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Smart Museum Acquires “Ever Blossoming Life—Gold”
The Smart Museum of Art has announced the acquisition from interdisciplinary collective teamLab. The endless run-time digital artwork, “Ever Blossoming Life–Gold” (2014), is a blend of past and future, art and technology. The first work by teamLab in a Midwest museum collection, it’s on permanent public display in the University of Chicago’s Eckhardt Research Center, home to partners in the acquisition, the Physical Sciences Division and Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. More here.
Ruth Arts’ Artist-Led Grant Program Awards $1.25 Million To Arts Organizations
The Ruth Foundation for the Arts has announced its second annual Artist Choice grants, $1.25 million in unrestricted grants to fifty-five arts and cultural organizations across the nation, chosen through a unique process driven by artists’ nominations. Among the recipients are the Chicago Artists Coalition, Floating Museum, Roots & Culture Contemporary Art Center and South Side Community Art Center. More here.
Paris+ By Art Basel Exhibitors To Include Document
Paris+ par Art Basel has revealed the line-up of 154 galleries participating in its second edition, as well as first details of key presentations by returning and new exhibitors. Included: Document (Chicago, Lisbon), presenting a multimedia installation by Indonesian collective Tromarama. Full roster here.
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis Appoints Chief Curator
Starting June 19, Dean Daderko is the new chief curator at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Daderko “served as curator at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston from 2010 to 2020. Their most recent project, ‘Ecstatic Land,’ was co-curated with Daisy Nam for Ballroom Marfa and focused on ‘intersecting vitalities of land and self.'”
National Trust’s List Of America’s Eleven Most Endangered Places Include Century, Consumers Buildings
Posts the National Trust Of Endangered Historic Places: “The GSA has formally begun federally mandated reviews to weigh options for the Century and Consumers Buildings, with several organizations—including the National Trust, Landmarks Illinois, and other concerned parties—participating in the process. Supporters of saving the buildings continue to advocate for preservation-based reuse that also meets security needs and avoids the wasteful demolition of these two significant early skyscrapers, especially in the city where the skyscraper was invented.” The National Trust has a form to petition the GSA here.
“The designation by the National Trust for Historic Preservation is more reason for the feds to reconsider their plan to wreck the historic Loop skyscrapers,” writes the Sun-Times editorial board (which includes architecture critic Lee Bey). “The buildings are on the chopping block because judges in the Dirksen Federal Building—plus the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and other agencies—believe the structures would be a security threat to the nearby courthouse if redeveloped and reoccupied.”
City Funding Possible For More LaSalle Street Residential Conversion
“Two more proposals to create affordable housing on LaSalle Street could get city funding,” reports Block Club. “Developers pitched ideas, and the city initially chose three in March—but two semi-finalists resubmitted their proposals and have been chosen to move forward and possibly get tax-increment finance funding. The final two picks are for 105 West Adams and 30 North LaSalle.”
Old Town’s Clark Netsch House Up For Landmark Status
“The Clark Netsch House in Old Town would become a Chicago landmark under a recommendation slated for final approval later this month, when aldermen will weigh whether to solidify the building’s status as a symbol of the North Side neighborhood’s architectural flair while paying tribute to one of the city’s most beloved power couples,” reports the Trib. “The contemporary-style building once occupied by the trailblazing politician Dawn Clark Netsch and her architect husband, Walter Netsch, would be protected from demolition and major alterations.”
Rebuilding The Neglected Buildings At Corner Of North And Damen
The mixed-use development at 1954-1956 West North at Damen and Milwaukee continues apace, relays YIMBY Chicago. “Dating back to around the 1870s, the two structures were built to serve the quickly growing neighborhood, though they looked much different. [The buildings] had decorative cornices, mansard roofs, and corner turret removed in the 1960s… Most recently they held Wicker Park Tavern and Cafe Absinthe but have sat vacant since 2017… The team at Ernst Development is working with local architecture firm Hirsch MPG on its design, which aims to bring back some of the building’s original details after buying it in 2021… Due to the recent cell towers on the roof the missing final floor with ornate dormers cannot be rebuilt.” (There’s an excellent historical photo of the buildings under original construction.)
DINING & DRINKING
Rose, Fallen: Boka Bounces Le Select Chef
“After a spate of bad reviews for Le Select, the stunningly designed French restaurant that debuted in January in River North, Boka Restaurant Group has parted ways with star chef Daniel Rose in an equally stunning move four months after opening,” reports Eater Chicago.
Robotically Different: Wendy’s, Google Collaborate On Drive-Through A.I.
Wendy’s “has customized a language model with terms like ‘JBC’ for junior bacon cheeseburger and ‘biggie bags’ for meal combos,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The fast-food chain’s chatbot will be officially rolled out in June at a company-owned restaurant in Columbus, Ohio… The goal is to streamline the ordering process and prevent long lines in the drive-through lanes from turning customers away, said Wendy’s chief executive Todd Penegor.” Penegor “is certain that no one will be able to tell their order is not being taken care of by a paid, human worker. ‘It will be very conversational,’ Mr. Penegor said, ‘You won’t know you’re talking to anybody but an employee.'”
FILM & TELEVISION
MTV News Killed
“Thirty-six years after MTV News was created to expand the stable of programming that defined the cable channel MTV, it is no more,” writes the Hollywood Reporter. “MTV News was shuttered this week as part of larger layoffs at parent company Paramount Global. What launched as a single show in 1987 (‘The Week in Rock,’ led by correspondent Kurt Loder) eventually became a bona fide news outlet for Gen X and older millennials who found that traditional TV programming on the broadcast networks and CNN wasn’t cutting it.” Variety reports that Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks president Chris McCarthy said that “senior leaders in coordination with HR have been working together over the past few months to determine the optimal organization for the current and future needs of our business.”
More Industry Strikes Loom; Did Marvel Already Usher In Algorithm-Written Screenplays?
The film workers unions unite: Directors Guild head Lesli Linka Glatter “comes out swinging ahead of negotiations,” posts Maureen Ryan. The DGA negotiations with the studios began on Wednesday. Writes Glatter at Variety: “This year’s negotiations are about more than reaching a fair agreement for the next three years—they’re about setting the course for the future of our industry… With our contract expiring on June 30, we have a legal and contractual obligation to begin bargaining. And equally important, we have a responsibility to our 19,000 members to negotiate the best deal we possibly can, and we take that commitment extremely seriously.” The union of actors, “SAG-AFTRA’s contract also expires June 30. They have announced they will sit down with the studios on June 7, which leaves us a small window to negotiate. We are going to take full advantage of that window to sit across from the AMPTP and fight for our members’ priorities.” Axios Chicago talks to Chicago-trained writers about the stakes of the strike.
“While writers strike for better working conditions, one thing the audience already understands is that a form of computerized ‘writing’ took hold in the digital and franchise era about two decades ago. It has already eroded the relationship writers used to have to their work,” writes ace critic A.S. Hamrah in Fast Company. “What Marvel and other studios are most concerned with is cheap effects done quickly by companies overseas… You can bet that studios are at work on ChatGPT screenplays. If they have success with one, they won’t look back.”
Fox-Fired Tucker Carlson Moves His Campaign To Elon Musk’s Twitter
Tucker Carlson is moving a cable-access version of his long-running Fox News show to Twitter, reports the New York Times. “His claim, made on Twitter, suggested that his negotiations to reach an amicable separation with the network had broken down… Carlson’s remarks, which consisted of a three-minute monologue delivered directly to the camera, could violate the terms of his contract with Fox, which prevent him from hosting a show on an alternate network… Fox could ultimately block any attempt by the host to return to a prominent role in conservative media.” Carlson started the monologue “with a critique of the news industry, which he said was incapable of telling the truth.” Carlson recorded the video from his studio in Maine. “‘See you soon,’ Mr. Carlson said. He also launched a website… promising subscribers ‘instant updates’ on where and when they could watch the former Fox News host.”
“Streaming’s Gotta Get Their Shit Together,” Says Snoop Dogg
At its 2023 Global Conference, the Milken Institute featured Snoop Dogg in conversation with Larry Jackson. Snoop had questions: “It’s exciting, but streaming’s got to get their shit together. [I don’t see how the] fuck you get paid off of that shit. Like, I mean, could somebody explain to me how you can get a billion streams and not get a million dollars?” The audience laughter was approving. “Like that shit don’t make sense to me! Like, I don’t know who the fuck running the streaming industry, if you’re in here or not, but maybe you need to give us some information on how the fuck to track this money down… When I first came out, my records would sell based off of physical – if you sold a million copies, [you get this] percentage. So if I sell how many streams how much money do I get? It’s not working for the artists right now, and I just want to speak to that… We need to find a way to figure that out the same way the writers are figuring out. The writers are striking because streaming… they can’t get paid. Because when it’s on the platform, it’s not like in the box office. The box office – if it does all these numbers, you may get it… here’s another check, but on streaming, you got 300,000 hours that somebody watched your movie – where’s the money? I know I’m going off of script right now, but fuck it. This is business!” Further laughter follows. Shorter video here.
“Late Nite Catechism” Turns Thirty; Has Grossed Over $100 Million Worldwide
“A Chicago original and international hit, ‘Late Nite Catechism’ turns thirty this month in the city where it started,” co-creator Vicki Quade relays. “For the entire month of May, a special discount will be offered. To commemorate the original $8 ticket price, four tickets per performance have been set aside at that original $8 price. (Code LNC30 gets the discount at the Greenhouse Theater website; all other tickets are $35.) “The role of Sister, the wisecracking, lovable character in ‘Late Nite Catechism,’ was created by Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan, both products of the Catholic school system. The first and only preview performance was on May 28, 1993, followed the next day, May 29, as the official opening, at Live Bait Theatre on Clark Street. Since opening in 1993, ‘Late Nite Catechism’ has seen three Popes, three Chicago cardinals, five U.S. presidents, four Chicago mayors, been performed in at least a dozen Chicago area theaters, hired twenty local actresses, and provided laughter to more than 3.5 million audience members in more than 410 cities, playing in six countries on four continents. Worldwide, the show has grossed more than $100 million.” More here. Tickets here.
Dance Divas Returns
Artists from the Chicago professional dance community join again for Dance Divas 2023. Showcasing members from the area’s preeminent concert dance companies, Dance Divas offers a night of music and dance at the Baton Show Lounge. All proceeds from the event benefit The Dancers’ Fund, which provides short-term financial assistance to Chicago dance industry professionals for preventative health care and critical medical needs. “The breadth of dance talent in Chicago is unmatched,” said Jeremy Plummer, artistic director and co-choreographer. This year’s theme is “A Night at the Movies,” featuring leading male professional dancers in full drag from more than forty Chicago-based dancers and twelve companies. Saturday, May 20 at 7pm and Sunday, May 21 at 4:30pm and 7pm. Details on the reception and tickets are here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Loyola Tuition Goes Over Fifty Grand
“The 2023 fall semester sees the biggest increase in Loyola’s tuition in recent years,” reports RogersEdge Reporter. “Undergraduate tuition, excluding room and board, rose by 4.5 percent to a total of $50,270 as compared to a previous $48,100.”
Grace Barry, Eighty-Two, Was Best Friend Of Maggie Daley
“As head of the Economic Club of Chicago, many world leaders and business luminaries accepted Grace Barry’s invitation to come to Chicago and speak before the group’s elite membership,” reports the Sun-Times. Her closest friends included Maggie Daley, the late wife of former Mayor Richard M. Daley.
FDA Advisers Consider First U.S. Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill
At a hearing earlier this week, the manufacturer of Opill, HRA Pharma, “and representatives of many medical organizations and reproductive health specialists said that data strongly supported approval. They said that Opill, approved as a prescription drug fifty years ago, was safe, effective and easy for women of all ages to use appropriately—and that over-the-counter availability was sorely needed to lower the country’s high rate of unintended pregnancies,” reports the New York Times. “The move to make a nonprescription pill available for all ages has garnered a groundswell of support from specialists in reproductive and adolescent health and groups like the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Family Physicians… More than three-quarters of women of reproductive age favored an over-the-counter pill.”
Springfield Police Chief Fires, Ejects Extremist Officer
“Hours after antifascists identified a Springfield, Illinois cop as a neo-Nazi, Chief Ken Scarlette took action: ‘Remove his badge. Remove his gun belt. Remove his vest. His shirt,'” reports The Washington Post. “He walked out of here in his pants and his undershirt.” “Scarlette’s no-nonsense response drew attention among analysts tracking the spread of far-right ideologies. Law enforcement leaders seldom act decisively when extremists are uncovered in their ranks, hate monitors say, with cases typically stagnating because of pushback from police unions, fear of expensive First Amendment challenges, or resistance to being seen as caving to anti-police activism.”
Sold-Out Peoria House Will Greet Florida Governor On Friday; Blackstone Co-Founder Passes, For Now, On Financing DeSantis’ Hopes
“Organizers of the downstate Lincoln Day Dinner say DeSantis will ‘speak on his successful Florida Blueprint,’ as Republicans ‘fight the radical progressive left’s Marxist agenda here in Illinois.’ But Governor J.B. Pritzker said, ‘DeSantis’ views are not what we call freedom in Illinois,'” reports Tina Sfondeles at the Sun-Times. Democrats denounce “the cruelty he peddles for political gain.” Meanwhile, Blackstone co-founder Steve Schwarzman, a key mega-financier of Republican candidates, met with DeSantis in Tallahassee and found him wanting, demurring on passing millions just yet to the hard-charging presidential aspirant, reports Bloomberg. “Major donors increasingly worry about DeSantis’ prospects.”
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