Get Chicago culture news sent to your inbox every weekday morning. Subscribe to Newcity Today here.
School Of The Art Institute Names New Faculty
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has announced nine new full-time faculty members of the school this academic year. “The new faculty members represent the breadth of work undertaken at SAIC and highlight each of the School’s core values,” the school relays. They are: Eric Hotchkiss, Designed Objects; Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Painting and Drawing; Gionata Gatto, Designed Objects; Melita Morales, Art Education; Alan Kwan, Film, Video, New Media, and Animation; Vanessa Damilola Macaulay, Performance; Robert Burnier, Painting and Drawing; Nyeema Morgan, Sculpture; and Doug Rosman, Art and Technology-Sound Practices.
The School will also welcome four AICAD fellows: Kimberley Ayala Najera, Interior Architecture; Aaron Neal, Architecture, Interior Architecture; Uthman Olowa, Architecture, Interior Architecture; and Chris Salas, Ceramics. Combined, the thirteen new faculty members and fellows will teach courses in eight departments.
Indianapolis Museum Of Art Names New Director
“Newfields has appointed Belinda Tate as the next director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, concluding a nearly four-year hiring process and crisis of identity for the 140-year-old institution,” reports ARTnews. “Tate comes to Indianapolis from [the] Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, where she has served as executive director since 2014… The museum provoked a firestorm of online outrage after the original posting for the job went viral over its requirement that the chosen applicant must maintain its ‘traditional, core, white art audience’ while also increasing diversity.”
The New York Times: “Her hiring was one of the steps the institution—situated near both wealthy, mostly white, neighborhoods and others with large Black populations—took after artists and community members demanded new commitments to diversity and employees sought to improve the office culture. The museum also earmarked $20 million to acquire works by artists from marginalized groups, increased diversity on its board and instituted antiracism training.”
Dan Devening Takes The CTA
A new piece by Dan Devening on the CTA: “The installation for my public art project for the CTA Irving Park-Pulaski Blue Line station is complete. Five years of delays and challenges but so happy with the results,” Devening posts on Instagram. “The work is in the street level-to stairway-to passageways that lead to the main train platform. I hope you’ll check out the installations some day. All porcelain enamel steel fabricated by Winsor Fireform in Seattle.”
Unity Temple Restoration Foundation Closing After Half-Century
“After fifty years of restoring and preserving Unity Temple, hosting artistic and educational public programming, and welcoming tourists from around the world, the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation board of directors has made the decision to sunset the organization, with operations ceasing October 31,” the group newsletters. “The decision to dissolve UTRF took many months of thought, analysis, and discussion, and is ultimately in concert with ongoing discussions to restructure the management and maintenance of Unity Temple. With the partnership of Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, generous donors, and restoration professionals, Unity Temple has been restored in the same (if not better) condition that Frank Lloyd Wright had intended. With the completion of this monumental project, the primary mission of UTRF has been accomplished.”
If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now: Voice Of CTA Turns Twenty-Five
Lee Crooks has been “The Voice of the CTA” for twenty-five years, reports Block Club. “Crooks’ commitment to the craft comes down to the syllables, whether it’s a ‘smiley’ uptick on the tail-end of ‘Fullerton’ or an ‘informative,’ flat cadence to announce a rainbow of train transfers. The polished voice actor… drives down to Chicago two or three times a year to record updates to the transit system. Most recently Crooks told Chicagoans about detours due to the Blue Line’s West Side rebuild, laid down sharper recordings for the new 7000-series trains and gave folks a reminder to give up their seats to ‘people who are pregnant.'”
YMCA Loop Outpost
A new YMCA location in the Loop would anchor a twenty-story residential building proposed along the southern edge of the Loop, reports Crain’s.
Why Isn’t FEMA Paying For Chicago Refugee Camps?
“The migrant situation is crushing big-city budgets and causing neighborhood stress,” posits the Tribune editorial board. “If the federal government can act fast when it comes to [the employment] part of the crisis, why not in the equally pressing matter of finding suitable housing for these folks?” (The paper’s board is taken with the word “yurt.”) “Where is the federal government here? The Federal Emergency Management Agency is greatly respected for its prowess and expertise when it comes to emergency housing. Why is FEMA not putting up these cities and shouldering the cost? This is, after all, an emergency born of a failed federal responsibility.”
Cook County Puts $14 Million On Hotels In Evanston And Oak Park For The Homeless
“Using some of the federal dollars Cook County received to assist with the pandemic, county commissioners okayed spending nearly $14 million to transform two suburban hotels into shelters for people who are homeless,” reports the Tribune. “The board voted to award a $7 million, no-interest, fully forgivable thirty-year loan to Connections for the Homeless Inc. so the nonprofit can buy the Margarita Inn in Evanston. It also approved a similar $6.5 million loan to Housing Forward LLC and the Oak Park Residence Corp. for the purchase of the Write Inn in Oak Park… There’s roughly $20 million more in federal funding to spend on similar efforts.” WBEZ: “The county was already helping rent the former hotels in Evanston and Oak Park. The plan won approval from a county board committee, though some commissioners want low-income south suburbs prioritized.”
DINING & DRINKING
Carniceria Guanajuato Salmonella Cases Rise Above Fifty
“Fifty-five cases of salmonella have been linked to an outbreak at Carniceria Guanajuato, 3140 North California,” reports the Sun-Times. “City health officials issued a warning that anyone who dined at the taqueria or who have bought ready-made meals from its grocery store since August 29 might have been exposed to salmonella.” So far, “five lawsuits have been filed against the Avondale taqueria.” NBC 5: “One customer had to be placed on a ventilator and remains on dialysis.”
Revolution Brewing Taproom Adding 20,000 Square Feet In $1.8 Million Expansion
“Revolution Brewing’s Avondale taproom and distribution facility is getting an overhaul and expansion, thanks to a county program that will significantly cut their property taxes,” reports Block Club. Mayor Johnson “introduced an ordinance last week to re-establish a Class 6(b) property tax incentive for [their] industrial building.” The legislation “sets up $1.8 million in savings over the next ten years for Revolution, the largest independently-owned brewery in Illinois. The Cook County program gives qualifying building owners a property tax discount to encourage industrial development.”
Nobody’s Darling Expanding
“Two years ago, Nobody’s Darling broke the mold of LGBTQ bars in Chicago, and the Andersonville tavern was named a James Beard Award finalist in 2022. Now, the welcoming neighborhood tavern, after more than nine months of anticipation, is unveiling an expansion that will nearly double its capacity,” reports Eater Chicago.
Olive Oil Prices Double
“Olive oil prices spiked to fresh records as severe droughts in major producing [countries] continue to crimp supplies—driving desperate people to resort to stealing it,” posts CNBC. “Global prices of olive oil surged to $8,900 per ton in September, driven by ‘extremely dry weather’ in the Mediterranean.”
“Just four months after announcing that the hot dog-shaped Wienermobile was changing its name to the Frankmobile, the distinctive wiener on wheels is reverting to the original,” dresses AP. The Instagram notice is here.
Starbucks Speeding Up Its “383 Billion” Possible Combinations
“The biggest thing keeping people from their local Starbucks these days isn’t that a grande blonde vanilla latte costs $7 or that a venti mocha cookie crumble Frappuccino has 590 calories,” reports Bloomberg. “It’s the wait. The time from placing an order to being served now tops five minutes for more than a third of customers… That’s mainly because of a sprawling menu and increasingly customized drinks with various squirts, shots and cold foams—which add up to more than 383 billion different possibilities just for a latte. Starbucks is attempting to fight back, spending billions of dollars to shave seconds from the process of making nearly everything.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Amazon Prime Video Adds Commercials As Profit Center
“Seeking to raise revenue, Amazon said that U.S. subscribers to its streaming service could opt for an ad-free version for an extra $2.99 per month,” reports the New York Times. Says Amazon: “To continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time, starting in early 2024, Prime Video shows and movies will include limited advertisements.”
MeTV FM’s Rick O’Dell Steps Down
“In the fall of 2015 I was hired by Neal Sabin and Norm Shapiro of Weigel Broadcasting to be the Program Director for their newest creation, 87.7FM MeTV FM Radio,” broadcaster Rick O’Dell posts on Facebook: “The assignment came with plenty of excitement, surprises and triumphs over challenges, everything you’d want in a radio job.” O’Dell has announced October 4 as his retirement.
Octogenarian Bloomberg’s Hope For Clean Succession
“At eighty-one years old, common sense says I should have succession plans,” former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg told the New York Times. “As he kicks off a new campaign to use his wealth to block the construction of petrochemical plants, Bloomberg outlined the fate of his company Bloomberg L.P. after he dies. He said his Bloomberg Philanthropies foundation would inherit his multi-billion-dollar company and then eventually sell it. ‘I give virtually all of the company’s profits to the foundation, and the foundation gave away last year $1.7 billion… But when I die, the foundation inherits the company. They, because of the tax laws, will have to get rid of it, sell it someplace or other over the first five years.’ … Bloomberg holds an eighty-eight percent stake in the company behind Wall Street’s favorite data terminals, which generated revenue of more than $12 billion in 2022. He said he…. hoped to keep working for at least three to five more years. ‘I know exactly what I want to do.'”
Checking In On Billy Corgan’s Tower Records Pop-Up
“I’d thought the novelty of pop-ups had worn off for me, but that was before the North Shore’s biggest alt-rock star decided to dress his tea shop like a corporate record store I’d barely thought of for almost two decades”: Leor Galil checks into the Tower Records pop-up at Madame Zuzu’s. “Now, as back in high school, I found Tower to be too expensive; I suppose that means the pop-up successfully provided me with an authentic experience… Madame Zuzu’s pop-up did remind me a little of my own Tower experiences but with far more armed security guards. The scale was smaller, as was the stock of music, though I don’t remember seeing quite as large of a section devoted to Smashing Pumpkins’s records.” (The forty-minute original Tower Records acoustic show at Lincoln Park’s substantially larger Tower Records on July 26, 1993, is here.)
Bluesman “Tail Dragger” Jones Was Eighty-Two
“‘He was raw, gritty, one-hundred-percent in-your-face, unadulterated, pure West Side blues,’ said fellow blues musician Billy Branch,” reports Mitch Dudek at the Sun-Times. “For decades, as if possessed by slow blues licks, Tail Dragger Jones crawled on all fours among the hightop tables of Chicago blues clubs, his cowboy hat and boots moving in time, belting his gravelly growl into a mic. He’d stand and sidle through the crowd, smiling, leaning close and singing to women, often his classic ‘My Head Is Bald.’ He learned the stage antics from his hero and mentor, the legendary Chester ‘Howlin’ Wolf’ Burnett… There were many Howlin’ Wolf imitators—known as wolf descendants—but Tail Dragger rose above and outlasted the pack. He was practically anointed by Howlin’ Wolf, who he gigged with, and who assigned Mr. Jones his Tail Dragger nickname because he was always running late.”
Crisis At Cleveland Institute Of Music
“With conductor Carlos Kalmar, the conservatory hoped to become a mecca of orchestral training. After allegations of overwork, bullying, and discrimination, some students are now in open revolt,” reports VAN. Students did not play at the first rehearsal: “The student demonstration was organized and publicized a few days before to protest the return of conductor Carlos Kalmar, CIM’s director of orchestral studies. Just weeks earlier, Kalmar had been cleared in an independently commissioned Title IX investigation.” A letter with 112 student and alumni signatures was circulated: “While it may be true that the investigation did not find sufficient evidence to warrant an official Title IX hearing, it is vital to distinguish between the lack of evidence that would prompt a hearing and Mr. Kalmar’s purported innocence.”
Special Award For Falls At Jeffs
The Joseph Jefferson Awards will honor director Robert Falls at the organization’s fifty-fifth Equity Awards ceremony Monday, October 2 with this year’s Special Award. More here.
Chicago Adman And Playwright Alan Gross Was Seventy-Six
“Alan Gross started out as an advertising copywriter before moving full time to writing plays, producing works that were staged in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles,” notes the Trib of the Old Town resident. “He grew up in Skokie and graduated from Evanston Township High School and got a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. After college, Gross worked for Sears, Roebuck & Co.’s advertising department before joining Leo Burnett. In the 1970s, while he was writing plays, Gross took an interest in improvisational acting. He studied with Del Close and Paul Sills at Second City, and with Byrne Piven at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston.”
“In 1977, Gross—still working as an adman—caught a break, when his play ‘Lunching’ was staged by the Body Politic Theater in Lincoln Park under the direction of Mike Nussbaum. Tribune columnist Aaron Gold in 1978 called ‘Lunching,’ which covers the travails of two couples, ‘the funniest comedy to play in Chicago in the last year,’ and noted that it had been the Body Politic’s biggest financial hit since 1972. Some critics likened Gross’ punch-line-a-minute technique to that of Neil Simon… Gross also enjoyed singing jazz numbers and playing the trombone.”
Teatro ZinZanni Returns To Perch Atop Loop
Teatro ZinZanni is back in the Loop, high inside a mirrored spiegeltent within an historic Chicago highrise. The entertainment company has announced a cast of characters for its fall experience, promising “signature love, chaos and dinner.” Single tickets (from $119), group tickets of ten or more, and private event reservations are available here.
André Bishop Leaving Lincoln Center Theater; Second Stage Head Steps Down
“André Bishop, the producing artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater, will step down in the spring of 2025, ending a thirty-three-year run leading one of the nation’s most prestigious nonprofit theaters,” writes the New York Times. “Bishop, seventy-four, said he is choosing to leave at the end of the 2024-25 season because that is when his current contract ends, and because that will allow him to join in that season’s celebrations of Lincoln Center Theater’s fortieth anniversary… His decision means that there are job openings for the top positions at three of the four nonprofits with Broadway houses, portending potentially significant change, and uncertainty, in a key sector of the theater industry that has had almost no leadership turnover for decades.”
Carole Rothman will step down from New York City’s Second Stage, reports American Theatre. “She’ll have run the company she founded for forty-five years, after leading it from two Off-Broadway theaters to join three other nonprofits who also run Broadway houses.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
“Garden Of Decay” For Halloween At Navy Pier
“Garden of Decay,” Navy Pier’s Halloween adventure, opens Friday, October 13. “This brand-new Halloween event is a unique and immersive experience, guiding guests through a narrative-led, haunt-style walk-through that explores the depths of emotion and celebrates the magic of art and storytelling.” Then, the “Garden of reCreation” offers interactive art, themed vendors, botanical-inspired cocktails and late-night entertainment. More here. Tickets start at $42 here.
Chicago Losing Blood
“The three biggest blood suppliers for Chicago hospitals say their inventory is critically low. If people don’t step up and donate, they could have to start rationing,” reports the Tribune.
Morgan Park Alderman Says No To “Filthy” Dollar Tree
“A Dollar Tree is moving into an abandoned storefront in Morgan Park… at the intersection of 111th Street and Western Avenue… prime real estate on a crucial corner anchored by the Beverly Arts Center,” reports CBS 2. “That’s the gateway to my community,” said Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th). “That’s the cultural hub of my community.” O’Shea “says it’s time the city holds Dollar Tree accountable. ‘If they don’t want to clean up their act, they don’t want to clean up their stores, don’t want to be good neighbors, then get the hell out of Chicago.'”
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]