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Arnold Joseph Kemp Covers Jordan Peele
Open House Chicago Grows
The Chicago Architecture Center has expanded Open House Chicago, the free festival that offers behind-the-scenes access to historically, culturally and architecturally important Chicago sites. The 2023 event, running October 14-15, will feature more than 170 locations across more than twenty Chicago neighborhoods. Sites and more, including a downloadable guide, are here.
A History And Hope For Preservation Of The Damen Silos
“Preservationists argue that the unique structure [of the Damen Silos], vacant since the 1970s and a darling of gonzo artmakers, was the skyscraper of its time and deserves to be saved,” reports WBEZ. “‘We’d like to see this remarkable component of Chicago’s lost industrial history repurposed in some way, along with the adjacent land,’ said Ward Miller, Preservation Chicago’s executive director. The permit for demolition is still under review by the city, according to a spokesperson for the mayor. The planning department said it has not received a formal public landmark request.”
Clinton Entrance To Union Station Reopens After Thirty Years
“For the first time since a 1980 fire, the Union Station entrance in the middle of Clinton Street is in use,” reports the Sun-Times. Amtrak “is still looking for a tenant to operate a food hall planned for that space.”
The Hopeful Petition To Restore The Uptown Theatre
A change.org petition by “Friends of the Uptown,” begun six years ago, is almost to its 15,000-signature goal: “I urge you to support and ensure the restoration and reuse of the historic Uptown Theatre for entertainment and other special events. This Chicago Landmark will create jobs for the community and help make the Uptown Square Entertainment District a vital destination.”
Just How Big Is The Kia And Hyundai Problem Nationwide?
“Thefts of easy-to-steal Kias and Hyundais are a scourge on American cities. Detailed data from ten cities,” Motherboard tallies, “tells part of the story. … Chicago used to have about 850 cars stolen per month. Now, it consistently has more than 2,000, an average of eighty-six cars stolen every single day. Denver rarely had more than 800 stolen cars in a month before 2021. Now it usually has more than a thousand. Atlanta usually had less than 250 per month before 2022. This year, it has doubled. The thefts are [largely of] two car brands: Kia and Hyundai. The companies sold more than nine million cars over the course of a decade without basic anti-theft technology that makes them trivially simple to steal.”
Florida Investor Nabs Old Town Shopping Center
“One of the nation’s largest shopping center owners has paid $27.5 million for an Old Town retail property anchored by Jewel-Osco, a deal that shows investors’ strong appetite for shopping centers with grocery stores while commercial property sales overall remain sluggish. Jacksonville-based real estate investment trust Regency Centers purchased the Old Town Square property at 424 West Division,” posts Crain’s.
DINING & DRINKING
Are Earlier Dinner Reservations A New Norm?
Shake Shack founder and New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer started a conversation with a tweet: “When did a 6:00 dinner reservation become the new 8:00, most prized table of the night—and will it last?” More from Insider: “Work from home contributes to social isolation. That’s why restaurant bars and seats are filling up ever earlier,” Meyer said. “Round the clock” workdays have an impact, as well as Netflix and other services consumers are paying for: There’s “more entertainment content than ever to get home to.”
The Wages Of Removing Tips
“Michael Hornick hasn’t been a very typical restaurant owner. His forty-year-old Chicago Diner is vegetarian, in a diner niche that exalts burgers and fries,” reports CNBC. “He pays seventy-five percent of his staff’s health insurance premiums and a retirement-savings match. And after COVID, in a move that remains unproven but may become more common as a model within the restaurant industry, he [added] a twenty-percent service charge to bills to revamp the way he pays his servers and other front-of-house staff… ‘I see and feel both sides,’ said Hornick, president of Chicago Diner, which has two locations he owns with partners. Overall, he is in favor of the coming law. ‘In the end, we are talking about people who support me and support my business.'”
Is The Restaurant Wage Move Just Politics?
“With Chicago’s new minimum wage law, Mayor Brandon Johnson is not doing what’s best for the people, consumers, and restaurants, but what’s best for himself.” At The Hunger, Michael Nagrant makes a case for tipped wage maneuvering as being ultimately unfair. “Those restaurants will thrive even more, many average to above-average operators will suffer. Consumer experience will suffer, jobs will be lost, and the professionalism of the service industry (something that already took a huge hit when the pandemic showed people you’re better off working where you don’t have to be in person all the time) will drop off. More brain drain will happen. If you’re making a really good tipped salary now, and your owner says hey we need to move to a service model, so you’re going to make less, what would you do? If you get better at your job, but because of rising costs, people dine out less or tip less and you make less, wouldn’t you rethink your profession? Great hospitality is still of very high value.”
Nookies Too Space Filled By John’s Food & Wine
The space left by Lincoln Park’s shuttered neighborhood diner Nookies Too will be filled, reports Block Club, by John’s Food & Wine, “an upscale eatery serving American fare inspired by the seasons.” It’s “a new concept from chefs Adam McFarland and Thomas Rogers, formerly of Gramercy Tavern in New York City.” Look forward to “Manhattan clam chowder with corn, sun gold tomatoes and celery leaves” as well as “charcoal-grilled hanger steak with buttered rice and smoked onion jus.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Studios, Writers, Reach Tentative Agreement; Actors Next
“The WGA and major studios and streamers have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract that promises to end the 146-day strike that has taken a heavy toll across the content industry,” reports Variety. “The nitty-gritty details of language around the use of generative AI in content production was one of the last items that the sides worked on.” The WGA’s letter to its members is here. The New York Times on what happens after members vote here. “Reports suggest that screenwriters won concessions from Hollywood studios on key issues. That reflects the strength of unions’ hands in the current moment,” The Times’ Dealbook writers say.
Late-night comedy is expected to return soon. The Teamsters issued a statement. “While we pop the champagne corks, or maybe atone today with a bit more spring in our steps, let’s just take a moment to ask: Seriously, what the fuck was that all about?” asks Richard Rushfield at The Ankler. “Not what were the demands about and why did they matter. But why did it have to go down this road? Why did the entire industry have to be held hostage over this for half a year? … Apparently, once they got together in a room, it only took a few days to get this done. So… we had to wait five months to get together in a room?”
Music Box “The Sound Of Music” Sing-A-Long Returns This Thanksgiving
The Music Box tradition of interactive “The Sound Of Music” screenings returns, with each screening including onscreen lyrics, a costume contest, goody bags and more. Shows begin Thanksgiving weekend, from Friday, November 24 through Sunday, November 26, with encore shows Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3. Showtimes and tickets here.
Black Harvest Film Festival Introduces Sandor Prize Jury Members
This year will be the sixth year that the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Black Harvest Film Festival Prize will be awarded to a short film, and the third year the prize also includes a feature film. The prize awards $2,500 to the best feature film and $1,000 to the best short film. Maya S. Cade, Justice Singleton and Paige Taul [Newcity Film 50] will be in attendance at Opening Night of Black Harvest, November 3, where they will announce the winning films. Winning films will be presented at the Gene Siskel Film Center during the Twenty-Ninth Black Harvest Film Festival, November 3-16.
“Love Letter To Chicago” Opens In L.A.
“There hasn’t been a proper film made about Chicago in a long time,” writes filmmaker Connor McBride. “This was the thought that [sparked] the idea of my debut feature film. Being born in the city of Chicago and growing up in the north suburbs, the city felt like a place with unlimited possibilities and it still feels that way today. A lot of recent films and TV shows set here don’t do it justice. Inspired by the films of John Hughes, I made ‘Saturday Night Inside Out’ to show a side of the city and its people most outsiders wouldn’t see. Some of the most artistic and thoughtful people hail from Chicago. The city itself is always buzzing with a creative energy that most others lack. I felt it every day when I woke up, but it’s kind of hard to put into words what that exact feeling is.” “Saturday Night Inside Out,” a “glimpse inside the millennial mindset” opens Friday in Los Angeles and other cities. The trailer is here.
“Reading Is Resistance”: Growing Backlash To Florida Book Bans, But Bans Not Slowing
A “growing number of students and parents in Miami-Dade county and across Florida are speaking out in opposition to book challenges, the capture of Florida school boards by conservative activists and this summer’s latest policy changes, which includes the expansion of DeSantis’ Parental Rights in Education Act,” reports the Guardian. “School book bans and restrictions in the United States rose thirty-three percent in the last school year, according to a new report from the free speech group PEN America,” conveys NPR, “continuing what it calls a worrisome effort aimed at the ‘suppression of stories and ideas.’ Florida had more bans than any other state… PEN America said it found 3,362 cases of book bans, up from 2,532 bans in the 2021-2022 school year.”
Book-Ban Advocates “Moms For Liberty” Stage “Potty” Reading In Florida
The so-called “Moms for Liberty,” “the conservative group founded in Florida and now a force in national politics, tried… to get books pulled from school libraries by reading aloud at school board meetings passages they said amounted to ‘porn,'” reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “The group’s Seminole chapter, following a playbook used successfully… in Indian River and Pinellas counties, urged supporters to read ‘potty’ words and the ‘worst of the worst,’ with the hope they’d get cut off by the School Board. They weren’t… ‘Just make sure that you get shut down, that’s the goal,’ … the group’s Seminole chapter chair posted on Instagram… The Seminole County School Board, however, listened without interruption as Moms for Liberty members and supporters read short book excerpts, in almost all cases without naming the book or the author.”
Sun-Times Elder Michael Sneed Remembers Murdoch Days
“Let’s hi-ho back decades ago when Murdoch paid $90 million in cash for the liberal-leaning, tony tabloid newspaper on the Chicago River,” writes Michael Sneed at the Sun-Times. “That wrought the wrath of legendary Sun-Times columnist Mike Royko, who branded the Australian garbage gossip news titan, an ‘alien’… It’s still a calumny Murdoch continues to poison the nation’s inkwell with fake Fox news; but I am ever so grateful for the day he was forced out the door of the Sun-Times, thus enabling this journalist to witness the golden age of Chicago’s two great American newspapers.”
Milwaukee Symphony Workers Agree To Contract
“Extending its recent history of harmonious labor relations, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has reached a two-year contract agreement with its musicians,” reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The new contract also opens up possibilities for change in the audition process for hiring new orchestra members.
Lyric’s “The Flying Dutchman” Sails
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s sixty-ninth season sets sail with Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman,” running through October 7. More than 160 musical and dramatic artists will fill Chicago’s biggest stage. In his third season as Lyric music director, Enrique Mazzola leads the Lyric Opera Orchestra, a seventy-two-piece orchestra, marking Mazzola’s first time conducting Wagner at Lyric. “The Flying Dutchman” stars returning favorites Tomasz Konieczny as the Dutchman, Tamara Wilson as Senta, and Mika Kares as Daland, as well as Robert Watson as Erik and Melody Wilson as Mary, both in their Lyric debuts. The eighty-five-member Lyric Opera Chorus “adds a staggering impact to this haunting story. The theatrically spellbinding production of director Christopher Alden creates the illusion of a haunted ship battling raging waters and captures all the drama of the high seas suffused into Wagner’s haunting score.” More here.
Paramount Theatre Names Kara Davidson Director Of New Works And Associate Artistic Producer
Paramount Theatre has named Chicago theater artist Kara Davidson as director of new works and associate artistic producer. Davidson brings to Paramount’s artistic staff over fifteen years of experience in disciplines including playwriting, directing, acting, arts administration, teaching and theater management. Previously a company member at The House Theatre, she has worked with Lookingglass Theatre Company and Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and was the producer of the NOW (New Omaha Works) Lab at the Omaha Playhouse. Her work as a playwright has been commissioned and produced in Chicago, Minneapolis, Nebraska, Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Since 2015, she has taught workshops and performed both nationally and internationally with Manual Cinema, a company that uses puppetry, technology and immersive sound to create theatrical cinematic experiences for audiences.
The State Of Stage Etiquette
Michael Phillips and Nina Metz at the Tribune consider the worst, most dubious behavior they’ve witnessed before the boards: “I’m hesitant to make this sound like there’s one strict regimen of behavior everyone has to follow at a play, or a movie, or whatever. Clearly there’s not. But there’s value in looking at the [Lauren] Boebert [‘Beetlejuice’ ejection] as the new yardstick in measuring what not to do. Or how many different ways to ignore common sense etiquette in a very short period of time.”
Minnesota Dance Theatre Artistic Director Steps Down; Daughter Takes Charge
“After nearly thirty years as artistic director of Minnesota Dance Theatre, Lise Houlton is passing the reins,” reports the Star Tribune. “Her daughter Kaitlyn Gilliland will take over as interim artistic director through the 2023-24 season… Known for its annual production of ‘Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy,’ the company was founded by Houlton’s mother and choreographer Loyce Houlton in 1962. Lise Houlton, a former member of the Stuttgart Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, took helm of the company in 1995 after her mother died.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Writer-Poet Britteney Kapri Could Open East Garfield Dispensary
Britteney Kapri, granddaughter of a former Chicago alderwoman, “wants to convert 7,000 square feet of an unused restaurant in the Westside Justice Center building at 601-611 South California” in East Garfield Park “into Baked dispensary,” reports Block Club. “A poet and playwright, Kapri said she and her team were one of the original social equity cannabis license applicants in 2020, a program meant to boost minority participation in the legal pot industry. Once they obtained a license, Kapri chose to open in the Westside Justice Center building that was founded in part by her father Brendan Shiller, a lawyer who helped establish a pro-bono legal office in the building… The family owns the building.”
Illinois Running Out Of Volunteer Firefighters
“In Illinois, about two-thirds of the state’s roughly 1,100 fire departments rely almost entirely on volunteers,” reports the Tribune. “And, with few exceptions, those departments are running out of volunteers… Fire chiefs across Illinois say they’re facing historic staffing lows.”
Rural Letter Carriers Move To Decertify Union
“Substantial wage losses from a controversial evaluation system have left rural letter carriers frustrated. But there’s concern that the proposed cure is worse than the disease,” reports The Prospect.
Low Mississippi River Hurts Stricken Farmers
“A long stretch of hot, dry weather has left the Mississippi River so low that barge companies are reducing their loads just as Midwest farmers are preparing to harvest crops and send tons of corn and soybeans downriver to the Gulf of Mexico,” measures Fortune. It’s “worrisome for thousands of farmers who have watched drought scorch their fields for much of the summer. Now they will face higher prices to transport what remains of their crops.”
How The UAW Strike Is Like The Writers Strike; Durbin On Bolingbrook Picket Line
“Autoworkers, at first blush, don’t seem to have much in common with Hollywood writers and actors. In some respects, they mirror the divide between Americans in the heartland and on the coasts, and between those with college educations and those without. And yet, as they find themselves on picket lines challenging international behemoths, they face a trio of common issues,” writes Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post. “First, both confront companies whose chief executives’ salaries have gone wild… The second concern shared by autoworkers and Hollywood strikers: Both of their industries are undergoing mammoth changes… Finally, both autoworkers and Hollywood strikers share a common feeling that they are clawing back concessions made in past years.” CBS 2: “Senator Durbin was set to join autoworkers on the picket line on Monday outside a GM facility in southwest suburban Bolingbrook.”
Baltimore Adds Millions More To Arts
“Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced additional investments in the arts through the American Rescue Plan Act funds for a combined total of $6.25 million focused on supporting arts and cultural institutions led by diverse artists and groups,” reports CBS News.
How Small Nations Profit From Web Domains
“The rewards from selling web addresses are considerable,” reports Rest Of World: “The revenue generated by Anguilla’s .ai domain—around $3 million per month—accounts for around a third of the government’s monthly budget. Following a deal with GoDaddy in 2022… Tuvalu could make $10 million per year from the .tv domain—one-sixth of its GDP. That revenue has allowed Tuvalu to pave its roads, expand electricity access for its residents, and even pay its first annual United Nations membership in 2000.”
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