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Cultural Showcase Pop-Up “c Ukraine” Opens At Wrigley Building
The City of Chicago and World Business Chicago have collaborated with the consulate general of Ukraine in Chicago to open a pop-up retail experience in the Wrigley Building to support local independent Ukrainian retailers, as well as show support for Ukraine. Opening Thursday, June 29 (5:30pm-7pm), c Ukraine will celebrate Chicago’s Ukrainian culture and community. Occupying a ground-floor retail space in the Wrigley Building’s North Tower, it was designed by local Ukrainian architect Vladimir Radutny. c Ukraine’s opening will be followed in mid-July by the opening of a second Cultural Showcase Pop-Up, the Culture Exchange Market, which will feature Chicago-based retail and food businesses from Colombian, Kyrgyz, Pakistani and Polish cultures. c Ukraine is open seven days a week, 11am-7pm, through October 1.
Illinois Gets Over A Billion Federal Broadband Dollars
“The Biden administration announced how much broadband-deployment funding each state and territory will be eligible to receive from a $42.45 billion grant program,” lists Ars Technica. Illinois’ tally: $1,040,420,751.50. There are stages before states can invest the money. “Grants are intended for networks offering at least 100Mbps download speeds, 20Mbps upload speeds, and latency of no more than a hundred milliseconds.” The White House announcement: “High-speed Internet is no longer a luxury… Yet, more than 8.5 million households and small businesses are in areas where there is no high-speed Internet infrastructure, and millions more struggle with limited or unreliable Internet options.”
U.S. Pedestrian Deaths Highest In Forty-One Years
“The number of pedestrians who were struck and killed by vehicles in 2022 was the highest it’s been since 1981,” reports the New York Times. “At least 7,508 people who were out walking were struck and killed in the United States last year.” Factors “that could have contributed to this increase [include] more risky driving during the coronavirus pandemic and a lack of awareness and enforcement of laws meant to keep pedestrians safe.”
Greyhound Riders Likely Left Out In Cold
“Chicago Greyhound bus riders could be left on the curb after its main station was sold if the city can’t move fast enough to buy the land or build a public-run bus terminal,” reports the Sun-Times. “Greyhound has been booted from stations in several cities over the last few months after the sale of its properties to an equity firm last year. Their experiences show what could be in store for Greyhound’s Chicago station, which, as a regional bus hub, serves about a half-million people a year and fifty-five buses daily.”
Cook County Evictions Rise To Pre-Pandemic Levels
“Millions of dollars in rental assistance has helped prevent thousands of evictions, but a mounting housing affordability crisis remains,” reports Amy Qin at WBEZ. “In May, more than 800 tenants were evicted… That’s the highest number of evictions enforced in a single month by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in the last four years… In 2022, landlords submitted about 29,000 eviction filings—just 300 fewer than the 2019 total and a number roughly equivalent to the population of a Chicago suburb like Highland Park or Niles.”
Longtime South Shore Residents Call For Protection From Obama Center
“At a community summit last Saturday, the coalition of groups behind the Community Benefits Agreement for South Shore debuted a revised housing ordinance they hope City Council will implement to stem housing insecurity and displacement in the neighborhood,” reports the Sun-Times. “The ordinance includes policies designed to protect renters, homeowners and condo owners in South Shore as concerns over displacement rise with the development and construction of the Obama Presidential Library in nearby Jackson Park.”
Streeterville Apartment Tower Goes For $173 Million
“A Miami-based apartment developer has paid $173 million for a 398-unit apartment tower in Streeterville,” reports Ryan Ori at CoStar News, “the highest price paid for a single residential building in the city in nearly two years.”
DINING & DRINKING
Kindling Introduces $26 Beef In Honor Of “The Bear”
A $26 Italian beef with beef suet fries and optional giardiniera aioli is on the menu at Kindling Downtown Cookout and Cocktails inside the Willis Tower, reports Eater Chicago. The wagyu beef “is from a boutique farm in Georgia, the bread is from Z Baking, a notable local commercial bakery. The giardiniera, the key pickled vegetable mix, is from sandwich shop (and noted giardiniera paczki maker) J.P. Graziano’s. For $5 more, diners can add a dab of ‘raclette whiz.'” Plus, Donnie Madia, featured in two episodes of the second season of the Hulu series, offers a salute on Instagram to the show and those who came before it.
Uptown Vegan Jewish Storefront Lasts Four Months
Sephardic Sisters, the replacement for Uptown vegan restaurant Kal’ish, has closed after four months, reports Eater Chicago. “While co-owner Gina Kalish is vegan, her husband and business partner Andy Kalish is not, so the change in circumstances has created an opportunity for him to open a radically different restaurant—one that serves meat in addition to vegan dishes.” Floreen’s Chicken & Roost, “a ‘culinary love letter’ to his late mother, Floreen, the restaurant’s namesake, will focus on roast chicken. ‘In our lives together, chicken has run through it,’ he says. ‘This is my truth. I want to do something I love and brings me joy.'”
Sriracha Shortage Courtesy Of Mexican Drought
“It has been just over a year since California-based Huy Fong Foods confirmed the worst,” reports Food & Wine, “that it was preparing for a shortage of its Sriracha, Chili Garlic and Sambal Oelek sauces. Adverse weather conditions and a sub-par chili pepper crop were among the factors cited by the company, and it confirmed that the shortage could affect wholesale, restaurant, and individual customers.” Huy Fong wrote to the magazine, “We are still endeavoring to resolve this issue… caused by… spiraling events, including unexpected crop failure from the spring chili harvest. We hope for a fruitful fall season and thank our customers for their patience and continued support during this difficult time.” (There are multiple reports of customers stealing the bottles from restaurants.)
The Buffet Is Back
“These big, communal all-you-can-eat spreads faltered amid pandemic fears, but inflation and a hunger for an experience are giving them new life and variety,” writes Kim Severson at The New York Times.
FILM & TELEVISION
Netflix Drops Basic Plan In Canada; U. S. Could Be Next
“Netflix has quietly killed the $9.99 CAD per month basic plan in Canada for new subscribers,” reports Tech Crunch. “This simplifies the streaming company’s offering but leaves a big gap between the ad-supported plan and the standard plan… In the U.S., Netflix already hides the Basic plan when you try to create a new account. You have to click on ‘See all plans’ to display it.”
Banned Books Group At Women & Children First
“In response to the infuriating book banning happening across the country, we are launching a Banned Books Group!” posts Women & Children First on Instagram. “Our first meeting will be at the bookstore, Monday July 10, 7pm, and we’re reading ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue’ by George M. Johnson. Come through & bring a friend!” More on the group and upcoming titles here.
Three Longtime CSO Members Retire
Three longtime members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—cello Gary Stucka, assistant principal Viola Li-Kuo Chang and principal librarian Peter Conover—will retire at the conclusion of the 2022-23 Season. They will receive the CSO’s Theodore Thomas Medallion for distinguished service at a date to be announced. “Stucka, who joined the cello section in 1986, will retire after thirty-seven years and Conover, who joined the Orchestra as a librarian in 1998 and was named principal librarian in 1999, will retire after twenty-five years. Li-Kuo Chang began his tenure as a member of the viola section at the beginning of the 1988-89 season. Two weeks later, he won the audition for assistant principal viola, the position he has held for thirty-five years.” More here.
Wicker Park Fest Announces Full 2023 Lineup
The Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce has announced the full lineup of music acts for Wicker Park Fest 2023 , which will feature more than fifty live acts. Headliners include Built to Spill, The Regrettes, Biig Piig, Say She She, BabyJake, Dreamer Isioma, Manwolves, The Astronomers, LURK, Jackie Hayes, The Good Life, Alanna Royale, Kenny Segal, Worry Club, Wildermiss, The Appleseed Cast, Sybris, Gene Hunt and Fox Royale. July 28-30. More here.
A Guide To Chicago Hardcore 2023
Second Extension For “The Who’s Tommy” At Goodman
Goodman’s summer musical “The Who’s Tommy,” “reimagined for a new audience thirty years after the original production opened on Broadway, is now playing and extends a second time—now running through August 6. The original Tony Award-winning co-creators reconvene to tell the story of Tommy Walker for 2023 audiences—with music and lyrics by Pete Townshend and book by Townshend and Des McAnuff, who also directs.” The production appears in the 856-seat Albert Theatre; tickets are $30-$185, subject to change. Tickets here.
Raven Theatre Names Artistic Director
Raven Theatre Company has named Sarah Slight as artistic director, following her successful stewardship of the Equity-affiliated North Side theater company’s fortieth season as interim artistic director. “Sarah’s work as Raven Theatre Company’s interim artistic director as we conducted the nearly seven-month search process was stellar,” said Raven Theatre Company board president Stephen Johnson. “We are quite confident that she will lead the theater with grace and insight as it solidifies and expands its presence in the artistic community.”
Kate Arrington On Her Full-Length Playwriting Debut
“Kate Arrington expected her playwriting debut to be something small. When the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble member presented her first full-length play to then-artistic director Anna D. Shapiro, Arrington thought it might be headed toward something like a brief engagement at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater, a small cabaret-style, eighty-seat space tucked behind the company’s bustling Front Bar,” reports American Theatre. “Four years and some development later, Arrington’s play is barreling toward opening night for a mainstage run in Steppenwolf’s beautiful 400-seat Ensemble Theater.” Arrington tells the magazine, “It’s bigger than I expected, but this is the place where I could have the emotional fortitude to go big and be okay with it failing, be okay with it not failing. I’ve grown up here since I did my first play in 2003.”
BAM Drops Shoe
“The Brooklyn Academy of Music, one of the most important cultural organizations in New York, has laid off thirteen percent of its staff members and reduced its programming as it seeks to plug a ‘sizable structural deficit’ during a challenging time for the arts,” reports the New York Times. Twenty-six positions were eliminated. “In a letter, BAM president Gina Duncan wrote that the changes were necessary in part to help BAM to ‘weather the downturn in charitable giving for the arts, and address an outdated business model that heavily relies on a shrinking donor base.’ She said that the organization faced a ‘sizable structural deficit’ each year.”
Reasons For The End To Shows At Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum: Subject Matter? “Earnest Mediocrity”?
At the Los Angeles Times, theater critic Charles McNulty digs deeper into the end of programming of “flagship theater” Mark Taper Forum. “There have been complaints from some theatergoers that programming has been too focused on identity politics since the reopening. Center Theatre Group artistic director Snehal Desai said, ‘What would you like us to do, politically incorrect work? What is the counter that you’re offering? All work is political.’ But leaving aside the conservative backlash, is there a deeper artistic analysis that needs to be undertaken? I suggested that audiences would commit more willingly to seasons if the artistic vision were better communicated and the producing level were higher. Theatergoers don’t need an exclusive diet of masterpieces. But there’s only so much earnest mediocrity they can take.”
Those in charge appear to say it’s the lack of a “visionary” to lead them. “One of the biggest gaps in the past two years is that it’s really hard to fundraise and build an annual fund when you don’t have an artistic leader with an articulated multiyear vision to rally around,” CEO and managing director Meghan Pressman told McNulty. “I can ask a lot of people for money. I can articulate our importance. But the thing that is missing, even when you have multiple associate artistic directors who are all very visionary, is that people are looking for Snehal to be able to say, ‘This is our artistic vision. Here’s what we’re doing. And here’s what we’re going to do over multiple years.’ That has been absent.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Rick Telander Writes NASCAR
“Cars themselves are the epitome of the USA, the essence of us. Everything a car lets you do, everything you can do in a car, everything you can do to a car—it’s the stuff that makes you feel free, in control, beyond the law, fast,” writes veteran sportswriter Rick Telander at the Sun-Times. “NASCAR is from another era, but its appeal is undeniable yet. Almost a quarter of NASCAR fans watch it only on TV, but a third have been to at least one race. And ninety-four percent say they’d likely buy a product endorsed by a NASCAR driver… The legends of guys named Buckshot and Junior and Fireball, their suped-up moonshiner cars ‘runnin’ through the woods of Caroline’ (to quote Springsteen’s “Cadillac Ranch’’), the roar of straight pipes and barely controlled recklessness—it’s primitive and enduring and, yep, American. NASCAR’s here, like the traveling circus. Might as well put in the earplugs, folks, and climb aboard.”
NASCAR Air Quality Questions Remain
“How will forty cars racing around downtown at speeds over 100mph affect air quality?” headlines the Tribune. “As race cars turn and brake, as tires screech, fine particulate matter is released into the air. And unlike commuter vehicles, race cars aren’t required to have pollution control devices that filter exhaust gases… Experts, researchers and engineers… say the environmental consequences of a two-day NASCAR race are more nuanced. ‘On one hand, it’s like a drop in the bucket, right?’ said [a] mechanical engineering professor at Purdue University… NASCAR race cars are generally unregulated and are not required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to have pollution control devices such as catalytic converters, which turn exhaust gases into pollutants that are less toxic.”
Living “Under A Yellow Sky”
Last week, at PRINT magazine, Tatiana Schlossberg considered the days the East Coast skies turned yellow from Canadian forest fires. Her piece remains all-too-topical, after skies were blotted gray with Quebec wildfire smoke at dusk on Monday and on Tuesday morning Chicago air quality was declared the world’s worst. “It’s not possible to always pay attention to the environmental justice issues in the U.S. and around the world. It’s completely reasonable and expected to be concerned and scared when you actually can’t breathe. The fires were far away from New York, and they were making things bad! At least when there’s a hurricane or a heat wave, we know what’s going on and we’ve seen it before. This was completely new, even as we’ve seen terrifying fires and toxic air benight the Western skies every year, for fire seasons that grow longer and more devastating,” she writes. “It’s just that…we shouldn’t be okay with dirty air and smog and toxic pollution anywhere! Ever! The more fossil fuels we burn and the more cars we drive the more PM 2.5 there is that gets into our lungs and brains and blood streams and the more our planet warms to unsafe levels.”
What she found disturbing “were the refrains of ‘New York has the worst air quality in the world right now,’ said with surprise. I don’t think anyone was saying this with malice, but behind that phrase is the lurking assumption that it’s okay for other places on earth to have really bad air quality – we just take it as a given that Delhi or Beijing have really bad air, or we accept it because it’s their fault somehow, but when it’s in New York?! That’s climate change.” Tuesday morning from Better Streets Chicago co-founder Kyle Lucas: “Something feels particularly apocalyptic about needing to wear an N95 on my way to an interview about a race that celebrates the very machines that are accelerating the climate crisis that’s fueling the reason Chicago currently has the worst air quality in the world.”
Jane Lynch Directs Chicago Tourism Spots
Three new summer TV ads “feature one-of-a-kind adventures and attractions around the state including Chicago, Southern Illinois and the Great River Road,” the Illinois Office of Tourism says in a release. “Governor Pritzker along with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Office of Tourism announced the launch of the three new TV ads as part of its tourism campaign, ‘Middle of Everything,’ starring Illinois native and Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress and director Jane Lynch. The summer campaign features a catchy new song performed by Lynch that promotes the diverse attractions, natural wonders, and outdoor experiences that can only be found in Illinois.” Here’s one.
Illinois’ Largest Fireworks Is In… Itasca?
The “largest fireworks show in Illinois” begins at 10pm July 4 in Itasca. The “live pyrotechnics spectacular” “is synchronized to pop, with movie and patriotic music “broadcast on a concert-quality sound system,” reports NBC 5. “The 2023 show, located in Hamilton Lakes, west of O’Hare International Airport at the intersection of I-309 and Park Boulevard, marks twenty-six years since the first Fourth of July celebration at the scenic Itasca site—an event notable for being the largest fireworks display in Illinois.”
Beloved Lake Forest Barber Lou Ruffolo Was Ninety
“Luigi Ruffolo, a barber with a commanding head of hair, came to the United States from Italy in 1960 and changed his name to Louis,” writes at the Sun-Times. “He was twenty-eight, and within a few years, he opened a barbershop in Lake Forest. The style requested by mothers of young boys at the time was known as the John-John Haircut — named after the son of President John F. Kennedy. Mr. Ruffolo had a knack for it and offered a lollipop for a triumphant turn in his chair.” More on a long life at the link.
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