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Jim Nutt: Mystery
“In his first show of new work in over a decade, Jim Nutt creates studies of women and human emotion—irritation, fear, suspicion—from his own discomfort,” profiles the New York Times of the legendary Chicago artist. “Nutt, eighty-four, can be both elliptical and impenetrable. He is happy to talk at length about the chemical bonding qualities of acrylic paint and the glassiness of cold-pressed paper, but shies away from things like his own thinking. Both socially and conversationally hermetic, he rarely gives interviews; it’s suggested to me, more than once, that this one is very possibly the last he’ll allow because he is so allergic to talking about himself.”
“Still, Nutt is not self-serious. He arranges himself on a canary-yellow exercise ball from which he barely stirs for three hours. His ringtone is an obnoxious duck quack. The walls of his studio—in a modest single-story brick building on a residential block—are empty, save for some yellowed newspaper clippings (film reviews, an ad depicting Miró’s ‘The Hunter’), and a photograph of the artist Gladys Nilsson, to whom Nutt has been married since 1961.”
Arts In The Dark Parade Returns To Celebrate Halloween As “The Artists’ Holiday”
LUMA8 has announced the ninth Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade, “a family-friendly happening featuring floats, spectacle puppets and varieties of creative performance” for Saturday, October 21, 6pm-8pm. “This magical evening procession celebrates Halloween as the artists’ holiday and draws participants from major cultural organizations, inspiring youth programs, and aspiring artists in every field,” the group says in a release. “This dazzling production annually delights an audience of more than 50,000 along historic State Street, from Lake to Van Buren… Colorful costumes, masks, installations, lighting, fire, acrobatics, puppetry and spectacle, dance moves and choreography, music, theatrical performances, street arts, circus arts and cultural traditions will fill State Street.”
“The parade will feature close to a dozen Mexican contingents, many of which choose to represent their cultural heritage by showcasing the traditions surrounding Dia de los Muertos. Noteworthy as well are the remarkable contributions of Chicago’s Black cultural organizations and traditions to the parade. Other ethnic and cultural traditions will be represented as well, including Brazilian, Columbian, Irish, Indonesian, Peruvian, Caribbean, Jamaican, Polynesian and Indigenous groups. Chicago’s dance community will be well represented with a selection of forty dance organizations including Reinvent Ability dance group and their wheelchair dancers, The Joffrey Ballet, Forward Momentum Chicago, Ballet Folklorico de Chicago, Astronaut Flee, Trinity Dance School and Aztec Dance… Audiences can expect…marching bands and drumlines and music ensembles.” More here.
Chicago Creatives At Fashion Week
“Chicago fashion trailblazers created a language that rattled a stagnating industry by melding together art, music and fashion in ways that established the city as the hub for entrepreneurial Black … creatives,” reports the TRiiBE. “They carved out space for Black fashion designers in an overwhelmingly white fashion industry. Although Abloh passed away in 2021, and West lost endorsement deals with Adidas and Gap after a series of anti-semitic remarks, their impact on Chicago designers is still felt today. At 2023 New York Fashion Week, some Chicago fashion designers and entrepreneurs [focused] less on industry approval, and instead [expressed] their creativity and storytelling through multiple disciplines.”
New Memphis Riverfront Park By Scape And Studio Gang
A new public park has opened in Memphis, reports Fast Company. Encompassing thirty acres along the Mississippi River “with active, social, ecological, and architectural spaces, it could reframe the city’s fading connection to the riverfront [and] set a new standard for what waterfront parks can do. Tom Lee Park is a redesign of an unheralded public space that’s existed between downtown Memphis and the river since 1936 [and] named for a Black Memphian who repeatedly rowed his boat out to a sinking steamer and saved the lives of thirty-two people in 1925.”
“‘It was just a flat area and the soil was basically compacted to the point of practically being concrete,’ says Kate Orff, founder of the landscape architecture firm Scape and lead designer [who worked] in collaboration with the architecture and design firm Studio Gang… Looking back at a century’s worth of plans for the river’s edge and a much longer history of commerce and industry on the Mississippi, Studio Gang [proposed a concept] reimagining six miles worth of riverfront sites [that would] better knit them into a city that had partly turned its back to the river. ‘We tried to reestablish what this place was,’ Studio Gang founder Jeanne Gang says.”
$7 Million Wicker Park Mansion By Murdered “Beer Baron” On Tap
“The John Henry Raap House at 1407 North Hoyne is on the market for $6.95 million,” reports Chicago magazine, built by “a German-born Civil War vet who rose from corner-store grocer to wholesale liquor merchant… The 8,250-square-foot, five-bedroom, five-and-half-bathroom residence has had its ups and downs. For decades after Raap died in 1897 (murdered in his office by an employee who had been indicted for embezzlement), the mansion operated as an apartment house. Now reclaimed as a single-family residence, it has been restored and renovated by Rugo/Raff Architects.”
On The Route On Its Way Unless Someone Steps In
“On The Route opened in 1971 but will soon close if no one buys the shops in Lakeview and Lincoln Square. Its owner is planning to retire and tour Europe by bicycle,” reports Block Club.
Tarmac Toil Troubling
“As travel rebounds, understaffed ground crews are getting injured,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Workplace injuries are rising among the army of ground staff who refuel planes, handle baggage and help move aircraft around the tarmac… While passengers and aviation regulators are typically more focused on safety in the air, people who work under the belly of an aircraft on the side of the runway face a multitude of risks. Workers have fallen off the vehicles, known as tugs, that push back aircraft; inexperienced staffers have caused aircraft to collide; others have had limbs crushed by falling containers. Understaffed and inexperienced ground crews regularly didn’t receive adequate training for their roles… That problem has been compounded by a lack of investment during the pandemic that left many workers using faulty heavy machinery. For ground workers, scenes on the tarmac and in baggage rooms have often been chaotic.”
New York Introduces Anti-Rat “Trash Can Of The Future”; DC Dispatches Ratter Dogs
New York City, known for piling sacks of garbage on city sidewalks, is introducing reinvented sidewalk trash cans, reports the New York Times. “The new receptacle, which will replace the green wire mesh litter baskets seen across the city, has three parts: a concrete base (so it’s tough to tip over); a hinged metal lid; and a removable, relatively lightweight plastic basket that sanitation workers will lift and empty. ‘The wire litter baskets are iconic, but they are well past their useful life in New York City,’ said Jessica Tisch, the city’s sanitation commissioner… The wire baskets were made up of a series of holes: ‘That’s the fundamental design feature which allows the rats to get in.'”
In D.C., dogs are being sicced on rats, reports the Washington Post in a color piece, “The sound of a rat screaming in the jaws of a terrier is the same sound that a stuffed squeaky toy makes. It seems so obvious. Of course the toys sound that way, because that sound awakens something deep in a docile dog’s neurons that says: Shake it. Shake it till it’s dead.”
DINING & DRINKING
Trib Food Editor Folds Napkin
Ariel Cheung, food editor of the Tribune, is leaving her role to become editorial director at City Bureau, reports Michael Nagrant at the Hunger. “Cheung was the top editor at what used to be THE food and drink news destination in Chicago… I don’t know it was her stewardship, but I’ve also really appreciated that both Nick Kindelsperger and Louisa Chu have also worked hard and pursued their own voices, tackling social issues, infusing their personalities and their families and thoughts in unique ways that are much different from their predecessor, Phil Vettel. I hope Cheung leaving doesn’t [affect] the personal voices Nick and Louisa are cultivating. I hope this doesn’t mean the Tribune is on the precipice of killing food coverage altogether.”
“The quality of a restaurant scene is directly correlative to the quality and quantity of its coverage. As much as I have really tried to believe that quality always earns a voice, I realize this is not true. The world is now content-saturated and people have responded by scuttling off to their comfortable familiar niches.”
Times Arrays Doubts About Michelin Ratings
“As its universe of dining guides expands to new places, Michelin is asking those regions to help pay the bill. And some chefs fear the honors are fostering a world of restaurant clones,” writes Julia Moskin at the New York Times. “In interviews, dozens of restaurateurs, chefs and officials across the country said the status the stars confer is priceless, and comes with vast earning potential. But they also voiced reservations about Michelin’s priorities and influence… Does the quest for stars generate excellence, or sameness? Do deals with the tourism industry and food brands suggest that Michelin’s attention and the prestige it confers are at least partly for sale? And can the stars keep their luster as Michelin selectively expands its universe?” (Michelin posts its standards here.)
Chicago Could End The Tipped Minimum Wage
More than sixty restaurants are ready, writes Eater Chicago, offering a timeline of how the tipped minimum wage could end in October.
Tabú Hires Executive Chef
Atomic Hospitality has hired Alexander Quintero as executive chef at Tabú in the West Loop. “Renowned as both the founder and executive chef of Aikana Chicago, chef Quintero brings a wealth of culinary expertise,” the restaurant relays. “His culinary prowess lies in harmonizing traditional and avant-garde ingredients and techniques to curate a truly multicultural dining experience. With a heritage rooted in Costa Rica and a family legacy deeply intertwined with the restaurant industry, Quintero has consistently disregarded his mother’s advice when she told him, ‘Don’t play with your food.'” More Tabú here.
River Forest To Ban Resto Styrofoam
“The River Forest Village Board voted to prohibit food establishments in the village from selling or distributing disposable food service containers composed of polystyrene foam,” reports Wednesday Journal.
Kraft Heinz Introduces Crisping Pouch For Frozen Grilled Cheese
“Kraft Heinz is launching a pouch for microwave use that replicates products cooked in an oven or on the stove by adding crispiness, marking a key step by the food and beverage giant as it works to accelerate innovation across its portfolio,” reports Food Dive. “The first product, Lunchables Grilled Cheesies, can create a crispy outside and melty cheese inside in a minute. It will hit shelves this month and mark the thirty-five-year-old brand’s inaugural presence in the frozen category.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Rent Your Own Show Of Taylor Swift Concert Film For $800
“Cinemark is offering moviegoers a chance to rent out auditoriums to watch the filmed version of Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras Tour,’ which hits theaters on October 13. Private ‘Swiftie Parties,’ as the theater rentals have been dubbed, cost $800 (plus taxes and fees) and can accommodate up to forty people,” reports Variety.
Barstool Sports Runs Organized Copyright Infringement Of Broadcasts
Mr. Skin-style, but for sports: “For years, Barstool Sports has run an apparent system of organized copyright infringement, using ‘burner’ Twitter accounts to swipe countless hours of highlights owned by teams in every league. And they apparently have no intention of stopping.” A Daily Beast investigation “found more than forty content-swiping Twitter accounts apparently controlled by Barstool—a key to the growth of its massive media empire.”
Bomb Threats Come To Chicago Libraries
“Libraries in Chicago, Aurora, Addison and Evanston were targeted” by bomb threats on Tuesday, reports the Sun-Times. “The incidents were investigated and deemed unfounded.” The threats “came as Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias testified at a Senate hearing about the state’s first-in-the-nation ban against bans.”
National Book Awards Jettison Drew Barrymore
“The National Book Awards is an evening dedicated to celebrating the power of literature, and the incomparable contributions of writers to our culture,” the National Book Foundation announced online and on Twitter. “In light of the announcement that ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ will resume production, the National Book Foundation has rescinded Ms. Barrymore’s invitation to host the seventy-fourth National Book Awards Ceremony. Our commitment is to ensure that the focus of the Awards remains on celebrating writers and books, and we are grateful to Ms. Barrymore and her team for their understanding in this situation.” (Barrymore’s own staff writers are picketing her strike-breaking show, observes Rolling Stone.)
New Editorial Director For Borderless
Mauricio Peña is joining Borderless as editorial director, the publication relays in its latest newsletter. (Peña was the Block Club reporter for Little Village who provided the city’s most in-depth reporting on the Adam Toledo murder and the Crawford Power Plant implosion.)
Gannett’s Version: Newspaper Chain Hiring Taylor Swift Reporter
“Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the United States, announced that it would hire a reporter to cover one of the biggest names in music: Taylor Swift,” reports the New York Times. “As Swift’s prominence grows during her record-breaking tour, Gannett said it was looking for a reporter who could capture the significance of her music, as well as her ‘growing legacy’ and ‘the effect she has across the music and business worlds.’ The reporter would be writing for USA Today and The Tennessean, the publisher’s newspaper in Nashville, where Swift began her career as a country darling before selling out stadiums across North America on her record-breaking ‘Eras Tour.'”
CSO Taps Six
Music Director Emeritus for Life Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra announce the appointments of six new members who join the Orchestra for the 2023-2024 season. Muti, who participated in final auditions as part of his activities as music director in the 2022-23 season, appointed Mark Almond as principal horn, Danny Yehun Jin as assistant principal second violin and Justin Vibbard as principal librarian, as well as three new members of the bass section: Ian Hallas (who officially joined the CSO during its 2023 residency at the Ravinia Festival), Alexander Horton and Andrew Sommer. More here.
Freud Leaving Lyric
The 2023-24 season at Lyric Opera of Chicago will be the final run for general director, president and CEO Anthony Freud. “Having been a general director for thirty years leading opera companies on both sides of the Atlantic, with the last thirteen wonderful years at Lyric, I have made the personal decision to retire in summer 2024,” Freud says in a release. “Working with Lyric has, for me, been the honor and thrill of a lifetime.” Says board chair Sylvia Neil, “Anthony was Lyric’s first general director to have been appointed from outside the company, and the development of the company under his leadership has been remarkable. Our collective confidence in Lyric’s future is deeply rooted in Anthony’s significant accomplishments and the vibrancy he has created in his partnerships with music director Enrique Mazzola, music director emeritus Sir Andrew Davis and a strong executive team.”
Joffrey Welcomes Five
The Joffrey Ballet has added five dancers to the Joffrey roster for the 2023-24 season: Reed Henry (Princeton, New Jersey), Lindy Mesmer (Blacksburg, Virginia), Jackson Miles (Denver), Lauren Quinn (Fort Wayne) and Ao Wang (Beijing). Biographies and more on the company here.
One Weekend For Kokandy’s “Immersive” Concert-Version “Sweeney Todd”
Kokandy Productions has announced a single-weekend concert presentation of its award-winning production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” November 11-12 at Theater at the Center in Munster, Indiana. The original Kokandy production received six Jeff Awards and was extended twice. The concert staging will feature Kevin Webb and Caitlin Jackson in their Jeff Award-winning turns as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett. Jeff Award winners Derek Van Barham (director) and Nick Sula (music director) will evolve the original in-the-round staging to create an immersive experience for the TATC space. Tickets here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Fed Funds Pay For Some Migrant Trafficking From Texas, Denver
“About a third of new arrivals are bused here by Texas Governor Abbott, but many are also sent by Texas and Denver organizations using federal money without coordinating with Chicago officials,” reports Axios Chicago. Officials from the Department of Homeland Security confirmed “that the federal funds they provide to local organizations can be—and are—used to buy bus, train and plane tickets for migrants to come to Chicago.”
FDA Declares Decongestant Phenylephrine Doesn’t Work
Over-the-counter placebos have been sold as decongestants for years, reports AP, including Sudafed PE, Mucinex, Sinex, Dayquil, Benadryl, Tylenol sinus and Advil sinus congestion. “The FDA assembled its outside advisers to take another look at phenylephrine, which became the main drug in over-the-counter decongestants when medicines with an older ingredient—pseudoephedrine—were moved behind pharmacy counters. A 2006 law had forced the move because pseudoephedrine can be illegally processed into methamphetamine.”
AI Translation Apps Endanger Asylum-Seekers
“Translators say the U.S. immigration system relies on AI-powered translations, without grasping the limits of the tools,” reports the Guardian. “The U.S. immigration system has said it will provide migrants with a human interpreter as needed. In reality, refugee organizations say many are frequently left without access to one.” Agencies in the immigration system and even some refugee aid organizations “increasingly rely on AI-powered translation tools like Google Translate and Microsoft Translator to bridge that gap. The Department of Homeland Security has set up several contracts with machine translation firms, including Lionbridge and TransPerfect Translations International Inc. Immigration officials at ICE have been instructed to use Google Translate to vet refugee applications.”
Google Firing Hundreds Working In Recruitment
“Google is making ‘significant’ cuts to its recruiting organization… as it pulls back on hiring,” reports NBC News. “Employees hit in the latest layoffs will retain access to offices this week and online systems for longer. Employees had previously criticized the company for abruptly cutting off access to those who lost their jobs in January.”
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