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Daley’s Parking Meter Windfall To Private Investors Booms
Parking meter revenues topped $140.4 million last year, a record, up from $136.2 million in 2021 and $91.6 million during the shutdown of 2020, reports Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times. Part of the increase comes from “hundreds of metered spaces at Montrose Harbor and on city streets added as part of former Mayor Lightfoot’s 2021 budget. That allowed private investors from as far away as Abu Dhabi to rake in record cash. With sixty years left on the seventy-five-year lease, Chicago Parking Meters LLC… has recouped its entire $1.16 billion investment and $530 million more.”
1890s Hyde Park House Ready For Wrecking
“A builder plans to demolish an 1890s house in Hyde Park [with a history] layered with unusual people, including a promising young architect who succumbed to mental illness and a university professor who corresponded with President Harry Truman about the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan in World War II,” reports Crain’s. “Among the prominent visitors to the Woodlawn Avenue house in past decades, according to the family that sold the house, were Enrico Fermi, the physicist who created the world’s first nuclear reactor, and famed writers Saul Bellow and Norman Maclean.” The builder bought the property in January for $1.4 million.
Northwestern Continues Push On $800 Million Stadium
“Northwestern drives toward goal line on $800 million Ryan Field project,” headlines the Sun-Times. “Facing opposition in Evanston, university officials want to see action soon on the plans to make the stadium suitable for concerts and other events.”
Bears Squeezing For Best Price?
“It’s too early to tell whether the team was bluffing when it said Arlington Heights has competition and introduced Naperville to the stadium game. Were the Bears angling for an Arlington Heights tax break?” asks Mitchell Armentrout at the Sun-Times.
DINING & DRINKING
Grubhub Cuts Four Hundred Jobs
Four hundred corporate employees at Grubhub no longer have a gig, reports Crain’s. That’s about fifteen percent of its staffing.
Miko’s Italian Pop-Up At George’s Hot Dogs In Bucktown
A summer residency for Miko’s Italian Ice is set for George’s Hot Dogs on North Damen, “as the hot dog stand celebrates its seventy-fifth year in the neighborhood,” reports Block Club. “The Miko’s pop-up will initially be open at George’s 12-8pm Thursday-Saturday… After more than twenty years… in Bucktown, Roombos closed the location in 2019 when he sold the building.” There are still Miko’s locations in Logan Square and Irving Park.
Racine’s Bakery For Kringle Has Closed
“A kringle bakery in Racine has apparently closed its doors after more than six decades,” reports WISN 12. “Larsen Bakery opened in 1960. The current owners have operated it since 1969.”
University Of Wisconsin-Madison Hiring Cheese Eater
Cheese eater wanted in Wisconsin: “The Center for Dairy Research is looking for individuals passionate about all types of foods, but especially cheese, pizza and other dairy products. Once hired, we will train you to become part of a group of expert tasters capable of verbally describing their sensory experience on the basis of appearance, texture, taste and aroma attributes for research and product development purposes. Panelists should expect to be tasting up to twenty-four cheese samples and twelve pizzas a week along with other food products. Panelists would need to be available for three-hour consecutive periods (one session) and up to three sessions per week.”
Illinois Grocery Tax Returns
“Beginning July 1, the suspension of the state’s grocery tax will end and an increase in the gas tax will take effect for the second time this year,” reports NBC 5.
FILM & TELEVISION
Netflix Password Crackdown Drives Sign-Ups
“On May 23, Netflix began notifying U.S. customers that users on their accounts who live outside their households would need to be added as an ‘extra member’ (or get their own subscriptions). Since then, Netflix has had the four single largest days of U.S. user sign-ups since January 2019,” reports Variety.
Why Is Streaming Troubled?
“Maybe the TL; DR of the why the streaming business never worked, and it’s cratering now, comes down to the fact that Netflix lucked out by being first, and everybody else got greedy, thinking the model was replicable when it only seemed that way because there was just one,” posts film and television critic-historian Matt Zoller Seitz. “That being said, kudos to all the creative people who moved quickly to relieve Netflix of gigantic amounts of cash before everyone figured out it was just a big scam.” Adds Roy Price, founder of Amazon Video: “Streaming will work and will be here forever. The windows need to be tweaked, ads need to be tweaked and bundling needs to be tweaked. But streaming is here to stay and will be profitable.”
Semicolon Bookstore Closes For Now
“A Black-owned bookstore that aims to increase literacy in Chicago will be closed until August as it [makes the transition] to a nonprofit model and overhauls its storefront,” reports Block Club. Semicolon Bookstore opened in 2019 in River West, “with owner Danielle Mullen prioritizing authors of color in the store’s inventory and programming. After briefly moving to Wicker Park in 2021, the store returned to its original location in 2022… Mullen decided the best way forward was for Semicolon to become a nonprofit. That status will allow the company to accept grants and other forms of funding not open to traditional businesses.”
Governor Signs Book-Ban Ban Law Today
“The Illinois Senate has passed a measure that would help to prevent the practice of banning books, which Secretary of State Giannoulias says is in response to efforts in other states to restrict access to reading materials for political and personal reasons,” reports NBC 5. Governor Pritzker will sign the bill into law today.
Chicago NPR Reporter David Schaper Takes Buyout
“Earlier this year, NPR cut ten-percent of its workforce, while ending several well-liked podcasts. They also offered buyouts to longtime employees, including Chicago bureau reporter David Schaper,” reports Axios. “He took the buyout; his last day was June 2… ‘It’s been an amazing run — a wonderful, rewarding, exhilarating and, at times, challenging twenty-plus years… I still sometimes can’t believe my good fortune of working at NPR.”
The Media World Pioneered By Pat Robertson
“Pat Robertson, who died on Thursday at age ninety-three, was one of the pivotal reasons the Christian right became central to the GOP coalition. Because of this, the political world we live in today is in no small part his creation,” writes Greg Sargent at the Washington Post. Sargent talks to historian Rick Perlstein: “Robertson’s vision buttresses the entire edifice of right-wing evangelical America, in particular his institution-building work creating alternatives to supposedly demonic secular liberal America… The striking thing about the Christian Broadcasting Network—which evolved from ‘The 700 Club’— was that it mimicked secular programming. CBN provided scaffolding for a parallel world that conservatives and fundamentalists could live in. When you think about a right-winger living within the bubble of Fox News, that was pioneered by the Christian Broadcasting Network. The force behind this was one-hundred-percent Pat Robertson. The role of these kinds of institutions in birthing the modern right was that it became a self-supporting world of its own, an entire parallel reality.”
Zuckerberg Lays Out The Latest Meta Future
“On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg told Meta employees how he planned to get the company back on track. In an all-hands meeting, he offered an explanation for recent layoffs and for the first time laid out a vision for how Meta’s work in artificial intelligence would blend with its plans for the virtual reality it calls the metaverse,” reports the New York Times. “Mr. Zuckerberg delivered the remarks in a roughly half-hour address to thousands of employees at Meta’s Menlo Park campus. The talk, made on an outdoor pavilion the company calls Hacker Square, was also livestreamed to tens of thousands of employees around the world.” Big breakthroughs? Copying TikTok and Twitter.
Interrobang Theatre Project Announces Closure
From a statement posted to social media: “After 13 producing season, Interrobang Theatre Project (ITP) will conclude operations at the end of our current fiscal year on August 31, 2023. There were many considerations that brought ITP’s board and staff to this consensus, including but not limited to, a shrinking board, staff, and ensemble due to pandemic-related pivots, challenges related to hiring, and shifting expectations surrounding pay and sustainability. We consider it an honor to be in the unique position to close our theater on our own terms. We’ve always cared deeply about leading our organization with integrity and this decision was made with the same care and thought we’ve put into all of our operations. Thank you again for supporting Interrobang’s journey. We will be forever grateful.”
Sean Hayes Takes Tony In Goodman-Originated “Goodnight, Oscar”
“Sean Hayes, who began his journey as Oscar Levant at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, won the leading actor Tony for his work in Doug Wright’s play ‘Good Night, Oscar,'” reports Chris Jones at the Trib. “He said, inaccurately but forgivably, that this must be the first time an Oscar had won a Tony.”
Rockford’s Times Theater Gets Half-Million Toward Redevelopment
“A fiscal year 2024 Illinois budget includes another $500,000 to transform the dilapidated Times Theater in downtown Rockford into a live performance venue,” reports the Rockford Register Star.
“How Blue Man Group Took Performance Art Mainstream”
“Can a massive show employing hundreds of people and generating hundreds of millions in revenue be counterculture art, or is it now simply culture?” asks Mental Floss. A cofounder said in 2001, “Blue Man spurts colors, and it becomes art or waste, depending on where it lands. If, by art, you mean something simple and available to everybody that’s not a big deal, then yes, we’re art. But if you mean is it important and elitist, we’d rather be known as comedians.” … “The Blue Man is part innocent, hero, scientist, shaman, group member, and trickster,” [they] told Inc. in 2008. “He doesn’t speak, but he communicates with vaudevillian slapstick humor. He drums and catches gumballs in his mouth that are filled with paint, which he spits onto a canvas to make art. It’s interactive, with music, lights, and lots of colorful liquids that get sprayed on the stage and into the audience.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
A Life Of Joseph Kromelis, Chicago’s “Walking Man”
“Tall and lean, with a bushy mustache and flamboyant hair, the urbane, sharply dressed stranger fascinated his fellow pedestrians and Loop workers. He was rarely seen talking to other people in the crowd, adding to his mystery,” writes Christy Gutowski at the Tribune in a 7,000-word life of the late Joseph Kromelis, Chicago’s “walking man,” “a private, gentle soul who felt most at home while walking among strangers.” A year after his death, Gutowski writes, “Frequent sightings of the Walking Man sparked urban myths about his true identity. Some even thought he was an eccentric billionaire… One of his friends back then was Viki Mammina, who said she met Kromelis shortly after she moved to Chicago for art school in 1974. ‘They called him Mojo,’ she said, ‘because he was just so gorgeous, so stylish with his three-piece suits, gold rings and chains.'”
International Museum of Surgical Science Seeks Collection Assistant
For the International Museum of Surgical Science, the Collections Assistant is responsible for the stewardship of the Collections, advertises the IMSS of an opening. “This position deals directly with maintaining, cataloging, researching, and storing the collections. Additional responsibilities include grant writing and fundraising assistance for the improvement of the collections. This is a permanent, part-time position.” More here.
Failed Mayoral Candidate Vallas Moves To Conservative Group
Paul Vallas is joining the Illinois Policy Institute as an adviser, reports Politico. “He’ll work on policy reports, opinion pieces and events, according to the libertarian-to-conservative Illinois think tank. The position isn’t full time, but he’ll weigh in regularly.”
Senate To Investigate Insurance Companies Abandoning California
“As insurance companies scale back coverage in disaster-prone states because climate risks have become too costly, U.S. lawmakers have launched an investigation into seven major carriers for continuing to insure and invest billions of dollars in fossil fuel projects,” reports the Washington Post.
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