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Fresh Suit Filed Against Valpo Frosh Dorm O’Keeffe Deaccession
“A lawsuit to stop the planned sale of three of the most notable works of art from Valparaiso University’s Brauer Museum of Art permanent collection was filed on 24 April at the Porter County Superior Court in Indiana,” reports the Art Newspaper. “The paintings—Georgia O’Keeffe’s ‘Rust Red Hills’ (1930), Frederic E. Church’s ‘Mountain Landscape’ (1865) and Childe Hassam’s ‘The Silver Veil and the Golden Gate’ (1914)—have been estimated to be worth a combined $20 million, and Jose D. Padilla, the university’s president, announced publicly in February that the money generated from their sale would be used to improve freshmen dormitories with ‘amenities and features that prospective students value and expect.'” The suit “claims that the proposed ‘sale contravenes the donor’s intent,’ which was ‘to serve and promote the cause of art education in both a practical and cultural way’ by establishing galleries at the university to display the donated art.”
San Francisco Art Institute In Bankruptcy Liquidation
“The San Francisco Art Institute has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, a move that will force the 152-year-old institution to liquidate its assets and abandon its legendary campus on the edge of Russian Hill,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Assets include a Diego Rivera mural valued at $50 million. “The Art Institute closed its main campus in 2022 after many years of failed board reorganizations, capital campaigns and fundraisers that were mounted to stave off ruin at the once-proud art school where Ansel Adams, Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud taught. The student body, which had been as high as 700, was down to forty-one students.”
Plans Unveiled For Goose Island Development To Replace Greyhound Facility
“Developer Onni Group has revealed an updated timeline for Halsted Pointe, their approved megadevelopment on Goose Island,” reports Urbanize Chicago. “Approved back in late summer 2021, the development will replace the current Greyhound Bus facility at 901 North Halsted on the southern tip of Goose Island… Designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, the development’s first phase will see the construction of a forty-six-story mixed-use tower that will include 460 residential units and 20,000 square feet of retail space. Rising 504 feet, the tower will meet the ground with a five-story podium which will hold the aforementioned retail space as well as 200 parking spaces and amenity space for the residents.”
Chicago Fashion Incubator Names New Designer-In-Residence
Jean Spellman, a marketing and finance professional, is the latest designer-in-residence at the Chicago Fashion Incubator, bringing Heyden, her “brand of edgy-professional women’s clothing that makes its wearers feel confident and interesting–like they can crush it, day to night… Heyden pieces maximize cost-per-wear, season after season, year after year.” More on Heyden here. More on the Fashion Incubator here.
DINING & DRINKING
Black-Owned Momentum Coffee Brewing On West Side
“Momentum Coffee is a café and co-working space with locations downtown and on the South Side. It recently opened a new café in North Lawndale. Another will open soon in Austin,” reports the Sun-Times. “The North Lawndale café, on Ogden across from the Sinai Medical Center, is their fourth and the first on the West Side. The others are in the South Loop, Englewood and downtown. It’s a needed oasis in the West Side neighborhood, an area with few bars, restaurants or other cafés.”
Home Run Inn Sells Nothing But Crust
“Home Run Inn is selling its crust alone, and supply chain woes are the inspiration,” reports Crain’s. “The frozen pizza manufacturer is launching a product called Nothing But Crust at Jewel-Osco stores. CEO Dan Costello said the idea came after the Woodridge-based company watched its tomato prices shoot up about forty-percent last year, and it heard from supplier after supplier about potential ingredient shortages and increasing prices.”
Best Intentions Reopens
“Popular neighborhood bar Best Intentions, one of the last holdouts of the shutdown, is back after a three-year ‘deep sleep,'” reports Block Club. The bar reopened April 19. “A tiny handwritten note outside of the bar that read, ‘We back,’ marked the end” of the hiatus. “Almost immediately… lines of people formed down the block, eager to cozy up to the bar with Wondermint malted shakes.”
Times Sees “Warning For Big Business” In Campaigns Against Bud Light
“Bud Light’s marketing effort with a transgender influencer has put it ‘in the center of the culture wars in a way that no company could possibly want to be,’ one observer said,” writes Charles Homans at the New York Times. “The backlash and subsequent scrambling provide a lesson in the newly unsettled politics of corporate America. In the past decade, major companies have leaned into liberal social politics,” Homans generalizes, “that are increasingly anathema to their longstanding allies in the Republican Party and the consumers who vote for them. Bud Light’s trials this month have underscored the difficulty of straddling that divide.” Money is a key topic in the piece—”despite the drop, Anheuser-Busch’s stock has barely faltered and is currently near its high point in the past year, suggesting investors may believe the storm will be short-lived”—and Republican presidential aspirant Vivek Ramaswamy is a key interviewee.
McDonald’s Announces Strong Results Amid Firings
“McDonald’s reported higher-than-expected sales in the first quarter as store traffic grew despite higher prices,” reports AP (via the Trib). “Global same-store sales rose 12.6 percent compared to the January-March period last year… Marketing campaigns, like a McSpicy chicken sandwich promotion with a streetwear brand in China, and a Valentine’s Day meal promotion… with rappers Offset and Cardi B, also boosted the chain’s performance… Despite the super-sized results, McDonald’s laid off several hundred corporate workers earlier this month in an effort to speed up innovation and decision-making. McDonald’s booked a restructuring charge of $180 million… to account for severance payments and the closure of some regional offices.”
Yellow Banana Says It Spruces Up Save-A-Lot Locales
“By spiffing up its Chicago stores, Yellow Banana aims to reverse years of brand erosion—a reputation that delayed the debut of its newest spot in a former Whole Foods,” reports Crain’s. “In addition to the six stores up for renovation, Yellow Banana turned the former Whole Foods in Englewood into a Save-A-Lot. Community protests prompted Yellow Banana to delay the debut.” Says Yellow Banana CEO Joe Canfield: “They’re run down, they’re beat up, they’re not in great shape,” he said. “Folks have valid reasons for feeling the way they feel about the Save-A-Lot brand. We knew when we purchased these locations that if we were not able to secure the capital to make significant upgrades… it wasn’t going to go well for us.” “Canfield said he hopes the renovations will change people’s minds, but it might take more to win over neighbors who’d rather see another chain move in.”
FILM & TELEVISION
DeSantis Allies Move To Nullify Disney Control Of Its Florida Property
A five-member board appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida “to oversee government services at Disney World voted on Wednesday to nullify two agreements that gave The Walt Disney Company vast control over expansion at the 25,000-acre resort complex,” reports the New York Times. “The nullification—the latest in a string of actions against Disney by Mr. DeSantis and his allies—is likely to result in legal fireworks. Disney, the state’s largest taxpayer, has signaled a willingness to fight any attempt to revoke the agreements, which it contends were done in compliance with Florida law.”
Disney is suing the presidential aspirant in turn, reports the Los Angeles Times: “A targeted campaign of government retaliation—orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech—now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights,” the megacorporation says.
“CBS Sunday Morning” Segment On Book Bans Features Harold Washington Library
“Between 2020 and 2022, the number of book titles that have been banned in U.S. libraries and schools spiked more than 1,100 percent, to more than 2,500, while activists in thirty-seven states have challenged school districts for offering nonfiction and fiction books that discuss race and racism, slavery, sex and gender identity,” reports “CBS Sunday Morning.” “Catch-22,” Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle,” “The Great Gatsby,” Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” “Lord of the Flies” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” are among classics that have been banned. “Said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, ‘There was somebody who objected to the profanity, or the challenge to the status quo.'” Among the sites visited: The Harold Washington Library. “The Chicago Public Library put them on display, in defiance of efforts nationwide to ban books.”
Leading Magazine Profiler Stephen Rodrick Gets Variety Gig
Stephen Rodrick, a writer probably best-known for his New York Times Magazine profile of Lindsay Lohan during the production of Paul Schrader and Bret Easton Ellis’ “The Canyons” (2013), has been hired to bring his long-established longform skills to the glossy trade weekly Variety as “Chief Correspondent.” (Northwestern grad Rodrick’s career began on the editorial staff at Newcity in the early 1990s.)
Tim Kinsella & Jenny Pulse Sign To Kill Rock Stars
Chicago duo Tim Kinsella and Jenny Pulse have signed to Kill Rock Stars alongside the release of their new single, “Sun Inspector.” Pulse describes their sound as “groovy like ESG, moody like Black Sabbath, and moving like Julee Cruise, with the woo-woo of Art of Noise.” Kinsella “has released albums and toured at a steady clip for twenty-five years, his most well-known bands being Joan of Arc, Cap’n Jazz and Owls. Pulse is a vocalist, electronic musician and producer who has released dance-oriented pop songs under her own name, in addition to experimental soundscapes and field recordings as Spa Moans.” The video for their “Sun Inspector” single is here.
Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap” Tenth Anniversary Concert At United Center
“Chance the Rapper is celebrating the tenth anniversary of his breakout mixtape, ‘Acid Rap,’ with a concert at Chicago’s United Center on August 19, prompts Pitchfork. “More events, pop-ups, merchandise, and music will follow, starting with the first-time release on streaming services of ‘Juice’ from the mixtape” this Sunday, April 30.
Shined Up Old Brown Shoes: Cheap Trick At Metro July 16
“Cheap Trick is playing Metro to wrap up the music club’s yearlong fortieth-anniversary celebrations,” reports the Trib. “Tickets go on sale to the public at 10am April 28, or ticket buyers can sign up for the Metro newsletter to access a presale at 11am today, April 27.”
Roselle’s Record Wonderland Co-Owner Pat Deasey Was Fifty-Five
“Record Wonderland co-owner Pat Deasey died unexpectedly on Saturday at age fifty-five,” reports the Reader. “He was a workhorse—you didn’t always know he was here, but he kept the place together,” his friend Steve Young, co-owner of the store tells the paper. “He was the order agent, and I’m the chaos agent.” The store posts on Facebook: “We weren’t quite sure what to do when we heard the news, but we were pretty sure that if we asked Pat if our Record Store Day should be cancelled in the event of his death, we are pretty sure he would have said, ‘Don’t be fucking stupid.’ Of course, it was our most successful Record Store Day ever, and we are crushed that he wasn’t there to experience it.”
Steppenwolf Announces LookOut Season
Steppenwolf’s LookOut Series has announced its summer season, which includes concerts, comedy showcases, drag shows, performance art and readings of plays in development. Grammy Award winner Nico Segal has three cozy concerts in May celebrating the release of his new album, “Tell the Ghost Welcome Home.” In June, Las Locas Comedy presents an evening of Latina/x comedians, and nostalgia queen Alex Grelle collaborates with Jeff winner Rob Lindley for a comedic spectacle in tribute to 1998’s “Stepmom.” July welcomes drag artist Másha Potato’s love letter to drag performance and a series of readings from The Story Theatre. August holds presentations from Steppenwolf ensemble member Austin Pendleton, Carissa Lee and the Black art collective Suspended Culture and the puppetry geniuses at Rough House Theater.
Throughout the summer, Chicago drag artist Bambi Banks-Couleé hosts a monthly musical theater-inspired drag show, and Chicago’s Eighth Blackbird ensemble hosts two concerts featuring Grammy winner Karim Sulayman and composer Matthew Burtner. The roster includes forty-four performances of twenty-five engagements featuring hundreds of local artists. All LookOut performances take place in Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater. Tickets range from $10-$40 and are now on sale here.
Chicago Area’s Own Bobcat Goldthwait Drops Album, Sets Tour
Bobcat Goldthwait has released a new comedy album, “Soldier for Christ,” on indie comedy label PGF Records with distribution from SubPop. Recorded live in Chicago, “Soldier for Christ” is Bobcat’s first album in years, “a mix of personal stories never told and along with observations and reflections revealing the warm-hearted punk-rock human behind the wild 1980s persona. A self-described ‘VHS comic in a TikTok world,’ Bobcat shares stories about everything from touring with Nirvana and playing arenas to stories about family and aging, and his cherished longtime friendships with Robin Williams and Tom Kenny.” Upcoming dates include May 19-20 at at the Jukebox Comedy Club in Peoria. Listen to track “My Name Is Robert Goldthwait” here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
UChicago’s Paris Center To Be Named For John W. Boyer
Alumni and parents of the University of Chicago have contributed $27 million to honor John W. Boyer, dean of the College and the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of History, for his leadership of the College. The gift will name the University’s new Center in Paris and will establish a new professorship in Boyer’s honor, UChicago relays.
Blue Cross Illinois To End Payments For COVID Tests
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois will generally no longer cover the tests after May 11,” reports the Tribune, “which is when pandemic-related national and public health emergencies are set to end. Blue Cross will also change how it handles PCR tests, covering them the same way it covers other types of tests, such as flu or strep tests, depending on a person’s plan… Coverage of COVID-19 medication Paxlovid will also depend on an individual’s plan.”
Naming The “Love Jones Cohort” Among Black Singles
“My mentor and I coined the expression ‘The Love Jones Cohort,”” writes sociologist Kris Marsh. “We were discussing how my idea to study Black middle class men and women who are single and living alone came from both media and my own life experiences… I was noticing–in both film and TV–a demographic shift in Black characters away from married couples to single adults… This started with the [Chicago-set] 1997 romance… starring Larenz Tate as an up-and-coming poet, and Nia Long as a talented but recently unemployed photographer… In the 1980s and 1990s, the media prototype for the middle class–whether Black or white–had been a married couple with children… This shift in Hollywood, it turns out, was also grounded in the real world–where a growing number of middle-class Black Americans in recent decades are single and living alone.”
Purdue Northwest Chancellor Who Mocked Asian Languages Will Complete Term
“The Purdue University Northwest chancellor who drew backlash for a racist display at the college’s winter commencement will serve out the rest of his term” through June 2024, reports NBC News. Thomas J. Roach, chair of the faculty senate, said “he was disappointed in the board of trustees’ refusal to ‘answer questions and to justify their actions’… ‘This decision by a privileged few to protect one of their own further alienates members of our minority communities. I hope it is clear to everyone that the board’s decision in no way reflects the wishes of the majority of faculty on the Purdue campuses.'”
Indiana Police, Fire Can Keep Bystanders Twenty-Five Feet Away
“A state law signed last week by Republican Governor Eric Holcomb sets a minimum bystander distance of twenty-five feet beginning July 1,” reports NWI.com. “Opponents said it wrongly aims to shield officers from appropriate public scrutiny and recording of their actions… Representative Mitch Gore, D-Indianapolis, a captain in the Marion County sheriff’s office, said he’s confident that newer mobile phones are quite capable of filming police in action from at least twenty-five feet away, but the state’s focus on police deescalation training over the past three years makes anything worth recording less likely to occur.”
Ban On No-Fault Divorce Seen As Next Goal Of Rightwing Activists
With grander and grander goals expressed by activists for taking away rights of women in America, a report at Jezebel by Kylie Cheung from August 2022 is circulating again. “After the fall of Roe, right-wing media have been ratcheting up their rhetoric against no-fault divorce… A report from Media Matters for America shows a rising trend of right-wing influencers and Republican leaders and politicians, including U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance, advocating for the end of no-fault divorce—a policy that allows people to end a marriage without being required to prove wrongdoing by their partner, including adultery, abuse, or desertion. No-fault divorce, which was first enacted in California in 1969, has always been a feminist issue. It’s allowed domestic abuse victims to leave a bad marriage without onerous barriers.”
“But Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe very clearly opened the door for further rights, particularly around marriage, to be reversed. ‘We have a duty to correct the error established in those precedents,’ he wrote, while specifically calling the Griswold v. Connecticut (1965, birth control), Lawrence v. Texas (2003, same-sex intimacy), and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015, same-sex marriage) decisions ‘demonstrably erroneous.'”
Trump Tower Awarded Million-Dollar Tax Refund By Appellate Court
Donald Trump and co-owners in Trump Tower are “set to get $1 million in property tax refunds that they’ve been seeking for years,” reports the Sun-Times. A total of $540,000 of that award, unless reversed on appeal, comes out of funding for the Chicago Public Schools system.
Head Of Law Firm With Business Before Supreme Court Bought Gorsuch Real Estate
Dick Durbin is concerned: “For nearly two years beginning in 2015, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch sought a buyer for a forty-acre tract of property he co-owned in rural Granby, Colorado,” reports Politico. “Nine days after he was confirmed by the Senate for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, the then-circuit court judge got one: The chief executive of Greenberg Traurig, one of the nation’s biggest law firms with a robust practice before the high court. Gorsuch owned the property with two other individuals.” Gorsuch did not report the identity of the purchaser. “Since then, Greenberg Traurig has been involved in at least twenty-two cases before or presented to the court… Justice Clarence Thomas is currently under scrutiny for accepting lavish trips from GOP billionaire donor Harlan Crow, who also purchased three Georgia properties from the justice. Thomas did not report the property sales.”
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin: “We have seen a steady stream of revelations regarding Supreme Court Justices falling short of the ethical standards expected of other federal judges and of public servants. The need for Supreme Court ethics reform is clear, and if the Court does not take adequate action, Congress must.” Chief Justice John Roberts replied to Durbin, refusing to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (The Washington Post: “Neil Gorsuch’s mother once ran the EPA. It didn’t go well.”)
NASCAR PR Includes Bikes To Kindergarteners
The Piccolo School of Excellence is “one of eight CPS schools receiving twenty-four Strider training bikes and helmets, plus online support to help the schools teach their kindergartners how to ride,” reports the Sun-Times. “This donation came from a partnership between All Kids Bike and The NASCAR Foundation ahead of the first Chicago Street Race… All Kids Bike is part of Strider’s nonprofit arm.”
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