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Jason Pickleman’s “Making Time For Joy” In Milwaukee
Jason Pickleman’s latest body of work, “Making Time for Joy,” is a suite of paintings derived from manipulations of logos advertising the once-common dishwashing detergent brand Joy. “These works, which are at once stark and measured, playful and (as advertised) joyful, are Pickleman at his best. With an authoritative eye, he excavates the intersection of art and graphic design, and in doing so uncovers questions of purpose, domesticity and the most interior aspects of personhood,” says The Suburban. “These paintings ask their viewers to take stock. Encourage them to start again. Impel them to make time for joy. Pickleman’s command of the source material comes as no surprise. His beginnings were as a part of the Post-Conceptualist movement in Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s. Pickleman’s paintings are always subtly wry, slightly sexy and quietly human.”
Pickleman says, “I’d like to think there’s not a lot of difference between what I do at my desk at 9am and what I do in my studio at 9pm. It’s not like one thing switches off and another switches on. In my mind, it’s the same process.” May 19-August 31 with an opening reception June 17; open Saturdays 1pm-3pm and by appointment at The Suburban in Milwaukee. More here.
Marwen Draws Thirty-Six Years At Paintbrush Ball
Marwen announces its largest fundraising event, Paintbrush Ball, on its birthday, celebrating thirty-six years of free creative youth development programs in Chicago. “The event welcomes more than 400 philanthropists, cultural tastemakers and civic leaders and raises funds to keep all Marwen programs at no cost to families,” the group advises. “This year’s event celebrates Art@Work, a summer internship program and cornerstone of their Pathways programs. Art@Work provides young people with immersive and paid professional development experiences in creative career fields. The event’s theme is inspired by these internships, with designs conceived by co-chair Britt Nolan’s creative team at Leo Burnett that elevate everyday office supplies into works of art.” May 20, 6pm-11 pm at Morgan MFG. Individual tickets are on a sliding scale from $200-$500. Sponsorship opportunities are available and range from $2,500-$25,000. More here.
E(art)H Chicago Lands In June
“After eighteen months of planning and raising $700,000 in funding, twelve art exhibitions highlighting climate change and environmental justice will be featured June 3-17 in neighborhoods across the city,” alerts E(art)H Chicago. “The initiative features the work of artists with a mission to create, in neighborhoods across the city, public art projects that will raise awareness, nurture urgency and hope, and inspire action on climate change and environmental justice.” The artworks in neighborhoods across the city include sculptures, murals, live performance and film screenings. All events are free. The listing is here.
Adds the Tribune, “The Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation gave out $679,500 in grants to artists and community organizations to produce projects that stimulate community engagement on environmental justice from the Southeast Side industrial corridor to the North Branch of the Chicago River. The work ranges from theater for toddlers inspired by the ecology of Chicago’s Southeast Side wetlands and pollinator columns in the Back of the Yards that function as a habitat for insects and animals, to a dance ritual in Grant Park that pays homage to the cultural traditions of the urban farm.”
Life Under Mobile Home King Sam Zell
“Billionaire Sam Zell is the largest mobile home landlord in the US, but his tenants say they reckon with disrepair, neglect, flooding and rising rents,” writes the Guardian. “He styles himself as a ‘grave dancer’ for his business habit of buying up distressed assets, and serves as chairman of the board of Equity Lifestyle Properties, which owns [more than 400] mobile home parks across the United States.” Zell, with an estimated net worth of about $6 billion, “is one of the largest landlords of U.S. rental properties full stop, with a huge real estate portfolio.” The eighty-one-year-old Chicago native “began managing rental properties while in college at the University of Michigan, and started his real estate investment firm shortly after graduating. In a 2012 conference call, Zell said he liked ‘the oligopoly nature of our business,’ in reference to limited competition in the mobile home industry. Zell self-coined the term ‘grave dancer’; … tenants and tenant advocates have labeled him a ‘grandma gouger‘ over rent increases on the tenants, often older, at his parks.”
DINING & DRINKING
Trailering “The Bear” Season Two
Bon appétit here.
Erick Williams Details Virtue
“When I’m cutting in the kitchen, I have a practice where I eat the bad cuts. It’s usually with vegetables. And I don’t want to eat a ton of raw vegetables, so it subconsciously makes me focus a lot more. Call it a way of punishing myself. The goal is to have less and less scrap,” says Erick Williams in a Chicago magazine Q&A. “Until I exit, there isn’t gonna be a day when I can’t find an opportunity to be involved in whatever community I’m a part of. You put me in a hole, man, I’m gonna figure out how to work with the worms.”
Hen Spin: Egg Prices In Free Fall
“Though the industry braced for more cases of bird flu this year, the deadly virus seems to be under control,” reports CNN. “Midwest large eggs—the benchmark for eggs sold in their shells—cost just ninety-four cents per dozen in the wholesale market… That’s a sharp fall from $5.46 per carton just six months ago. (In retail, prices are well above $1 per carton, though they too have been declining.)”
This Grill Is Not A Home: Crab Fisheries At Risk Of Collapse
“Climate change is making crabs lose their sense of smell—and seafood may never be the same,” reports Salon. “As the ocean becomes more acidic due to climate change, crabs lose part of their sense of smell because the neurons responsible for sensing odors shrink and they have fewer receptors in their version of a nose (an organ called their antennules). Perhaps because their smelling organs are weaker, they do not flick them as often and their neurons are not as responsive to food.”
At Naperville Sweetgreen, Robots Toss Your Salad
“Sweetgreen opened its new downtown Naperville location with something no other restaurant in the healthy fast-food chain offers: robot salad making,” reports the Naperville Sun. With the “Infinite Kitchen,” orders are placed at unmanned computer kiosks “and are filled as customers watch the massive machine do the work.”
Stricter Rules For Milwaukee Food Trucks?
“City leaders have proposed legislation around food trucks that would regulate where, when and how they can operate in certain areas of the city in an attempt to cut back on all-out bans while reining in bad actors,” reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
FILM & TELEVISION
WGA Picket Line In Chicago
“Chicago has more than a hundred Writers Guild of America members whose professional lives now are on hold,” reports the Sun-Times. Members of WGA plan to picket outside NBC Tower downtown today.
Museum Of Broadcast Communications Vacates River North
“Museum officials aren’t saying yet where the museum, which is home to the nation’s only Radio Hall of Fame, is headed,” reports the Tribune. “Concluding its run in a location where it always found itself on shaky financial footing, the Museum of Broadcast Communications earlier this month moved out of its home in a four-story River North building after a commercial development firm exercised its right to buy the remainder of the structure.”
Poetry Foundation Announces Spring Grants Of $1.6 Million
The Poetry Foundation has announced the fifty-five nonprofit organizations that received over $1,600,000 in funding in their spring 2023 grant cycle. Selected from 194 grant applications, “the slate of grantee-partners is committed to increasing access to poetry and supporting poets through providing publications, educational activities, festivals, writing workshops and residencies.” Local grantees include Burst Into Books, $25,000; ConTextos, $40,000; Kuumba Lynx, $40,000; Young Chicago Authors, $45,000; Floating Museum, $40,000; and The Poetry Forum, Inc. (RHINO Poetry), $10,000. More here.
H.H. Holmes’ Englewood “Murder Castle” Cast In Doubt
“The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 is perhaps one of its grandest moments—Chicago’s emergence on the world stage as a new metropolis rising from the ashes of a Great Fire just twenty-two years prior,” writes William Lee at the Tribune. “But in recent years, the city’s finest hour has been inextricably intertwined with its first serial killer, the dapper and duplicitous H.H. Holmes, thanks largely to Erik Larson’s wildly popular 2003 novel ‘The Devil in the White City.”” Lee reviews the evidence, and also the lack of evidence.
WFMT Tunes In Head Of Programming And Operations
“WFMT is committed to broadening the appeal of classical music and taking listeners on a journey of discovery, to inspire people of all ages to explore different kinds of music,” the station says in a job listing for the “Head of Programming and Operations,” who “reports to the President and CEO of WTTW and will work cross-functionally to manage operations and produce and present relevant, best-in-class classical music content that drives audience growth; map station activities to strategic plan initiatives and goals; and align with the organization’s mission, vision, values and purpose… with an annual operating budget of approximately nine million dollars, WFMT is recognized for trusted hosted and produced programming, immersive live performances and concerts, strong partnerships with community organizations, and championing young, local musicians and access to the arts.” More here.
Portable Gray Issue Ten In The “Family”
The Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago has released the tenth issue of Portable Gray, a publication that draws on the work of the Gray Center, a research center for experimental collaborations between artists and scholars. Published twice annually by the University of Chicago Press, Portable Gray is a forum for experimenting with two genres of publication: the scholarly journal and the art magazine. Each issue is shaped by a theme, which is expressed in multiple forms, including artworks, essays, interviews, musical scores, photography and poetry. The tenth edition is dedicated to family.
“Comfort or cage, for centuries family has served as an ever-reliable inspiration and source material for the arts and literature. It is also a flashpoint for some of the most fierce and poignant political debates of our times, touching on topics ranging from public health and reproductive justice; representation and citizenship; cultural infrastructure and ethical business practices; to re-matriation and the stewardship of the environment.” This issue’s contributors include archivists, artists, curators, dramaturgs, gallerists, literary scholars, musicians, novelists, skateboarders, theater directors and the Chicago Abortion Fund. Zachary Cahill’s editor’s letter is here.
Sulzberger Describes “Objectivity”
At the Columbia Journalism Review, publisher A. G. Sulzberger, New York Times publisher and chairman of the New York Times Company (with its $6 billion market cap), contributes a “tl;dr” stemwinder of 12,572 words on his vision of journalistic “objectivity.” His opening gambit? “As long as independent journalism has existed, it has angered people who want stories told their way or not at all.”
Shell Of Forbes Bought By Twenty-Eight-Year-Old
Forbes “quietly confirmed that Austin Russell, the twenty-eight-year-old American CEO of electric vehicle tech company Luminar Technologies, will acquire an eighty-two percent stake in the iconic media brand at an $800 million valuation,” reports Axios. In the complicated deal, described in the piece, “Forbes and Russell didn’t disclose how he would finance the roughly $656 million needed to foot his stake.”
Riot Fest: The Cure, Death Cab, Postal Service, Foo Fighters, Queens Of The Stone Age
Riot Fest announces its 2023 line-up, featuring headliners Foo Fighters, The Cure, The Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie and Queens of the Stone Age. Also included: Turnstile, The Mars Volta, Mr. Bungle, Tegan and Sara, 100 Gecs, The Gaslight Anthem, Death Grips and AFI. Founded in 2005, Riot Fest has presented nearly twenty years of musical performances, exclusive reunions, freak shows, Lucha Libre, panel discussions and late night shows. For 2023, along with the return of carnival rides and last year’s hugely popular wedding chapel, Logan Arcade will be on hand with free vintage arcade games. Tickets are on sale here.
Buddy Guy Takes Two Blues Music Awards
Buddy Guy won two awards at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, reports the Sun-Times. “Guy, a guitarist and singer, won in the album of the year and contemporary blues album categories for ‘The Blues Don’t Lie.'”
Lineup Fills Space
Evanston music venue Space announced the lineup for their annual summer performance series, Out of Space, and unveiled a new partnership with Valslist Music and their Winnetka Music Festival, programmed with the talent-buying team behind Out of Space, Space, Thalia Hall and Salt Shed. “The association celebrates two closely connected Chicago suburbs and their tastemaker brands, embracing an affinity between performing artists and their supportive communities,” the group relays. “This year’s four-day lineup features prominent indie acts and emerging talents: Dawes and Lucius (July 27), Lord Huron (July 28, sold out), Regina Spektor (July 29) and Andrew Bird (July 30), with opening sets by Allie Crow Buckley, Allison Russell and Uwade.” Tickets here. Winnetka lineup and more here.
Classical Music Still Brandished Against The Unhoused
“Classical music is being used to disperse unhoused people. There are some deeply flawed assumptions at play here,” writes Jeremy Eichler at the Boston Globe. “Some were shocked when the LA Metro police piloted a program of broadcasting loud classical music to disperse unhoused people. But it’s only the latest attempt in a sad, Kafkaesque history of weaponizing the art form.” (Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega was driven out of his Vatican embassy refuge at Christmas 1989 by a playlist of U2, Guns N’ Roses, Jethro Tull, Van Halen, Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run”—”A fleet of Humvees mounted with loudspeakers rolled in, and rock music rolled out.”)
“The Tony Awards, a key marketing opportunity for Broadway, can go ahead in an altered form after the striking screenwriters’ union said it would not picket this year’s broadcast,” reports the New York Times. “Several nominated shows have been operating at a loss, holding on in the hopes that a Tony win—or even exposure on the broadcast—could boost sales… The revised broadcast would include the presentation of key awards and live performances of songs from Broadway shows, but…would not feature any scripted material by screenwriters in its opening number or comedic patter. The Tony Awards agreed that they would not use any part of a draft script that had been written before the screenwriters’ strike began.”
The program, broken into several programs on several networks and Paramount Global platforms, will be live on June 11. Posts film historian Mark Harris, “This is true grace by the WGA. It will only strengthen the solidarity of the Guild—East and West—and the solidarity of its allies with a wholly just strike. Gratitude to those who made the case for this unique exception, publicly and privately.” (The full WGA statement is here.)
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
What Chicago Mogul Barre Seid’s $1.6 Billion “Dark Money” Will Do
“America needs to know who Barre Seid is, what kind of country he wants, and just how massive an impact his $1.6 billion gift can have on our political discourse,” reports the New Republic. “Chicago billionaire Seid gifted anti-abortion Supreme Court fixer Leonard Leo the largest known tranche of dark money in U.S. history: $1.6 billion. The sum is staggering; it will finance at least a generation of extreme right-wing political proselytizing. And almost no one—except for the conservative cabal that bagged the whale—had heard of him.”
“The gift from nonagenarian electronics magnate Barre Seid (pronounced Barry Side) is effective altruism in reverse: a fire hose of cash aimed at destroying American liberal culture through lawsuits and support for politicians challenging gay rights, unions, environmental protection, voting rights, and public education. For a sense of how enormous that is, consider [that the] Heritage Foundation and its affiliates spent about $86 million in 2021. Heritage is a huge, and hugely influential, conservative think tank. Leo could create two Heritage Foundations and one more sizable organization on the side… without having to dip into the principal at all.”
Northwestern African American Studies Department Changing Name To Black Studies
“The African American Studies department will officially change its name to the Black Studies department in the next few months,” reports the Daily Northwestern. “The department’s new title aims to better reflect ‘the breadth of its scholarship and teaching,’ according to the formal name change proposal.”
Times Profiles Mayor Johnson
At the New York Times, Julie Bosman and Mitch Smith profile the Chicagoan of this week with a pre-inauguration exchange with the Mayor: “Johnson inherits a proud city that has not fully emerged from its pandemic funk. Chicago’s downtown is emptier, its public schools have fewer students and crime rates remain far higher than before the pandemic… Downtown still lacks its prepandemic swagger…Public safety remains a huge concern… Chicago has struggled to house an influx of migrants.”
Wells Fargo To Pay Another Huge Settlement: $1 Billion
While expanding in Chicago—the fifth Chicago location for the nation’s fourth-largest bank has been announced for Lincoln Park—Wells Fargo continues to address issues, reports the New York Times, with a billion dollars to be paid out in a settlement. “A group of shareholders had claimed that the bank misled investors about its progress in cleaning up after a sham accounts scandal a decade ago.”
Former UChicago Chancellor Buys Lincoln Park Home For $3.3 Million
“Former University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer and his wife, U. of C. classics professor Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer,” reports the Trib, have bought “a five-bedroom, 4,716-square-foot contemporary-style house in Lincoln Park” for $3.3 million. Zimmer “was the university’s president from 2006 until 2021 and served as chancellor from 2021 until 2022,” when he retired.
A Hundred Cannabis Workers No Longer On The Wall
“Teamsters say more than a hundred workers at five Illinois cannabis stores owned by PharmaCann have approved a deal that will give them twenty-percent raises over three years,” reports Crain’s.
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