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Detroit Institute Of Arts Chair To Depart After Twenty Years
“After a $158 [million] museum expansion, two successful operating millage campaigns and the spin-off of the Detroit Institute of Arts from the city of Detroit, Chairman Eugene Gargaro Jr. is ready for a break, ” reports Crain’s Detroit. “Gargaro, who’s chaired the DIA for the past twenty years, will step down once his successor is named. The museum’s governance and nominating committee, chaired by director Bonnie Larson, will lead the search for the next chair.”
Obama Foundation Gets $3 Million Grant
Bank of America has announced a $3 million grant to the Obama Foundation, reports CBS 2. It’s to “support diversity and representation in the construction of the Obama Presidential Library.”
Electric Buses Arrive On South Side
Some electric buses are coming to 63rd Street, reports the Tribune. “The route will be the second to get electric buses, which [run] on the busy 66 Chicago Avenue bus that runs through the West Side.”
DINING & DRINKING
Cocktail Savant Michael Rubel Was Fifty-Four
“Michael Rubel, a towering figure in Chicago’s bar industry who mentored local bartenders and helped redefine how the rest of the country sees the city’s cocktail scene, has died at fifty-four,” reports Eater Chicago. “Rubel played a significant role in launching groundbreaking Chicago bars including the Violet Hour, Billy Sunday, Big Star and Estereo,” the site writes in a lengthy summary of his career. “Equipped with an encyclopedic knowledge of spirits and a drive to share his expertise with colleagues and customers, Rubel uprooted his life in 2007 in New York City and moved to Chicago where influential cocktail lounge the Violet Hour would open. One Off Hospitality’s Wicker Park bar helped recast the neighborhood and altered how the country’s bartenders viewed Chicago’s drinking scene.”
Sideshow Gelato Flavors Opening
Lincoln Square’s Sideshow Gelato, “Chicago’s first gelato shop with artisan flavors, a performance stage and dime museum of oddities,” has set its opening: “Step right up! Step right up! Here behind the flap is the greatest gelato on Earth. Not one flavor. Not two flavors. But over ten amazing flavors under one tent! Don’t eat dairy? Don’t walk away yet! We have the best VEGAN gelato you have ever experienced… But cast your eyes on the main stage, folks, and see magicians, jugglers, contortionists, sword swallowers, human blockheads and strange people from around the globe!” The opening day poster is on Sideshow’s Instagram here. June 1, 4-9pm.
“Oscar Mayer’s famous Wienermobile was renamed to the Frankmobile as the company revamps the recipe for its hot dogs,” reports the Sun-Times.
FILM & TELEVISION
Actors Union Unanimously Authorizes Strike
Action to support workers in the film industry widens: “In anticipation of the union’s forthcoming TV-Theatrical Contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which begin June 7, the SAG-AFTRA National Board agreed unanimously to recommend that its members vote to authorize a strike,” the union posts. “An affirmative vote does not mean a strike would necessarily happen, but it would allow the National Board to call one if deemed necessary during the negotiations process. The action comes following a unanimous agreement by the TV-Theatrical negotiating committee that the strike authorization would give the union maximum bargaining leverage as it enters this round of negotiations with the AMPTP. SAG-AFTRA represents more than 160,000 entertainment and media professionals.”
The head of the Hollywood Teamsters local is in, too, reports Vanity Fair: “Lindsay Dougherty is a Teamster boss who heads up Los Angeles’s Local 399 and is director of the Teamsters Motion Picture Division… She got screenwriters’ attention when she appeared, along with other entertainment industry union heads, at the first big WGA members’ meeting after the strike was called against the AMPTP… Standing on the stage of the Shrine Auditorium, she told the crowd that the Teamster trucks that are so crucial to production would not cross picket lines… Sitting in her North Hollywood office under a photo of the late Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa, Dougherty smiles when I ask her about that speech. ‘Fuck around and find out,’ she repeats quietly. ‘I’m angry, you know? Building this bond with the writers over the last six months has been great, realizing that writers fight every day for their livelihood, that we collectively have these issues.'”
Hundreds Picket In Front Of NBC Tower
“Electricians and laborers joined actors supporting local members of the Writers Guild of America as they picketed outside NBC Tower in downtown Chicago on Wednesday in support of a strike,” reports WBEZ. “Chanting ‘Get up, get down, Chicago is a union town,’ hundreds of workers showed support for WGA TV and film writers in their third week of strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The dispute is primarily over better pay and royalties from streaming media and job protections against artificial intelligence.” Strike captain Brett Neveu posts, with video: “Today’s WGA Chicago Strike Event WAS 800+ PEOPLE STRONG!!!! Big THANKS to ALL the Chicago Unions to came & supported & marched & spoke & DID IT UP!!! Chicago is a UNION town!” Posts Lilly Wachowski: “Pounding more pavement for my union brothers, sisters and siblings!”
Mayor Johnson’s Message To Writers Guild Strikers
Mayor Johnson tweeted a message to strikers on the picket line: “Chicago is a proud union town. I stand in solidarity with WGAWest & WGAEast for their demands for fair pay & proper working conditions. We must stand behind our creatives who continue to enrich our lives through their art & support each other in times of need.”
Chicago Film Society’s Celluloid Now 2023 Set For September
The Chicago Film Society has announced September 21-24 for the second edition of Celluloid Now. Screenings, workshops and other events will showcase working analog filmmakers and artists alongside archival rediscoveries and restorations, CFS relays. Submissions are open. “There is no fee to submit to Celluloid Now and all work that meets the criteria outlined in our submission rules will be considered. Celluloid Now accepts every kind of film: narrative, documentary, experimental, home movies, commercials, music videos, multi-projector films, kinescopes, class projects, anything! It just has to be on film. Celluloid Now will pay inbound and outbound shipping for every film in our program. All participating Celluloid Now filmmakers will receive a screening fee based on the length of their work.” Submission form and more details here.
Under The Terrible Burden Of Destiny: Sandburg “City Of The Big Shoulders” House Going For $2.35 Million
“The Ravenswood house where poet Carl Sandburg lived when he wrote that Chicago is ‘Hog Butcher for the World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat’ and ‘City of the Big Shoulders’ is for sale,” reports Crain’s. “Susan Sattell and Chip Hunter, who carefully restored the Hermitage Avenue house’s exterior to its historical look after buying it in 2013, are asking $2.35 million.” The “six-bedroom, 5,500-square-foot house [is] on an 8,250-square foot lot, roughly 2.6 times the size of a standard 25-by-125 feet lot.”
PEN America, Penguin Random House Sue Florida School District Over Banning Books
“Writers’ group PEN America and publisher Penguin Random House sued a Florida school district Wednesday over its removal of books about race and LGBTQ+ identities, the latest opposition to a policy central to Governor Ron DeSantis’ agenda as he prepares to run for president,” reports AP. “The federal lawsuit alleges the Escambia County School District and its School Board are violating the First Amendment through the removal of ten books from library shelves.”
“The Freedom Center Will Be Demolished”
After Bally’s Chicago casino finalized occupation of the property where the Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and other newspapers are printed, “Tribune Publishing has agreed to buy the Daily Herald printing plant in Schaumburg for an undisclosed price, keeping the presses rolling,” reports the Tribune. “Paddock Publications opened the $50 million printing plant on twenty-one acres by the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway in 2003 to churn out its flagship Daily Herald newspaper.” The deal “is expected to close within days, with printing operations and production employees moving to the new facility in the northwest suburbs over the coming months.” Reports the Sun-Times: “The casino is expected to break ground next year and open in 2026… The Freedom Center will be demolished.”
Sun-Times Union Signs Three-Year Agreement
“Unionized news staffers at the Chicago Sun-Times have approved a three-year labor agreement that provides annual raises and improves some company benefits,” reports the Sun-Times.
Midnight Special Celebrates Seventy
Chicago’s longest-running radio program, “Midnight Special,” is celebrating seventy years on the air. “Host Marilyn Rea Beyer shares vintage audio of past hosts Norm Pellegrini and Ray Nordstrand, plus reminiscences from longtime host Rich Warren, singer-songwriters Bonnie Koloc, Susan Werner and others. Also hear ‘In Old Chicago,’ a compendium of songs, stories, and poetry created by Jamie O’Reilly.” Saturday, May 20, 9pm.
Collaboraction Tunes In Radio
Collaboraction will launch Collaboraction Radio in June, “to gather Chicagoans—and people around the world—around the company’s digital campfire to inspire new ideas, empathy, dialogue and action around today’s most critical social issues.” Anthony Moseley, Collaboraction artistic director, and Carla Stillwell, Collaboraction managing director, will co-host a program at ” the intersection of arts, activism and social change.” Collaboraction Radio will air live, weekly, every Saturday, 4pm-5pm, on WCPT 820 AM, starting June 10.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Real Estate Billionaire Sam Zell Was Eighty-One
“Chicago billionaire Sam Zell, an inveterate dealmaker in real estate and business, died today at the age of eighty-one,” reports Crain’s. The press release from Zell’s Equity Group Investments calls him “‘a self-made, visionary entrepreneur.” The Sun-Times quotes Zell: “I’m a professional opportunist. I’m pretty sure that no matter what topic you pick, we’re involved in some way or another.”
The New York Times headline: “Tycoon Whose Big Newspaper Venture Went Bust, Dies; With a fortune made in real estate, he went into the media business in a landmark leveraged buyout of the Tribune Company in 2007. Bankruptcy ensued.” Continues the Times, “Mr. Zell, who had homes in Chicago, Sun Valley, Idaho and Malibu, Calif., was an active philanthropist, giving millions to the University of Michigan, Northwestern University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.”
Chicago Remains Third-Largest City
“Chicago’s population as of July 1, 2022, was estimated at 2,665,039,” reports the Tribune. “Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show that Chicago lost about 81,000 people, or just under three-percent of its population, from 2020 to 2022. Despite the decline, the city retained its position as the nation’s third most populous city, after New York City and Los Angeles, in 2022. Houston was ranked fourth.”
Brookfield Black Rhino Euthanized
“Nakili, an eastern black rhinoceros who for decades lived at Brookfield Zoo, was humanely euthanized due to worsening degenerative kidney disease,” reports the Sun-Times.
Top Five U. S. CEOs Have $9 Billion Tax-Free Retirement Coming
“The top five executives at the U.S.’ largest companies have amassed close to $9 billion in tax-free retirement saving accounts while many of their employees have struggled to set aside any funds for retirement, according to a new report,” reports the Guardian in a series on economic inequity. The report from the Institute for Policy Studies and Jobs With Justice, titled “A Tale of Two Retirements,” “found the top five executives at S&P 500 firms held a combined $8.9 billion in special tax-deferred accounts at the end of 2021. Income taxes will be due on this compensation when they withdraw the funds, but in the meantime, they benefit from the tax-free compounding of investment returns. These so-called ‘top hat’ plans allow unlimited tax-deferred retirement while ordinary workers face strict limits on their 401(k) retirement plan contributions.”
Florida Governor Signs Suite Of Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation In Campaign-Like Ceremony
Florida governor and imminent presidential aspirant Ron DeSantis has signed bills “that ban gender-affirming care for minors, target drag shows, restrict discussion of ‘preferred pronouns’ in schools and force people to use certain bathrooms,” reports TIME. “The ceremony had a campaign-like feel, with DeSantis tossing Sharpies to a crowd, as opposed to when he privately signed measures on abortion and gun rights.”
AirBnB Investigation In Canada
What’s north of the forty-ninth parallel may be duplicated in the states: “Airbnb, and other short term rental sites, have cannibalized the supply of rental apartments and contributed to increases in rents of between forty and fifty percent in cities like Vancouver and Toronto over the last two years,” writes Ricochet. “But even as governments have taken action to address speculation, with measures like a ban on foreign buyers and a tax on vacant homes, the role of short term rentals in our housing crisis has largely escaped legislative scrutiny.” The investigation, partially prompted by a fire that killed seven at an illegal AirBnB conversion in Quebec and legislation in that province, has just begun. Who will write that story in the U. S.?
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