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MCA Adds Two To Leadership Team
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago has appointed two new members to their leadership team: Mollie Alexander Hogan as chief development officer, and Wes Moran as chief financial officer. “We are excited to bring in two talented leaders to help us usher in the MCA’s next chapter,” Pritzker Director Madeleine Grynsztejn says in a release. “With a professional history of supporting local cultural institutions and organizations, both Wes and Mollie are dedicated to promoting the artistic culture Chicago has to offer.” Hogan is currently director of development for the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, “where she has successfully spearheaded their $80 million campaign, increased the number of individual donors by over eighty-percent, and secured first-time funding from several major organizations.”
Moran is currently vice president of finance at the Shedd Aquarium, “where he leads all finance and accounting operations and planning processes including annual operating budgets as well as strategic and capital campaign modeling. In addition, he oversees investment activity, regulatory compliance, grant reporting, and bond issuance. Prior to the Shedd, Wes led finance and operations for the Chicago Humanities Festival and Chicago youth arts organization Marwen.”
New Jersey Landlord To Buy Bronzeville’s Lake Meadows
“More than six decades after building the Lake Meadows housing complex in Bronzeville, Chicago developer Draper & Kramer is selling the project, the biggest local apartment property to change hands in more than sixteen years,” reports Crain’s. The company “has agreed to sell Lake Meadows and its 1,869 units to one of the biggest multifamily landlords on Chicago’s South Side, Englewood, New Jersey-based Antheus Capital… The deal comes about four years after the sale of Prairie Shores, another big Draper & Kramer housing project just to the north.”
Span Names Nick Adam Associate Partner And Design Director
Span has announced Nick Adam as associate partner and design director. “Since joining Span in 2020 as design principal,” the studio relays, Adam “has led the design of cultural, institutional, and civic-focused projects for the studio, including co-leading ‘Copi: Rebranding an Invasive Fish as a Healthy Seafood Option.'” Adam “also led the identity and website design South Side Home Movie Project with Arts + Public Life at the University of Chicago as well as the exhibition design with curators Lauren M. Pacheco and Peter Kepha for ‘Slow and Low’—one of the largest events to ever fill Navy Pier. As associate partner, Nick joins partners John Pobojewski and Bud Rodecker in helping shape the future direction of Span.” More Span here.
Dutch Master Integration Of Rail Stations And Bicycle Garages
Could Chicago do it? “A decade ago, the Netherlands began building a national network of bicycle garages integrated with rail stations,” reports Bloomberg. “On YouTube, fans of cycling infrastructure can marvel at video tours through cavernous bike garages in places like Rotterdam, Amsterdam and especially Utrecht, a city of 362,000 whose train station provides spots for 22,000 bicycles, the largest such facility in the world. These monumental garages have become integral to the Dutch transportation network: Over 400,000 people—more than forty-percent of all train passengers—bike to a station every weekday.”
DINING & DRINKING
Somos And Sosa Expose Retro UMMO
UMMO, a contemporary Italian spot, will open in the heart of River North in July, under the hands of principal-co-founder Germán González and chef-partner Carlos Gaytán, with cuisine by chef-partner José Sosa and design by Karen Herold of Studio K Creative. UMMO, the group relays, “will unlock the flavors of regional Italian cuisine in a stunning, artfully imagined space. A soon-to-be named, second-floor social lounge ideal for a retro-inspired aperitivo hour or post-dinner enjoyment, promises a relaxed destination for spirited times and community connection.” UMMO will be the second restaurant by SOMOS Hospitality in River North. Tzuco, which opened in 2019, “has become a fixture for area residents and visitors seeking Chef Gaytán’s native Mexican cuisine effortlessly graced with French influence.”
Sosa “fell instantly in love with the lively richness of Emilia-Romagna in the north and the rustic charm of Puglia in the south. He was inspired not just by the traditions, but also the preparation techniques, seafood varieties found only in the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas, rare oils, vinegars and more. The offerings at UMMO will celebrate the best of these regions, with a consistent thread woven throughout–simplicity. Derived from the word ‘fumo’ in Italian, which translates to ‘smoke,’ UMMO gives a spirited nod to live fire cooking, which will play an integral role in many of the restaurant’s signature dishes.” More here.
Grocery Workers Union Questions $20 Billion Kroger-Albertsons Merger
“UFCW International is concerned about potential divestitures and stores’ future viability,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said it opposes the planned merger between Kroger and Albertsons, adding to tensions over the $20 billion supermarket deal. UFCW International, the biggest U.S. union representing grocery workers, is concerned about what President Marc Perrone said was a lack of information provided by the companies about the merger, including on potential store divestitures. The labor group is also worried about the viability of stores that could be sold and whether buyers might be saddled with heavy debt loads.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Film And Television Writers Strike Likely To Last “Months”
“The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of studios, streaming services and networks, has maintained that it hopes ‘to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial to writers and the health and longevity of the industry,'” reports the New York Times. “Privately, however, member companies say they are prepared to weather a strike of at least a hundred days. The most recent writers strike, which began in 2007 and ended in 2008, lasted that long.” In addition to being paid more, “writers want media companies—Netflix, in particular—to make structural changes to the way they do business. The companies—Netflix, in particular—say that is a bridge too far.”
The Netflix’s prize series, “Stranger Things,” will not shoot, communicate the forces behind the hit: “Duffers here. Writing does not stop when filming begins. While we’re excited to start production with our amazing cast and crew, it is not possible during this strike. We hope a fair deal is reached soon so we can all get back to work. Until then—over and out.” Alex Zalben, editor of Decider: “One big reason I’m invested in the writers strike beyond loving TV and movies and knowing they’re fighting for basic human rights is that this is the first major line in the sand against execs using AI as a cheap substitute for creativity, instead of a predictive text algorithm.” (Clever picket signs flourish.)
Art House Convergence Announces Board Officers
Art House Convergence has announced inaugural officers of its newly formed Board of Directors. Among the fourteen members steering the organization of the group dedicated to the preservation of independent movie houses are Lela Meadow-Conner, president (mamafilm), Alicia Kozma, vice president (Indiana University Cinema), Ben Godar, treasurer (Varsity Cinema) and Javier Chavez, secretary (AFI Silver). “The AHC board is collectively committed to helping art house and community-based theaters thrive in an increasingly precarious exhibition landscape. Key to that commitment is AHC’s role in facilitating progressive industry development and sustainability while working in tandem with our sister organizations” said Meadow-Conner. “It’s paramount that we continue to keep art house and community-based cinemas at the forefront of the ever-evolving conversation about the future of cinema exhibition, equity, accessibility, and inclusion. These spaces play a crucial role in the ecosystem of both mainstream and independent film, film festivals, and community building. Sustaining art house cinemas is critical to the perpetuation of film culture and theatrical exhibition as an industry.” More here.
Times On Explicit Images Of Latest Texas Gun Victims
“Twitter Criticized for Allowing Texas Shooting Images to Spread,” headlines the New York Times. Graphic images of the latest Texas attack “went viral on the platform, which has made cuts to its moderation team. Some users said the images exposed the realities of gun violence.” A photojournalist “was one of many Twitter users who criticized the social network for allowing the grisly images—including of a blood-spattered child to spread virally across the platform after the shooting… Though gruesome images have become common on social media, where a cellphone camera and an internet connection make everyone a publisher, the unusually graphic nature of the images drew sustained outcry from users… Though newspapers and magazines generally spare their readers from truly graphic images, they have made some exceptions, as Jet magazine did in 1955 when it published open-casket images of Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old Black boy who was beaten to death in Mississippi, to illustrate the horrors of the Jim Crow-era South.”
What The Internet Wasn’t Supposed To Be
“Because my brain was infested with worms at a very early age, I value continuity of username across platforms more than my own sanity. I have used the same username since AIM, and god help me, I will not lose it,” writes Kelsey McKinney at Defector. “My username has served me well through Neopets and Xanga and Livejournal and LikeALittle and Yo. It has survived far longer than the dozens of different ‘hot new apps’ on which I have used it. To maintain the same username for so long, you have to adopt early, and so of course I’ve already signed up for the two new sexy apps: Lemon8 and Bluesky. I had to get my username! … It is worth remembering that the internet wasn’t supposed to be like this. It wasn’t supposed to be six boring men with too much money creating spaces that no one likes but everyone is forced to use because those men have driven every other form of online existence into the ground. The internet was supposed to have pockets, to have enchanting forests you could stumble into and dark ravines you knew better than to enter. The internet was supposed to be a place of opportunity, not just for profit but for surprise and connection and delight. Instead, like most everything American enterprise has promised held some new dream, it has turned out to be the same old thing—a dream for a few, and something much more confining for everyone else.”
Rhino Fest Returns For Thirty-Fourth, At Four Stages
Curious Theatre Branch has announced the thirty-fourth annual Rhinoceros Theater Festival, June 2-July 1 at four venues. The month-long festival opens with a concert event on Wednesday, May 31 at Constellation Chicago, headlined by art-folk-cabaret act The Crooked Mouth. Rhino Fest is back in full force for the first time since January 2020, following a pause on all productions in 2021 and a pared-down “Hint of Rhino” in April 2022. Following the 2020 closure of the Prop Thtr storefront space on Elston, Rhino Fest’s longtime home, the festival will run at four venues this year: Facility Theatre in Humboldt Park, Chicago Dramatists in River West, and both Labyrinth Arts and Color Club in the Irving Park neighborhood. This year’s festival will feature plays, music and performances from more than thirty companies and solo artists, with a focus on new work created in Chicago. Full line-up and tickets here.
The Gift’s TEN 2023 Opens This Week
The Gift Theatre welcomes TEN 2023, the latest edition of the company’s annual festival of ten world premiere ten-minute pieces by members of The Gift and guest artists, curated by co-artistic directors Brittany Burch, Emjoy Gavino and Jennifer Glasse. TEN plays May 11-22 at Filament Theatre, 4041 North Milwaukee. $10 tickets here.
Writers Theatre Sets Season
Writers Theatre has announced the inaugural season for artistic director Braden Abraham, who joined Writers in February 2023. The company’s 2023-24 season launches with Tony- and Pulitzer-nominated playwright and Chicago North Shore native Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice,” directed by Abraham in his Writers Theatre debut. Next up will be “The Band’s Visit,” a co-production with TheatreSquared, directed by Zi Alikhan. After that will be Hershey Felder’s original piece he wrote with Chopin’s music, “Monsieur Chopin, A Play with Music.” Director Lili-Anne Brown will helm Katori Hall’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “The Hot Wing King.” Season packages are available online here.
About Face Presents Leppen Leadership Awards
About Face Theatre has announced the recipients of its Leppen Leadership Awards, to be presented at a ceremony on May 14 at the Den Theatre. The recipients are activists and owners of Sidetrack Bar Art Johnston and Pepe Peña; multidisciplinary artist Sam Kirk; activist and co-founder-executive director of The Legacy Project Victor Salvo; theater educator and storyteller Willa Taylor; owners of Nobody’s Darling Angela Barnes and Renauda Riddle and transgender activist Gloria “Mama Gloria” Allen. Recipients of the Leppen Leadership Award are people and organizations that lead with creativity and purpose to advance LGBTQ+ equity. “Now feels like an important moment to be honoring and remembering the hard work that so many people in our community have been doing to advance and support LGBTQ+ rights,” AFT artistic director Megan Carney says in a release. “Each of these awardees is modeling a more just world and we are grateful for their contributions to a better Chicago and Illinois.” Limited free tickets available here.
Metropolis’ New Leadership Announces Twenty-Third Season
Metropolis Performing Arts Centre has announced its 2023-24 season under artistic director Brendan Ragan and executive director Brookes Ebetsch. The twenty-third season will include musicals “The Addams Family,” “9 to 5” and “Million Dollar Quartet”; the holiday tradition of “A Christmas Carol” and a winter series including a concert version of “The Music Man” and the debut of cabaret “Hooked on a Feeling: Michael and Angela Ingersoll in Concert.” More here.
Filament Theatre Announces SPARK Artists-In-Residence
“Equity, Innovation and Play” were themes explored by Filament Theatre’s latest team of youth curators as they selected the 2023 SPARK artists whose work will be supported by the Northwest Side theater for young audiences this year. It’s the program’s third year, bringing together a group of third-to-eighth-graders who collaborated with Filament artistic directors Molly Bunder and Reji Simon to learn the curation process during five workshops focused on art-making, new work development and the important role that curators play in creating more equitable and diverse programming in the arts. More SPARK here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Lincoln Park’s 300-Year-Old Tree Will Live On
“As the sound of a chainsaw echoed across the grounds, staff and visitors watched crews dismantle the stately bur oak, believed to be 250-to-300 years old and almost entirely dead,” reports WTTW. ““It’s very bittersweet because we obviously don’t want the tree to go,” Katrina Quint, director of horticulture at the zoo to the station. “We’re here to cultivate and to make these beautiful gardens, and to have to see something reach its natural end of life has been difficult.” Cuttings will be taken and parts of the tree will be used for artworks. “The tree’s core, which Quint had feared would be hollow, proved to be solid. This means arborists will be able to count the tree’s rings and determine a definitive age. More importantly, the intact core will also contribute to scientists’ understanding of long-lived trees in general, and more specifically the effects of climate change.”
Illinois Humanities Releases Relief and Recovery Report
Illinois Humanities has issued a report, “History Is Happening: The State of Humanities Organizations in Illinois During COVID-19,” which positions the state as ready to “build a thriving cultural ecosystem that can contribute to equitable recovery and improve livability for residents.” The report, “which describes the context for the nearly $2.4 million in relief and recovery grants Illinois Humanities distributed to 359 organizations in response to COVID-19, utilizes data collected from grantee partners in conjunction with state demographic, health, and economic information, and national findings on attitudes about arts and culture, to underscore the ways in which access to the humanities improves overall quality of life, especially for many of the state’s most vulnerable communities.” Find the report, including maps and summaries, here.
Chicago Booth And Chicago Scholars Partner
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business has announced a partnership with local nonprofit Chicago Scholars to establish a pipeline for academically ambitious students from low-income or first-generation college-going backgrounds to attend graduate level programs. The first-of-its-kind collaboration will provide future leaders with networking, mentoring, and professional development opportunities, as well as MBA application fee waivers, early admissions opportunities, and dedicated scholarship awards. More here.
Indiana Strikes Down Pronouns
“The governor of Indiana signed into law a bill mandating that schools notify parents when a student asks to change their name or pronoun,” reports Crain’s. “The controversial bill, HB 1608 or the ‘Education Matters’ bill, signed Thursday night by Gov. Eric Holcomb also requires that no educator or third party may teach human sexuality to any student from pre-kindergarten through third grade. The measure has often been compared to Florida’s famous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.”
Corporate Giants Buy Up Primary Care Groups, Especially With Medicare Clients
“Large health insurers and other companies are especially keen on doctors’ groups that care for patients in private Medicare plans,” reports the New York Times. “CVS Health, with its sprawling pharmacy business and ownership of the major insurer Aetna, paid roughly $11 billion to buy Oak Street Health, a fast-growing chain of primary care centers that employs doctors in twenty-one states. And Amazon’s bold purchase of One Medical, another large doctors’ group, for nearly $4 billion, is another such move… Despite their lowly status, primary care doctors oversee vast numbers of patients, who bring business and profits to a hospital system, a health insurer or a pharmacy outfit eyeing expansion.”
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