Get Chicago culture news sent to your inbox every weekday morning. Subscribe to Newcity Today here.
Marcus Aurelius Seized From Cleveland Museum
“With its flowing robes and stoic posture, the larger-than-life bronze statue believed to represent the great Roman statesman Marcus Aurelius had, since 1986, held pride of place in the Greek and Roman galleries at the Cleveland Museum of Art,” reports the New York Times. “Now the statue is off display, seized under a warrant earlier this month by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The office said… the seizure was related to an ‘ongoing criminal investigation into a smuggling network involving antiquities looted from Turkey and trafficked through Manhattan.'” BBC: “The seventy-six-inch statue is about 1,800 years old and valued at around $20 million…Authorities have not yet said how the sculpture arrived in Ohio.”
The Times On The Commercial Real Estate Beat
“All That Empty Office Space Belongs to Someone,” headlines the New York Times. “What happens if the nearly 100 million square feet of workplace real estate stays empty?… About a year-and-a-half after Mayor Eric Adams chided workers—’You can’t stay home in your pajamas all day!’—New York’s offices in late August were under forty-one percent of their prepandemic occupancy. Just nine-percent of the city’s office workers were going in five days a week at the start of the year.” Plus: How workers worldwide are negotiating a return to the office. And: “City centers may have to be reimagined to solve the problem of vacant storefronts.”
DePaul Asks $60 Million Of Donor Money For Athletic Buildings
A $60 million campaign funded through donor gifts is underway at DePaul, reports CBS 2. “They plan to build a new basketball practice facility equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows to show off the beauty of DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus. The campaign will also include renovations to the McGrath Phillips Arena and Sullivan Athletic Center.” The Trib: “The decision to expand its athletic facilities comes as DePaul, like many universities, struggles with declining enrollment and revenue. In April, school officials projected for this fiscal year a budget shortfall of $56 million.”
Schooner Trinidad Found, Sunk In Lake Off Algoma In 1881
Miles from Wisconsin’s coastline, “the Trinidad, a 140-foot-long vessel that carried grain and coal, sank in May 1881 about 120 miles north of Milwaukee,” reports the Sun-Times. From a release: “The wreck is among the best-preserved shipwrecks in Wisconsin waters with her deck-house still intact, containing the crew’s possessions and her anchors and deck gear still present.”
Could Logan Square Towering Elms Last 300 Years?
“Residents in the Palmer Square neighborhood want a city ordinance to protect American elm trees dating to the nineteenth century that are among the handful that survived Dutch elm disease,” reports the Sun-Times. “A new ordinance protecting trees might allow the elms to live out their 300-year-or-so lifespans in relative peace.”
When City Rents Go Up, Culture Departs
“The actors’ and writers’ strikes are exposing how high rents can smother creativity in cities like Los Angeles and New York,” writes Ned Resnikoff at the New Republic. “Artists, like American workers overall, are mostly not unionized. They either practice their craft at a net loss or on the thinnest of margins. The housing crisis has devastated that margin…. When high rents smother nascent art scenes, they also stymie the process through which American popular culture refreshes itself. It’s just another way in which the housing crisis has made us all poorer.”
But The Rent’s Cheap Where There’s Extreme Heat
“As with most communities in California, the stark difference in home prices… is inversely related to the climate,” reports the Los Angeles Times (via Seattle Times). “The hotter a region is, the more affordable housing is.”
Detroit: Fashion Mecca?
“Detroiters have long set fashion trends that have been appropriated around the world. No stranger to globally celebrated brands like Motown and Cadillac, behemoths of the fashion world are now using our downtown shopping corridors and suburban malls to launch new lines of products and retail stores,” reports the Detroit Free Press. (WXYZ-TV looked at the groundswell in October of last year.)
California Billionaire Land Grab To Build Elite City From Scratch
“Silicon Valley billionaires behind a secretive $800 million land-buying spree in Northern California have finally released some details about their plans for a new green city, but they still must win over skeptical voters and local leaders,” reports AP. A former Goldman Sachs trader leading the effort has launched a website called “California Forever.” “The site billed the project as ‘a chance for a new community, good paying local jobs, solar farms, and open space’ in Solano, a rural county between San Francisco and Sacramento that is now home to 450,000 people.”
Rental E-Scooters Banned In Paris
It’s possible: “Paris became the first European capital to outlaw the vehicles on Friday, following a vote in April in which Parisians overwhelmingly supported a ban,” reports the New York Times. “Privately owned e-scooters, which the city cannot regulate, are exempt.”
DINING & DRINKING
Chicago Hot Dog-Flavored Chips At Foxtrot
“The mustard, the onion, the sport pepper: it’s all there. Introducing, our original Chicago-Style Hot Dog Chips,” Foxtrot plumps on its Instagram account. “We challenged everything we thought possible for a potato chip and stacked it against the iconic flavors of this timeless Windy City classic. Like Chicago, this is a sturdy, unapologetic snack that doesn’t take itself too seriously—made in homage to one of the best food cities in the world. Sans ketchup.”
California Clipper Robbed At Gunpoint At Closing Time
“The California Clipper is temporarily closed after employees and patrons were held up at gunpoint by armed robbers during a DJ night early Thursday,” reports Block Club. Rite Liquors “in nearby Wicker Park, was robbed by a pair of armed men about thirty minutes earlier but police haven’t confirmed the two crimes” are related. “Police said two men carrying guns demanded patrons and employees give up their belongings. All nine victims, ranging in age from twenty-four to fifty-three, complied, and the robbers fled the scene.”
Beer Fest Left Holding Brown Paper Bag
Online ticket vendor Brown Paper Tickets owes more than $20,000 in returns from the Horner Park Advisory Council’s July 21 Brew Fest, reports Block Club, and “has been ghosting fest organizers for weeks about when it’ll pay up.”
The Simple “Bear” Necessities
This Saturday and Sunday at Publican Quality Meats, Rob Levitt from PQM and James Beard award-winning baker Greg Wade from Publican Quality Bread will assemble their version of Italian Beef Sandwiches inspired by “The Bear” and Mr. Beef—the legendary beef stand that’s been serving up sandwiches since the 1960s. On Saturday, Chris Zucchero of Mr. Beef will be selling official merchandise from 11am-2 pm. PQM, Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10, 11am until supplies last. Optional Tock reservation here.
101 In 606: Taste Of Iceland On Wabash
The latest week of Taste of Iceland comes to Chicago complete with a pop-up menu prepared by Bistronomic executive chef-owner Martial Noguier and Arnar Páll Sigrunarson of Iceland’s Lava Restaurant at Blue Lagoon. The four-course prix-fixe menu, $85 per guest or $130 per guest with optional wine pairing, starts with smoked Arctic char with Icelandic wasabi, geothermal rye bread, cucumber and skyr; the second course is Icelandic Cod with smoked mashed potatoes, apples, almonds, shellfish sauce; and the third course is Icelandic Lamb with white cabbage, carrots, mustard, lamb sauce. Fourth course: Icelandic Provisions skyr with seasonal berries, liquorice, oat crumble. More here. Reserve here.
Thinking About Establishments That No Longer Take Cash
“You don’t want to get robbed and possibly assaulted or killed, you take cash out of the equation,” muses the Fooditor about the recent Chicago storefront crime spree. “Paying a percentage to the credit card companies is the best way to stay safe and keep the money you bring in. Oh wait, then I saw another story via Facebook… saying that credit card fees to restaurants are about to go up even more. Because what choice do you have? You gonna start using cash again, and get robbed every weekend?”
FILM & TELEVISION
McHenry Outdoor Theater Open Through December
McHenry Outdoor Theater in McHenry has extended its season into mid-December, “with hot cider, hot chocolate and pictures with Santa all on the way for the drive-in spot,” reports NBC 5. “The theater previously closed around Halloween [but has added $20,000 worth of] dehumidifying equipment and… heat to the concessions.” Website here.
Many-Billionaire Village Elder Barry Diller Says Studios Should Separate From Streamers
Longtime Hollywood hand Barry Diller often has things to say: “The strike does one thing and one thing only, in the end, because the strike will get settled… What does it do? It strengthens Netflix and weakens the others…. Interestingly, two of those studios had perfectly good streaming services called HBO and Showtime… There was no destruction by Netflix in either of those services, right? So you could have said, ‘Leave them the fuck alone,'” transcribes the Hollywood Reporter. “What a golden thing [the studio system when Diller was coming up] was at its best… And circumstances, external mostly, but circumstances have changed that for the worse, and I don’t think it comes back.”
Video Game Strike Authorized
“SAG-AFTRA members are about to vote on a video game strike authorization,” relays More Perfect Union on Twitter. “After a year of negotiation, the union says the major video game companies have failed to address the needs of actors involved. So they’re calling for a second simultaneous strike.”
Strike Costs California At Least $5 Billion So Far
No reports on what the shutdown of series in Chicago has done to the local economy or workforce, but “the impact of the Hollywood strikes on California’s economy has reached almost $5bn four months after script writers took to the picket lines, a figure that is expected to grow after the latest talks between union representatives and studios ended in acrimony,” tallies the Financial Times. “The first joint strike by actors and writers in sixty years has shut down most Hollywood productions, creating a knock-on effect for caterers, dry cleaners, drivers, rental companies and other small enterprises that support the industry.”
Semicolon Reopens In River West As Nonprofit Bookstore
“Owner Danielle Mullen spent the summer renovating Semicolon Bookstore shop and putting the final touches on [making the transition of] her business to a nonprofit, which means it can receive grants and other funding it wasn’t previously eligible for,” reports Block Club. “All the changes will help her advance the bookstore’s founding goal: to ‘bridge the literacy gap’ in Chicago’s Black and Brown communities.”
YA Author John Green In Hoosier Book Ban Fervor
“A fight over author John Green’s books in his home state of Indiana reflects a broader cultural debate over what books are appropriate for young readers, and who gets to decide,” reports the New York Times. “A recent dust-up over whether his books are appropriate for teens feels more personal, and like an escalation of a growing movement to ban and restrict access to books.”
Riccardo Muti: “We Are Quite Lost”
“I decided that I wanted to give more time to the young students at my Italian Opera Academy, to teach something–not because I know anything special, but I know something that my teachers taught me that I can pass on,” a voluble Riccardo Muti tells Bachtrack. “Just think, my teacher was Antonino Votto… Votto was the assistant of Toscanini. Toscanini knew Verdi. Toscanini played under Verdi in the premiere of ‘Otello.’ So there is a lineage. All the things that Votto taught me, you don’t find in the books.”
There’s much to be taught, Muti says. “These young conductors don’t know anything about how to build an opera–what to say to the singers, how to work with a chorus, the relationship between orchestra and stage because stage directors have now become the gods… We are quite lost. Votto used to say that a good opera conductor must absorb the ‘dust of the backstage.’ You must know about the technicals, the lighting, you must be involved.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Jerry Reinsdorf Not Ready To Sell Sox, Says He Wants To Make His Property “Better” Before He Goes
“I’m going to couch this so nobody writes that I thought of selling,” eighty-seven-year-old mogul Jerry Reinsdorf tells the Tribune. “Friends of mine have said: ‘Why don’t you sell? Why don’t you get out?’ My answer always has been: ‘I like what I’m doing, as bad as it is, and what else would I do?’ … I’m a boring guy. I don’t play golf. I don’t play bridge. And I want to make it better before I go.”
Food Aid Cuts Coming To Poor Families
“The Biden administration is seeking $1.4 billion in emergency funding as rising demand—and high food costs—imperil a federal program that provides healthy food for women, infants and young children,” reports the Washington Post. “Under the program known as WIC, the U.S. government provides financial support for low-income pregnant and nursing women, as well as children up to age five… The future of nutrition aid ranks among the many high-stakes choices that lawmakers face roughly four weeks before federal funding is set to lapse.”
American Wage Theft Persists
“Why has the media gone all in on small time scofflaws when organized financial crime is robbing people straight from their paychecks?” asks Jason Linkins at the New Republic. “Unlike shoplifting, this is not a penny-ante crime, and it’s carried out every day with the ruthless efficiency of the boardroom. An L.A. Times column of a more recent vintage… enumerates many ways in which employers pull their own coordinated smash-and-grab jobs on their employees’ paychecks.”
Lightfoot Staging Mock Press Conferences In Harvard Engagement
At Harvard, former Mayor Lightfoot’s class “will include a mock press conference and a simulated community meeting. She’ll discuss the dangers of politicizing a pandemic and how to interact with the media, drawing on lessons learned” during the pandemic, reports the Sun-Times.
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]