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“Difference Machines” At Wrightwood 659
“With the evolution of the Web came the dream of a new frontier in human relations, one free from the usual identifiers of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and dis/ability,” Wrightwood 659 relays in a release for “Difference Machines: Technology and Identity in Contemporary Art.” Opening Friday, October 13 and running through Saturday, December 16, the show “questions the promise of the internet” and its darker side of surveillance, erasure and exploitation. Organized by the Buffalo AKG Art Museum (formerly the Albright-Knox Art Gallery) in Buffalo, New York, the award-winning exhibition is making its final stop in Chicago after a four-city national tour.
The exhibition is presented by Alphawood Exhibitions at Wrightwood 659. “In light of the sudden explosion of interest in digital art, we hope this exhibition will help raise awareness of its longer history,” says co-curator Tina Rivers Ryan. “These artworks demonstrate that artists who work with digital technologies have long considered the complex relationship between technology and difference. Unfortunately, as is true across contemporary art, these artists often have not been valued beyond their communities, due to the systemic biases of institutions including art museums and galleries.”
October Public Hearing For State Street’s Century And Consumers Buildings
“The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) invites you to attend a public hearing in support of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to address the future of the buildings at 202, 214 and 220 South State adjacent to the Dirksen United States Courthouse in downtown Chicago. GSA, in cooperation with the Federal Protective Service, announces the availability, and opportunity for public review and comment, of the draft EIS for the future of these buildings…GSA is considering two action alternatives (Alternative A, Demolition or Alternative B, Viable Adaptive Reuse of the buildings) and Alternative C No Action.” The draft EIS is here. Register for the public hearing here.
Thompson Center Joins Chicago Architectural Biennial Locales
The Chicago Architecture Biennial has announced the participation of the James R. Thompson Center as a cultural partner and site for the fifth edition of the citywide exhibition, “CAB 5: This Is A Rehearsal.” CAB 5’s artistic team is led by the Chicago-based artist collective, Floating Museum. “Hailed as one of Chicago’s postmodern architectural marvels, the Helmut Jahn-designed building will open to the public from September 21 through the end of the year and will host five exhibitions and site-specific installations made possible by Prime, Capri and Google.”
What Chicago’s Migrant Base Camps Could Look Like
“The military-grade tents would be climate-controlled with bathrooms and showers, intake spaces and facility areas,” reports Block Club. The “tent sites are also meant to help reduce the volume of asylum seekers living in police stations.”
Lake Geneva Snake Road Estate Takes $16.5 Million
“A Lake Geneva mansion sold quietly last week for almost $16.5 million, yet another mega-millions sale in that southern Wisconsin getaway region. Dean and Eilena Athans, who owned the house through the Constantine Athans Trust, sold the house on Snake Road last week for $16.475 million,” reports Crain’s.
“Inside The Architectural Mind Of Larry Booth”
Chicago YIMBY spoke with Larry Booth, “a founding member of the Chicago Seven and principal at Booth Hansen, about his book, ‘Modern Beyond Style and the Pursuit of Beauty.’ With a career spanning decades, Booth has significantly influenced both Chicago’s architecture and the wider field… He discusses insights from his new book and reflects on key milestones and challenges that have shaped his work.”
What Is Chicago’s Shortest Street?
“Bay Court is forty-nine steps and Pier Court is forty-nine-and-a-half,” measures Chicago magazine, with details at the link.
Business Groups Push Back On Transportation Proposals
Reports the Trib: “A sweeping set of recommendations about what Chicago-area transit could look like in the future is making its way to lawmakers, with regional planners eying new sources of funding for the CTA, Metra and Pace and raising the prospect of consolidating them into one agency… Influential business groups have raised concerns about some of the proposed recommendations, pushing back on a concept to expand the sales tax base and questioning whether instead of seeking to enhance transit, the planners should focus instead on the reality of still-diminished ridership. Leaders of suburban counties [are] pushing back against any use of motor fuel taxes for transit. ‘I’m not sure the report’s grounded in reality,’ said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.”
A Visual History Of The Endangered Boarding Pass
“For many travelers, a paper boarding pass from an airline is a lot more than a set of directions to help you get to your airplane seat on time,” reports CNN in a visual survey of a half-century of paper records.
DINING & DRINKING
Autumn Return For CaramelCrisp Ale From Revolution And Garrett Popcorn
Revolution Brewing and Garrett Popcorn Shops are returning with a limited release of CaramelCrisp Caramel Popcorn Ale, using more than 450 pounds of CaramelCrisp caramel popcorn. “CaramelCrisp is brewed similarly to a Brown Ale before the addition of the freshly made namesake popcorn. Once fermented, carbonated, and packaged, it ends up as a smooth-drinking 7.0 percent ABV pour with notes of crème brûlée sweetness and a lightly salted finish. The recipe development process, led by Revolution Brewmaster Jim Cibak, went through rounds of development before landing on a recipe that included Garrett CaramelCrisp popcorn in the mash, brown sugar caramelizing in the boil, rye malt and lactose for mouthfeel, and a finish of kosher salt to complete the flavor profile.” More here.
Smucker Takes Twinkies
“Hostess, the maker of Twinkies and Ho Hos, is being purchased by J.M. Smucker in a $5.6 billion deal,” reports CNN. The jelly maker said that “the purchase expands Smucker’s offerings of ‘beloved brands in growing categories and accelerates its focus on convenient consumer occasions.'”
Vienna Beef Plaza Permitted
“With a full renovation permit issued, Vienna Beef has kicked off a major new initiative at 2501 North Damen in Bucktown,” reports Chicago YIMBY. “The $20 million redevelopment project will revamp the site the company had occupied for over forty years before its closure in 2020. Previously, there were failed plans to replace the property with a Drive Shack driving range.”
Robots Rise At Chik-fil-A
“Chick-fil-A is testing autonomous robots in a handful of its restaurant dining rooms,” reports Restaurant Dive. “The robots deliver food to tables with staff helping refill beverages, clean tables and provide hospitality to guests.” In Texas, “a bot named Wall-E approached a customer’s table and said, ‘Howdy, please place your table number in the basket.'” Video here.
Amanda Gorman Poem Banned In Miami Lakes
“A poem written for President Biden’s inauguration has been placed on a restricted list at a South Florida elementary school after one parent’s complaint,” reports PBS NewsHour. Gorman “vowed to fight back. Her poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’ was challenged by the parent of two students at Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, along with several books. ‘I’m gutted,’ she wrote. ‘Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech.'”
Senator Duckworth Slams Cartoon About Aged Senators
Reports Lynn Sweet at the Sun-Times, Senator Tammy Duckworth posted a video on social media platforms about “Roll Call’s ableist cartoon.” “The cartoonist drew a wheelchair user on a chairlift ramp going up the Senate-side Capitol steps with three people using walkers… Duckworth says in the video, with the cartoon behind her, ‘Ableist cartoons like this perpetuate harmful stereotypes of what Americans with disabilities can and can’t do. And it has to stop. Our daily experience has no business being the punchline for any joke.'”
ChatGPT Tech Built In Iowa, Where It Burns Through Tons Of Water
“The cost of building an artificial intelligence product like ChatGPT can be hard to measure,” reports AP. “But one thing Microsoft-backed OpenAI needed for its technology was plenty of water, pulled from the watershed of the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers in central Iowa to cool a powerful supercomputer as it helped teach its AI systems how to mimic human writing… Microsoft, OpenAI and Google have acknowledged that growing demand for their AI tools carries hefty costs, from expensive semiconductors to an increase in water consumption… They’re often secretive about the specifics.”
“Few people in Iowa knew about its status as a birthplace of OpenAI’s most advanced large language model, GPT-4, before a top Microsoft executive said in a speech it ‘was literally made next to cornfields west of Des Moines.'” It’s estimated that “ChatGPT gulps up 500 milliliters of water (close to what’s in a sixteen-ounce water bottle) every time you ask it a series of between five to fifty prompts or questions. The range varies depending on where its servers are located and the season. The estimate includes indirect water usage that the companies don’t measure—such as to cool power plants that supply the data centers with electricity.”
Co-Owner Of Empty Bottle And Salt Shed Sees “Baby Boom” Of Bands
“Few people are more intertwined with what area fans hear and see than Bruce Finkelman, whose career impetus stemmed from nontraditional experiences in college—and the fact he felt like he never fit in with conventional society,” profiles the Tribune. “The amount of new groups popping up, and what it means for Chicago, amazes him to the extent he calls it a ‘baby boom.’ ‘With every new crop of bands comes a re-territorializing, a regeneration of the scene… It’s always been cyclical. A few years ago, I looked at the support slots for the headliners and many of the same bands played them. Now, you see new bands and don’t even recognize their names. They’re infusing new energy and ideas into the scene and city.’ Finkelman cites CB Radio Gorgeous, Cel Ray, Spread Joy and Edging among his favorite up-and-comers—and Meat Wave, Ganser and Patter as examples of more-established area staples he admires.”
Porchlight Music Theatre Turns Twenty-Nine
Porchlight Music Theatre’s twenty-ninth season will include “The Cole Porter Festival—A Celebration of the Man and his Music,” with the fest centerpiece a ninetieth-anniversary production of Porter’s “Anything Goes,” starring Meghan Murphy as “Reno Sweeney” and featuring the Chicago debut of a newly commissioned 2022 libretto, January 13-February 25, 2024, at the Ruth Page Center. Also: “Chicago Sings Broadway Pop II,” April 15, 2024, at The House of Blues and “Porchlight in Concert: Sunday in the Park with George,” May 11-12, 2024 at the Studebaker. More here. Subscriptions are available starting Tuesday, September 26 at noon here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
South Side Science Fest Set
The University of Chicago’s second annual South Side Science Festival is set for Saturday, September 30, 11am-6pm. The free event is created for South Side residents and sponsored by the Office of Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago in partnership with the UChicago Biological Sciences Division, Physical Sciences Division and Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering science units. Under the rubric “Science for All,” the event will present how science intersects with our daily lives, with STEM educational experiences for every age group from elementary school, high school, through college and graduate school, and even for working professionals. More here.
Retail Workers Quit Jobs At Accelerating Rate
“To be a U.S. retail worker in 2023 means fielding an onslaught of growing American anxieties about everything from high prices to politics,” reports Bloomberg. “Increasingly, some workers say the job isn’t worth the wages. Low pay, erratic schedules and monotonous tasks have long been a challenge for the nearly eight million Americans working in retail, but the pandemic years have added a host of taxing new duties. Employees must cope with an uptick in shoplifting and customer orneriness. They manage online orders and run up and down the aisles to unlock items as quotidian as toothpaste… The job is more complicated than ever—and increasingly not worth the low pay.”
“A Wisconsin sawmill has agreed to pay about $191,000 and submit to multiple sanctions after a sixteen-year-old boy was killed on the job this past summer,” reports AP. A Department of Labor investigation “found that three children ages fifteen to sixteen were hurt at the sawmill between November 2021 and March 2023. The sawmill also employed nine children between the ages of fourteen and seventeen to illegally run machines such as saws.” Meanwhile: The Wisconsin GOP is proposing making it easier for kids to work. Under their proposal “Children ages fourteen and fifteen would no longer need a work permit or parental permission to get a job.”
Minnesota Meatpacker Settles Child Labor Infractions For $300,000
“The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry confirmed that a meat processor will pay $300,000 in penalties after its investigation found minors working in hazardous jobs,” reports Meat+Poultry. “The state agency said that Tony Downs Food Company employed at least eight minors between the ages of fourteen and seventeen who were operating meat-processing equipment, violating state labor laws.”
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