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Anna Kunz To Be Repped By Berggruen Gallery In San Francisco
San Francisco’s Berggruen Gallery takes on Anna Kunz, reports ARTnews. “The Chicago-based artist creates abstract paintings and installations that ‘envelop the viewer in an immersive sensorial experience’ that the artist calls ‘compassionate geometry,’ according to the gallery. Berggruen presented Kunz’s work in a solo exhibition earlier this year and will feature her works at the Armory Show in New York and Art Basel Miami Beach.” (A bio is here.) In Chicago, Kunz is repped by McCormick Gallery.
Belden-Stratford Completes Penthouse Collection
“Leasing has started for six new penthouses at The Belden-Stratford, a sixteen-story Beaux-Arts apartment building in Lincoln Park, following a recent full-building renovation,” reports Chicago YIMBY. “Located at 2300 North Lincoln Park West, the property overlooks the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory. The building, constructed in 1923, is on the National Register of Historic Places and offers 209 rental units. Monthly rents vary from $2,500 to $15,000, with penthouse prices starting at $7,250.”
Chicago Is In Rats’ Alley
“An investigation by the Illinois Answers Project and Block Club shows that since the beginning of the pandemic, record rat complaints have overwhelmed city services. The city’s resources are stretched thin, and so many residents have complained that the city’s Inspector General’s office is auditing the Bureau of Rodent Control… The city bureau tapped to combat rodents is short-staffed and often days or weeks late in responding to complaints; its yard inspection service is limited in hours and excludes more than a third of Chicago homes. City loopholes also allow for major construction projects to begin without first addressing rat infestations.”
City “attempts to reign in the biggest violators with fines are often futile. In one instance, companies managed by a north suburban woman have incurred more than $15 million in unpaid, rat-related tickets on Chicago properties. Most people, in fact, don’t pay their fines. The city has issued 117,000 rat-related tickets since 2019 totaling $153 million—with more than $126 million in ticket debt outstanding.” (Much more in their bumper rat package.)
Amtrak Previews Long-Distance Trainset Of Ten-Car Single-Level, Nine-Car Bilevel Trains
“Equal accessibility to onboard amenities for passengers with disabilities is the goal of potential new long-distance railcar designs Amtrak unveiled” this week, reports Trains, supplying full specs of the proposals.
Architecture Firm SCB Signals Move From Michigan Avenue To Mies Tower
“Design firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) is poised to relocate its headquarters from the Magnificent Mile to a nearby architectural landmark,” tallies Crain’s. “SCB is finalizing a deal to lease around 35,000 square feet in the historic tower at 330 North Wabash… The architecture firm would move its main office to the fifty-two-story building from 625 North Michigan, where its lease for 39,363 square feet is due to expire next year.”
Why Doesn’t America Care About Public Toilets?
“A 2021 report found the United States has only eight public toilets per 100,000 people. Iceland has fifty-six,” writes Katrina Vanden Heuvel at the Nation. “The lack of public restrooms in the United States isn’t just an inconvenience. It’s a sign of America’s failure to invest in communal necessities for the collective good. But progressive leaders at the local level have the power to change that. They have done it before. In the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, ‘sewer socialists’ were elected on platforms that advocated for basic necessities, including sanitation systems and accessible bathrooms. Milwaukee’s socialist mayors were incredibly effective in channeling ‘public funds for the public good,’ as one Milwaukee historian put it… Milwaukee boasts one of the highest numbers of restrooms per capita… At the federal level, during the New Deal, the Works Progress Administration facilitated the construction of millions of outhouses in rural parts of the country.”
DINING & DRINKING
New-New American Food Excels At Scofflaw
Chef Fred Chung “was part of the opening teams at Kasama and Jeong, and cooked at Oriole, too,” writes the Tribune’s Louisa Chu. “If you shrank his dishes, they could easily become stunning tasting menu courses. Yet the chef seems to struggle with what to call his cuisine. ‘At the core of what I love is Korean food,’ Chung said. But he loves other cuisines as well, the chef said, so he’s still experimenting with what works with the cocktails and the menu as a whole.”
Sixth Recall Adds Milk To Trader Joe’s Contaminants
“Trader Joe’s has issued a recall of a brand of black bean tamales, the sixth item that the popular grocery chain has recalled since July,” reports The New York Times. “Trader Joe’s said that no illnesses had been reported in connection with the latest recall and that all potentially affected products had been removed from sale.” An observer “said that ‘in a way, it’s good’ that Trader Joe’s recalls are so public and transparent because ‘it’s a sign that things are working. Trader Joe’s is doing a great job in making sure that if they have to do a recall, not only do they do it, but they communicate it as well as they can.’ … Customers have been warned in recent weeks that other products might have been contaminated with rocks, insects and metal.”
Unpeeling The Monoculture Banana
“For millions of small-scale growers and family farmers, the fruit provides both calories and income. Over a million people are employed by the industry, picking, packing, and growing the roughly one hundred billion bananas consumed each year. Many of those millions are employed by companies like Chiquita, Fyffes, Dole, and Del Monte, all growing primarily Cavendish. The fruit sustains a $40 billion global industry,” writes Emily Monosson in an excerpt from her “Blight: Fungi and the Coming Pandemic,” tackling how the monocrop of the Cavendish banana came to be predominant as a product and how it’s endangered today. (The susceptibility of the Cavendish was part of a New Yorker report in 2011 here.)
FILM & TELEVISION
“Chicago P.D.” Cast And Crew Help Production Assistants
“A group of production assistants who worked on the set of ‘Chicago P.D.’—before the writers’ and actors’ strikes put the show on ice…—received a… moral and financial boost earlier this month,” reports the Sun-Times. “Each received $1,500 from a pool of money that was collected from cast and crew members of the long-running NBC show. Production assistants are notoriously underpaid and overworked non-union workers whose duties include everything from coffee runs to maintaining walkie-talkies.”
Maywood’s Afriware Books, One Of Illinois’ Oldest Black-Owned Bookstores, Endangered
Afriware Books in Maywood, “one of the oldest and most prominent Black-owned bookstores in Illinois, is in danger of closing if critical funding isn’t secured,” reports Village Free Press. Nzingha Nommo, owner of the thirty-year-old bookstore, wrote that the store “has done all we can do at this point. Our expenses have long overrun our income… Before the book bans, we always carried Black books… Before the African History cancellations, we’ve preserved it. But unfortunately, we’ve gotten to the point that we are unable to carry this load much further… Our rent has not been paid for this month. We are actively considering scaling down dramatically by moving from in-person to online-only.”
Political comics outlet The Nib is finished after a decade, reports the Washington Post. “The Nib’s decade as a leading voice in alternative media reflects the strengths and struggles of many such media outlets in the 2010s—a decade of high but volatile traffic and business turbulence. The pressures on the Nib involved ‘well, everything,’ Matt Bors wrote in May in announcing the outlet’s shuttering. ‘The rising costs of paper and postage, the changing landscape of social media, subscription exhaustion, inflation, and the simple difficulty of keeping a small independent publishing project alive with relatively few resources—though we did a lot with them. The math isn’t working anymore.'”
Bors’ farewell is here: “I am choosing to give it a death with dignity rather than make painful cuts and have it operate as a shadow of itself for a few more years. We have a blowout last day coming this Friday, September 1, with about four times as many comics as we usually run. Then it will end ten years—almost to the exact day—since I first launched The Nib on Medium in 2013 as a new home for political cartoons and nonfiction comics.”
Called “Divisive” And “Woke,” Half Of Atlanta Magazine Staff Quits
The publisher of Atlanta magazine “pushed back on their effort to present a modern picture of life in one of the Blackest, queerest cities in the South, calling it ‘divisive.’ Now, half the staff has quit,” reports the Washington Post. “‘Having to worry about where stories sit on some wokeness spectrum’ would make the process of assigning and editing stories impossibly burdensome, said deputy editor Sam Worley, whose official last day at the magazine was yesterday.”
Portage Theater Rave Shut Down
“An illegal rave inside the Portage Theater [closed since 2018] brought hundreds of young people to Six Corners over the weekend for a short-lived party,” reports Block Club. “Red Line Chicago, an underground collective that hosts dance parties in unsanctioned buildings and secret locations, shared videos of the Portage Theater rave on social media… of the unauthorized party. The collective hosted a large EDM party on the same evening in Douglass Park… The historic theater is not up to city code and needs extensive repairs.”
A concert film of Taylor Swift’s “Eras” Tour, filmed over a six-night stand in Los Angeles, will be in limited run on several thousand AMC screens starting October 13. “Every U.S. AMC Theatre location will run the movie at least four times per day on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays” for about $20, with higher charges for IMAX and Dolby screens. The running time is expected to be under three hours. Tickets here. Trailer here.
Steppenwolf Cuts Staff
Steppenwolf is not immune to the American nonprofit theater crisis: “We need to diversify our revenue streams while also taking steps to reduce expenses,” says Steppenwolf Theatre Company executive director Brooke Flanagan in a release. “This unfortunately includes the hard decision to reduce our workforce by twelve percent. This will [affect] thirteen current employees—our friends and coworkers—and eliminate seven open positions… Despite these challenging times, we look to the future with hope. Chicago is a global hub for culture and innovation—home to a tapestry of arts workers. We offer a call to action to audiences across our city: reconnect with the wonder of live performance. By supporting your local theater, you can safeguard the artists and institutions who create extraordinary work reflective of the bold, tenacious city that we call home.”
“Black Ensemble Theater: The Jackie Taylor Story”
American Theatre looks at a near-half-century of Black Ensemble Theater: “The story of the Black Ensemble Theater is the story of Jackie Taylor. It is by the force of her tremendous will that the theater has pushed past every obstacle a Black woman-led venture in theater might face over the decades. No matter how it may change in the decades to come, one cannot tell the story of Black Ensemble Theater, nor Black theater as a whole in Chicago, without telling the story of Jackie Taylor.”
Passing Of The Season Subscriber Takes Its Toll
“The subscription model, in which theatergoers buy a season’s worth of shows at a time, had long been waning, but it fell off a cliff during the pandemic,” reports Michael Paulson at the New York Times. “The nonprofit theater world’s industrywide crisis, which has led to closings, layoffs and a reduction in the number of shows being staged, is being exacerbated by a steep drop in the number of people who buy theater subscriptions, in which they pay upfront to see most or all of a season’s shows… It is happening across the nation. Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater had 13,566 subscribers last season, down from 19,770 before the pandemic. In Atlanta, the Alliance Theater ended last season with 3,208, down from a prepandemic 5,086, while Northlight Theater, in Skokie, is at about 3,200, down from 5,700.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
A Voice Against City’s Shutdown Of Friday Swim Club
“This litigious approach to swimming, one that seeks to ban rather than support the sport, is what needs to stop,” writes Alison Cuddy at the Tribune. “That hundreds of people have been showing up to the weekly jump-ins at Montrose Harbor—and more than 2,000 at the event’s peak, per the organizers—is just one marker of a real sea change in our relationship to the Lake… The number of Chicagoans swimming in open water is growing. More people competing in triathlons or distance swims are turning to the lake to train. And many more—including the Friday morning jumpers—are discovering the joys of swimming in our incredible lake not just during the summer but also year-round.” Cuddy then details why “our thinking about water safety has not kept up.”
Chicago High School For The Arts Teachers May Strike
“Teachers at the Chicago High School for the Arts say they will strike for the second time in four years next week if they can’t reach a contract agreement with the school’s board,” reports the Sun-Times. “Represented by the Chicago Teachers Union’s charter division, the staff at ChiArts announced a September 6 strike deadline Wednesday at a rally outside the Humboldt Park school.”
Parent Of BMO Bank Firing At Least A Hundred
“The parent company of BMO, Chicago’s second-largest bank by deposits, is cutting two and a half percent of its workforce in the United States and Canada, likely meaning well over a hundred layoffs in the Chicago market,” reports Crain’s. “The cutbacks, which BMO executives signaled earlier this year… are in addition to job cuts tied to the acquisition earlier this year of San Francisco-based Bank of the West.”
Barstool Sports Firing At Least A Hundred
“Barstool Sports will lay off nearly twenty-five percent of its employees, which will result in around a hundred lost jobs, reports the New York Post. “Barstool founder Dave Portnoy has publicly stated the cuts were coming after he regained control of the company following its breakup” with sports gambling concern Penn Entertainment. “Barstool has around 430 employees. It added around 300 people in the three-and-a-half years” with Penn. “‘We are going to have layoffs and cuts, and they’ve started and it sucks,” Portnoy said earlier this week. “And people who know me from the beginning [know] I hate firing people. You can be incompetent, not work and I generally don’t fire because I hate it so much. It’s the worst thing to fucking do.”
Remote workers will be among those losing their jobs: “It may be rough for a couple of months getting things back to where we’re not getting fucking smoked, but I think I could make this a good place to work.” No word on how this affects headcount in Barstool’s Fulton Market offices.
Minnesota Police Retreat From Schools Over Ban On Prone Restraints
“A week before most Minnesota students head back to school, local police departments are removing officers from schools because of a new state law limiting physical restraints that can be used on students,” reports MPR News. “State lawmakers this year approved a broad education bill that bans some physical holds, including prone restraints of students. The law says that school employees and school resource officers can’t physically restrain students in a way that [affects] their ability to breathe or voice distress—including holds that put students face down on the ground.”
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