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MCA Increasing Admission
“A suggested-admission increase for the Museum of Contemporary Art was approved Wednesday by the Chicago Park District. The price change takes effect this month,” reports the Sun-Times. “For Chicago residents, student and senior tickets will increase from $8 to $10, and the adult price will increase from $15 to $19. For non-Chicago residents, student and senior tickets will cost $14, up from $8, and adult tickets will be $22, up from $15. Tickets for children under 18 will remain free.”
What’s To Become Of The Art At Thompson Center?
At Mas Context, Elizabeth Blasius looks at length “at the fate of the art that was on display at the James R. Thompson Center, including works that were acquired under the State of Illinois Percent For Art Program.”
Merging Begins Along Eight Miles Of DuSable Lake Shore
“With less than three weeks to go before the NASCAR takeover of city streets, Chicago transportation officials say drivers will deal with merging lanes on eight miles of DuSable Lake Shore Drive, between North and 47th,” reports the Sun-Times. “NASCAR estimates 100,000 people will attend the races… Former Mayor Lightfoot reached a three-year deal with NASCAR to hold one race a year downtown.”
At Least 200-Year Reserve Left At 400-Million-Year-Old Thornton Quarry
“Stories abound about the Thornton Quarry, which has been dubbed the Midwest’s Grand Canyon and which thousands drive over daily as Interstate 80/294 spans the great gash that stretches a mile-and-a-half wide and cuts 450 feet deep into the earth,” reports the Times of Northwest Indiana. “The rock that comes out of the quarry can be sold for anywhere from an average price of $7 a ton to more than $30 a ton… Thornton Quarry likely has about 200 more years of reserves left… The quarry is producing 3.5 million to 4.1 million tons of stone a year. This year, it’s likely to produce 4.2 million tons of stone.”
Wireless Companies Go Storeless On Michigan Avenue
T-Mobile and AT&T are vacating their Michigan Avenue premises, reports Crain’s. “The two wireless companies are following Verizon off North Michigan Avenue, adding to its soaring retail vacancy rate… T-Mobile recently vacated its 11,000-square-foot store at 700 North Michigan and AT&T plans to move… August 1 from its 10,400-square-foot space a few blocks south, at 600 North Michigan.”
DINING & DRINKING
Original Rainbow Cone Scooping Boul Mich
“The Original Rainbow Cone will add a kiosk location to Gino’s East called the Magnificent Mile,” reports Crain’s, opening June 29. “Locals and tourists alike can get a signature Rainbow Cone featuring all five flavors — chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House, pistachio and orange sherbet—and deep dish pizza at the same place, the Gino’s East at 162 East Superior.”
Wherewithall Closing For Good
“There’s no easy way to convey this so we’re just going to come out with it: After several weeks of closure due to an infrastructure emergency, wherewithall will not be reopening,” the restaurant posts on Instagram. “Since launching wherewithall in July 2019, we have loved bringing our casual prix fixe, ever-changing-menu restaurant to Chicago. But a third reopening in four years is something we just don’t have the ‘wherewithal’ to do. We would like to thank all of you—our guests, our supporters, our neighbors, our friends and our entire staff—for being part of wherewithall’s life and memories. Had we launched wherewithall at another time, who knows? The restaurant might have enjoyed a much longer life. But forces of nature that were beyond our control intervened, and we have given ourselves over to acceptance, and a willingness to go where the universe is nudging us.” A new operation is promised later this year for the space.
Modelo Beer Passes Bud Light As Best-Selling Beer
“Modelo Especial in May took over the top sales spot, reflecting the enduring damage from the Bud Light boycott. Bud Light no longer rules the American beer market,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Modelo Especial overtook the brand as the top-selling U.S. beer in May, punctuating a monthslong boycott of Bud Light that has reshuffled the beer industry.” (“Modelo is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev everywhere except the U.S., where it’s owned by the New York-based, world-dominating conglomerate Constellation Brands.”)
A Visit With Chicago’s Half-Century Traveling Salami-Slinger
“Bar patrons say it’s a lucky day—or night—when ‘G.I. Joe’ Perl rolls up in his fully-stocked truck to offer samples of salami, jerky and other meat products,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Perl is one of the last of a breed of traveling sausage salesmen still working his way through late-night crowds, offering tastings to tempt patrons and bar owners alike to purchase by the pound. The Army veteran said he hits… about twenty bars a night and works over a hundred hours a week. A lover of ‘people and crazy women,’ Perl said he has fourteen kids and many mouths to feed. Some bar patrons applaud when Perl walks in.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Lilly Wachowski Frames The Directors Guild Contract Proposal
“The vote to ratify the 2023-2026 agreement between the DGA and AMPTP ends a week from Friday and I have decided to vote ‘no,'” posts Lilly Wachowski on Twitter. “One of the reasons they got a lot of this good stuff, is because the DGA was able to leverage their position due to the fierce picketing being done these past 7 weeks by the WGA and their mighty allies in IATSE and the Teamsters! … My ‘no’ vote has to do with a couple of things. The most specific is the subject of AI. Now I’m no Boomer-luddite-fuddy-duddy against the idea of AI as a tool per se… But what I do vehemently object to, is the use of AI as a tool to generate wealth. That’s what’s at stake here. Cutting jobs for corporate profit. Technology should be used to benefit humanity (has Star Trek not taught us anything!?), not for the ultra rich to continue to f*ck over working folks and eliminate jobs for ever larger salaries and dividend payouts.” A longer thread at the link here.
Art Spiegelman Sees Book Ban Boom
With a new ban of his classic graphic novel in the works in Missouri, “It’s one more book—just throw it on the bonfire,” Art Spiegelman tells Greg Sargent at the Washington Post, “suggesting the impulse to target books seems to have a built-in tendency to expand, sweeping in even his Pulitzer-winning ‘Maus’ under absurd pretenses.” Spiegelman: “It’s a real warning sign of a country that’s yearning for a return of authoritarianism.” The board in Nixa, “a small city south of Springfield, will debate the fate of ‘Maus’ this month… Board employees flagged it in a review in keeping with a Missouri law making it illegal to provide minors with sexually explicit material.”
Coates Banned In South Carolina
“An AP language student in SC, assigned to read Ta-Nehisi Coates, instead wrote to the school board: ‘I am pretty sure a teacher talking about systemic racism is illegal in South Carolina.’ The school board banned the book,” writes PEN America’s Jeremy C. Young. “Several students wrote to the school board about the class, saying it made them feel ‘ashamed to be Caucasian’ and ‘in shock that she would do something illegal like that.’ South Carolina passed an educational gag order last year that banned ‘divisive concepts’ related to race and sex.” In a PEN statement, Young writes, “This is an outrageous act of government censorship and a textbook example of how educational gag orders corrupt free inquiry in the classroom. In a course designed to be taught at the college level, students complained that a teacher assigning a National Book Award-winning volume about race was ‘illegal in South Carolina.’ Instead of defending the teacher’s right to teach this material, the school board sided with the students and censored the curriculum.”
American Beer, Royko-Style At Old Town Ale House
“Half a century ago, famous Chicago journalist Mike Royko gathered eleven of his friends to taste twenty-two foreign and domestic beers, to prove just how bad American beer was,” reports the Chicago Brewseum. “The result was an article he published in the Chicago Daily News where he discussed the process, the beers, and the winner. An interesting endeavor, indeed. To honor the fiftieth anniversary of that affair (and the sixtieth anniversary of the start of Royko’s column), the Chicago Brewseum, Newberry Library, and Pocket Guide to Hell are [joining] to re-stage the beer taste test.”
The event, at Old Town Ale House, a favored Royko haunt, “includes readings of some of Royko’s alcohol-related articles, light bar snacks, and buttons courtesy of Busy Beaver Button Company. Tickets are $7.50 with $10 event posters by Ethan D’Ercole. Judges and guests include John Carruthers, Revolution Brewing and Crust Fund Pizza; Pat Doerr, Nisei Lounge; Paul Durica, “Pocket Guide to Hell” and Chicago History Museum; Liz Garibay, Chicago Brewseum; Bruce Elliott, Old Town Ale House; Gary Houston, actor and journalist; Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune and WGN Radio; Javi Lopez, Casa Humilde Cerveceria; Bill Savage, Northwestern University and Chicago Brewseum; Shana Solarte, Omega Yeast; Maiaika Tyson, Cider Soms; Ben Ustick, Off Color Brewing; Chalonda White, Afro.Beer.Chick and Hope Arthur, accordionist. Old Town Ale House, Sunday, July 30, 1-3pm.
Urge Overkill Drummer Blackie Onassis Was Fifty-Seven
“Blackie Onassis, drummer for the nineties Chicago band Urge Overkill, has died at age fifty-seven,” reports the Sun-Times. “Onassis, a Beverly native who was born John Rowan, joined founders Nathan ‘Nash Kato’ Katruud and Eddie ‘King’ Roeser in the band in 1991, shortly after it released its ‘Americruiser’ EP, which established its distinct sound. Onassis ‘grew up listening to things like the Steve Miller Band,’ he told the Sun-Times in 1993 when talking about musical influences.” (The band’s “Saturation” album was recently re-released in a thirtieth-anniversary edition; the LP first came out June 8, 1993.)
Countering Neighbors, Park Commission Clears Riot Fest, Re:SET
“Officials granted permission to host Riot Fest and Re:SET—one of which kicks off in ten days—following months of protests by neighbors and community leaders around what they say is a lack of transparency in the permit process,” reports Block Club. The AEG-backed Re:SET’s “first weekend—which took place in Los Angeles, San Diego and the Bay Area—seemingly went off without a hitch, but this past weekend’s shows in the South (in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Dallas) were a mess thanks to a storm that rolled through the area,” reports Stereogum.
Riot Fest Releases Single-Day Line-Ups
Riot Fest’s single-day lineups for September 15-17 features headliners Foo Fighters, The Cure, The Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie and Queens of the Stone Age. The top-billed talent is rounded out by Turnstile, The Mars Volta, Mr. Bungle, Tegan and Sara, 100 Gecs, The Gaslight Anthem, Death Grips, AFI and dozens more. Tickets on sale here.
Single Tickets For Lyric Now On Sale
Single tickets go on sale today at 10am for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2023/24 season. Featured in the new season are large-scale productions of classic operatic dramas and comedies, the Lyric premiere of an acclaimed contemporary opera by Terence Blanchard, and special events, including a one-night-only performance by a Broadway legend. Details and tickets here.
Guarneri Hall Announces Fifth Anniversary Season, With “Chamber Music Made Personal”
The nonprofit Guarneri Hall, a state-of-the-art, custom-built classical music venue in downtown Chicago at 11 East Adams, has announced a Fifth Anniversary Season that focuses on “creating intimate, interactive music events that center chamber music in deeply personal experiences, or ‘Chamber Music Made Personal.'” Launching in August, each event, starting at 6:30pm on weekdays, will be followed by a reception where audience members and performers engage in conversation.
“Since our inception in 2018, programs that featured not only music but also readings of poetry and panel discussions that encouraged interactivity have become our most popular hits,” Guarneri Hall founder and artistic director Stefan Hersh says. “Using such events as a model, Guarneri Hall’s fifth season marks an exciting shift in strategy to create chef’s tastin’-like experiences, with programs designed as uniquely powerful communicative encounters that make the most of the intimacy and superb acoustics of the venue.” Tickets are $40 general admission. More here.
Jeff Awards Names New Members
“Two new members have joined the Jeff Awards to help extend the mission to promote live theater, recognize excellence and honor theater artists,” the groups relays. “They join the all-volunteer organization of more than fifty passionate theater enthusiasts that make up the membership which evaluates more than a hundred Equity and Non-Equity theater performances each season.” The new members are Dakotta Hagar and Jesse Scheinbart.
Barbara Gaines Is “Finding Her Own Dream Time”
“From the rooftop of a Lincoln Park pub to the staple theater at one of Chicago’s most recognizable landmarks, boasting a facility that completed a $35 million repurposing in 2017, the entire history of Chicago Shakespeare Theater has been guided by the hands of Barbara Gaines,” writes American Theatre. After a thirty-seven-year run, Gaines is leaving the group. “I’m feeling a bit emotional, I would think is the best description, on every level. I think everything is heightened now,” Gaines says. “Everything should be a musical: I should be singing to you, because my heart is so full… I know that this is the right thing to do. There is no doubt in my mind. I thought I was going to leave in 2020, but COVID got in the way. I realized in 2019 that yes, I think I’m done here.”
Writes Jerald Raymond Pierce, “During her tenure, Gaines directed sixty productions, including thirty-three Shakespearean titles and six world premieres. Now Gaines, seventy-six, readies for a pivot away from decades of leadership, eying spending more time on personal projects, like a new show she’s workshopping with composer Joriah Kwamé and playwright Lauren Gunderson—a wicked Shakespearean prequel.”
Citadel Theatre Sets Four-Show Season
Lake Forest’s Citadel Theatre has announced a four-show subscription season and two all-family musicals under artistic director Scott Phelps and managing director Ellen Phelps. Leading off the subscription season will be their production of the world’s longest-running play–Agatha Christie’s murder mystery “The Mousetrap,” which has run continuously (except when London’s stage was shut down) in the West End since 1952. “The Mousetrap” run is September 15-October 15. Tickets and more here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Police Will Work Overtime For NASCAR Traffic Control
“With crowds expected to flock to the lakefront for the Fourth of July races, CPD says off-duty officers and those from other districts will be deployed to direct traffic downtown,” reports the Sun-Times.
Historic Agreement Between IU, Purdue
Indiana University and Purdue University are shifting their fifty-three-year-old collaborative IUPUI with the creation of separate and independent urban campuses in Indianapolis: Indiana University Indianapolis and Purdue University. “The creation of independent campuses will enable the two higher education powerhouses to build upon their incredible legacies of excellence and impact to meet the needs of Indiana and its capital city for decades to come. Leveraging the strength of globally respected reputations independently, IU, Purdue and the state of Indiana will each benefit from recently announced plans by each institution to expand extensive academic and research portfolios, increase talent attraction and retention programs, and invest millions of dollars in both individual and collaborative efforts.”
Insurance Companies Abandoning Florida, Too
Farmers Insurance Group has stopped writing new property policies in Florida, reports WESH-TV. “Over the past eighteen months in Florida, we’ve had fifteen companies… stop writing new business,” Mark Friedlander, the Insurance Information Institute’s spokesperson tells the station. “Florida homeowners in search of new coverage have fewer and fewer options, as companies put a pause on new property policies.” Farmers Insurance Group said in a statement:”With catastrophe costs at historically high levels and reconstruction costs continuing to climb, we implemented a pause on writing new homeowners policies to more effectively manage our risk exposure.”
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