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Newest Exhibition At Valparaiso Is On Artwork Decommissions
“The Brauer Museum of Art opened an exhibit close to museum director Jonathan Canning’s heart and one that inevitably will strike a chord with many people in the Valparaiso University community,” reports the Post-Tribune (via the Trib). “The Education Gallery is featuring a display curated by Canning on deaccessioning art, with an explanation of what the process is and examples from the Brauer’s collection of pieces that the museum can and cannot divest from.”
Red Line Gets A Mile Of Public Space Under New Tracks
“The rebuilt Red and Purple line tracks on the Far North Side will include ‘community space’ under the tracks thanks to the removal of century-old embankment walls,” reports Block Club. “The public space will stretch from Lawrence to Ardmore avenues, where the CTA is conducting a $2.1 billion rebuild of the Red and Purple lines.”
$80 Million Makeover For Field Of Dreams
“A massive makeover at the ‘Field of Dreams’ movie site in Iowa is underway,” reports CBS 2. The $80 million “project will add nearly one hundred acres to the existing 190-acre site. When completed in 2025, it will include nine ball fields for youth baseball and softball, a 100,000-square-foot fieldhouse, a 104-room boutique hotel, an RV park, a concert amphitheater, jogging trails through the cornfields, and a park designed to be inclusive for children and adults with disabilities.”
1914 Shipwrecks Found In Lake Superior
“Michigan researchers have found the wreckage of two ships that disappeared into Lake Superior in 1914 and hope the discovery will lead them to a third that sank at the same time, killing nearly thirty people aboard the trio of lumber-shipping vessels,” reports NBC 5.
WeWork Gets Eviction Notice, Tosses In Loop Digs
“WeWork has shuttered its biggest location in the Loop and is facing an eviction lawsuit from its landlord alleging the co-working giant owes unpaid rent,” reports Crain’s. “A venture controlled by German real estate investor Commerz Real AG aims to formally retake possession of WeWork’s four-floor shared office location at the top of 125 South Clark… The lawsuit is also seeking more than $360,000 in rent and other damages, including other rent it may be owed as the legal process proceeds. A WeWork-led venture’s lease in the building runs through late 2033.”
Does Walmart’s Speedy Exit From Chicago Say Something About Corporate Limits?
From an “analysis” at CNN: “‘These stores lose tens of millions of dollars a year, and their annual losses nearly doubled in just the last five years,’ Walmart said. Despite years of different strategies, the company said, it did not see a route to profitability for these stores. Walmart, which made $20.6 billion in 2022, did not specify why losses were growing in Chicago… There also can be unintended consequences to chains opening in neighborhoods. Companies sometimes open, small retailers close—and then the chain closes, leaving a bigger void in some cases than when it first came in. ‘The idea that Walmart did the city a great favor by moving in is highly debatable,’ said David Merriman, a professor of public policy, management and analytics at UIC… Instead of relying on large companies to strengthen local economies… another solution could be designing policies that better support smaller, family-owned supermarkets, co-operatives and farmers’ markets.”
DINING & DRINKING
Hamburglar Returns To Tweak McFlavors
McDonald’s, reports Ally Marotti at Crain’s, is introducing “small changes” to its burgers in the United States “as part of a broader push to refocus on customer menu favorites. On the hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, McDouble and Big Mac, the buns will be softer and freshly toasted; the cheese will be ‘perfectly melted’; white onions will be added to the patties while they’re still on the grill to give them a ‘juicier, caramelized flavor’; and Big Macs will have more Big Mac sauce.” Menu prices for the food products are not expected to increase, although the spokesperson of the flavor changes will be the Hamburglar.
Ben & Jerry’s Challenged To Put Money Where Scoops Are
“Ben & Jerry’s workers at the company’s flagship ice cream shop in Burlington, Vermont, filed for a union election Monday, adding momentum to a string of service-industry campaigns at high-profile companies such as Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and Apple,” reports the Washington Post.
A Taste Of Thattu
“Chicago isn’t known for Indian food, yet recent entries (Superkhana International, Wazwan, Indienne) have raised expectations.” Now Eater Chicago’s Ashok Selvam looks inside Thattu, “an anticipated affair that grew out of pop-ups and a stall inside Politan Row, the West Loop food hall that closed in 2020. Margaret Pak and Vinod Kalathil hone in on flavors from Kerala and take inspiration from Kalathil’s mother… Diners will find spicy fried chicken sandwiches, pungent beef curries, and perfectly griddled appam that balances fluffiness with a slightly crispy sear.” Announced last year, the restaurant now debuts Sunday, April 23 for lunch with a full dinner menu soon. “It’s in a patch of Avondale near the Chicago River, close to Metropolitan Brewing and Soul & Smoke.”
Union Workers Strike Greektown Starbucks
“Workers at the Starbucks store in Greektown went on strike for four hours Monday morning, accusing the company of union-busting tactics,” reports CBS 2.
The Transformation Of Durty Nellie’s
“Palatine’s Durty Nellie’s could be transformed into a massive new development, but what will that mean for the fate of the beloved pub and music venue?” asks NBC 5. The owners propose demolishing the present space to be “replaced with a massive multi-use complex featuring apartments, a rooftop pub and commercial space.” Co-owner James Dolezal tells the station, “We have loved the evolution of Durty Nellie’s in Palatine, from starting out on the east side of the downtown, to our current location—but our venue has become too large for what customers are looking for today… This proposed new development will help us to stay in the community that we love to serve.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Chicago Critics Film Festival Sets Slate
The full schedule of the 2023 Chicago Critics Film Festival has been announced. The festival opens with a screening of SXSW official selection “BlackBerry” and closes with Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Special Award winner “Theater Camp,” a mockumentary send-up of summer camp culture and musical theater diehards. Chicago premieres amongst the twenty-four programs include Paul Schrader’s “Master Gardener”; Ira Sachs’ “Passages” and Christian Petzold’s “Afire.” A 35mm revival of Alex Proyas’ “Dark City” is included, which Roger Ebert loved enough to provide an audio commentary for. Complete attractions here.
WBEZ Won’t Join Exodus From X Corp’s Twitter Today
“At this time, WBEZ Chicago is remaining on Twitter as one of the ways we share our important independent reporting with our audience in service of the broader public interest. As a public media organization, we have a responsibility to reach as many members of our community as possible with news and information using the tools available to us–and to lead the public conversation through truth and facts,” the station advises in a “community statement.” “We support NPR’s decision to leave Twitter. We have significant concerns about Twitter’s false labeling of NPR as ‘government-funded media,’ as these actions threaten a free and independent media that is an essential part of our democracy. This is an evolving situation that we will continue to monitor and revisit our own course of action as necessary.”
Jazz Pianist Ahmad Jamal Was Ninety-Two
“Ahmad Jamal, the influential pianist who recorded ‘At the Pershing/But Not for Me,’ one of jazz’s seminal albums, in Chicago, died Sunday at age ninety-two,” reports the Sun-Times. “The crisp, carefully tailored but deeply swinging arrangements he created for his trios of the 1950s and sixties had a long-term effect on the piano trio format as well as the individual work of other pianists, composers, arrangers and horn players,” writes Don Heckman at the Los Angeles Times. “‘No single artist after the great alto saxophonist [Charlie Parker] has been more important to the development of fresh form in jazz than Ahmad Jamal,’ wrote critic musician Stanley Crouch.” The Guardian: “The gifted young Chicago bassist Israel Crosby joined the trio in 1955, and the following year the percussionist Vernel Fournier–who fulfilled Jamal’s requirements for a subtle hand-drummer as well as orthodox sticks-player–replaced [Ray] Crawford. The group became the house band at the Pershing Hotel in Chicago, and one night in January 1958 they recorded more than forty tracks there. One was Poinciana… Jamal modernized its Latin groove, maintained a catchy hook throughout the improvisation, and found himself with a pop hit that stayed in the charts for two years.” Saxophonist Charles Lloyd posts: “Our great Maestro Ahmad Jamal has left town. I first heard him at the Kitty Kat Lounge in Chicago when I was eleven or twelve. Elevation and beauty is what he gave us in his music propelled by the earthy & visceral rhythms of Israel Crosby and Vernel Fournier.”
Music Crises Worldwide
“Australian music is facing an ‘existential threat,'” writes Ben Eltham at the Guardian. “It’s becoming harder for local artists to find an audience, raising urgent questions for the industry–and for the culture… Traditional channels such as radio and gigging still matter, but the explosive growth of TikTok in particular has given it a disproportionate power over the industry… Every year there are fewer and fewer songs being added to the great Australian playbook.” In Brexit Britain, “Ukrainian orchestra’s key members refused visas to play in the United Kingdom,” reports the Guardian. “Promoter claims ‘catastrophe’ has cost it more than $110,000 and accuses British government of hypocrisy.”
Chandelier Safe For Sure After 13,981 Performances
“On Sunday night, April 16, the curtain fell on the longest-running show in Broadway history. ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ Andrew Lloyd Webber’s mega hit musical, closed after more than thirty-five years,” reports NPR. “The stats are absolutely staggering–since it opened on Broadway in January of 1988, ‘Phantom’ has played almost 14,000 performances to audiences of over twenty million, grossing over $1.3 billion. An estimated 6,500 people have been employed by the production–including over 400 actors and it takes a cast, orchestra and crew of 125 to put on the show.” Reports AP: “It was show No. 13,981 at the Majestic Theatre and it ended with a reprise of ‘The Music of the Night’ performed by the current cast, previous actors in the show —including original star Sarah Brightman—and crew members in street clothes.” The New York Times: “The audience, which included Lin-Manuel Miranda, cheered not only the entrance of each principal performer, but also the first sightings of signature props, including the monkey music box and, of course, the chandelier.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
U. S. Ignored Signs Of Migrant Child Exploitation
“The White House and federal agencies were repeatedly alerted to signs of children at risk. The warnings were ignored or missed,” reports the New York Times. “Again and again, veteran government staffers and outside contractors told the Health and Human Services Department, including in reports that reached Secretary Xavier Becerra, that children appeared to be at risk. The Labor Department put out news releases noting an increase in child labor. Senior White House aides were shown evidence of exploitation, such as clusters of migrant children who had been found working with industrial equipment or caustic chemicals.”
Harold Meyerson On Chicago 1968 (Including His Own Clubbing At The Age Of Eighteen)
“The Democrats will convention in Chicago next year, and it’s not clear that they’ll get a warm welcome from the cops,” Harold Meyerson writes at the American Prospect. In 1968, “The protesters were numerous, voluble, demonstrative, and young, and their assemblages and marches, while nonviolent, were theatrically and often humorously provocative. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was determined to stomp on them, and he mobilized round-the-clock, militarized policing from the city’s force… To be sure, Chicago just elected the decidedly progressive Brandon Johnson as mayor, both despite and because of his criticism of the current force. But when it comes to the actual guys in blue (they are preponderantly guys) who patrol the once-Second City, it’s clear that not a lot has changed. Their local union endorsed both of Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns as well as the conservative law-and-order candidate Johnson defeated, Paul Vallas. And shortly before this year’s election, the police union’s leader threatened a de facto strike if Johnson won.”
Lincoln Park Zoo’s Got Lion Cubs
The three male African lion cubs born at Lincoln Park Zoo on January 9 have made their debut at Pepper Family Wildlife Center and online with a streaming platform here. Since the birth of the cubs, Pesho (pe-sho), Sidai (see-dye), and Lomelok (low-mey-lock) have been making strides behind-the-scenes with mom Zari (Zah-ree) and can now be seen exploring their outdoor habitat along with the rest of the pride.
UPS-Teamsters Negotiations Begin
Negotiations between UPS and the Teamsters over a contract covering 340,000 workers began Monday, posts More Perfect Union. “And the union is militant and ready to fight right now. So if UPS doesn’t make some good offers, we could see a massive strike this summer, when the current contract expires.”
Bats At Risk
“More than half of North America’s bat species are likely to diminish significantly as climate change, disease and habitat loss take their toll, scientists warned Monday,” reports the Tribune. “A report by experts from the U.S., Canada and Mexico said eighty-one of the continent’s 154 known bat types ‘are at risk of severe population decline’ in the next fifteen years.”
Police Department Criticized By Former Employee Over Downtown Weekend
Of the weekend gathering downtown, former First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio told CBS 2, “It’s a big concern, obviously. It’s the first warm weekend of the year. There’s the whole hot summer ahead.” The breathless report says that “TikTok video shows large crowds gathered near Madison and State streets. Then gunshots can be heard… Riccio says these chaotic crowds will have an economic impact on the city.” “Maybe the police department needs to sit down, get some experienced people in a room together and really come up with a strategy that’s going to be effective. It’s not the last time it’s going to happen.”
State Disinvestment For Two Decades Tanked College Budgets, Says Report
“As university faculties around Illinois strike for better pay and working conditions, budget analysts have found that state spending on higher education has fallen dramatically over the past twenty years,” reports the Daily Herald. “When adjusted for inflation, state spending on higher education fell forty-six-percent from 2000 to 2023, according to a new report.”
Chicago State Suspends Strike After Ten Days
“A ten-day strike at Chicago State University has been suspended after professors reached a tentative agreement with administrators over the weekend. Faculty returned to class on Monday,” reports WBEZ. “They were asking for higher pay and reduced workload. Professors at the university are among the lowest-paid in the state.” The Tribune: “The agreement would provide faculty and staff with pay increases while recognizing the university’s financial constraints.”
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