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House Prices Boom In Chicago
“Home prices grew faster in the Chicago area then in any other major U.S. metro (and the nation overall). As recently as a year ago, we trailed most other major metros,” posts Crain’s Dennis Rodkin.
It’ll Take $66 Million To Get Brookfield Zoo Primates Outside
A $66 million project at Brookfield Zoo “will give gorillas, orangutans and several species of South American monkeys a lush outdoor complex on the north side of Tropic World,” reports the Daily Herald. “The new primate spaces will be filled with grasses, vines, running water and abundant sunshine. The zoo also plans to add a group of bachelor gorillas.”
Judge Says Evanston Residents Have Right To Discuss Northwestern’s $800-Million Stadium
“A judge Tuesday rejected a request by the city of Evanston to prevent a local committee from discussing Northwestern University’s proposed construction of a new football stadium,” reports the Tribune. “The issue arose as Northwestern has become embroiled in a hazing scandal alleging abuses in its football and other athletic programs. Opponents have called for the school to postpone its plans for the new stadium while it addresses the controversy.”
DINING & DRINKING
The Skylark Yours For $1.6 Million
”The owners of Skylark have put the building up for sale, but they have no plans to close the popular dive bar,” reports Block Club. “The building at 2149 South Halsted is home to Skylark, along with two top-floor apartments and a basement. It’s listed for $1.6 million… Skylark co-owner Bob McHale confirmed the business is for sale, saying it’s time for him and his co-owners to retire. McHale said he’s working to ‘steer’ a sale to a few current Skylark employees who are interested in taking over the property.” The Skylark opened in 2003.
Nico Osteria Closes After A Decade
“In 2013, One Off Hospitality Group opened Nico, bringing a big name to the Gold Coast,” reports Eater Chicago. “One Off departed Nico Osteria in 2018, leaving the Thompson in charge of the dining room. Erling Wu-Bower earned three Beard nominations for best chef, Great Lakes while working at the Gold Coast restaurant. Though five years removed from the space, One Off co-founder Donnie Madia reflected on what his team accomplished, saying that they ‘loved Nico immensely’ and were ‘incredibly grateful for the time we spent on Rush Street.'” As reported earlier, Phil Stefani plans to open a new restaurant in the space, which is across from the former Tavern On Rush; it’s been teased the new spot could be called… Tavern On Rush.
Disco Bar “Good Night John Boy” Opens In Fulton Market
“Good Night John Boy, a new concept by Forward Hospitality Group, aims to transport guests to the era of disco with a LED-lit dance floor and vintage decor when it opens Thursday,” reports Block Club. The club, “next to and above J.P. Graziano, will exclusively play seventies, eighties and disco music with the goal to get people up and moving, said Dante Deiana, chief marketing officer of Forward Hospitality.”
Lawsuit: Boston Market Owes Rosemont-Based US Foods $11 Million
“US Foods is suing Boston Market, alleging the restaurant chain owes it more than $11 million for produce and other food,” reports Crain’s. “Rosemont-based US Foods distributes food to restaurants, schools and hospitals… The lawsuit, filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, said Boston Market has been buying from US Foods ‘for many years’ but began to ‘fall significantly behind’ on its payments in 2022.”
“Give Kids Free Lunch”
“Consider the remarkable concept of ‘lunch debt,’ with which a student is burdened when their parents haven’t been able to put enough money into their school account,” writes Paul Waldman at the Washington Post. “When they get to the front of the line in the cafeteria, they might be told that because of their debt, they can have only a jelly sandwich… In some cases, kids have been forced to wear stamps or wristbands so staff (and their peers) know who they are.” Or? “We could just give every kid lunch. And breakfast too, for those who want it. Imagine: Children just walking into the cafeteria and getting fed. No accounts that parents have to keep up, no time spent assessing families’ incomes or processing payments or running down parents who haven’t paid—no ‘lunch shaming’—none of that. Kids just eat.”
Michigan is the seventh state to offer free meals for every public school student, joining California, Colorado, Minnesota, Maine, New Mexico and Vermont. “Those are all blue states, and this is certainly something liberals are inclined to favor, because it involves a kind of nurturing-through-benefits that liberals love. But it also serves to advance a broader goal that liberals ought to pay more attention to: making government simultaneously more ambitious and simpler.” (Orange County, Florida, has announced it will offer free breakfast and lunch to all students starting in September.)
Inside Starbucks’ War On Unions
“The corporate dirty war… at newly unionized Starbucks cafes across the country draws a sobering picture of employee rights casually crushed and labor laws too weak to help,” writes Megan K. Stack at the New York Times. “Starbucks continues to fight and appeal the many labor complaints pending against it and maintains that the company has done nothing wrong. But these professions of innocence are countered by piles of testimony from workers and National Labor Relations Board findings suggesting that Starbucks has indeed illegally repressed employees’ rights. The company has so far racked up a staggering number of complaints from the agency. In a hundred cases, many of which consolidate a number of incidents, regional NLRB offices have decided there is sufficient evidence to pursue litigation against Starbucks [including] a nationwide complaint, consolidating thirty-two charges across twenty-eight states, alleging that Starbucks failed or refused to bargain with union representatives from 163 cafes… The coffee workers’ struggle illuminates the stark and sometimes insurmountable challenges confronted by ordinary American workers who try to exercise their right to organize.”
Tacombi’s First Chicago Location In Fulton Market
Mexican eatery Tacombi opens its first taqueria in Chicago today at 126 North Peoria in Fulton Market. It joins seventeen locations across New York, Miami and Washington, D.C. The taqueria spans 3,800 square feet of space, with a retractable garage door that will be open during summer months for al fresco dining.
FILM & TELEVISION
Chicago Filmmakers Celebrates Golden Anniversary
Chicago Filmmakers, known for producing Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival and Onion City Experimental Film Festival, begins its fiftieth anniversary with a kick-off event at Le Piano, Saturday, September 9. “We’ll be honoring those who have served the Chicago film community with distinction. The honorees include Sharon Zurek, Christine Dudley, Joe Chappelle, and Colleen Griffen, whose generous contributions and passion for building community have [helped build] the Chicago film scene.” Tickets and more here.
Rabkin Foundation Awards Visual Art Journos
The Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation has awarded Rabkin Prizes of $50,000 each to nine visual art journalists: Annette LePique (Chicago); Maximilíano Durón (New York); Erin Joyce (Arizona); Eileen G’Sell (St. Louis); Jori Finkel (Los Angeles); Harmony Holiday (Los Angeles) Darla Migan (New York); Rebecca Solnit (San Francisco); Jillian Steinhauer (New York). LePique, program manager for the Midwest Modern Language Association, is a freelance arts writer and staff editor at Sixty Inches From Center who has written for Newcity, ArtReview, the Reader, New Art Examiner and Stillpoint. More here.
Intonation Leaving Studio 47 At Taylor Park
“Intonation will be vacating our classroom and studio space at Taylor Park, referred to as Studio 47, at the end of July,” the group relays. “Studio 47 has been a home for our students and staff… renovated and maintained as a practice space, classroom, production and recording studio, and gathering place for the organization for over a decade.” Intonation is moving because the entire park facility has been identified as a shelter and respite center for migrant families. All program partners and staff have been asked to relocate by August 1. Intonation is canceling its final session of Summer Camp, but will be able to continue using Kennicott Park as its administrative office, as well as for Saturday Band programs. Intonation is looking for a new home “as the amount of time that Taylor Park will be used for this purpose is unclear.” More Intonation here.
About Face Sets Season
About Face Theatre has announced its twenty-ninth season. “Dedicated to advancing LGBTQ+ equity through community building, education, and performance, About Face will present two regional premiere productions as well as the return of its popular workshop reading series Re/Generation Studio and touring performances and workshops.” About Face’s season begins in October with Re/Generation Studio, a free three-week reading workshop series charting the future of LGBTQ+ theater. The season will continue in 2024 with the Midwest premiere of “The Brightest Thing in the World” by Leah Nanako Winkler, directed by AFT artistic associate Keira Fromm. The season concludes with the Midwest premiere of “Lavender Men,” by Roger Q. Mason, directed by Lucky Stiff, starting in May 2024. About Face will also offer “customized touring workshops and performances throughout Chicagoland designed to increase a sense of belonging, invite brave dialogue, and move individuals and groups toward equity and action.” More here.
World Premieres Mark South Chicago Dance Theatre Seventh Season
The seventh season of South Chicago Dance Theatre, the “Chicago-centric, multicultural organization that fuses classical and contemporary dance styles,” will be involved in three high-profile dance festivals here, culminating next spring with its own program of world premiere works. The company makes its South American debut with performances in Bogotá in October, an outcome of the company’s Choreographic Diplomacy program launched in 2018 and including the presentation of new work with artists in Seoul, South Korea and Arnhem, Netherlands as well as Colombia.
In December, the company undertakes a major choreographic collaboration with Chicago Opera Theater for the Chicago premiere of Shostakovich’s “The Nose,” in two performances at Harris Theater, working alongside director Francesca Zambello (Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “West Side Story”). South Chicago Dance Theatre returns to the Auditorium Theatre in April 2024 for its annual “home season” concert, presenting an all-World Premiere program of five pieces commissioned by top contemporary choreographers: Donald Byrd, Joshua Blake Carter, Monique Haley, Tsai Hsi Hung, and Terence Marling, alongside a new title by Kia Smith. More here.
NAATC’s Big Plans For Indianapolis
“The first Equity house run by and for Black artists in Indianapolis, Naptown African American Theatre Collective, has made ambitious plans and lined up the support to realize them,” relays American Theatre.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
House Republicans Move To Defund Smithsonian Latino History Museum
“The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved an interior and environment funding bill that bans the federal government from spending any taxpayer money on the National Museum of the American Latino, part of the Smithsonian Institution, which was approved by Congress in 2020,” reports the Hill.
Huge Native Sturgeon Return To Illinois Lakes
“Illinois fisheries are working to bring more sturgeon back to state lakes. The Jake Wolf Memorial hatchery is located south of Peoria, Illinois. They say that over 10,000 lake sturgeon hatchlings arrived in July from Neosho National Hatchery in Missouri,” reports WMBD Peoria. “They are working with federal and state partners to raise these ‘living dinosaurs’ that can grow to be eight feet long and over 200 pounds. The fish are native to the state but are now a rare sight because of overfishing and habitat loss. The species was on the brink of extinction… The hatcheries plan [to release] them back into Illinois waters… this year.”
Teamsters Receive Tentative Contract Deal From UPS
“UPS and the Teamsters have reached a tentative deal on a new contract. That could potentially avoid a strike, which could have started as soon as next week and crippled U.S. supply chains,” reports CNN. “‘UPS has put $30 billion in new money on the table as a direct result of these negotiations,’ said Teamsters President Sean O’Brien… ‘We’ve changed the game, battling it out day and night to make sure our members won an agreement that pays strong wages, rewards their labor, and doesn’t require a single concession. This contract sets a new standard in the labor movement and raises the bar for all workers.'” The Teamsters’ celebratory thread is here. The full Teamster release is here.
Local Unions Pledge Not To Strike During Democratic Convention
“Major Chicago unions [signed] a ‘Labor Peace Agreement’… at McCormick Place, promising not to strike during the Democratic National Convention next year in Chicago,” reports Lynn Sweet at the Sun-Times.
Low-Level Radioactive Tritium Released By Xcel Energy Moving Toward Mississippi River
“Groundwater containing low levels of radioactive material may have reached the edge of the Mississippi River,” Xcel Energy says of “the leak from its nuclear power plant in Monticello, Minnesota,” reports AP. “Tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, has not been detected in the river water itself, Xcel Energy said.”
Florida Revises Curriculum On Slavery
“Florida’s standards seek to contextualize American slavery as something other than what it was: a unique historical crime, perpetuated over two-plus centuries,” writes Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post. Florida governor DeSantis won’t take direct credit, but says he favors the changes: “They’re probably going to show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life.” Robinson: “To pretend my [great-great-grandfather] was done some sort of favor by being taught a trade ignores the reality of race-based, chattel slavery as practiced in the United States. He was sold like a piece of livestock at least twice that I know of. To say he ‘developed skills,’ as if he had signed up for some sort of apprenticeship program, is appallingly ahistorical. As was true for the millions of other enslaved African Americans, anything he achieved was in spite of his bondage.”
Writes historian Heather Cox Richardson, “This information lies by omission and lack of context. The idea of Black Americans who ‘developed skills’ thanks to enslavement, for example, erases at the most basic level that the history of cattle farming, river navigation, rice and indigo cultivation, southern architecture, music, and so on in this country depended on the skills and traditions of African people… This curriculum presents human enslavement as simply one of a number of labor systems, a system that does not, in this telling, involve racism or violence. Indeed, racism is presented only as ‘the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping on individual freedoms.’ This is the language of right-wing protesters who say acknowledging white violence against others hurts their children, and racial violence is presented here as coming from both Black and white Americans, a trope straight out of accounts of white supremacists during Reconstruction.”
Texas A&M Takes Out Academic Who Criticized Lieutenant Governor In Class
“Texas A&M suspended respected opioids expert accused of criticizing Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick in a lecture. The complaint began with Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, whose daughter attended the lecture,” reports the Texas Tribune. “The professor, an expert on the opioids crisis, was placed on paid administrative leave and investigated, raising questions about the extent of political interference in higher education, particularly in health-related matters.”
Chancellor John Sharp, who “holds the highest-ranking position in the Texas A&M University System, which includes eleven public universities and 153,000 students [communicated] directly with the lieutenant governor’s office about the incident… Sharp sent a text directly to the lieutenant governor: ‘Joy Alonzo has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation re firing her. shud [sic] be finished by end of week.'”
Buckingham served six years in the Texas Senate with Patrick, who endorsed her run for land commissioner last year, and she recently attended Sharp’s wedding in May… UTMB students interviewed by the Tribune recalled a vague reference to Patrick’s office but nothing specific.” In other Dan Patrick developments, Patrick will preside over the impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton; a pro-Paxton PAC just donated $3 million to Patrick.
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