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Art On The Mart Announces Guest Digital Art Curator
Art On The Mart has announced Dr. Raphael Gygax as its first guest digital art curator. “Now in its fifth year, Art On The Mart is the world’s largest digital art platform that transforms The Mart, an iconic architectural landmark in Chicago, into a permanent, larger-than-life canvas. At the start of 2023, Art On The Mart announced a new award for a guest curator to bring fresh perspectives to the platform and continue its mission to present cutting-edge digital art. In this new role, Gygax will contribute to programming through commissioning a new projection set to premiere in 2024 and advise on the long-term curatorial strategy for Art On The Mart.” More here.
Luminarts Names Visual Arts Fellows
Luminarts’ Visual Arts Fellows will receive $10,000 each and continued support from the foundation through professional development, artistic opportunities and additional project grant funding, the foundation announces. The recipients are Hope Wang, Jonathan Worcester and Cheuk Yan Cherry Tung. More here.
Ellsworth Kelly Retrospectives Begin With The Minutiae
Ellsworth Kelly “was obsessive about cataloging things his entire life,” writes Kevin Salatino, curator of prints and drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago, in the catalog for the upcoming exhibition “Ellsworth Kelly: Portrait Drawings,” reports ARTNews. “‘He documented everything and had a numbering system for his work. He is a gift to art historians because everything’s signed, dated, saved, et cetera, and there’s clearly a huge archive.’ This year, as the art world marks the hundredth anniversary of Kelly’s birth, a number of current and upcoming museum exhibitions are focusing on particular facets of his work, from the canonical to the barely known.”
Indianapolis Museum Of Art Seeks Change: “We’re Not A Racist Institution”
“Halfway through a series of listening sessions with the thirty-plus departments making up Newfields—a 152-acre cultural campus that includes the Indianapolis Museum of Art, botanical gardens, a historic home and an art and nature park—its new president and chief executive, Colette Pierce Burnette, realized her organisation had been through what she came to call ‘triple tragedies,'” reports The Art Newspaper. “Already reeling from COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd, ‘Newfields had its own racist incident,’ says Burnette, referring to the uproar around a job listing, posted in early 2021, seeking a new IMA director who could to bring in a more diverse audience while maintaining its ‘traditional, core, white art audience.’ For many within the institution’s staff, the Indianapolis community and beyond, that language betrayed a failure of Newfields’ leadership to see DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility) initiatives as anything other than cosmetic and precipitated the resignation of Burnette’s predecessor.”
New York Investor Misses Mortgage Payment On State Street
After failing “to sell a 171,000-square-foot retail space at State and Madison, a venture led by New York investor Isaac Shalom missed its April and May interest payments on the property’s $49.7 million mortgage,” reports Crain’s.
International Fireworks Championship Announced
The first-ever International Fireworks Championship in Traverse City is slated for September 9 at Turtle Creek Stadium. “The championship will include four world-class shows with teams from the U.S., Mexico, Spain and Germany that have qualified by winning similar competitive events. The Championship is believed to be one of the first of its kind in the U.S., building on similar fireworks competitions that are wildly popular in places like Europe, the U.K., Canada and Mexico. The competitors create unique fireworks displays with musical accompaniment, which will be formally judged.” More here.
Community Considers Plan To Convert Diplomat Motel Into Supportive Housing
“Ald. Andre Vasquez, 40th, led a meeting alongside city officials where he presented a proposal to turn the Diplomat Motel into transitional housing with a variety of on-site services for homeless residents of the ward,” reports the Tribune. “The Diplomat Motel at 5230 North Lincoln would be redeveloped following in the steps of a pilot project in 2020 by which a handful of downtown hotels, including Hotel One Sixty-Six in the Gold Coast, were transformed into supportive housing for 259 individuals.”
Amtrak’s Got $2 Billion In Trains That Can’t Run On Century-Old Track
“Amtrak’s $2 billion effort to replace its fleet of Acela express trains on the Washington-to-Boston corridor has hit a foreseeable snag: The new trains have to run on an old railroad,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
DINING & DRINKING
UpRising Bakery Is Closed
UpRising Bakery in Lake In The Hills, targeted with harassment, has closed, owner Corinna Sac posts on Facebook. “Dreams don’t last forever, you have them, enjoy them; and then all of a sudden you’re in a new one. Some dreams mean so much you try to force it to come back, to finish, but ultimately it’s gone and it’s time for you to experience something new. Our team of amazing individuals are now all moving onto experience new dreams. Dreams with renewed hope, security, and promise… Remember: Zero Tolerance for fuckery, today and everyday. This is our county, these are our grounds, and hate has no home here. stand tall and proud my loves…When someone is wronged, we cannot just make a donation and it’s all better, although it does help the immediate crisis, it doesn’t solve the problem. We have to actively work with people to help them unlearn and change their patterns. It is crucial that the patterns of bigotry, cancel culture, ‘go woke go broke,’ and the violence that we have been taught for generations be flipped on their heads. We must keep moving forward as a society, not backwards.”
FILM & TELEVISION
The Relative Stakes Of The WGA Strike Against Studios; Production Shutdowns Cause Series $250,000 Average Loss Per Day; Unions Align
“Netflix is demanding shareholders approve over $166 million in retroactive executive pay for 2022,” posts the Writers Guild of America, East: “By contrast, the writers strike ends if Netflix agreed to a contract that would cost the streamer an estimated $68 million a year.” Writes the Hollywood Reporter: “The focus on shutdowns, which rely on the cooperation of fellow workplace unions, is a remarkable shift for the Writers Guild. During its previous strike in 2007-08, when it found itself far more isolated and at odds with its nominal labor allies, there was no equivalent strategy. Now the guild finds itself the beneficiary of unity, in alignment with the fractious Hollywood worker caucus of other unions… On average, a lost day of production costs companies between $200,000 and $300,000. Insurance policies don’t cover shutdowns that are caused by the strike.”
Plus, the unions align: “As the Directors Guild of America’s negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) enter their final scheduled week, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the Teamsters, Hollywood Basic Crafts, the Writers Guild of America East, the Writers Guild of America West, and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists stand alongside our sisters, brothers and kin in the DGA in their pursuit of a fair contract.”
The Los Angeles Times charts five years of key executive pay here. Deadline: The WGA West president “is urging Netflix and Comcast stockholders to reject pay raises for the companies’ top executives at their upcoming shareholders meetings, saying that approving the proposed pay packages is ‘inappropriate in light of the ongoing WGA writers’ strike.’ The Netflix shareholders meeting [was] held on Thursday and Comcast will hold its on June 7.”
Behind The Sleeping Village-Queer Film Storm
“It was a drizzly Monday night in January when more than 200 people packed into the private viewing area of Sleeping Village for a night of erotic queer movies. The event was organized by Seen, a three-person film collective from Milwaukee making its Chicago debut. With just one more screening scheduled a month later, the trio had been given a throwaway night in winter to test Chicago’s appetite for gay indie filmmaking. Little did anyone expect that the screening would attract double its anticipated audience—and result in the cancellation of subsequent screenings,” reports Micco Caporale in a 7,500-word piece at the Reader. Within a week, “the series was canceled, and it quietly disappeared from Sleeping Village’s website. Mid-February, the club made its first public acknowledgement of the cancellation: a single Instagram story that read, ‘Due to its x rated materials this event is being moved, location tba.'”
“The saga of ‘Filth!’ at Sleeping Village is a microcosm of festering disconnects—between venues and patrons, between owners and artists, between beloved institutions and queer Chicagoans—that begs the questions: How well do operators of cultural institutions understand LGBTQ+ patrons, and how does that influence their safety priorities? What will we do to protect freedom of expression and foster community for those who need it most? … No one wants well-intentioned and generally queer-friendly businesses to close. We just want to trust that our gender and sexual expressions will not be falsely conflated with harm. At this moment, queers have every right to know: What are institutions willing to risk for our cultural survival?”
FAN EXPO Adds Jason Lee
More names add to Chicago’s longest-running comic and pop culture convention, FAN EXPO, which runs August 10-13 at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Actor-skateboarder Jason Lee joins a “Back to the Future” cast reunion featuring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Tom Wilson; a fortieth-anniversary “National Lampoon’s Vacation” reunion with Chevy Chase, Christie Brinkley, Anthony Michael Hall, Randy Quaid and Dana Barron; director Sam Raimi; Giancarlo Esposito; artist Frank Miller; Henry Winkler; and Katee Sackhoff. Updates here; tickets and passes here.
Driehaus Award For Investigative Reporting To Tribune, ProPublica
“An investigation by the Tribune and ProPublica that exposed the little-known practice of school-based ticketing won a Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Investigative Reporting,” reports the Trib. The investigation, “which inspired immediate action from the state’s top education official, among other impacts, won the Driehaus Award in the large newsroom category.”
Wild Prairie Vinyl & Vintage Closing
Wild Prairie Vinyl & Vintage, at 1109 North Western since late 2017, is closing on June 11, reports Gossip Wolf at the Reader. Co-owners Natasha Rac and Alex Gonzales “have been selling off their vintage stock to local shops, and they’re in talks with several record stores about buying their inventory of 25,000 records.” There will be a farewell party. “Gonzales says the couple have been feeling burned out and talking about closing up for a while. ‘We just had to tear the Band-Aid off… It’s our decision. It’s not about money—it’s time to move on.'”
Congo Square Theatre Hosts Annual Festival On The Square In South Side Communities
Congo Square Theatre Company continues to make a priority of ” its founding principles of radical generosity and radical community-building with an expanded Festival on the Square.” Partnering with three South Side venues, Congo Square brings theater to audiences in their own communities with free festival events through the summer: June 22 at the Retreat at Currency Exchange in Washington Park; June 28 at Boxville Marketplace in Bronzeville; and July 29 at the Silver Room in Hyde Park during the Silver Room Block Party. “Each FOTS program will feature semi-staged readings of new plays by Black playwrights performed and directed by Congo Square ensemble members and guest artists. These jubilant, community-oriented events will also feature food and drinks for purchase and opportunities to shop at Black-owned businesses.” All programs are free; required registration is here.
Deeply Rooted Dance Performs Across Chicago For Summer; Gets $5 Million City Grant
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater’s professional company returns to the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks with its summer performance series, “Deeply at Dusk.” This season’s program, “Funk in Futurism,” “celebrates the liberation of the artistic voice born and strengthened by the power of the collective.” Set to the music of Parliament-Funkadelic, Prince and others, Deeply Rooted collaborates with trumpeter Sam Thousand and his ensemble of musicians. The free series, part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks, takes place at 7:30pm on Wednesday, July 19 at Palmer Park; Thursday, July 27 at Galewood Park and Tuesday, August 8 at South Shore Cultural Center. More here.
Ahead of its forthcoming Washington Park move, Deeply Rooted has received a $5 million city grant, reports Block Club. “The twenty-seven-year-old dance company hopes to move into its new $15.6 million home in December 2024.” The grant from the city’s Recovery Plan Fund “will help Deeply Rooted Dance Company with its move from a shared South Loop studio space with Ballet Chicago to a 30,000-square-foot building [on] South State in Washington Park.”
Millions Boost Milwaukee Repertory Theater Building Fund
“A $1.55 million naming gift and a million-dollar gala have boosted the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s fundraising campaign for a new home to seventy percent of its goal of $75 million,” reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Milwaukee Rep plans to build a new theater complex at its current site downtown… redoing two of its three theaters as well as expanding its facilities into… little-used loading dock space.” The complex will be named Associated Bank Theater Center after a large contributor; the Rep has a $10 million sponsorship agreement with the party through 2042.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
James Crown Pledges To Get Murders In Chicago Under 400 A Year
Chicago billionaire James Crown is leading a multimillion-dollar effort to reduce crime, “asking CEOs to find jobs for thousands as part of an ambitious effort to cut the number of killings in Chicago to fewer than 400 a year within five years,” reports the Sun-Times. “Crown—whose family was ranked thirty-fourth-richest in America by Forbes in 2020, worth an estimated $10.2 billion—[has outlined] a crime-reduction strategy focused on getting jobs for thousands of people in the most dangerous parts of Chicago, providing millions of dollars for civilian violence-intervention programs, strengthening law enforcement agencies and investing in low-income communities.”
Study Shows Cash-Transfer Programs Reduce Mortality In Low- And Middle-Income Countries
Nature reports on a study that “cash-transfer programs have emerged as central components of poverty-reduction strategies in many countries, and became even more common during the COVID-19 pandemic. An analysis of thirty-seven low- and middle-income countries finds that these programs led to marked reductions in population-level mortality in adult women and young children.” A summary of the study is threaded here.
Logan Square Takes Breath As Former Mayor’s Security Detail Shrinks
Lori Lightfoot’s security detail of more than seventy Chicago police officers has been slashed, reports Block Club Chicago. “After four years of barricades, ID checks and protests… neighbors have their block back.” In 2020, CPD “created a special unit—Unit 544—to guard Lightfoot’s home and City Hall and look after her bodyguard detail… ‘We are living in a very different time, and I have seen the threats that come in. I have an obligation to keep my home, my wife, my twelve-year-old and my neighbors safe,'” Lightfoot said at the time. “She took the step of banning protests on her block after… George Floyd protests, ordering police to arrest anyone who refused to leave… Lightfoot declined comment through a spokesperson, citing safety and privacy concerns.”
Former Mayor Hired By Harvard To Teach Leadership In Times Of COVID
“Former Mayor Lightfoot’s next chapter will take her to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she will teach a course tentatively titled ‘Health Policy and Leadership,’ drawing heavily on her experiences steering Chicago through the COVID-19 pandemic and grappling with health equity issues,” reports the Sun-Times. Teaching graduate students at Harvard, she said, “gives me an opportunity to share my perceptions and experiences of the times that we’ve lived through with people who are very committed to the public sector.” Lightfoot said she has been “spending a lot of time kind of reconnecting with people professionally, but also reconnecting with people personally and doing some kind of on-the-ground research and conversations on things I’m also interested in pursuing in my post-mayoral life.”
Publicly Traded Cannabis Corps Total $4 Billion In Losses
“Two dozen of the top plant-touching publicly traded marijuana companies in the United States posted a cumulative financial loss of more than $4 billion in 2022 against nearly $9 billion in revenue,” compiles Green Market Report. “The group of companies–a mixture of multistate operators and a few that are only in California–has a wide U.S. footprint, with licensed operations in twenty-eight states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Many hold substantial market share in East Coast markets and the Midwest, including in Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Ohio.”
Mega-Corporations Fold Under Threats Against Pride Month Products
“When the braying mob of anti-LGBTQ+ reactionaries targeted Target, the company folded like a cheap off-the-rack suit. It told personnel in many stores to shrink or even eliminate their Pride-themed merchandise displays or move them to less conspicuous sections of the stores. Some LGBTQ+ designers say their products have been taken off the shelves,” writes Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times. “Target explained its reaction by citing physical threats to its store workers from anti-LGBTQ+ militants. But something more is going on here, and Target’s response doesn’t show the company in a good light. The context is a concerted effort from the right wing to demonize the LGBTQ+ movement and thereby make any outreach or even acknowledgement of this community toxic for consumer businesses. The goal is to disappear these people and their advocates, reversing a decades-long trend toward acceptance, equity and inclusion.”
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