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Weinberg/Newton Gallery Will Close
After nine years, Weinberg/Newton Gallery, the non-commercial gallery with a mission to collaborate with nonprofit organizations and artists to educate and engage the public on social justice issues, will close in September. The final exhibition, on gun violence and race, opens Friday, June 23, in partnership with Firebird Community Arts and Gun Violence Prevention PAC, and will close with an event on Saturday, September 9. More here.
Terrain Biennial Seeks Artists, Curators, Hosts
Terrain Biennial is a grassroots public art festival “that brings artists and neighbors together to put public art on the front lawns (and porches, windows, and rooftops) of neighborhoods across the world,” the group writes. “Terrain Biennial 2023 will take place October 1–November 15. Participation proposals are due July 18.” The group’s theme is “Mycelium Connection,” to “honor and expand our mission of making unexpected, yet vital human and environmental connections. Mycelium is a thriving underground network of fungal threads, vital to many natural ecosystems. Despite its enormous geographical span, it remains invisible to most, subversively springing up from the most unexpected cracks and shadows. We ask ourselves who and what have we overlooked, and why?” More here.
The Job Of A Museum Director Continues To Shift
“The new generation of museum directors must face a dizzying array of issues: overdue efforts to diversify collections, curators and leadership teams; labor negotiations as more staffs unionize; restitution claims as governments and law-enforcement officials step up demands for the return of looted art; internal unrest that has seen staff revolts at major institutions; greater scrutiny of board members and the sources of their wealth; and protests over social justice, climate change and other issues that have spread from the streets to the museums themselves,” writes Robin Pogrebin in an extended New York Times report. Anne Pasternak, the director of the Brooklyn Museum, tells the paper, “The field is going through seismic change and we need leaders who can stay grounded among the disruption. They need to be able to embrace all the issues that are erupting around them.”
A search for a new leader for the Guggenheim is one reason for the piece: “Among the names widely believed to be in contention to lead the Guggenheim are Madeleine Grynsztejn of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago…”
Smithsonian Acquires Ebony Test Kitchen
Landmarks Illinois has donated the iconic Ebony Test Kitchen from the former Johnson Publishing Company Building in Chicago to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, located in Washington, D.C. The test kitchen will be a part of the museum’s permanent collection. “Saving the Ebony Test Kitchen has been an extraordinary preservation effort, and one we are proud to be a part of, especially given this incredible result,” Bonnie McDonald, president and CEO of Landmarks Illinois says in a release. “We cannot think of a more suitable home for the iconic kitchen than the NMAAHC, which welcomes millions of visitors every year in our nation’s capital. We thank the Smithsonian Institution for its dedication to preserving this pivotal piece of American history.” Video here. More on its history and architectural provenance here.
Obama Center Ascends
“Work is progressing on the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, with the main tower now reaching around one-third of its final height,” reports Chicago YIMBY. “The Obama Foundation is overseeing the development of this complex, set to include three public buildings: a museum, a forum building and a library branch.”
NASCAR Will Shut Southbound DuSable Lake Shore For A Week
“Gridlock City?” asks Greg Hinz at Crain’s. “Though many don’t know it, the upcoming NASCAR race will shut down southbound DuSable LSD for almost a week. Yes, a week. Is the city really ready to handle closing a road that handled 130,000 cars a day?”
Congress Theater Redevelopment Again On Hold
“A long-drawn-out plan to revive the decaying Congress Theater faces another major setback as the developer could lose millions in critical city funding,” reports Block Club. “Baum Revision is asking the city for $27 million in tax-increment financing… Development officials have said the city funding is crucial to pulling off the $88 million project, which has struggled for years to get off the ground… That key funding is in limbo because the Fullerton/Milwaukee TIF district, the source of that money, is set to expire next year, according to Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) and David Baum, principal of Baum Revision. TIF funds must be spent on eligible projects within a certain timeframe, or the money is no longer available.”
State Grants $400,000 To Paramount Theatre For Infrastructure
The Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora has received a $400,000 infrastructure grant. “Illinois’ new budget will do substantial good by targeting community needs at local and regional levels, including the performing arts,” State Representative Barbara Hernandez says in a release. “I am proud of the funding I have been able to secure for Paramount Theatre, and for other vital organizations in the city and surrounding areas, to improve the quality of life for all Aurorans.” Tim Rater, Paramount’s president and CEO says, “Operating a historic and highly trafficked venue like ours presents unique challenges. Nearly a century of wear and tear have uncovered necessary improvements across our venue. This grant will enable us to provide a more inclusive, accessible, and safe environment at Paramount for all patrons, with easier access to high-quality, affordable arts and cultural experiences for years to come.”
DINING & DRINKING
Barktown: Vienna Beef Bringing Dogs Back To Bucktown
“Vienna Beef Plaza” it is: the encased meats concern is restoring its corporate offices to its former Bucktown factory, reports Block Club. “The company will also reopen its factory store and restaurant, plus convert the warehouse into retail space.” Eater Chicago reports the $20 million renovations across 150,000 square feet will include a plaza with space for multiple sausage fests. “They’ll also fill the building with memorabilia from the sausage maker’s 130-year-old history. The project should open in 2024.” Louisa Chu at the Tribune: “The company will plant eighty trees and hundreds of plants for a ‘lush garden feel’ on the site of its former factory… for ‘an opportunity to host indoor and outdoor events.'” The doggoplex will also include a big-box store, other retail shops and more than 200 parking spaces.
FILM & TELEVISION
“Existential Fight” If Actors Join Writers Strike?
“As SAG-AFTRA starts negotiations with the AMPTP, the threat of a wider work stoppage is already having a chilling effect on film and TV production,” reports Rebecca Keegan at the Hollywood Reporter. “With the writers strike entering its sixth week, production and writers rooms have already shut down on all of late night TV and major shows… If an actors strike becomes official, it would make filming scripted movies and TV shows nearly impossible for U.S. companies. The mere threat of a SAG strike has had a chilling effect on some sectors—insurance firms have begun refusing to bond indie film productions until at least June 30.”
Dolly Expands Imagination Library
“Every child under the age of five in California is now qualified to receive a free book in the mail every month,” reports CNN, “thanks to the state’s expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The newly expanded book-giving program will bestow California with the most extensive Imagination Library nationwide, also making it the first state to provide a bilingual book option in English and Spanish.” Parton “started the Imagination Library in 1995 with a vision to foster a love of reading.”
Los Angeles Times Firing Seventy-Four In Newsroom, Citing Ad Slump
“The Los Angeles Times is cutting its newsroom staff, becoming the latest news organization to contract amid economic pressures brought on by advertising and print readership declines,” reports Meg James at the Los Angeles Times. The decision, wrote the executive editor, was “made more urgent by the economic climate and the unique challenges of our industry.”
CNN Fires CEO Licht After Trump Town Hall; Exhaustive, Exhausting Atlantic Profile; And Losing Trust Of Workers
Ben Smith of Semafor finds it a good time to argue that cable news remains doomed: “Licht’s departure is on its surface a management debacle and a reminder that you can’t run a television network if you can’t keep your key asset, the high-profile on-air talent, happy. And now it’s a hard management crisis to fix, because WarnerDiscovery chief David Zaslav has been half-running the place all along, and I’m not sure who will want to half-run it with him now… The most obvious explanation is [that] cable news is in a broad, secular decline. Even the best managers and executives won’t be able to reverse that.”
The New York Times: “Mr. Licht’s thirteen-month run at CNN was marked by one controversy after another. He got off to a bumpy start even before he had officially started when he oversaw the shuttering of the costly CNN+ streaming service at the request of its network’s new owners, who were skeptical about a stand-alone digital product. The cuts resulted in scores of layoffs… Ratings plummeted during Mr. Licht’s management and a series of programming miscues—including an ill-fated morning show co-anchored by Don Lemon, as well as organizing a town hall featuring former President Trump that was subject to withering criticism—did little to shore up support with his colleagues.”
Weighing The Fate Of AM Radio
“Congress is weighing legislation to force automakers to keep AM radio in cars. The future of Chicago’s legacy AM stations may hang in the balance,” reports the Trib. “In Chicago, where AM stations including WGN, WBBM, WLS and WSCR still command nearly half of radio listenership, there may be a lot riding on the outcome… Removing AM radios from cars could dramatically reduce the audience, with seventy-four-percent of AM listening happening in the car… Automakers cite audio interference with electric motors and the ability to stream stations as justification for phasing out AM radios, but the communications and technology subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee heard nearly three hours of testimony as to why AM should be saved.”
A Modest Proposal For Gannett To Donate Its Hundred Smallest Papers To Communities
Ever-shrinking newspaper chain Gannett “should donate its bottom performing hundred papers to community organizations. They’re not producing profit for the company. The trajectory is brutal. Let the communities take a shot. And this would enable Gannett to focus on the saveable papers,” suggests Steven Waldman, chair of the Rebuild Local News Coalition.
Twitter Tunes In Tucker Carlson
The fired Fox News host aired his first ten-minute segment on Twitter; the sharpest review of the wan “Tucker on Twitter” comes from Rolling Stone’s Nikki McCann Ramírez: “What do you get when you strip Tucker Carlson of his multi-million dollar studio, crew of writers, and a much coveted 8pm time slot on the nation’s most-watched cable news channel? Just a guy, posting online, trying desperately to recreate what he no longer has.”
Marin Alsop Named Artistic Director Of The Polish National Radio Symphony
“Marin Alsop will take on the artistic leadership of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) at the start of the 2023-24 season. Currently Chief Conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, a post she will retain,” reports Gramophone, Alsop is “also the incumbent Music Director of the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and she was recently appointed principal guest conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra.”
Wilco, Etc: Band Sets Fall Tour
Today, Wilco announces a fall U.S. Tour, including three nights at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles and two nights at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre, plus a slew of other dates in Texas, Missouri, Colorado, and more. The upcoming tour follows the release of Wilco’s most recent album, last year’s “Cruel Country.” No Chicago dates are on the roster for Wilco or Jeff Tweedy solo. More here.
Looking Back With Robert Falls
The Sun-Times has its exit interview with Robert Falls at the end of his Goodman tenure: “Under his leadership, the Goodman produced more than 150 world premieres. It also sent more than two dozen shows to Broadway, where they garnered twenty-two Tony Awards… Falls won his own Tony in 1999 for his direction of ‘Death of a Salesman,’ starring Brian Dennehy in the title role. Under Falls’ stewardship, the Goodman also collected a whopping 160 Joseph Jefferson Awards… ‘Loss reminds me of the preciousness of doing and living. I think about people like Michael [Maggio] and Frank [Galati] and our visions for theater when we all had just gotten here… It reminds me to appreciate their legacy and the work, and a reminder to keep going.'”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Sundays On State Sets Lineup
The roster for the jam-packed July-August activities at Sundays on State is here.
“Moms For Liberty” Advocacy Blueprint Released
Media Matters acquired “Moms for Liberty’s legislative advocacy blueprint, a seventeen-page resource guide detailing the group’s elaborate state legislative plan; the group has been deeply involved in successful anti-LGBTQ bills in statehouses across the country.” (The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Moms for Liberty as an anti-government extremist group.) “Moms for Liberty is best known for its efforts to loudly overtake and intimidate public schools, but unbeknownst to many the group was terrorizing school boards while simultaneously planting a sophisticated state legislative advocacy infrastructure that it’s now using to strategically attack LGBTQ rights.” State-by-state details here.
California Governor Threatens Florida Governor With Kidnapping Charges
“Governor Gavin Newsom took his feud with Governor Ron DeSantis to new heights on Monday, seemingly threatening him with kidnapping charges after California officials say South American migrants were sent to Sacramento by the state of Florida as a political stunt,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “Newsom, a Democrat, cited state kidnapping laws in a tweet to the Florida governor and Republican presidential hopeful, whom he called a ‘small, pathetic man.'”
Professional Golf Acquired By Saudi Arabia
“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wins again,” avers the Wall Street Journal Opinion page. “Over the weekend Riyadh cut its oil production to lift prices. On Tuesday the Saudi-backed LIV Golf announced a merger with the PGA Tour and Europe’s DP World Tour. Call it the revenge of the ‘pariah,’ to borrow Mr. Biden’s epithet for [the ruler of Saudi Arabia].” Dave Zirin at MSNBC: “There was a time in the distant past—that is, as recently as Monday—when the official position of the PGA Tour was that its competitor, the Saudi-backed golf tour known as LIV, was a scandalous, even odious, operation. Referring to Saudi Arabia’s horrific human rights record, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said last June, ‘You’d have to be living under a rock to not understand the implications of involving yourself with the Saudis.’ … The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, an entity controlled by the Saudi crown prince that has been backing LIV golf, is promising to invest billions of petrol dollars in this new PGA Tour-LIV merger.” The Athletic: “In the PGA Tour, LIV Golf battle the money won. Morality was always secondary.”
Market Watch: Child Labor, Elderly Workers A Good Thing
At Marketwatch, an opinion piece set to the billionaire drumbeat taken up by Republican politicians: “Americans may have to start working younger and retire older. That might be a good thing.” The writer says we don’t want to become China: “Western governments will be further challenged to finance investments to mitigate climate change, infrastructure, investments in R&D and defense without imposing declining living standards on the working age population through taxes or inflation.” Harvard Business Review was making this case almost twenty years ago, in “It’s Time To Retire Retirement”: Companies have “largely neglected a looming threat to their competitiveness: a severe shortage of talented workers. The general population is aging and with it, the labor pool. People are living longer, healthier lives, and the birthrate is at a historical low.”
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