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Mayor Approves Transfer Tax On Million-Dollar-Plus Properties
Mayor Johnson has approved an increase in real estate transfer tax on luxury home sales “to generate $100 million annually to address homelessness,” reports the Sun-Times. A compromise “cuts transfer tax rate for properties sold under $1 million, progressively raises it for sales above $1 million.” The proposal will next need to win approval from City Council and Chicago voters to take effect.
Miami Buyer Has St. Adalbert’s Under Contract
“St. Adalbert Catholic Church—the century-old neighborhood icon that dominates the Pilsen skyline and has lately been battled over—might get resurrected by a Miami-based company as an events space, if the community will have it,” reports the Sun-Times. Anew Holding LLC has “the building under contract and plans to turn it into a ‘venue for weddings, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, corporate events’ in the style of Temple House, a converted synagogue in Miami.” Mary Wisniewski’s recent Newcity story on the reuse of Chicago’s historic churches is here.
What To Do If Your Apartment’s Too Hot In The Heat
“Chicago has laws for landlords to keep all apartments warm during the winter but does not have a similar blanket rule to keep them cool during the summer,” advises the Sun-Times, reviewing what rules there are, adding: “Stay hydrated—drink lots of water and avoid alcohol, caffeine, soda; stay inside, and if you do not have air conditioning, keep shades drawn and blinds closed but windows slightly open; keep electric lights off or turned down; minimize use of oven and stove; wear loose, light, cotton clothing; take cool baths and showers; do not leave anyone (including pets) in a parked car—even for a few minutes.” The Tribune writes that ambulances have been added in anticipation of issues and “about 130 million people across twenty-two states, from Minneapolis to New Orleans, are now under heat alerts and excessive heat warnings.”
Zara Founder Forks Over $232 Million For West Loop Apartment Tower
“The real estate arm of Spanish billionaire Amancio Ortega has paid nearly $232 million for a West Loop apartment tower, the highest price paid for a downtown apartment building since before the pandemic,” tallies Crain’s. “A venture of Miami-based property investment firm Ponte Gadea USA this month bought the forty-five-story apartment building at 727 West Madison… The company bought the 492-unit tower overlooking the Kennedy Expressway from its developers, a joint venture of Los Angeles-based Ares Management and Skokie-based F&F Realty, which completed the building in 2019.”
City Makes Promises On Prospective Damen Silos Demolition
“The city is trying to assure residents that plenty of safeguards will be in place if the owner of the Damen Silos wins approval to demolish the massive structures,” reports the Sun-Times. “City officials promised residents Tuesday that the planned demolition of the massive century-old grain storage structures known as the Damen Silos on the Southwest Side would be done with safeguards aimed at avoiding environmental hazards.”
“Where Does Decay Come From” In Chicago Buildings?
For Syllabus, a web publication “that invites readers to participate in some aspect of each featured work,” Soren Spicknall wrote “about the roots of building neglect in Chicago and outlined how to diagnose the recent history of a structure you see in front of you.”
Etsy Purveyors Prep Trump Mugshot Merch
“A booking photo of Trump would instantly become one of the most famous photos in the world, and it’ll likely be catnip for liberals who have dreamed of him being behind bars,” catalogs Semafor. “Lauren Koontz, who lives in Orlando and runs an Etsy shop with her sister and mother catering to liberals, said they’ve already readied their designs and are talking to their manufacturers… Trump’s campaign has in the past used his fake mug shot to position him as a victim of political persecution, selling a T-shirt with the image that said ‘NOT GUILTY.’ Mark Dice, the right-wing online personality and conspiracy theorist, sells ‘WANTED FOR PRESIDENT’ shirts on his website with a fake Trump mug shot.”
DINING & DRINKING
Publican Quality Meats Rob Leavitt In The Kitchen
“One Off introduces PM at PQM, a casual after-hours cafe featuring a debut menu of plates that is at once hauntingly Mado-esque and evolved, coming from a chef who’s done a lot of eating, cooking and living since 2010,” reports Mike Sula at the Reader. “It’ll be an extension of PQM’s occasional, rare charcuterie dinner series when Levitt centers some of the most exceptional things he and sous chef Kyle Huff have produced. ‘I have this small handful of farms that raise really superlative pigs. They’re heritage breeds and they’re one-hundred-percent pasture-raised, and there’s a real story behind these people and their animals. The idea behind these dinners was a showcase for the extra special stuff, like the mortadella that we put so much time into or something like a culatello. I have one hanging in the curing room that’s going to be a year old in a couple of days. It’s just pork and salt, and you taste it and your head explodes.”
Uptown Dive Max’s Place Gets Facelift
Max’s Place at 4621 North Clark, one of the few remaining dive bars in the Uptown area, quaffs Uptown Update, “got a new lease on life when it was purchased last year. While changes were promised, new owner Micah Hilgendorf committed to keeping the spirit of Max’s founder Maxine alive.” (The bar was once described as “looks open, closed and abandoned all at once.”) “Max’s new owners received SBIF funding from the City for roof, tuckpointing, facade and HVAC work, which has allowed them to begin the rehab… While the charm of Max’s was on the inside, the exterior was a span of blonde brick added to the storefront sometime within the last forty years. The brick wall, with a narrow window better fit for a prison, is being replaced with a glass and brick windowed facade, allowing some light inside.” (Vintage photos here.)
Restaurant Surcharges “New Normal”?
“The cost of food, staff shortages and other issues are forcing restaurants to make tough choices,” reports Block Club. “Instead of raising menu prices, restaurants across Chicago started adding surcharges onto bills during the pandemic to cover things like delivery fees, employee health care and masks.” But “the surcharges haven’t gone away. In fact, they’re only becoming more common… The fees—some as high as twenty-five percent—have become so widespread that some in the restaurant industry believe they’re the new normal, like airline baggage fees.”
Oak Park’s Buzz Café Now A Kribi Coffee
“Kribi Coffee has purchased Buzz Café, the longtime, popular coffeeshop in the Oak Park Arts District,” reports Wednesday Journal. “Buzz Café owner Laura Maychruk sold Buzz Cafe to allow her more time to focus on her real estate career… in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park.”
Goodbye Rogers Park Angry Crab
The West Rogers Park location of The Angry Crab is closing, reports Eater Chicago. David Nguyen is closing his restaurant on September 4, saying that “it just wasn’t sustainable anymore.” But, a second location in Wicker Park, open since 2016, will remain open. “The Angry Crab spawned dozens of imitators but was among the first to serve spicy seafood, a fusion of Cajun and pan-Asian flavors, all presented in a plastic bag that allowed the flavors to mingle.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Reeling Sets Fest
Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival has announced its full slate of programming for the forty-first edition of the second-longest-running LGBTQ+ film festival in the world, which will run September 21-October 8 with in-person and streaming presentations. This year’s festival includes fifty-four programs, including forty-two feature films and twelve short film programs, with work from twenty-five countries. Opening night will be held at the Music Box, followed by screenings at the fest’s hub theater, Landmark Century and at Chicago Filmmakers Firehouse Cinema. More here.
Studios Break Press Blackout Agreement With Writers Again; WGAW Replies
Despite a press blackout agreement, the studios put their rejected proposals to screenwriters in a release, reports the New York Times. Breaking the pact with “the public disclosure of the August 11 proposal was an unusual step and suggested an attempt to go around union leadership and appeal to rank-and-file members… The writers have been on strike for 113 days… By releasing the proposal, the companies are… betting that their proposal will look good enough for members to pressure their leaders to make a deal.”
Relays the Hollywood Reporter, the WGA replied, “We received an invitation to meet… It was accompanied by a message that it was past time to end this strike and that the companies were finally ready to bargain a deal. We accepted that invitation and, in good faith, met tonight, in hopes that the companies were serious about getting the industry back to work. Instead, on the 113th day of the strike—and while SAG-AFTRA is walking the picket lines by our side—we were met with a lecture about how good their single and only counteroffer was.”
Of the public release of the offer: “This was the companies’ plan from the beginning—not to bargain, but to jam us. It is their only strategy—to bet that we will turn on each other… We will see you all out on the picket lines so that the companies continue to see what labor power looks like.”
Kartemquin Films Names Two New Board Members
Kartemquin has named two new board members, Thuy Tran and Ann Manikas, to the board of directors. Tran is a Vietnam-born, Los Angeles-based cultural strategist and activist who has worked with mission-driven arts organizations for over twenty years. Manikas is a leadership and organizational development leader with deep commitments to equity and expertise in a variety of areas of talent, leadership, and organizational development.
Surveying The State Of VO With Chicago’s Voice-Over Actors
“Chicago has long been a hub of the advertising industry, and the voicing of commercials remains a vibrant enterprise here, making a few people quite rich. Those who know how to work their larynx, that is,” writes Tal Rosenberg at Chicago magazine. “Not everybody can look like Timothée Chalamet, move like Jim Carrey, or act like Cate Blanchett. Some people, though, might be able to sound like them. And even though work on video games and animation is centered in Los Angeles—where the boom in the industry has largely taken place—it’s possible to make a career of VO without leaving town.”
Porn Sites Reject Virginia’s Age Verification
“Since a new law went into effect this July, pornography websites in Virginia have been required to more rigorously verify whether a person is eighteen or over,” reports Virginia Mercury. But an analysis “shows the majority of these websites are not using age verification methods as mandated… An increasing number of Virginians are using technology that can easily grant access to these websites from locations in the Commonwealth… Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Alison Boden said a big reason why a lot of websites aren’t complying with the law is because their companies are not based in the United States, which makes it difficult to hold them accountable for breaking it.”
Three Chicago Dates For Dylan’s “Rough And Rowdy”
Bob Dylan’s set a three-night stand for Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, October 6-8, reports Pitchfork. Dylan “is planning to stay on the road into 2024.” Will Bob be wandering late at night in your neighborhood?
“Tickets For A Twenty” Returns To Hot Tix
Hot Tix is bringing back its special, limited-time promotion offering $20 tickets to fall shows. (A service charge is added.) These are available Thursday, August 24-Sunday, September 3, or while they last. In addition to these special $20 ticket offers, Hot Tix has discounted shows that are less than $20. More, including the extensive list of productions, is here.
Links Hall Names 2023-2025 Co-MISSION Artists
Links Hall has announced its latest Co-MISSION Resident and Fellowship Artists, who will develop performances in Links’ incubator studio during the next two years. For the 2023-2024 season, resident artists are Airos Sung-En Medill, Jamila Kekulah and Eshan Rafi. Fellowship artists: Lani T. Montreal and Najee-Zaid Searcy. For the 2024-2025 season, resident artists are Theatre Nobody, Amanda Maraist, Dani Oblitas and Selena Lasley. Fellowship Artists: JAQUANDA & JACINDA and Tuli Bera. More 2023-2024 information here; 2024-2025 here.
Changes At Red Clay Dance
Red Clay Dance, the Black, female-led, 501(c)(3) for-purpose organization that creates, performs and teaches dances of the African Diaspora, has announced the promotion of Destine Young to director of community engagement and education. Her new position will allow her to lead and expand community outreach and educational efforts, making a deeper connection between Red Clay Dance and the communities they serve. Jailen Ellis has been promoted to the position of director of marketing. Red Clay also named three new members to their Board: Lola Eniolorunda, LaKesha Lundy and Sara Coleman. More Red Clay Dance here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Businesses Neighboring White Sox Say Team Move Could Destroy Them
“If the White Sox leave Bridgeport, their home for over a century, the emotional toll on the area would be ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘devastating,'” businesses told the Sun-Times. “Bridgeport and the White Sox just go together, they always did,” said Carrie Stegniller, a manager, bartender and server at Turtle’s Bar and Grill, a block north of the ballpark. “The White Sox are our family and we’re their family.”
Meanwhile, the owner of the club fired two top figures of the sports enterprise, with team owner and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf saying of fired front office mainstays, executive vice president Ken Williams and senior vice president and general manager Rick Hahn, “This is an incredibly difficult decision for me to make because they are both talented individuals with long-term relationships at the White Sox.”
UPS Strike Averted
“Averting a strike that could have shaken the U.S. economy, the union representing more than 300,000 United Parcel Service employees announced that its members had ratified a new labor agreement,” reports the New York Times. “UPS members approved the five-year contract with more than eighty-six-percent support… The agreement includes wage gains of at least $7.50 an hour for current employees over its five-year term. It also raises the minimum pay for part-time workers to $21 an hour from under $17, and raises the top rate for full-time delivery drivers to about $49 on average.” Also: new trucks will have air conditioning.
As Democratic Convention Approaches, Republican Governors Plan To Accelerate Human Trafficking To Chicago And Other Cities
“Chicago could experience a fivefold increase in arriving migrants—up to ten busloads a day—sent here by Republican governors trying to embarrass and strain Democratic sanctuary cities in the run-up to the 2024 Democratic National Convention,” reports the Sun-Times.“We have to plan for the increase. They’re gonna do everything they can because this is all political, and they want to make the case that Democratic-led cities are not capable of living up to the values that we have,” deputy chief of staff Cristina Pacione-Zayas told the paper. “You know how it works in campaigns. That’s all that’s motivating this.” Migrant funding of $150 million is up in the air; “the feds have not appropriated,” and City Hall is “trying to make the case that we should be getting a large chunk of that because we have not closed our doors, and we are forecasting for next year with the DNC.”
Macy’s Reports Customers Can’t Keep Up With Bills
Macy’s CFO in a report to stockholders: “We experienced an increased rate of delinquencies within the credit card portfolio across all stages of age balances… The speed at which the increase occurred for us and the broader credit card industry since our Q1 earnings call was faster than planned.” (From The Transcript, via what was Twitter.)
City Colleges Of Chicago Foundation Names President
Veronica Herrero is the new president of the City Colleges of Chicago Foundation, with the official title of executive vice chancellor: chief institutional advancement officer and chief of staff. She’s been with City Colleges as chief of strategy and staff.
New Executive Director For Aurora Downtown
Aurora Downtown has hired Christina de Chaud as executive director. De Chaud brings over twenty years of business experience with her most recent positions being associate director, global client operations at Baker McKenzie and previously SVP, manager of worldwide marketing and resource services at Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago. She’s also a small business owner which gives her a first-hand shared perspective with many of the business owners in Special Service Area (SSA) 1, which represents much of downtown Aurora. She is a first-generation Aurora native. She will lead the nonprofit organization providing programs and services to the property and business owners as well as collaborating with the City of Aurora and community partners to encourage the region to discover or rediscover downtown Aurora.
St. Louis To Ban AR-15s, AK-47s
“Mayor Tishaura O. Jones announced plans to ban ‘military-grade’ weapons on city streets, including the prominent AR-15 and AK-47 model rifles,” reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “And before the day was over, the state’s top law enforcement officer was threatening to stop her.”
Florida Says Disney Employee Perks Steal From State
“The Ron DeSantis-appointed board overseeing Disney World’s governing district argues that employee benefits including free season passes and discounts on Disney hotels, merchandise and food are unethical and cost Florida millions of dollars,” reports the New Republic. “The board’s complaint is unlikely to stick. The discounts are simply employee benefits, a pretty standard policy for a lot of organizations.”
Florida Plans “Judicial Gerrymander” To Eliminate Liberal Regions From Electing Prosecutors, Public Defenders And Circuit Clerks
Florida governor “DeSantis has set his sights on the justice system. Earlier this month, he removed an elected prosecutor from office over a political disagreement—the second he has taken out,” reports the Intercept. “The governor’s allies took the first steps toward moves that could upend the election of Democratic prosecutors and even judges.”
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