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Wabash Arts Corridor Named One Of Nation’s Ten Best
Chicago’s South Loop Wabash Arts Corridor, founded by Columbia College Chicago, has been nominated in USA Today’s Ten Best Readers’ Choice travel awards. According to the USA Today feature, an inspiring arts district comprises “revitalized and renewed urban spaces in once derelict neighborhoods, big-name museums with architecture as impressive as the art housed within, or streets lined with small galleries and studios interspersed with trendy cafés.” The Wabash Arts Corridor is one of twenty nominees for Best Arts District. More on WAC here.
Hyde Park Art Center Announces Summer Events
Hyde Park Art Center has announced its public programming and opening shows for summer, joining its annual roster of over 200 programs. The Art Center will build on programmatic partnerships that extend beyond the galleries with free, family-friendly art events at the Hyde Park Farmer’s Market and the Hyde Park Flea, as well as an outdoor film screening of “Hairy Who & The Chicago Imagists.” Other highlights include BOMBA!, a Puerto Rican musical performance that celebrates Edra Soto’s largest solo exhibition to date, “Destination/El Destino: A Decade of GRAFT,” and the Art Center’s second annual celebration of Pride Month, “The Art of Pride.” Full listings here.
Wedge Projects Has Closed
“Wedge has always and consistently been an unabashedly, idealistic proposition,” writes Peter Fleps, founder-director. “Wedge has never wavered from its commitment to privileging creative ambition while providing freedom from instrumentalization, unbinding support and an understanding that each artist’s relationship with their creative selves is complicated by the trespasses and frustrations of real-world circumstances. Throughout these past seven years, Wedge has adhered to these tenets and thus, has been a rare, substantial and meaningful contributor to the Chicago contemporary art scene. Wedge has been a source of real meaning and engagement and it saddens me to think that it will just go away. I wonder then, if there is an individual or group who can see the value and, yes, importance, of keeping Wedge alive and, who would be inspired to step up and guide its evolution. For now, the space exists, and its non-profit status is in good standing, as is its reputation.” More here.
Joliet Commissioners Consider Landmark Status For Will County Courthouse
“The Joliet Historic Preservation Commission is considering whether to recommend the former Will County Courthouse be designated a local historic landmark, which would delay the planned demolition of the vacant building,” reports the Trib. “Courthouse Preservation Partnership, which is hoping to repurpose the building, submitted the application for landmark designation April 14, keeping the building safe from demolition until mid-October, or until the Joliet City Council makes its final decision.” The partnership says “six different firms…submitted nine different proposals. Private companies are willing to invest $70 million to $80 million in redevelopment, which could include space for county offices, hotels, bars or restaurants.” Ted C. Fishman’s April feature on the history and the unique design elements of the Brutalist building is here.
Randolph Street Market Returns To West Loop
This Memorial Day weekend, Randolph Street Market celebrates its twenty-year anniversary in the West Loop. Relays the market, “Find the best art, antiques and vintage decor, ephemera, vintage and indie designer fashion and jewelry, vinyl, global goods, fancy and fun foods–thousands of top-quality goods presented by dealers from around the country at this fancy European style flea market.” Tickets for Saturday and Sunday here.
Looking At The Transit Crisis At America’s Largest Transit Systems, Including Chicago
“Top transit systems see total $6.6 billion shortfall by 2026; without help, agencies warn of higher fares, service cuts”: Bloomberg surveys the problems facing the nation’s six largest transit systems as pandemic aid wanes. “From hedge fund Citadel to the headquarters of Boeing Co., some high-profile companies have left Chicago, adding to the fiscal challenges facing the Chicago Transit Authority as remote [work] keeps ridership at about fifty-four-percent of pre-COVID levels… The CTA is facing [projected] budget holes of approximately $400 million annually… with federal relief funds available to cover the gaps through early 2026.”
CTA president Dorval Carter said “the CTA is looking to diversify its subsidy streams so that it can be in a better position to have financial stability. Whether that will be so-called congestion pricing… or working with the state to find long-term funding solutions, the CTA is exploring ways to fill their shortfalls.” WBEZ asks Chicagoans what they want changed about CTA in an episode of “Reset”: “Dirty cars, crime and significant delays are a few of the problems riders have pointed out about the Chicago Transit Authority.”
Friends Of The Chicago Harbor Lighthouse Seek Funding
“Since the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse is an iconic Chicago Landmark. But it’s showing its age,” reports CBS 2. The recently formed Friends Of The Chicago Harbor Lighthouse nonprofit “wants to preserve, restore and celebrate a Chicago landmark [by] converting a lighthouse into a museum on water.”
Airbnb Hopes To Crack Down On Chicago House Parties
Airbnb says it’s “cracking down on house parties in Chicago,” reports CBS 2. The corporation “is blocking certain reservations for one and two-night rentals of entire houses. Airbnb is also urging neighbors to contact the company immediately if they spot a party in progress at one of their rental homes.”
DINING & DRINKING
Fulton Market Restaurateurs, Developers Want Twenty-Four-Hour Private Security
“Fulton Market’s heavy hitters want to hire P4 Security to provide twenty-four-hour patrols in the area at a hefty price tag of $800,000 a year,” reports Block Club. The Fulton Market District Improvement Association, formed in November, is “headed by Donnie Madia, [co-owner] of One Off Hospitality, the parent company of… The Publican and avec. The organization’s board also includes… developer Jeff Shapack; BoKa Restaurant Group partners Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz; Kivvit founder and CEO Eric Sedler; Sterling Bay’s Managing Director of Security Erin Belknap; Dan Dorfman, partner at Fox, Sibel, Levin & Carroll; and Jay Stieber, executive vice president and general counsel of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.”
Outdoor Dining Will Continue
“Mayor Johnson is making permanent an expanded outdoor dining program that helped restaurants and bars get through the pandemic, while he preserves input from the local alderperson,” reports Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times. “The Chicago Department of Transportation will immediately begin accepting permit applications.”
Cooper’s Hawk Exits Esquire
“The second attempt at running a restaurant inside the former Esquire Theater in Chicago’s Gold Coast has failed,” relays Eater Chicago. Not enough business for the 24,000-square-foot space, says suburban Downers Grove-based wine-focused chain Cooper’s Hawk. The restaurant closes July 17; the location’s 150 workers will be offered work at the chain’s other fifty-seven locations.
Funeral Potatoes Raising Money For Logan Square Storefront
“After a few years of online orders and dropoffs, the owners of Logan Square-based ghost kitchen Funeral Potatoes are looking to establish a brick-and-mortar in the neighborhood,” reports Block Club. “Funeral Potatoes serves Midwestern comfort food with an elevated twist. The rotating menu includes dishes like jalapeño popper mac and cheese, cranberry and Coca-Cola pulled pork sandwiches and icebox cake made with blueberries, chamomile and goat cheese. The ghost kitchen is named after a cheesy hash brown dish that’s popular among Midwestern neighbors.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Hyde Park’s Harper Theater Reopens This Weekend
“The Harper Theater will have its grand opening this weekend with screenings of ‘The Little Mermaid,”” reports CBS 2. “ACX cinemas revamped the 110-year-old building,” as the company advises, “now with luxury recliners in all auditoriums.” A ribbon-cutting is slated for June 23. The theater’s site is here.
Netflix Password Crackdown In Motion
Days into the Writers Guild strike in which Netflix is held up as one of the worst offenders of paying its writers, the service has launched its password-sharing crackdown, writes the Hollywood Reporter. This week, “the streaming giant began rolling out its paid sharing feature in the U.S., which requires that all account users must be in the same household and live in the same location as the primary account holder.”
Florida Department Of Education Continues Investigation Into Teacher Who Showed Disney Movie
The Florida Department of Education’s inappropriate conduct investigation against Hernando County, Florida teacher Jenna Barbee continues, for showing the Disney film “Strange World” to her fifth-grade class, reports CNN. “A first-year teacher at Winding Waters K-8 school, Barbee said she showed the 2022 film because it directly related to class curriculum, not because it portrayed Disney’s first openly gay character. The animated film tells the story of a family of explorers and Barbee said it was relevant to her lesson on ecosystems and the environment.”
Single Complainant Who Got Amanda Gorman Poem Yanked In Florida Aligned With Proud Boys
“The parent who got a Florida school to ban Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem has ties to the far-right Proud Boys and conservative firebrands Moms For Liberty,” and “attended multiple rallies with members of the far-right group prior to her activism against school library books,” reports the Daily Beast. Posts Gorman, “This is a shame for the children in your school system who deserve to have access to poetry.”
Rosemary Sobol New Assistant City Editor At Sun-Times
Veteran reporter Rosemary Sobol posts she’s got a new beat at the Sun-Times: assistant city editor.
What Really Went Wrong At VICE?
“You put a big target on your back when you say ‘we know better, we’re the future,'” a former senior exec at VICE says, in a report by the Financial Times with an extended history that offers many lessons of the kind that are never learned in the long run. The causes of the company’s long-running failure are considered at length, and not just through the changes in the economy and the online advertising market. Its $6 billion valuation is a big factor: “‘When you raise money at increasing valuations, if you have portrayed yourself at a certain value, you end up managing the strategy of the business in accordance with that,’ says one large VICE investor. ‘So if you established you are a $10 billion company, then you have to get bigger in a way that’s…irrational.'”
Another investor: “Private equity does this: they give you a high headline valuation. But the paper they give you is like a noose around your neck that gets tighter the longer you don’t have a liquidity event,” referring to either an IPO or a sale of the company. “If it goes past two years, forget it. They basically own the company.”
Damon Locks And Rob Mazurek Propel “New Future City Radio”
An album by Damon Locks and Rob Mazurek—”New Future City Radio”–is the first duo collaboration of these longtime creative partners. “In a hyperactive forty-minute, eighteen-track suite that runs like a boombox mixtape, the prolific multimedia artists contemplate community, transformation, and the future through the programmatic format of a pirate radio station for the people,” International Anthem relays. “These two artists have worked together from the peak days of the late nineties-early 2000s Chicago music scene up through the present day, which has seen Locks featured as lead vocalist of multiple critically-acclaimed Exploding Star Orchestra (ESO) albums composed/produced by Mazurek and released by International Anthem in 2020 (‘Dimensional Stardust’) and 2023 (‘Lightning Dreamers’). Locks has also earned renown from his revolutionary, expansive latter-day gospel-jazz project Black Monument Ensemble, with which he’s released two albums on IARC (2019’s ‘Where Future Unfolds’ and 2021’s ‘NOW’).”
“‘New Future City Radio’ finds the artists creating a natural but innovatively assembled blend of the sounds of those two projects, with Locks’s BME-style sample-based sound collage creating compositional beds underneath the signature Orson Welles-like vocal delivery he’s developed through his work with ESO, alongside Roland SP flourishes and arresting brass improvisations by Mazurek.” A single from the album, “Yes!” is here, and a video by Locks with animator Rob Shaw is here.
Meet The CSO Librarians
“Every printed note of every work performed by the orchestra is meticulously organized, catalogued, filed and eventually set on stage by a three-person team at Symphony Center,” writes Kyle MacMillan in an extensive profile at the Sun-Times. “The librarians’ work on a new concert season typically begins the previous November—nearly a year in advance—as the artistic staff is putting final touches on the programming. The first step is to see what music for the planned concerts the library already has.”
BoHo Theatre NoMo
“After nineteen years, the company closes up rather than choose ‘desolation,'” reports Kerry Reid at the Reader. Financial issues are largely to blame. “BoHo Theatre (founded in 2003 as Bohemian Theatre Ensemble around ‘the Bohemian pillars of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love’) started out [in 2004], on the stage of the old Bailiwick Repertory studio. Bailiwick is long gone (Theater Wit took over the Belmont space). And now BoHo has joined the list of Chicago theaters that have decided it’s time to fold the tents and close the book on their history.”
Black Ensemble Theater Reveals Details Of Massive Expansion, Including Media Center And Artist Residences
“The Free to Be Village would fulfill the Black Ensemble Theater founder-CEO’s long-held goal of creating a cultural corridor on Uptown’s Clark Street,” reports Block Club. “The project calls for a combined media and technology center to open on the southeast corner of Clark and Sunnyside. A performance art and education center will also rise near the corner, while a building with housing and retail would be built just south.” The residential component includes fifty apartments “that would be affordable for local artists. It would rise above ground-floor retail space that would house tenants and businesses that align with Black Ensemble Theater’s goals of forwarding social justice, Taylor said.”
Physical Theater Festival Announces Tenth Anniversary
Physical Theater Festival Chicago has announced the full lineup for its tenth anniversary celebration. The Festival begins Saturday, July 8 with a full day of family-friendly outdoor shows in partnership with the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series at Nichols Park in the Hyde Park neighborhood. The Festival continues with a week of international, national and local performances, workshops and conversations at Theater Wit and the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center from July 10-16. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
It’s Alderpeople Now
“Along with the new council organization comes a new, formal title for council members. The title of alderman has now been retired under the chamber’s formal rules and replaced with alderperson, according to the new mayor’s floor leader, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward,” reports WBEZ from Mayor Johnson’s first City Council meeting.
Navy Pier Releases Busy Summer Schedule
Navy Pier has announced another twenty or so major events for the summer season, starting this weekend with Summer Fireworks (May 27 through September 2), voted Best Fireworks in the Nation by readers of USA Today. “Chicago’s favorite, free sky spectacle is set to popular and special-occasion soundtracks every Wednesday (9pm) and Saturday (10pm).” Calendar and more here.
Advisories Against Travel To Florida By LGBTQ Group Joins Those Of Minorities And Immigrants
“The Human Rights Campaign in partnership with Equality Florida, a state LGBTQ advocacy group, issued an updated travel notice outlining potential impacts of six bills that were recently passed, many of which have already been signed” by Republican governor and presidential aspirant Ron DeSantis, reports CNN. “Minorities, immigrants and now members of the LGBTQ community are being warned of the risks of visiting Florida after the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group issued a travel advisory following newly passed laws and policies that may be harmful to people in those communities.” The advisory is here.
Bill To Place Ten Commandments In Every Texas Classroom Fails
“The Republican-controlled Texas State House failed to advance a controversial bill,” reports CNN, “that would have required public schools to display the Ten Commandments in every classroom.” The failed bill “requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in a ‘conspicuous place’ in each classroom in a ‘size and typeface that is legible to a person with average vision from anywhere in the classroom.'”
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