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Block Museum Adds Five To Board of Advisors
The Block has announced the appointment of James Belfer, Jessica Bell Brown, Susan Johnson, Morris (Dino) Robinson Jr. and Eden Romick to the museum’s Board of Advisors. More here.
Public Transportation Reroutes During NASCAR; Will The Race Make Air Worse; Private Security Converges; Earplugs Needed; And What Happens If A Car Crashes?
NBC 5 lists how the CTA will navigate around NASCAR roadblocks, and what will happen if a stock car crashes. “Heavier barriers are installed along the route as part of a safety plan for the race. The barriers are linked together to make them stronger, should a 3,600-pound vehicle slam into them. A catch fence also lines the course to keep debris inside the track. The 2.2-mile course will be ‘fully enclosed’ by that ‘specialized’ barrier and fence system, which is ‘widely used by street courses across the world,’ NASCAR said.” Ambulances have a way to get around: “Ambulances will be staged on NASCAR grounds near the 2.2-mile race course in case of a crash involving drivers or a medical emergency in the crowd. In an emergency, there are also specific plans to move street barricades, and the route to the hospital will be clearly communicated to NASCAR staff.” Plus, from NBC 5, the two things that NASCAR’s medical director will be watching out for: Tight turns and even higher temperatures in cars than ever.
Observers need ear protection, reports the Sun-Times. At least 900 private security figures will surround the race and its paid VIPs. Plus, “Chicago police will increase patrols Downtown and days off will be cancelled.” Block Club Chicago considers what the vroom and zoom will add to Chicago’s thick air: “Three days after Chicago’s air was temporarily rated the worst in the world, forty race cars will take to Downtown streets to race a combined 341 miles around Grant Park… Standard NASCAR racecars get around five miles per gallon… If each car completes 341 miles of racing… then nearly 2,800 gallons of fuel will be burned and emitted. Michael Wang, interim division director for energy systems and infrastructure analysis at Argonne National Laboratory, analyzed those calculations and determined this is the equivalent to the annual emissions of about five cars.” The one-time event “doesn’t compare to the emissions from over a million cars traveling throughout the city every day, Wang said.”
Airbnb “Collapse” Seen
“Times may be getting tough” for Airbnb “as new data from one analyst show rental dollars may be dropping in major cities, as the debate continues as to whether the U.S. consumer is running out of spending steam,” reports MarketWatch. A consultant tweeted a chart “from short-term rental data and analytics group AllTheRooms that showed revenue per available listing dropping by nearly fifty-percent in some top U.S. cities.” The consultant, Nick Gerli, added, “What’s scary for the U.S. Housing Market is just how many Airbnbs there are. Data from AllTheRooms shows one million Airbnb or VRBO rentals. Compared to only 570,000 homes for sale. Creates huge home price downside if struggling Airbnb owners elect to sell. Ground zero for this Airbnb collapse is a city like Phoenix. Where the number of short-term rentals (18,000) is more than DOUBLE the number of for sale listings (8,000).” A Twitter retort: “Airbnb has already ruined the rental market and negatively impacted the hotel business so why not trigger a housing market crash, too?”
CPS Process Set For Replacing Schools’ Racist Namesakes
“Five more Chicago public schools are getting new names, some of them to replace racist or problematic namesakes, as the school system unveiled a new process for more schools to be renamed in the future,” reports the Sun-Times.
Republicans Introduce Legislation For Federal Buildings To Follow Antiquarian Design
“Republicans in both the House and Senate introduced legislation to once again make classical architecture the preferred house style for federal buildings,” reports Bloomberg. “‘The Beautifying Federal Civil Architecture Act’ [sic] would restore [the former president’s] lame-duck vision for a ‘Council on Improving Federal Civic Architecture’ [sic]… The bill wouldn’t ban modernist designs outright, but it singles out a couple of disfavored late twentieth century styles, Brutalism and Deconstructivism, for extra-burdensome layers of red tape.”
DINING & DRINKING
Uncovering The Lost History Of The Music Box Lounge
“Music Box Lounge opened on December 28, 1977, in a location that had previously been a candy shop, a liquor store and another bar called the Music Box Tap,” reports Block Club. “The first ad for the bar, printed in the newspaper Gay Life (later Gay Chicago), proclaims, ‘Attention Ladies! A bar just for your lifestyle!’ … In recent years, manager Matt Kasin and bartender Sarah Hiatt… helped attract more queer staff and patrons to the space, not realizing they also were bringing Music Box Lounge back in touch with its roots as a lesbian bar with the same name. As sapphic-oriented spaces come back after years of decline, manager Kasin now has made it a mission to unearth and honor Music Box’s history as a thriving spot with women singers, drag shows, its own softball team and a charismatic wrestler-turned-owner and bartender named Rhonda Renee.”
WHO Expected To Name Aspartame Possible Carcinogen
“One of the world’s most common artificial sweeteners is set to be declared a possible carcinogen next month by a leading global health body,” reports Reuters, “pitting it against the food industry and regulators…. Aspartame, used in products from Coca-Cola diet sodas to Mars’ Extra chewing gum and some Snapple drinks, will be listed in July as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ for the first time by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Ragtag Cinema Seeks Cinema Programmer And Development Director
In Columbia, Missouri, the world-renowned True/False Film Fest and its home base, the Ragtag Cinema, “is in search of a new development champion! We’re looking for an enthusiastic fundraiser with an appreciation of the organization’s vision to increase awareness of the mission locally, regionally, and nationally. This position’s primary objective is to identify, cultivate, and secure private, public, and foundation funding in support of RFS programming and operations.” Listing here. Also: they’re looking for a cinema programmer: “With cinema as a focal point, Ragtag Film Society exists to captivate and engage communities in immersive arts experiences that explore assumptions and elicit shared joy, wonder, and introspection. Ragtag Cinema provides a platform for new films from established and emerging filmmakers both domestic and abroad, and showcases classics, cult, and the criminally under-seen. Across first-run and repertory, our programming strives to champion the bold, the weird, and the wonderful—to inspire connections, start conversations, and lovingly challenge audiences and ideas. We seek a programmer who embraces this wide-ranging approach along with the Ragtag Cinema programming values, aesthetic, and mission.”
New York Public Radio Faces $8 Million Deficit
“As its fiscal year comes to an end on June 30, New York Public Radio is facing an $8 million deficit, which is causing the parent company of news/talk combo WNYC-AM/FM (and classical station WQXR) to institute a hiring freeze and eliminate bonuses for the senior leadership team,” reports Inside Radio.
First Floor Theater Announces 2024 Season
First Floor Theater has announced its eleventh season, featuring a world premiere, a Chicago premiere and the continuation of The Blueprint Commission, FFT’s new-play development initiative. “First Floor Theater will continue to produce works that center on moments of personal revolution,” artistic producer Andrew Cutler says in a release. “We’re looking forward to sharing these plays that ask us to radically reimagine our relationships to important pillars of identity such as faith and work with our audience. We couldn’t be more thrilled to continue to present powerful, innovative theater to the people of Chicago, and continue to foster bold new voices in the American theater.”
NYC’s TKTS Turns Fifty
Hot Tix’s predecessor has some history: “Some 68.6 million tickets have been sold from the Times Square TKTS booth during its fifty years, with more than $2.6 billion going back to the shows,” reports AP.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Choose Chicago Sponsors Navy Pier Fireworks
Navy Pier will celebrate Independence Day with “Independence Weekend Fireworks Sponsored by Choose Chicago” at 9pm, Saturday, July 1. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to find a great viewing spot along the Pier. Featuring 10,000-plus pyrotechnic effects, more than a third of which are new to this year’s spectacle, the ten-minute fireworks show will be accompanied by renditions of patriotic music.
Factoring Fire Figures
“On Tuesday, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre reported 485 active fires burning across the country, of which 257 were out of control,” reports The New York Times. “As of June 7, blazes this year in Canada had already scorched more than 9.8 million acres of forest—more than ten times the acreage that had burned by around this time last year.” David Wallace-Wells, Times writer and author of “The Uninhabitable Earth,” posts, “Over the last ten years, wildfires in Quebec have burned an average of just over 8,000 hectares per year. This one fire complex is now at 1.5 million hectares.” The Sun-Times: “The cause of the problem lies in the Canadian wilderness, where 19.5 million acres—the equivalent of more than half of Illinois—is on fire and sending smoke spreading across the Midwest…The pollution we’re breathing is a toxic brew of microscopic contaminants caused by the fires. It’s known as ‘particulate matter 2.5,’ and it’s different from the high levels of ozone pollution we’re used to breathing.”
MacArthur Foundation Responds To Supreme Court Striking Down Affirmative Action In Higher Education
“Today’s Supreme Court opinion limiting the use of race as part of a holistic assessment for university admissions under the Fourteenth Amendment is a disappointing setback in the pursuit of a fair, just, and inclusive society,” writes the MacArthur Foundation. “We believe the Court’s decision risks impairing higher education’s purposes and vital societal roles. The Court’s legal conclusions cannot obscure the demonstrable benefits of diverse classrooms to student learning and to the preparation of leaders, innovators, and civic participants who build bridges across this multiracial, multiethnic nation. Study after study has shown the benefits of diversity across industries, intellectual fields, public and private organizations, and the work force. Affirmative action has played a crucial role in leveling the playing field for underrepresented groups.”
“While the decision addressing the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment does not directly affect the legal framework governing most grantmaking and investment activities of foundations, the rationale for the decision could have implications that will need to be better understood and may have a chilling effect on some organizations or embolden attacks against them. The MacArthur Foundation will not be deterred from continuing our mission of building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world through… our Just Imperative which charges us to lead with a commitment to justice. More work lies ahead. We will continue to fight for policies that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our society.”
Governor Pritzker Reacts To Ruling
“The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Affirmative Action is a travesty—reversing nearly forty-five years of precedent that advances equity throughout our country’s higher education institutions,” writes Governor Pritzker in a release. “The damage caused to Black communities by slavery and Jim Crow Laws, to Hispanics and Native Americans by a legacy of discrimination and oppression has not nearly been reversed. For centuries, students from historically underrepresented and underserved communities were locked out of higher education—preventing upward mobility and stunting economic development for generations to come. Affirmative action admissions practices were a critical step towards creating educational environments that are representative of our diverse nation, while righting the wrongs of our past. This decision only sets us back.”
“But here in the Land of Lincoln and Obama, we will continue to uplift our students of color—promoting inclusion and expanding access through record levels of funding for higher education institutions and our MAP Grant Program, so that every student has the opportunity to earn a degree. To students of color throughout the Land of Lincoln and the entire United States: You belong in our institutions. And no archaic ruling will ever change that.”
FTC Prepares To Rule Against Amazon’s Core Business
The Federal Trade Commission “has already filed three cases against Amazon.com Inc. Now [it’s] gearing up for the Big One,” reports Bloomberg. “In the coming weeks, the agency plans to file a far-reaching antitrust suit focused on Amazon’s core online marketplace… The main allegation is expected to be that Amazon leverages its power to reward online merchants that use its logistics services and punish those who don’t.” Adds Ars Technica, “Third-party sellers can rely on Amazon for warehousing, shipping, and other services through the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) system, but it takes a big cut out of their revenue.” A recent study found that “Amazon is pocketing more than fifty percent of sellers’ revenue—up from forty percent five years ago,” because “Amazon has increased fulfillment fees and made spending on advertising unavoidable.”
UPS Strike Possible; Reports Pit Workers Against “Consumers”
“Members of the Teamsters union have voted to authorize a strike, and the contract expires July 31 at midnight. If around 350,000 Teamsters decide to withhold their labor, it will be the largest strike against a single company in U.S. history. Workers have sounded the alarm about abysmal conditions: a two-tier system created by the 22.4 job classification, excessive overtime, lack of full-time jobs, flimsy job security, poor pay, and harassment on the part of the employer,” writes media analyst Adam Johnson.
Johnson worries that the media pit the concerns of the worker against “consumers.” “Rather than showing how UPS Teamsters exercising this leverage can benefit workers across the board, we are only given the downsides of strikes and how they affect us—not as constituent members of a class with class interests—but as ‘consumers’ whose moral utility is reduced entirely to our ability to buy and sell goods and services.”
Airfare Consumer Protections Expected To Be Rolled Back
“The airline industry is using a must-pass bill to decouple government taxes, fees, and other surcharges from prices listed on airfare advertisements,” reports the American Prospect. “What’s being proposed would be the equivalent of gas stations decoupling taxes and fees from the total listed at the gas pump. Imagine filling up your tank and the total listed on the pump comes to $56, but when you pay, the receipt is actually closer to $70.”
Florida School Legislates Against Animal Costumes, Or, Clothing With “Non-Human Characteristics”
More “cultural” backlash to trends that doesn’t exist: “In Broward County, Florida, public school students are officially banned from wearing cat ears, tails, or any animal or animal-adjacent paraphernalia—part of a wider moral panic over furries spurred by the far right,” summarizes Rolling Stone writer Ej Dickson. “As a mom of two young kids, I have seen little kids wear sparkly pink cat ears to school many, MANY times. It has absolutely nothing to do with furry culture and everything to do with… six-year-olds loving kitty cats.” Florida Today: A stipulation “was added after a student survey raised concerns about ‘furries,’ … students who wear clothing or accessories to mimic animals… The policy in its final form does not specifically say what it means by ‘non-human characteristics.'”
Costco Clamps Down On Membership Sharing
Wholesale retailer Costco “will require identification at all registers, including self-checkout lanes, eliminating a popular shopping secret,” reports the New York Times.
Overstock Goes Bed, Bath & Beyond
“The online retailer is renaming its website and its mobile app after buying the intellectual property of the bankrupt home-goods store,” reports The New York Times. Overstock paid $21.5 million to acquire the bankrupt retailer’s intellectual property… The change will roll out in Canada in early July. Starting in August, about a month after the final Bed Bath & Beyond stores in the United States close, customers in the country who visit overstock.com will be redirected to bedbathandbeyond.com.”
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