway near the Loyola University campus,” reports Eater Chicago. “Meet & Whiskey sets the stage for patrons even before they step inside. The inconspicuous entrance, a metal door marked only with a red light, is accessible through the alley east of Broadway and south of Devon.”
“Cocaine & Cooking At Chez Panisse”
Jeremiah Tower, a chef of the Chez Panisse restaurant during its 1971 beginnings and a powerful influence on American chefs including Paul Kahan, is now eighty-one and is working his way through “a terabyte” of memories and material on Substack. The first entry? “It was cocaine that became the fuel for the energy that changed the way America dines, and for the high-profile and all-consuming peripatetic schedules that launched the superstar chefs. At Chez Panisse it started on the restaurant’s third birthday in 1974.” Tower outlines a misbegotten menu and how it led to tasty discoveries, and then another one: “In sauntered a friend of one of our waiters with a black-leather-coated accomplice. Flashing a gold-toothy smile as he glided by me, he pulled a plastic bag out of his coat. Then dumped half a pound of white powder on top of the chest freezer at the back of the kitchen. He cut it into several long lines and handed me a straw fashioned from a rolled-up twenty-dollar bill. In an instant, I was back at the stoves. Then a conga line formed (this time not for the pizza), snaking out through the kitchen, into the dining room, and up the stairs into the bar. The more consumption of drugs, the less demand for food. Just before there was nothing left to cook, so that was good. And there was more cocaine and more champagne. The night was a huge success, premiering three new trends: individual pizzas, the freedom to use any topping one wanted, and the drug that made all the long hours possible, then impossible, in the kitchen.”
FILM & TELEVISION
“Chicago” Series Trio Renewed
NBC has renewed the Dick Wolf Chicago-produced series–“Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.”–for the 2023-24 season, reports Screen. “We understand the emotional connection our audience has with these characters and we can’t wait to bring more of their stories to the forefront next season,” said Lisa Katz, president, Scripted Programming, NBCUniversal. “A huge thank you to Dick and his amazing team who are the masters of producing incredibly compelling television week after week.” Said Wolf, “I’m pleased to continue my four-decade relationship with Universal Television and NBC… All six shows being picked up again is the ultimate accolade to our incredible casts, producers and writers. I’d also like to thank our loyal fans who have kept our NBC shows on the air for what will be a cumulative eighty-four seasons.”
Michael Kutza At Columbia College
Chicago Writers Association Presents host Sandra Colbert will interview Chicago International Film Festival founder Michael Kutza about his memoir, “Starstruck: How I Magically Transformed Chicago Into Hollywood For More Than Fifty Years.” Chicago native Kutza can tell a tale in a setting like this. April 15, 1pm, Columbia College Ferguson Hall. Free registration; masks required. Reservations here.
“Twitter” No Longer Exists
Owner Elon Musk has eradicated Twitter as a corporation, now folded into an entity called “X Corp.” (“Twitter, Inc. has been merged into X Corp. and no longer exists” is how a recent court filing puts it.) Musk’s long-term, overarching entity has been “X.Com,” which preceded the formation of PayPal in the 1990s and which he reclaimed in 2017. Salon takes a deeper look at what this could mean: “In April 2022, Musk registered X Holdings I, II, and III in Delaware, three separate companies designed to facilitate his purchase of Twitter. According to that deal, Twitter would merge with X Holdings II, but keep its name and general corporate structure while continuing to operate under Delaware law… The articles of the merger mandate that X Corp. fully acquire Twitter—meaning that, for all intents and purposes, ‘Twitter Inc.’ no longer exists as a Delaware-based company. Now it’s part of X Corp., whose parent company is the $2 million X Holdings Corp. And that means X Holdings I no longer exists, either. Both X Holdings Corp. and X Corp. now fall under Nevada’s jurisdiction instead of Delaware’s.” Even more machinations here.
Vancouver’s Dailies Eliminate Newsrooms
Media’s Canadian crunch: “Postmedia is shuttering its Vancouver newsrooms and asking its journalists to work from home permanently,” reports the Globe & Mail. “It’s the latest move by the media company–which owns more than 130 brands, including the National Post, Vancouver Sun, The Province and Montreal Gazette–to shrink costs.” In an internal memo “sent by Harold Munro, editor-in-chief for The Vancouver Sun and Province, journalists at the papers were informed that their newsroom and office space will go on the market as early as next week.”
Chicago Latino Theater Alliance Announces New Playwright Fest
The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) introduces Inicios: Chicago Latine Playwright Festival, an annual new play incubator for Chicago’s Latine voices. CLATA is seeking full-length plays by writers from the greater Chicagoland area who identify as Latino/a/e/x. Submissions should be original works that represent the Latine experience and culture. Scripts should not have been produced before. Plays will be reviewed and selected by a panel of Latine theater artists. Writers whose work is selected for workshops and staged readings will be notified May 15. A stipend of $1,000 will also be provided for each chosen script. Workshops will take place May 30 through June 1, leading into free, public staged readings at the first Inicios: Chicago Latine Playwright Festival, June 2-4 at Aguijón Theater, Teatro Tariakuri and UrbanTheater Company. Deadline to apply is Friday, April 21. Submissions (no fee) are open here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Chicago Takes First Democratic Nominating Convention Since 1996
“Chicago will host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, the Democratic National Committee announced,” reports CNN. “The convention will be held from August 19-22, 2024.In its announcement, the DNC called the Midwest a ‘critical Democratic stronghold’ that helped President Biden win the 2020 presidential election.” The Washington Post: “The party opted for the largest city in the Midwest over Atlanta, in part to highlight the regional battlegrounds of Michigan and Wisconsin.” The Sun-Times: “It is expected to draw between 5,000 and 7,000 delegates and alternates and attract up to 50,000 visitors to Chicago. Evening events will be at the United Center—the main site of the 1996 Democratic convention in Chicago—with daytime business to be conducted at the McCormick Place Convention Center, the location of the 2012 NATO Summit. Delegates will be housed in about 30 hotels.” The New York Times: “Chicago is a great choice to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “Democrats will gather to showcase our historic progress including building an economy from the middle out and bottom up, not from the top down.”
Columbia College Chicago Professor Receives Fulbright
Professor Paul Catanese has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award for the 2023-2024 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Catanese will work with faculty and students at the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Poland in the Spring of 2024 to explore how Artificial Intelligence can expand the boundaries of printmaking. His project, “Printmaking in the Age of Artificial Intelligence,” builds on research in his 2012 co-authored book, “Post-Digital Printmaking: CNC, Traditional, and Hybrid Techniques.” Through teaching and research, he will work in the studio to innovate new processes combining traditional printmaking techniques with AI; create new artworks using these processes; and teach the fundamentals of these processes so students can innovate techniques of their own, create new artworks, and assist with studio research. Outcomes will be shared via public exhibition; research process will shape foundations for a new publication. Fulbright alumni include sixty-one Nobel Prize laureates, eighty-nine Pulitzer Prize recipients, and forty who have served as a head of state or government. More on the Fulbright program here.
Hundreds Of Pharma Execs Contest Unilateral Judge Theory
“The pharmaceutical industry plunged into a legal showdown over the abortion pill mifepristone on Monday, issuing a scorching condemnation of a ruling by a federal judge that invalidated the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the drug and calling for the decision to be reversed,” reports the New York Times. “More than 400 executives said that the decision [by a single Texas federal judge] ignored both scientific and legal precedent and that, if the ruling stood, it would create uncertainty for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.”
Iowa Won’t Pay For Rape Victims’ Abortions Or Contraceptives
“The Iowa Attorney General’s Office has paused its practice of paying for emergency contraception—and in rare cases, abortions—for victims of sexual assault, a move that drew criticism from some victim advocates,” reports Associated Press. “Victim advocates were caught off guard by the pause. Ruth Richardson, CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, said in a statement that the move was ‘deplorable and reprehensible.'”
Indiana Legislates Against Pronoun Changes
“Indiana schools may soon be required to notify parents if their children request a name or pronoun change at school, after the state Senate on Monday advanced a House bill that some worry could out transgender kids to their families,” reports NBC 5. Also in Indiana: “An Indiana school district did not violate a former music teacher’s rights by pushing him to resign after the man refused to use transgender students’ names and gender pronouns, a federal appeals court said in an order released last week.”
Rutgers University Strike: First In 257-Year History
More Perfect Union posts: “For the first time in the university’s 257-year history, the faculty of Rutgers University is on strike. Over 9,000 full-time professors, counselors, and part-time faculty… have begun a historic labor action.”
Sound-Detection Company Changes Name From ShotSpotter To SoundThinking
“ShotSpotter, the company behind the controversial gunshot-detection software used by the Chicago Police Department, announced a new corporate name as its future here remains uncertain,” reports the Sun-Times. The company, whose contract with the city was extended with no public notice in October, “will now be known as SoundThinking, though ShotSpotter ‘will retain its name as a product,'” according to a news release. “The rebrand comes less than a week after its stock value tumbled following the election of Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson, who has vowed to end the city’s contract with the company.”
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