Get daily culture news sent to your inbox every weekday morning. Subscribe to Newcity Today here.
Hotel Chicago And Portion Of Marina City Up For Sale
Near the Chicago River and “newly listed for sale this week are the 354-room Hotel Chicago at 333 North Dearborn and the retail and parking portions of the historic Marina City towers next door,” reports Crain’s.
Target Reacts To Confrontations Over Pride-Themed Merchandise
Reuters: “Target Corp is offering more than 2,000 products, including clothing, books, music and home furnishings as part of its Pride Collection… Target has been celebrating Pride Month for more than a decade. But this year’s collection has led to an increase in confrontations between customers and employees. The only ones now being removed are the LGBTQ brand Abprallen, which has come under scrutiny for its association with British designer Eric Carnell. Carnell has faced social media backlash for designing merchandise with images of pentagrams [and] horned skulls.” Posting videos of in-store intimidation work for the reactionary set: “In some cases, people have confronted workers in stores, knocked down Pride merchandise displays and put threatening posts on social media with video from inside stores,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Target will continue to sell Pride-related items in stores, but will remove some items that have been at the center of the most confrontational behavior.”
Phoenix Gets Uber Waymo Robotaxis
Coming to a city near you? Unmanned Uber cars, reports Axios. Waymo and Uber said “that their partnership will begin ‘with a set number’ of robotaxis later this year in a 180-square-mile area. ‘Fully autonomous driving is quickly becoming part of everyday life, and we’re excited to bring Waymo’s incredible technology to the Uber platform,’ Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.” Uber has long claimed that “self-driving cars are essential to its future.”
DINING & DRINKING
Boul Mich Gets The Evie
The Evie opens in a few weeks, taking over the 7,000-square-foot Bandera space with a restaurant concept from veterans including partner George Archos (Wildberry Cafe, Verano Holdings), partner and chef Nick Nitti (Forno Rosso, Lucia Rose, Cucina 3 Italian) and executive chef Phil Rubino (Spiaggia, L2O, Cicchetti), with a lunch and dinner menu focused on prime steaks, sushi and classic American dishes plus a bar scene including classic cocktails and wine. (The Evie is named after Archos’ daughter and mother.) “As the owner of the Wildberry Café at the Prudential building on Millennium Park and at Water Tower, Archos knows the potential of downtown Chicago dining and aims for The Evie to fill the niche of locally owned, independent restaurants to this area of the city.” More here.
QR Code Menus Take “Joy” Away From Dining?
“The motivation for the about-face is simple, restaurateurs said: Diners just hate QR-code menus,” reports the New York Times. “Some servers said QR menus take the joy out of the job. ‘There’s something a little bit dehumanizing about it,’ said Alec Moran, a server at a high-end Italian restaurant in Chicago… Customers, he said, tend to stare at their phones and ‘pay less regard to you as the human in front of them.’ Mr. Moran said he can no longer rely on visual cues from diners. Guests used to put their menus down when they were ready to order. Now, their phones are still up on the table, still out.” The head of a company that “designs, prints and manufactures menus… said that when her clients switched back to paper menus, ‘the check, per person, went up,'” and “it’s very hard to order a $70 steak off a QR code—or a $200 bottle of wine. It just doesn’t feel right.”
Chef José Andrés Launches Research Institute
“Chef and founder of World Central Kitchen José Andrés is teaming up with George Washington University to launch a new research institute focused on the intersection of food production and climate change,” reports Axios. “The world we live in today is confronted by a wide range of complex crises, and the global food system sits at the heart of each of them,” Andrés says. “These challenges, from hunger and poverty to climate change, are immense in scale and require a response to match them.”
Lizzo Loves Dimo’s
After Lizzo’s stand at the United Center, the musician wanted late-night food, then produced a one-minute weekend TikTok post, reports Eater Chicago. The vegan “Lizzo says she was reluctant to post a review, but then is seemingly stunned by how beautiful Dimo’s pizzas looked: ‘And the mac and cheese reveal: And guess what? Is vegan, bitch!'” She ordered a vegan Mac ‘n’ cheese and Buffalo seitan chicken pizza. The pizzeria’s owners “didn’t know Lizzo (or her reps) had ordered pizza from them until they saw the post.” The video, labeled LizzoBeEating, is here. (In another video, Lizzo addressed Nebraska legislation which restricts abortion.)
Oak Park Illinois’ First “Green Dining Hub”?
“Local restaurants across the Greater West Side–city and near west suburbs–have risen to the voluntary challenge of becoming Illinois’ first ‘green dining hub.’ The program is supposed to roll out in earnest this summer, but so far, twelve restaurants… have committed to altering operations to become part of an environmentally sustainable restaurant ecosystem,” reports Wednesday Journal. “One of those restaurants, the Daly Bagel, signed on to the initiative last October after hearing about it at a meeting of Takeout 25, an Oak Park-based non-profit that supports local restaurants and food establishments.”
Starbucks’ Latest Front Against Unionization
Starbucks is giving raises, but only to workers who haven’t unionized. “That’s likely illegal, but the NLRB has yet to stop it,” reports Steven Greenhouse at the American Prospect. “Among Starbucks’s anti-union tactics, there is one that stands out above all the others at slowing and chilling the unionization campaign: awarding raises and benefits to its non-union baristas, but not to the baristas at its 300 unionized stores. A lawyer for the Starbucks workers union told me that the number of workers’ unionization ‘petitions fell off a cliff’ after the company announced what the union’s attorneys call Starbucks’ ‘carrot-and-stick approach’: giving carrots to non-union workers to encourage them to oppose unionization, while giving the stick to baristas who have unionized.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Full Spectrum Features Casting Trans Extras
Full Spectrum Features is casting transmasculine extras who are eighteen and older for the production, “Desire Lines” by trans filmmaker Jules Rosskam. “Desire Lines” is “a hybrid documentary-narrative about an Iranian-American trans man who time-travels through LGBT archives to unravel his sexual desires.” “Desire Lines” is “simulating fantasy scenes in bathhouses set in the 1970s, eighties, today and in a speculative future. These fantasies include transmasculine people that represent the diversity of our community and embody a wide range of body types and experience.” Also: “Medical Transition Not Required; Nudity Not Required; Acting Experience Not Required.” For details, email here.
Centuries & Sleuths Could Be Yours
“After more than thirty years of reading books, loving books, selling books, and hosting authors and readers at his pleasant Forest Park bookstore named Centuries & Sleuths, Augie Aleksy is preparing to call it quits,” writes Rick Kogan at the Tribune. “It’s time… I want this store to go to someone who understands the importance of traditions and loves books and writers.” Kogan: “I know nothing about real estate, even less about running a business. But I do know Augie and Tracy and I know a good bookstore when I see one and hope this one can survive in capable hands.”
Newberry Announces $25,000 Chicago Book Award
The Newberry Library has announced its second annual $25,000 Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award, an award that celebrates works about Chicago and its history, given to author Toya Wolfe for her debut novel, “Last Summer on State Street.” Wolfe officially receives the award on July 15. More here.
Amanda Gorman Inaugural Poem Yanked From Florida Library After Single Complaint; It’s Become A Pattern
From small acorns, etc.: “We are living through sheer insanity where the complaint of a single, white parent upends the rights of thousands of others to read freely,” posts Northwestern prof Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor of the withdrawal of Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem from a Florida school. Posts Gorman, “These are the pages of my inaugural poem that an objecting parent cited as ‘not educational and have indirectly hate messages.’ And now because of that one complaint, my poem is now banned for elementary school students at a school in Miami-Dade County.” Gorman’s full statement is here: “Together, this is a hill we won’t just climb, but a hill we will conquer.” The complaint, which cites the poem’s author as “Oprah Winfrey,” is here.
“An analysis of book challenges from across the nation shows the majority were filed by just eleven people,” reports the Washington Post. “A small number of people were responsible for most of the book challenges… Individuals who filed ten or more complaints were responsible for two-thirds of all challenges. In some cases, these serial filers relied on a network of volunteers gathered together under the aegis of conservative parents’ groups such as Moms for Liberty… Books about LGBTQ people are fast becoming the main target of a historic wave of school book challenges—and a large percentage of the complaints come from a minuscule number of hyperactive adults.”
Montana Specifically Bans Drag While Reading Books Aloud In Libraries
“Montana has become the first state to specifically ban people dressed in drag from reading books to children at public schools and libraries,” reports Associated Press. “The law took effect immediately after Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the bill on Monday… Bills in Florida and Tennessee also appear to try to ban drag reading events, but both require the performances to be sexual in nature, which could be up for interpretation… Montana’s law is unique because—while it defines such an event as one hosted by a drag king or drag queen who reads children’s books to minor children—it does not require a sexual element to be banned.”
Streetsblog’s John Greenfield Returns
Posts Streetsblog Chicago: “After being seriously injured on his bicycle in southern Illinois on April 21, Streetsblog Chicago editor John Greenfield is in the process of recovering and is returning to running Streetsblog Chicago on a low-key basis this week.” Writes Greenfield: “I still have some symptoms from the crash to recover from, but I am very happy to be alive.”
Times Union Gets 12.5 Percent Raise After Two-Year Campaign
“The New York Times and the Times Guild have agreed on a contract, after more than two years of heated negotiations,” posts Times media reporter Katie Robertson. “Immediate raise of up to 12.5 percent (covering 2021-23), with raises of 3.25 percent in 2024 and three percent in 2025.”
Pitchfork Set Times Set
Set times for Pitchfork Music Festival 2023 are here.
It’s Season Twenty-Nine For Factory Theater
Factory Theater announces three world premieres for its Howard Street location for its twenty-ninth season: “Wise Guys: The First Christmas Story”; “Party At The Pantheon: A Modern Greek Stoner Comedy”; and “Die Hard 4 Your Luv.” More Factory here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Cultural Center Sets Summer Open House
The City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events welcome new and returning free music performances, visual art exhibitions and film programming this summer throughout the Chicago Cultural Center. Opening its doors after business hours, a three-part Open House Series (June 15, September 29, December 9) will host art exhibitions by DCASE’s artists in residence, DJs, shopping and socializing throughout the building. The Chicago House Music Conference returns to the Chicago Cultural Center, June 23, with panel discussions relating to the culture, art, and business of House Music. See Chicago Dance adds to the offerings with open studios on Fridays. The Chicago Film Office partners with Cinema/Chicago to present Summer Screenings, the annual free film series that casts a spotlight on a different country’s national cinema in the Claudia Cassidy Theater. Completed in 1897 as Chicago’s first central library, the Chicago Cultural Center serves as a cultural hub for Chicagoans and visitors year-round with free arts programming, breathtaking architecture and tours. Details here.
Longtime University Of Chicago President Robert Zimmer Was Seventy-Five
“Robert Zimmer, who pushed an unapologetically ivory tower university into the public square—defending free speech during a politically polarized era, starting a molecular engineering program and opening campuses abroad—as arguably the most consequential University of Chicago president since Robert Maynard Hutchins, has died at age seventy-five,” reports Crain’s. “Zimmer served as chancellor until last summer [and] had been on track to be the longest-tenured UChicago president since Hutchins (1929-1951).” Relays the University, “under his leadership the University established its first engineering program, the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering; expanded its global presence through new centers in Beijing, Delhi, and Hong Kong; greatly increased its work in civic engagement, including partnerships with the city of Chicago and organizations on the South Side; and made broad investments in programs and facilities in the arts.” More on Zimmer’s career here.
Founder Of Blackstone Group Real Estate Investment Management Donates $15 Million To AbilityLab
“Chicago area couple Kathy and John Schreiber will donate $15 million to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab to help fund care and research related to brain conditions,” reports the Tribune. John Schreiber attended Loyola before heading to Harvard’s business school and later “founded the New York-based Blackstone Group’s real estate investment management business… The area of the rehabilitation hospital where overnight patients receive care for brain conditions—such as stroke and traumatic brain injuries—will be renamed the John and Kathy Schreiber Brain Innovation Center.”
Museum Of Science And Industry Names New Education Leadership
The Museum of Science and Industry has named Dr. Jessica Chavez as its first Ruth D. and Ken M. Davee vice president of education and chief learning and community partnership officer. Dr. Chavez’s role will be pivotal in advancing MSI’s core goals, including expanding science education programs and supporting students and educators across Illinois in STEM education. “Dr. Chavez is a respected science education trailblazer,” Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO of MSI says in a release. “Her experience and insights are a resource every learner will benefit from–no matter the age. We are excited to bring her on board and have our education programs soar to new heights under her leadership.”
Hundreds Of Chicago Officers Can’t Testify In Court
“Hundreds of current and former Chicago police officers can never be called to testify by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) because they have histories of misconduct or untruthfulness that would undermine their credibility on the stand,” reports the TRiiBE with newly obtained documents. “The SAO’s so-called Brady and Do Not Call lists, which include names of officers who can’t be relied on in court, are far more extensive than has been previously reported… John Catanzara, the current president of the Fraternal Order of Police, is also listed. Catanzara resigned from CPD in 2021 while facing termination for nearly a dozen rule violations, but was reelected president of the city‘s largest police union earlier this year.”
Companies With Progressive Profile Don’t Like Unions
“Apple, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and REI are accused of targeting union supporters after organizing efforts gained traction, charges the companies deny,” reports the New York Times. “Some labor relations experts say the companies’ progressive public profiles may help explain why they chose to hold back at the outset. ‘You’re espousing these values but saying this other organization claiming the same values’—the union—’isn’t good for your work force,’ said [a labor lawyer] who represents employers. ‘It puts you in a little bit of a corner.'”
Northwest Indiana Universities Headed Off Cliff?
An extensive takeout on the “enrollment cliff” facing universities nationwide notes that “prominent elite institutions and flagship universities, such as the University of Notre Dame or Indiana University Bloomington, will weather the storm because of recognizable brands and reputations. They might even see enrollment increases,” reports the Times Of Northwest Indiana. “However, all of Northwest Indiana’s universities are either regional campuses or liberal arts colleges, and both types are expected to bear the brunt of this enrollment collapse. Additionally, the Midwest and the Northeast are expected to see more dramatic declines than other parts of the country.”
Park Pools Closed For Month To Relocate Lifeguards To Beaches
Park District indoor pool closures will last until at least June 23, reports Block Club Chicago. “While the Park District said its goal is to reopen all pools then, it’s unclear if it will have the staff to do so.”
National Endowment For The Arts Grants Announced
The National Endowment For The Arts has announced more than $103 million in recommended grants in the second round of fiscal year 2023 funding. Chicago-based grants (detailed at link) among the forty-nine for Illinois include Artists Breaking Limits & Expectations ($30,000); Albany Park Theater Project ($50,000); ART WORKS Projects ($40,000); Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University ($25,000); Changing Worlds ($30,000); Chicago Artists’ Coalition ($44,000); Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education ($50,000); Chicago Film Society ($15,000), to support Celluloid Now film festival; Chicago Filmmakers ($30,000); Chicago History Museum ($25,000); Chicago Humanities Festival ($20,000); Chicago International Film Festival and Chicago Industry Days ($30,000); Chicago Korean Dance Company ($20,000); Chicago Shakespeare Theater ($60,000); Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra ($20,000); DCASE ($40,000); Columbia College Chicago ($20,000); Comfort Station ($20,000); Community TV Network ($20,000); ConTextos ($20,000); Full Spectrum Features ($30,000); Grant Park Music Festival ($45,000); Guild Literary Complex ($10,000); Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Inc. ($20,000); Illinois Arts Council ($1,141,200); Jazz Institute of Chicago and Jazzcity ($12,500); Korean Performing Arts Institute of Chicago ($15,000); Kuumba Lynx ($40,000); League of Chicago Theatres Foundation ($10,000); Links Hall ($25,000); Live the Spirit Residency and Englewood Jazz Festival ($10,000); Lynx Project and Amplify Series ($20,000); Lyric Opera ($85,000); MAKE and Lit & Luz ($13,000); Harris Theater for Music and Dance ($20,000); National Museum of Mexican Art ($50,000); The People’s Music School ($46,000); Poetry Center ($18,000); Teatro Vista and “Hundreds and Hundreds of Stars” by Sandra Delgado ($10,000); and Block Museum ($45,000).
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]