Get daily culture news sent to your inbox every weekday morning. Subscribe to Newcity Today here.
DINING & DRINKING
Gay Bars Targeted After Dropping Anheuser-Busch Products
“LGBTQ bars have faced online harassment after discontinuing Anheuser-Busch InBev products when the beer giant distanced itself from a transgender influencer amid backlash,” reports Block Club. “Five bars—2Bears Tavern, The SoFo Tap, Meetinghouse Tavern, Jackhammer and Sidetrack—have received hundreds of Instagram comments since they announced they would no longer sell Anheuser-Busch products, including Bud Light, Busch Light and Goose Island 312.” The products were dropped partly in response to a statement made last week on an earnings call by Anheuser-Busch CEO Michel Doukeris: “We need to clarify the facts that this was one can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign.”
McDonald’s Sued For Not Spending Promised Money On Black Publications
“Media entrepreneur Byron Allen sued McDonald’s again,” reports Crain’s. Allen “alleges that the Chicago-based hamburger chain is not on track to meet a 2021 commitment to spend more of its advertising budget with Black-owned media companies. McDonald’s announced plans in May 2021 to increase its spending with Black-owned media and production properties to five-percent from two-percent.”
FILM & TELEVISION
FX And Hulu Drop “The Bear” June 22
“Hulu will serve up Season 2 of ‘The Bear’ on June 22, FX announced on social media,” reports Variety. Cast additions include Molly Gordon and Bob Odenkirk.
“Netflix Strike” Renewed For Second Big Week
Netflix “has become an avatar of anxiety for Hollywood writers who are entering the second week of a historic strike that has no end in sight,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “Some in the 11,500-member Writers Guild of America have focused their frustration on the streaming company, dubbing this year’s labor action ‘the Netflix strike.'” Hundreds of WGA writers “demonstrated outside Netflix’s offices to protest for better pay and working conditions. They cited tensions and changes to the business, which they say have been exacerbated by the streaming revolution that Netflix kicked off. Those changes, writers argue, have made it harder to support a family in Los Angeles while writing on shows for guild minimums.” That paper also reports that the 2007 strike that lasted a hundred days cost the economy at least $2.1 billion; this one is expected by some to last at least three months. President Biden: “I sincerely hope the writers’ strike in Hollywood gets resolved, and the writers are given a fair deal they deserve as soon as possible.”
Ryan Faughnder of the Times: “Studio chiefs are openly saying they think they have enough finished material to make it so that viewers won’t notice the strike for awhile.” George R. R. Martin announces a pause in the writers’ room of the HBO “Game Of Thrones” spin-off. “My father was a longshoreman. When the ILA went out on strike, work on the docks shut down at once. The ships did not get unloaded. The trucks did not move. The cranes froze in place, the fork lifts stayed where they were when their drivers walked off, the bananas rotted in the holds. It does not work that way with writing… Studios and streamers and networks have been stockpiling scripts for months.” Martin goes on to say, “Some of you, I fear, may be having anxiety attacks just now, on the mistaken assumption that this strike affects ‘Winds of Winter.’ You can relax… ‘Winds’ continues to be priority number one.”
Oklahoma Governor Defunds Public Television
“Governor Kevin Stitt vetoed a bill funding the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, calling public broadcasting an ‘outdated system,'” reports Deadline. “The big question is why are we spending taxpayer dollars to prop up or compete with the private sector and run television stations? And then when you go through all of the programing that’s happening, the indoctrination, the over-sexualization of our children, it’s just really problematic, and it doesn’t line up with Oklahoma values.”
Oak Park’s One Stop Comics In Relocation Drama
“Rick Manzella has been a source for comic books in Oak Park since 1978, when he left his downtown job and opened One Stop Comics, a stall in a bookstore at Oak Park Avenue and South Boulevard,” reports Wednesday Journal. “He moved to his current location in the Pieritz Brothers Building, at 111 South Ridgeland, over thirty years ago.” That building, however, is for sale and could be demolished, and Manzella is looking to relocate.
Books Considered “Pornography” In DeSantis’ Florida
Florida Governor DeSantis conducted a press conference on March 8, reports Popular Information, “in which he purported to debunk the ‘book ban hoax.’ … DeSantis claimed that Florida schools, under his leadership, were not banning educational materials. Rather, they were simply removing ‘pornography’ from school libraries and classrooms. DeSantis claimed the notion that Florida was involved in book banning was ‘a nasty hoax because it’s a hoax in service of trying to pollute and sexualize our children.'” But “few of the books removed from Florida school libraries were deemed pornographic or sexually explicit. And many books that did receive that label do not meet the definition of pornography—or anything close—under state or federal law… Most books were banned for being ‘inappropriate,’ which could mean anything.”
Titles include “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison; “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini; “Forever,” by Judy Blume; “Nineteen Minutes,” by Jodi Picoult; “Dreaming in Cuban,” by Christina Garcia and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky. “In addition to the nature of the banned books, DeSantis also grossly misrepresented the number of books that have been removed from libraries across the state. That’s because the survey only includes books that have been permanently removed, and excludes books that have been removed pending a full review. Since school districts are in the process of responding to laws and regulations imposed by DeSantis in 2022, most challenged books are still under review.”
ProPublica’s Duaa Eldeib Finalist In Explanatory Reporting
Duaa Eldeib of ProPublica is a finalist in the Pulitzers for Explanatory Reporting, “for poignant, comprehensive reporting that clearly demonstrated how the U.S. healthcare system has failed to lower the number of preventable stillbirths in the country.” Eldeib, formerly of the Tribune, writes, “I am incredibly honored to be recognized. I’m deeply grateful to all the parents who spoke to me. They taught me so much about love and loss and how we’ve failed to prevent stillbirths.” (Eldeib, David Jackson and Gary Marx were 2015 finalists for the Tribune’s “exposé of the perils faced by abused children placed in Illinois’s residential treatment centers.”)
Naomi Klein Down On A. I.; Ray Kurzweil Differs
“Tech CEOs want us to believe that generative AI will benefit humanity. They are kidding themselves,” writes Guardian columnist Naomi Klein. “Warped hallucinations are indeed afoot in the world of AI, however–but it’s not the bots that are having them; it’s the tech CEOs who unleashed them, along with a phalanx of their fans, who are in the grips of wild hallucinations, both individually and collectively. Here I am defining hallucination not in the mystical or psychedelic sense, mind-altered states that can indeed assist in accessing profound, previously unperceived truths. No. These folks are just tripping: seeing, or at least claiming to see, evidence that is not there at all, even conjuring entire worlds that will put their products to use for our universal elevation and education.”
Futurist Ray Kurzweil issued his response (via publicist) to the recent open letter on “pausing” A.I.: “This criterion is too vague to be practical. And the proposal faces a serious coordination problem: those that agree to a pause may fall far behind corporations or nations that disagree. There are tremendous benefits to advancing A.I. in critical fields such as medicine and health, education, pursuit of renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels, and scores of other fields. I didn’t sign, because I believe we can address the signers’ safety concerns in a more tailored way that doesn’t compromise these vital lines of research.”
An Obituary For The “Metaverse”
“The Metaverse, the once-buzzy technology that promised to allow users to hang out awkwardly in a disorientating video-game-like world, has died after being abandoned by the business world. It was three years old,” writes Ed Zitron at Insider. “After a much-heralded debut, the Metaverse became the obsession of the tech world and a quick hack to win over Wall Street investors. The hype could not save the Metaverse, however, and a lack of coherent vision for the product ultimately led to its decline. Once the tech industry turned to a new, more promising trend—generative AI—the fate of the Metaverse was sealed. The Metaverse is now headed to the tech industry’s graveyard of failed ideas. But the short life and ignominious death of the Metaverse offers a glaring indictment of the tech industry that birthed it.”
“Omar” Is Pulitzer Prize Winner For Music
Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels’ opera, “Omar,” is the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Music winner. “Omar ” was co-produced by Spoleto Festival USA, Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Detroit Opera. Additional co-commissioners include Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Boston Lyric Opera. The opera is based on the only known surviving American slavery narrative written in Arabic, from 1831, about a thirty-seven-year-old scholar living in West Africa who was captured and forced aboard a ship bound for Charleston, South Carolina. Giddens wrote the libretto based on Said’s autobiography and recorded self-accompanied demos that Abels then responded to with a score. The result was a multicultural, eclectic mix reflecting Islamic, bluegrass, spirituals and Americana styles.
Two New CSO Fellows Announced
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has announced that two musicians will join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Fellowship program for the 2023-24 Season. Violinist Jesús Linárez and bassist Olivia Reyes will become the newest CSO Fellows at the beginning of the season in September, joining current CSO Fellow violinist Gabriela Lara, who returns for her second year in the program.
Ringo Starr Celebrates Eighty-Fourth Year With Tour
Ringo Starr will tour this year from spring to fall, including a Chicago date of October 5.
Ruido Fest Relocates In Little Village With Kali Uchis, Juanes
“Alternative Latino music festival Ruido Fest will return this year in a new venue,” reports Block Club. The event has moved from Union Park to Chicagoland Fairgrounds, 2801 South Washtenaw in Little Village, August 19-20, noon-10pm. Tickets here.
Steppenwolf’s “Downstate” New York Drama Critics’ Circle’s Best Play
The New York Drama Critics’ Circle, comprised of twenty New York drama critics, named Bruce Norris’ “Downstate” best play of the 2022-23 season. The award for best foreign play went to Tom Stoppard’s “Leopoldstadt.” No award was given for best musical. The awards include a cash prize of $2,500 for best play. “Downstate,” written by Bruce Norris and directed by Pam McKinnon, had its New York premiere on November 15, 2022, at Playwrights Horizons; it closed January 7, 2023. The play had its world premiere at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre in October 2018. (Chris Jones, of the Tribune and the New York Daily News, is among its members.)
Chicago Theaters Will Dim Lights For Frank Galati
Marquees will dim for one minute on Saturday, May 13, at 7:15pm at Broadway In Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre and James L. Nederlander Theatre, Goodman Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre, a tribute to playwright, director, actor and educator Frank Galati, who passed away January 2 at the age of seventy-nine. Northlight Theatre will dim their inside lobby lights for one minute at 7:45 pm, just prior to the evening performance. Friends, family, colleagues and community leaders gathered for a private memorial in Galati’s honor on Monday, May 8 at Steppenwolf, with featured speakers including playwright-director Mary Zimmerman, former Goodman artistic director Robert Falls, Steppenwolf ensemble members Amy Morton and Lois Smith, lyricist-composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and Galati’s husband Peter Amster.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Chicago Arts Recovery Program Grants $10 Million To Seventy-Seven Nonprofit Arts Organizations
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events has announced seventy-seven Chicago Arts Recovery Program grantees, providing $10 million in project grant funding to aid local arts organizations that are still recovering from the pandemic. This new program, combined with DCASE’s annual CityArts Program, providing $6.5 million in general operating support, totals $16.5 million in direct support to Chicago arts nonprofits in 2023—the largest in DCASE’s history. “Nonprofit arts organizations are essential to the fabric of our city,” said Mayor Lightfoot.
The Chicago Arts Recovery Program supports marketing and audience development, facilities, technology, planning, and workforce development for nonprofit arts organizations. Supported by federal American Rescue Plan Act funding, this program provides arts organizations with resources to examine and address ongoing challenges brought on or made worse by the pandemic. The grants awarded range from $50,000–$235,000. The list of grantees is here.
NASCAR Lists Fourth of July Weekend City Shutdowns
NASCAR’s guide to street closures, city street shutdowns and parking restrictions is here. Among closures: Shedd Aquarium will not be open July 1-2. Restricted hours from the Adler and Field Museum are here.
Bally’s Intends To Offer Residents Stakes In Casino
“Bally’s plans to offer stakes in its planned Chicago casino to city residents. ‘The ownership interests would be offered to residents of the city of Chicago that satisfy the qualification requirements in the Host Community Agreement between Bally’s Chicago and the city of Chicago,'” reports Crain’s.
Who Will Vaccinate In The Next Pandemic?
“Communication around ‘travel bans’ and ‘lockdowns’ or the rollout of tests was all a mess, but getting those shots in people’s arms within a year of the outbreak…? That was a shining success,” reports the Bulletin Of Atomic Scientists. “But since then, the warning signs that the country is ill-prepared for the next big thing are piling up. Among those, one of the most worrisome (and overlooked) is the decay in the very same public health workforce that comprises many of the individuals who gave those shots.”
“60 Minutes” On The Children In Slaughterhouses
“The Labor Department found more than a hundred children were working in dangerous conditions, some reporting chemical burns,” reports CBS’ “60 Minutes.” “Eighty five years ago, the U.S. outlawed child abuse in sweatshop labor. So, it was a shock in 2022 to learn that an American company, owned by a Wall Street firm, sent children as young as thirteen to work in slaughterhouses.” The children’s “hard hats read ‘PSSI’ for Packers Sanitation Services Incorporated– the nation’s leading slaughterhouse cleaning service with 15,000 workers, in 432 plants, taking in more than a billion dollars a year. Not, it seemed, a likely abuser of children.”
“‘In some cases, they were thirteen-year-olds working and they were identified by PSSI as being in their thirties. It’s just not possible.’ … For all the years the investigation found child labor, PSSI has been owned by Wall Street’s Blackstone–the largest private equity firm in the world.” Blackstone says, “‘a claim of insufficient diligence or oversight is simply false,’ … and yet [at least] 102 children labored at thirteen slaughterhouses in eight states.” Report with transcript here.
Gacy Prosecutor Robert Egan Was Seventy-Four
“Robert Egan was a prosecutor in Cook County and in the Illinois attorney general’s office who worked on cases ranging from the grisly to the bizarre, among them the prosecution of serial killer John Wayne Gacy,” reports the Tribune. “Egan also oversaw the prosecution of a bus driver for [the Dave Matthews Band] who dumped about 800 pounds of sewage through a Chicago River bridge grate onto passengers aboard a tour boat below.”
Who Should Oversee Cannabis Sales In Illinois?
Legal oversight of cannabis startups is strained in Illinois, reports the Trib. “At issue is the desire for a single regulatory body to oversee the complex fledgling industry… At least seven agencies regulate various aspects, giving rise to sometimes contradictory guidelines. The state’s licensing system has come under heavy criticism and litigation for delays, inconsistent scoring of applications, and non-responsiveness to applicants with questions about the process.”
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]