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Butterflies Grace Greektown
Greektown Chicago’s newest outdoor art exhibit, “The Dance of Psyche,” consists of twenty-six three-dimensional sculptures that showcase the creativity of thirteen professional or emerging artists, two Chicago-area high schools and eleven Greek-language schools. The works will be presented at Elysian Field (401 South Halsted) for a ribbon-cutting on Friday, June 2 and then move throughout the neighborhood to line Halsted from Monroe to Van Buren. The exhibit will run through Spring 2024. More here.
Third Juneteenth Freedom Market At MCA
Refine Collective and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago have announced the third annual Juneteenth Freedom Market, spotlighting Black creativity and entrepreneurship in Chicago. Freedom Market will feature fifty-plus local Black-owned businesses, live entertainment, sounds by DJ Slot-A and an open art studio experience. A portion of proceeds benefits The Gray Matter Experience, a nonprofit organization directed toward including Black youth in the community. More here.
Public Restrooms Could Be Paid By JCDecaux Revenue
“Chicago city officials are considering a plan to install public restrooms across the city,” writes Medill Reports. “The city is exploring the possibility of incorporating public restrooms as part of a renegotiated contract with JCDecaux, the company responsible for operating and maintaining bus stops in the city… The revenue the city receives from JCDecaux could be used to fund the installation and maintenance of the public restrooms by the company, at no cost to taxpayers.”
West Town’s Dovetail Turns Fifteen
“Dovetail opened in May 2008. Fifteen years, a recession, and a pandemic later, I feel like there’s a lot to celebrate,” posts proprietor Julie Ghatan on Instagram. “Especially since it dawned on me that Dovetail is the longest-standing vintage store in West Town. In 2008, I had a corporate desk job. I sold vintage to several shops in Wicker Park, saving my money to open my own store. My plan was to keep my job until the shop gained momentum and then quit. But the economy crashed and I had to keep my job.”
Ghatan worked remote “for four years until things turned around… I feel lucky that I was able to pivot and keep the shop open. In 2012, I went full-time at Dovetail… I focused on partnerships with the community of local designers. I chose the name ‘Dovetail’ for the store because I always wanted to dovetail handmade and vintage items in one place, creating a retail safe haven where all the products were sustainable.”
“Over the years, West Town has become the center of Chicago’s vintage universe. While Dovetail is a pioneer in West Town, I don’t think it’s the reason why other stores moved into the area. There are still vintage stores who don’t know my shop exists… Knowing that people are still discovering Dovetail after fifteen years keeps things very humble.” View the store site here.
Illinois Small Towns: Not Dying, Exactly?
“Advocates for rural development say small towns have been written off for dead when really they are just in the midst of change,” front-pages the Trib.
I-55 Likely To Be Expanded Despite Concerns
“Illinois lawmakers have cleared a path forward for a long-discussed expansion of I-55, despite concerns from neighbors and environmental groups about the way the project could be funded and the repercussions of adding more lanes to the expressway,” reports the Trib.
Nearly Half-A-Billion To Reshape Kenosha’s Downtown
“A major development plan in Kenosha could reshape the city’s downtown,” reports Wisconsin Public Radio. “Plans for the development include over 1,000 apartments and condominiums, office buildings, retail space, a market hall and hotel and across a nine-block radius downtown. The plan would also develop a new municipal office building, while razing the existing city hall to make way for a residential tower and mixed-use development.”
DINING & DRINKING
Permanent Outdoor Dining Proposed
“Officials hope to make permanent rules that allowed restaurants, bars and breweries to expand their outdoor seating options during the pandemic,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Expanded outdoor dining rules lapsed at the end of 2022, leaving some restaurant owners to worry they might lose a vital revenue source during the summer… The city now hopes to bring those measures back and keep them for good. A measure introduced by Mayor Johnson… would create a permanent Outdoor Dining Street Permit that would allow restaurants and bars to once again set up tables in the curb or parking lane outside their business.”
A Case Is Made For Daisies As Chicago’s Best Restaurant
“If you’re a critic playing by the ‘rules,’ you’re not allowed to award the true numerical greatness of Daisies. You can gush of course, but you can’t give Daisies four stars because you’ve been made to believe that rating is only reserved for certain kinds of restaurants and chefs, and only given out once a decade during a blood moon,” writes Michael Nagrant at The Hunger. “If Daisies has exact peers, we might look to Boka, Galit, El Che or Lula Café, restaurants with similar affordability and accessible environments, teams that ‘get it’ serving superlative experiences that appeal to a much broader set of diners. They too should be in this conversation… Of all of those, though, Daisies is the only one I’m positive recent immigrants, Logan Square hipsters, tech billionaires and heartland farmers will love with similar fervor. In my bones, I believe right now Daisies is the standard. Every decision made and every aspect of the restaurant is so spot on… it’s hard not to look at owner Joe Frillman and his team and wonder how they understand the restaurant game so clearly at this moment.”
Times Says Prices Too High, Service Stinks And Diners Deserve Tenderness
“For us, that’s why takeout is usually the better option,” Jessica Marte said as she settled into a booth at a Chili’s Grill & Bar in a suburb north of Atlanta. “The food is not the problem. Most of the time it’s the service.” Writes Kim Severson at the New York Times: “The patience that customers have extended to restaurants over the last few years is wearing thin, especially as menu prices climb and experienced workers are harder to find. A plaintive cry is rising from America’s dining rooms: Can we get some service around here?” The interviewees tend toward “I want to support all these service-charge initiatives and better working conditions for people,” said Liza Dunning, a creative director in the Bay Area. “But also, wow—I am now paying how much for a roast chicken?”
Liquid Manure Leaves Kewaunee County
“A massive Kewaunee County factory farm will eliminate its application of liquid manure on fields over the next four years, as part of a legal settlement that allows it to avoid installing costly groundwater monitoring wells,” reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. New technology “will eliminate the majority of truck traffic in the area and reduce the need for long-term storage of liquid manure in lagoons.”
Redhead Piano Bar Turns Thirty
Redhead Piano Bar will celebrate its thirty-year milestone on Wednesday, June 21. The Redhead will open early for an anniversary cocktail party from 4pm-6pm, featuring “live music from the venue’s talented entertainers, onsite cigar rollers, passed appetizers from Pippin’s Tavern and vintage merch for sale.” At 6pm, The Redhead “will showcase an exceptional lineup of piano virtuosos, each taking the stage for an hour to deliver masterful renditions of the top songs that have defined the last thirty years,” ending at midnight. More Redhead here.
Amazon To End Fake I. D. Problem With Palm Recognition Device
“Amazon One, the retailer’s palm-scanning payment technology, is now gaining new functionality with the addition of age verification services,” reports TcchCrunch. The conglomerate announced that “customers using Amazon One devices will be able to buy adult beverages—like beer at a sports event—just by hovering their palm over the Amazon One device. The first venue to support this feature will be Coors Field… The technology will roll out to additional venues.”
Responds Bon Appétit, “Every day, Amazon releases some new horror into the world that moves us closer to dystopia… Using biometric data isn’t new, and Amazon has already given this kind of thing a try at grocery stores, violating some laws in the process. A lot of people have privacy concerns and are worried about how this technology and data could eventually be exploited or leaked, but I think those people are forgetting one crucial thing: Hand-scanning technology could help lines move faster!”
FILM & TELEVISION
Twenty-Four-Hour Music Box Of Horrors Returns
The autumn haunting returns to the barn on Southport: Music Box announces its annual day-and-night of horror (on Instagram) for Saturday, October 21. “The first wave of titles will be announced next week and passes go on sale Tuesday at noon!”
How Chicago Unions Shut Down “The Chi”
“Screenwriter Michael Gilio bundled into a car in the city’s West Side with other writers and made his way to Cinespace studios, located in an industrial zone,” after learning that “The Chi” would begin shooting at 4am, reports the Los Angeles Times. “Teamsters driving trucks loaded with production equipment turned their vehicles around and shouted support… ‘The Chi’ crew members who showed up also refused to cross picket lines. And by 8:45am… ‘The Chi’ had been shut down.’We did not anticipate doing boots-on-the-ground direct action, and it’s been really galvanizing for those who participated,’ said Gilio, a screenwriter for the recent ‘Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.’ ‘Our members out here are much younger and energized, and more politically active than back in the old days. There’s a lot more fight going on.'”
My House Music Fest Back For Eighth Year
Chicago’s My House Music Festival electronic music fest returns for its eighth year to Harrison Park on the Southwest side on August 12-13. Headliners include DJs Armand Van Helden, Derrick Carter, Bad Boy Bill, Joeski, Marshall Jefferson and DJ Spen. General admission tickets start at $25, with nonstop house music from 1pm-10pm each day. More here.
“Memoirs of Jazz in the Alley” In One Auditorium Performance
“Through the 1960s and seventies, Jazz in the Alley on Chicago’s South Side was a hotbed for jazz and a meeting place for the country’s prominent musicians, visual artists, poets, activists, and organizers, all under the passionate direction of its co-founder, the late musician and educator Jimmy Ellis,” South Chicago Dance Theatre announces. “This historic happening comes alive as SCDT makes its debut at the Auditorium Theatre on June 10 with one performance only of ‘Memoirs of Jazz in the Alley.'” SCDT is under the leadership of executive artistic director Kia S. Smith, Ellis’ daughter. More here.
Albany Park Theater Announces World Premiere “Port of Entry”
The award-winning Albany Park Theater Project has announced the July world premiere of “Port of Entry,” an immersive performance to be staged in a 1929 warehouse building that has been transformed into a courtyard apartment building, typical of Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood. The production tells true stories of immigrants who have made Albany Park their first home in the United States over the past hundred years. Created in collaboration with New York-based Third Rail Projects, “Port of Entry” is presented in a three-story immersive performance space located at 3547 West Montrose.
Each performance of “Port of Entry” will “take twenty-eight audience members across the threshold and into the homes and lives of four immigrant families as they forge new lives on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Participants travel through the three floors of the apartment building, stepping into a meticulously designed immersive world where the stories and lives of dozens of immigrants unfold. Augmented with choreographed movement, digital projections and sound installations, the journey through time and across cultures is led by the critically acclaimed APTP youth ensemble.” Tickets and more here.
“Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding” Returns For One Wild Chicago Weekend
Patty Corella, the founder and executive director of Corella Productions, who also played Tina twenty years ago, mounted a production of ‘Tony n’ Tina‘s Wedding’ in Pennsylvania that ran to sold-out audiences for two years. An original producer, Joe Corcoran, suggested a remount in Chicago. Tickets to the five-hour production are $80 or $100 (VIP) and include tickets to the performance, dinner, dancing, wedding cake and the wedding party. A cash bar is available. A limited number of VIP tickets with premium seating with Tony and Tina’s families are also available. iO Theatre, June 23-24. Tickets here.
PlayMakers Laboratory Presents Celebration of Authors Gala
PlayMakers Laboratory will present “Celebration of Authors Gala: A Family Friendly FUNdraiser,” the company’s annual gala and a family friendly, interactive event on Friday, June 16 at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. More here.
Will Davis Takes Rattlestick
“’For me, theatricality and queerness share a definition: this idea that we name things, and so they are,'” Will Davis tells American Theatre “in the cozy backstage office of Rattlestick Theater in the West Village, where he recently took over as the company’s third artistic director… This is not his first turn as an artistic director: In 2016, he was named to succeed PJ Paparelli at the helm of Chicago’s American Theater Company, and by most accounts, including his own, was making progress in expanding the theater’s impact and access when, with startling abruptness, the theatre’s board shut it down and let Davis go after just two years, citing a downturn in ticket sales. It was a painful chapter, not least for Davis, who continued his freelance career but had had his appetite whetted by the experience of gathering and serving a community around an artistic home. The Rattlestick gig is significant for another reason: Just as his job at American Theater made him the first trans leader of a non-LGBTQ-specific theatre, his new role makes him the first trans person to lead an Off-Broadway theater.”
Cleveland Play House Names Rachel Fink Managing Director
Rachel Fink, a Cleveland native, is joining Cleveland Play House as managing director, reports American Theatre. “Fink comes to CPH from Chicago, where she served as executive director of Lookingglass Theatre Company. She founded the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and was a fellow at the Civic Leadership Academy at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. A League of Chicago Theatres board member, Fink is a former marketing, education, and general management intern at CPH.”
London West End Actors, Workers Get Seventeen-Percent Raise
“A pay rise was backed by cast members in sell-out shows including ‘Frozen,’ ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Cabaret,'” reports the Evening Standard. “The threat of strike action closing West End shows has been lifted after Equity members agreed to a new pay deal with theatre bosses. About ninety-four percent of West End members who voted backed the deal with the Society of London Theatre, which will see them get 16.7 percent pay rises over the next two years.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Banks Furious Over Fed Slashes To Late Fee Profit Center
“Rohit Chopra, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, wants to slash $9 billion a year in late fees currently charged by credit card companies. Since banks and credit unions currently collect $12 billion a year in late fees, the bureau has set itself up for a massive fight that is widely expected to end in contentious litigation,” writes American Banker. “While the cost to assess a late fee on a credit card may be minimal, the CFPB’s proposal in February to slash credit card late fees to just $8 a month—down from the current $30 for a first [overdraft] and $41 for subsequent [overdrafts]—has raised major questions about how banks and credit unions set late fees.”
Leader-Investors Of AI Say Their Product Will Likely Destroy All Things, Sign Letter
“Leaders from OpenAI, Google Deepmind, Anthropic and other AI labs warn that future systems could be as deadly as pandemics and nuclear weapons,” reports the New York Times. “’Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks, such as pandemics and nuclear war,’ reads a one-sentence statement released by the Center for AI Safety, a nonprofit organization. The open letter has been signed by more than 350 executives, researchers and engineers working in AI.”
“AI could become powerful enough that it could create societal-scale disruptions within a few years if nothing is done to slow it down… These fears are shared by… industry leaders, putting them in the unusual position of arguing that a technology they are building—and, in many cases, are furiously racing to build faster than their competitors—poses grave risks and should be regulated more tightly.”
Biota Awards $1.5 Million Toward Biodiversity Research
The Walder Foundation has announced five 2023 Biota Award recipients, whose research is to understand, protect and restore biodiversity in Chicago and around the world. “Researchers in Chicago are uniquely positioned to understand how humans and nature can thrive together,” the group allows. “Walder Foundation promotes the long-term sustainability of the natural environment by addressing socio-environmental challenges such as climate, water, food, and health. Through the Biota Awards, the Foundation aims to explore new solutions to restore and preserve our ecosystems. The Biota Awards help fund these researchers to explore solutions for a threat that has an impact on both human and animal life.” The awardees are here.
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