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Detroit MOCAD Building Will Close For Over Six Months
“The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit will temporarily close its building for a $10 million renovation project next year, but it won’t be going dark,” reports Crain’s Detroit Business.
New Yorker Profiles Mega-Gallery Owner Larry Gagosian
Art dealer Larry “Gagosian maintains his influence by attending to the discreet status anxiety of the buyer who already has everything,” writes Patrick Radden Keefe at the New Yorker, in a 20,000-plus-word profile of the seventy-eight-year-old mega-gallerist. “Aaron Richard Golub, an attorney who represents galleries and wealthy collectors—and who has litigated against Gagosian on numerous occasions—told me, ‘People in the art world are incredibly insecure. The richest guy walks into the room. He wants a certain painting, but he can’t get it. Immediately, he’s insecure. That really is part of what Larry does. He exploits that.'”
Emmett Till Monument For Chicago; Renovations On Home Begun
President Biden will sign a proclamation today to create the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument across three sites in Illinois and Mississippi, reports WTTW, including Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Bronzeville. Renovations have begun on the Emmett Till home.
American Public Pools Drying Up
“Public pools have played a critical role in American culture over the past century. But as climate change and extreme heat worsen, they are taking on an urgent public health role,” reports CNN. “Just as public pools become more important than ever, they’re disappearing… Pools have become harder to find for Americans who lack a pool in their backyard, can’t afford a country club, or don’t have a local YMCA. A legacy of segregation, the privatization of pools, and starved public recreation budgets have led to the decline of public places to swim in many cities. ‘If the public pool isn’t available and open, you don’t swim.'”
The Way Of Data: “I Warned You In 1984,” Says James Cameron
Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro puts it simply: “Unregulated AI. Unchecked. [Unreined] and underestimated by anything but greed could be the last chess move we make before we checkmate ourselves out.” He’s responding to filmmaker and futurist James Cameron in an interview with CTV News: “I warned you guys in 1984, and you didn’t listen… Weaponization of AI is the biggest danger. I think that we will get into the equivalent of a nuclear arms race with AI, and if we don’t build it, the other guys are for sure going to build it, and so then it’ll escalate. You could imagine an AI in a combat theater, the whole thing just being fought by the computers at a speed humans can no longer intercede, and you have no ability to de-escalate, and when you’re dealing with the potential of it escalating to nuclear warfare, de-escalation is the name of the game, and having that pause that timeout, but will they do that? The AIs will not.”
Sears Hoffman Estates HQ To Become Data Center
“A data center project on the Sears campus would represent another major step in the reshaping of office parks and corporate headquarters across suburban Chicago,” reports Crain’s. “Dallas-based Compass Datacenters has signed a contract to buy the massive property near the Northwest Tollway, the department store chain’s headquarters for more than three decades.”
LG Introduces Subscription Fees To Operate Its Appliances
“Korean tech giant LG is transforming from a hardware-oriented business to a platform-based service model that continuously generates profits. That means ads and upselling owners on services and features,” reports the Verge. “LG’s new growth strategy will introduce a ‘platform-based service business model that continuously generates profits, such as content and services, subscriptions and solutions’ across its product lines.”
DINING & DRINKING
Boka Group Turns Twenty
At Understanding Hospitality, Grimod provides a monograph-length critical look at Boka after twenty years (about 24,000 words with many photos).
Bittersweet Pastry Renovates Space And Opens New Locale At Thirty
Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Café, in Lakeview since 1992, is unveiling a renovated space with new offerings. The renovation by SK Design Group includes a pastry case with a more curated selection of Bittersweet’s classic desserts and cakes. “Chef Castillo has also been perfecting the shop’s viennoiserie program featuring almond croissants and seasonal fruit Danish pastries made with local butter from pastured cows. Additional banquet and counter seating in the shop allows for more guests to enjoy Chef Castillo’s café menu, featuring local produce, eggs and proteins. Menu highlights include a farm-egg breakfast sandwich served on a house made croissant, quiche Provençal, avocado toast and a perennial favorite–grilled ham, caramelized onion and fig jam on Publican Quality 1979 multigrain. “We have to be creative with the menu since our café kitchen is so tiny,” said Chef Castillo. Bittersweet, 1114 West Belmont, Tuesday–Saturday, 8am–4pm. More here.
Food & Wine Profiles Theaster Gates’ Retreat At Currency Exchange
“Artist Theaster Gates’ café and culinary incubator, located in Chicago’s Washington Park neighborhood, launches careers and changes lives,” Food & Wine wrote, catching up a few weeks ago. “I don’t think of myself as a restaurateur. I’m an enabler. I’m a platform-maker,” Gates tells the magazine. “In this case, it’s an opportunity to do what Rebuild does in general, which is to celebrate the local. Invite everybody in, and then through that period of incubation, people will be better than they were before they came. That’s my hope.”
North Branch Fried Chicken Lasted Three Years
“North Branch Fried Chicken is closing this week after a three-year run,” reports Block Club. “The Gladstone Park restaurant at 5481 North Northwest Highway will close Friday.” The location, high utilities and lack of a liquor license were factors.
Lucky Thirteen New Eateries Near Lincoln Square
Restaurants are opening in Lincoln Square, North Center, Ravenswood, Irving Park and Albany Park, tallies Block Club. Their look-sees: Lincoln Square’s got Sojourn; City Skyline; Teacago; Hello Jasmine. North Center: T Square Cafe; Apero. Ravenswood: Pita Express; Teddy’s Ice Cream; Paradise Port Cafe. Irving Park: Katherine Anne Confections. Albany Park: Niko’s Bakery; Helmand Chicago; Maman Zari.
How The Farm Bill Makes Healthy Food Expensive
“Most Americans have never heard of this massive omnibus bill, which Congress reauthorizes every five or so years, yet it [affects] us every day,” reports Fortune in a blunt broadside. “It shapes our food system–from subsidizing factory farms to funding food and nutrition programs, and it is why burgers are artificially cheap and salads cost more than they should. How did this happen? Farm Bill policies have been hijacked, resulting in the demise of family farms, the proliferation of food that makes us sick, and widespread ecological destruction… Farm Bill programs should be revised to incentivize fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods and to make them more accessible and affordable.”
Anchor Brewery Workers Want To Buy Company Instead Of Letting Sapporo Shut It Down
“Unionized workers at Anchor Brewing Company, the oldest craft brewer in the United States, want to buy the 127-year-old company and run it as a co-op to save it from shutting down… About thirty-nine unionized workers, who represent two-thirds of the brewery’s employees, agreed to pursue a bid to run it as a co-op,” reports the New York Times. A spokesman for Sapporo: “We remain hopeful that Anchor will be purchased and continue on into the future, but it will be in the hands of the liquidator to make that decision and is dependent on what is offered by potential purchasers.” VinePair chronicles how Sapporo USA “Sank Anchor Brewing Co.”
Shell Of California’s Longest-Running Newspaper Made It 155 Years
“More than 150 years of history ended on Friday when the Santa Barbara News-Press declared bankruptcy” for liquidation, reports the Santa Barbara Independent. “The online edition that day was the last news Santa Barbara will receive from the newspaper, founded as the weekly Santa Barbara Post in 1868, once the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in 1962 for its editorials outing the John Birch Society, and owned by the New York Times before being bought by onetime billionaire Wendy McCaw in 2000 for a reported $110 million.” Managing editor Dave Mason emailed staff: “I have some bad news. Wendy filed for bankruptcy on Friday. All of our jobs are eliminated, and the News-Press has stopped publishing. They ran out of money to pay us. They will issue final paychecks when the bankruptcy is approved in court.”
The Cure Cut Ticket Cost And Still Had Highest-Grossing Tour
“The Shows of a Lost World Tour” set career highs for The Cure, “even after fighting to keep ticket prices low,” tunes Billboard. “After playing its final show earlier this month, the tour grossed $37.5 million and sold 547,000 tickets over thirty-five shows in the U.S. and Canada.”
Smoking Popes Note Thirty
To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of their debut LP, “Get Fired,” Smoking Popes will release a twelve-inch LP vinyl reissue with expanded liner notes and outtakes from the cover photo shoot along with other memorabilia. They will tour several cities in the Midwest starting August 19. More here.
England’s Royal Opera House Set For Strike
“The Royal Opera’s orchestra members have voted in favor of potential strike action,” reports Opera Wire. The decision was made owing to orchestra salaries. Members are asking for “salaries to return to pre-COVID level… Following the pandemic, the orchestra argues that other orchestras have already returned to pre-COVID levels and that the ten-percent pay cut that the players took in the ROH orchestra remains in force.”
Sarah Siddons Sets “Swell Soirée”
The Sarah Siddons Society has announced the Swell Soirée, an evening of cabaret celebrating The Great American Songbook. Chicago’s most talented cabaret performers are joined by musical theater students and graduates from universities supported by Sarah Siddons scholarships for a showcase of stunning solos and duets. The line-up includes Cynthia Clarey, Joan Curto, Carla Gordon, Rob Lindley and Robert Sims. Piano Forté, 1335 South Michigan, Wednesday, August 16, 6pm. $55 non-members, $15 students, $195 performance and dinner. Tickets here.
Calculating The Regional Theater Emergency
“Interviews with seventy-two top-tier regional theaters located outside New York City reveal that they expect, in aggregate, to produce twenty-percent fewer productions next season than they did in the last full season before the pandemic, which shuttered theaters across the country, in many cases for eighteen months or more. And many of the shows that they are programming will have shorter runs, smaller casts and simpler sets,” writes New York Times theater reporter Michael Paulson in an extended canvass. “Costs are up, the government assistance that kept many theaters afloat at the height of the pandemic has mostly been spent, and audiences are smaller than they were before the pandemic, a byproduct of shifting lifestyles (less commuting, more streaming), some concern about the downtown neighborhoods in which many large nonprofit theaters are situated (worries about public safety), and broken habits (many former patrons, particularly older people, have not returned).”
“The pandemic exacerbated many trends that had long challenged nonprofit theaters, including the steady erosions of subscribers—the loyal audience members who sign up in advance to see most or all of a season’s shows… Even as they cut staff positions and hire fewer actors and freelance artists, many theaters are awash in red ink after running through the government aid that helped sustain them during the height of the pandemic.”
Lyric Opera’s Opera In The Neighborhoods
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Opera in the Neighborhoods program will again bring a live performance tour to school and neighborhood venues throughout the Chicago area this fall. “Jason and the Argonauts,” an opera for young people, composed by Gregory Spears with a libretto by Kathryn Walat, will begin performances for students in October. The run will culminate with two public performances at Chicago’s Vittum Theater on Saturday, October 21. Tickets ($10 youth, $20 adult) will go on sale today, Tuesday, July 25. More here.
American Theatre On “What We’re Losing, What Comes Next”
“The U.S. is decidedly neither in a recession nor a war. So why has our theater field contracted so precipitously in the past few months, with casualties recorded at every kind of theatre—children’s companies, experimental storefronts, LORT powerhouses, midsize performing arts centers, destination theaters—while at the same time many theaters, and not just on Broadway, continue to post encouraging box-office numbers and seem to be carrying on more or less as before? Is it all down to the rocky recovery of live audiences after COVID closures? To programming that audiences are rejecting or indifferent to? To inherent problems in the nonprofit business model, or faulty management practices? To drops in donated income from governments, foundations, corporations, and individual donors?,” asks American Theatre. Their comprehensive list of closures since March 2020 is at the end of the piece.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Northern Trust Firing At Least 900; BMO Chicago Now Top Bank
There have been no public pronouncements, reports Crain’s, “but Northern Trust so far this year is eliminating more jobs than it has in any single year in recent memory. Chicago’s largest locally headquartered bank is in the middle of cutting 900 jobs, about four-percent of its global workforce.” Tallies Crain’s, “BMO Bank rises above Northern Trust on this year’s list of Chicago’s Largest Banks, taking the No. 1 spot with $177 billion in assets, a six-percent increase from 2021 to 2022. Northern Trust, which has held Crain’s number one spot for the last three years, fell to number two with $154.5 billion in assets, a sixteen-percent plunge.”
Wall Street Journal Calls Early Bird Nation
“Dinner parties at 5pm? More consumers of all ages are sliding activities back,” essays the Wall Street Journal. “Matinees instead of late-night screenings. Even Broadway has moved up curtain times. It’s a good time for early birds. Night owls wonder where the action is.”
Trib Columnist Calls For Rahm To Spice Biden Campaign
“When President Biden moved to anoint Emanuel as an ambassador, there was furious blowback from Democratic Party progressives. They revile him for his centrist ways and mayoral track record,” writes Laura Washington at the Chicago Tribune. “Biden could certainly use a ‘[Rahmbo]’ back home. His reelection campaign needs political oomph. Biden’s poll numbers are mired in the pathetic range, especially for a sitting president gearing up for a tough reelection campaign. He could use a master money raiser and keen strategist. Few operatives possess better credentials. Emanuel was a key operative in the 1992 election of Bill Clinton; he was a mega-player in Congress, where he represented Illinois’ 5th Congressional District; he was credited with bringing about the Democrats’ 2006 midterm victories.”
Berlin Ups Arts
“The German capital’s annual funding for culture has been increased to $1.053 billion for 2024 with the aim of reaching around $1.1 billion by the end of 2025,” posts the German Embassy London.
A Call To Preserve Small Neighborhood Arts Groups
“When we lose small arts and culture organizations, theaters and music venues, we lose community assets. We lose platforms for local voices,” writes Ellen Placey Wadey, director of the Chicago Artistic Vitality and Collections program at the Donnelley Foundation, via the Sun-Times. Small arts organizations are an “integral part of [neighborhood] fabric. On the practical side, they drive traffic to these other community assets. Because most performances are offered at night and on the weekends, they help keep neighborhood streets active and safer. They offer incredible in-school and after-school programs to cultivate children’s critical thinking. They employ thousands of workers. Equally important, they incubate the talent that feeds the [culture].”
The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation funds “180 small arts organizations in Chicago and work closely with small arts leaders on organizational management and capacity-building because we understand that without small arts organizations, the rest of Chicago’s cultural life doesn’t just diminish, it collapses. Small arts leaders are continually doing the hard work of making a dollar stretch farther than you can imagine. But they can’t do it alone. Cultural and civic leaders need to lean in during this moment.”
Indictment.FYI Lights Up
Chicago journalistic innovator Dan Sinker capably chronicled updates of multiple impeachments of the former president in newsletter form, and he’s doing it again with the Trump indictments, which appear ready to bloom this week like mold in a swamp. Sample or subscribe here.
Dallas Arts Leaders Seek Significant Support From City
Upkeep’s been neglected in Dallas arts, reports KERA News. “Six cultural centers are fully funded and managed by the city… Those groups have an annual maintenance budget, repairs needed far exceed that budget… It’s not just the city-managed cultural centers that need help. The city owns other facilities such as the Sammons Center for the Arts and AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Winspear Opera House and Wyly Theatre.” For instance, “the Sammons Center, which is used by over a hundred small and medium-size arts organizations, needs to replace almost all of its windows. That work, in addition to other maintenance like masonry repairs, is expected to cost about $2.6 million.”
Tribune Front-Pages Potential For Illinois CO2 Catastrophe
The Midwest is considering “the health and safety issues raised by proposals to build massive new carbon dioxide pipeline projects,” reports the Trib, “including Omaha-based Navigator CO2’s 1,350-mile network spanning Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota… Environmentalists and landowners… say a new generation of massive, climate-oriented CO2 pipeline projects such as [this one] should be put on hold until government officials can address ‘alarming’ gaps in health and safety regulations… There is no state or federal limit on how close pipelines carrying a potentially suffocating gas can be placed to a home, school or hospital… There is no requirement that pipeline companies use a specific method to map potential accident hazard zones, although one standard approach—which failed in Mississippi—doesn’t take complex topography into account.” (“If and when that pipeline ruptures, it would suffocate all of us.”)
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