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Smart Loans Art To Students
“More than one hundred University of Chicago students will transform their dorm rooms into mini-museums this school year as they borrow limited-edition artwork from Hyde Park’s Smart Museum of Art,” reports Block Club. “UChicago students living in residence halls can borrow one work of art for the 2023-2024 academic year through the Art To Live With program.” Pieces include work by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Faheem Majeed, Amanda Williams and Jenny Holzer.
Ray Johnson: “I Want To Dance”
“’I am now so very excited I cannot sleep,’ the artist Ray Johnson wrote to a friend after a visit to Chicago in 1949. ‘I have suddenly got the idea in my head that I want to dance.’ Johnson, the collage and mail artist whom The New York Times once called ‘New York’s most famous unknown artist,’ did not go on to have a career in dance. But his animated letter raises an interesting question: What does dance have to do with his art?” asks the New York Times. “The recent discovery of a group of early Johnson collages sheds some light. In January 2022, the Art Institute of Chicago received a message saying that some Johnson material had been found. The message came from the Morrison-Shearer Foundation in Northbrook, which oversees the estates of that ‘wonderful dancer’ and choreographer, Shearer; and the photographer Helen Balfour Morrison.”
Tiger Woods Golf Course Near Obama Center Could Be Supplanted By Restoration of Existing Courses
“While the Obama Presidential Center is rising in Chicago’s Jackson Park, a closely related project favored by the former president continues to languish,” reports the Tribune. “Backers still hope to resurrect the grand plan for a new professional tournament-quality course next door, but with little progress, residents remain anxiously waiting for restoration of two existing courses.”
Parks As Centerpieces Downtown
“Parks are a near-universal feature of downtowns. Today more than ever before, they can serve place managers—and communities,” notes F. Philip Barash at Medium, prompting an International Downtown Association annual conference panel this Thursday, October 5, 3:45pm. “Attendees will learn how and why to use parks as centerpieces of development, cultural belonging and public programming.”
Reviving Peoria’s Madison Theatre “More Than Historic Preservation”
“Plans to revive the moribund Madison Theatre in downtown Peoria are still moving forward… two years after a not-for-profit took ownership of the landmark,” reports WCBU. “The 1,600-seat theater designed by Peoria architect Frederick J. Klein opened in 1920, and closed most recently in 2003. It’s the last… fully intact vintage theater” in Peoria. “Roof leaks, extended vacancy, and a 2016 arson fire all caused their fair share of damages to the theater… Cody Geibelhausen of the 501(c)(3) Madison Preservation Association prefers to describe their work as a historical renovation, rather than a restoration… ‘We’re not reinventing any wheels here. It’s just Peoria’s time to get the ball rolling on it.'”
Rogers Park Residents Oppose Demolishing 1905 Home For Church Parking Lot
A house located on West Touhy faces demolition in favor of a church parking lot, reports the Loyola Phoenix. The home “is a single-family home built in 1905. The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church has owned the house since 2011, and the house doesn’t qualify for any historic preservation protections… Paul Kolpak, the attorney for the church, said he feels the project does hold benefits for the neighborhood. He said the ‘consistent’ growth of the church has led to congregants parking on main and side streets, and the parking lot expansion aims to combat this congestion.”
Federal Lead Pipe Removal Plan Leaks Flaws
“Chicago, which has more than 400,000 lead pipes, the most in the country, offers a glimpse into how difficult it can be to implement such an ambitious, nationwide plan,” reports the New York Times. “Andrea Cheng, the water-management commissioner of Chicago, said Illinois had set a timeline of fifty years to rid the city of lead pipes, well beyond the White House’s ten-year plan to remove every lead pipe in the country… While advocates commend Mr. Biden for confronting the crisis head-on, securing nearly $27 billion in federal funding for clean water and lead pipe removal, they fear that a string of unexpected impediments could hold up progress for years to come.”
DINING & DRINKING
Pumpkin Spice Tampers With Malört
CH Bar & Table will pour limited-edition Pumpkin Spice Jeppson’s Malört shots today through October, or until the supply runs dry, CH advises. “The shot will cost $7 and all proceeds will be donated to Punk Rock Saves Lives, a catalyst at events for the Punk Rock Community… This offering launches a series featuring a monthly, rotating Malört-based shot and charity donation.” CH Bar & Table is at 564 West Randolph and is open Tuesday-Saturday. More here.
Refining Dining At Michelin-Starred Esmé
Will exclusivity behind high prices guarantee venturesome dining at Esmé? “The Esmé Elite Dining Pass starts at $650 per person and includes three tasting-menu dinners, plus perks like cooking classes, private tastings, meet and greets with featured artists, and direct booking. There are two higher tiers to the membership—for $1,100 and $1,300 per person—that tack on… wine pairings to the three included dinners,” details Crain’s. “Michelin-starred Esmé [hopes] to rope in loyal diners and secure revenue as fine-dining restaurants continue to face margin pressures.”
Lula Cafe Brings Clams To Manhattan
Lula Cafe will materialize in Manhattan at Altro Paradiso Friday, October 20, noon-4pm. The appearance is tied to the October 4 debut of chef and restaurant owner Jason Hammel’s “The Lula Cafe Cookbook: Collected Recipes and Stories,” reports Time Out New York. “Hammel himself will join Altro Paradiso for the occasion, adding his own littleneck clams with sorrel almond pesto and anchovy soffritto broth, Parisian gnocchi with mini lamb meatballs and soubise sauce and pappardelle with walnut bolognese… to the downtown Italian restaurant’s menu.” Reservations here.
The Disappearance Of Ted Odell’s Midwestern Mystery “Guerilla Cookie”
“In the annals of food and memory, I know of no story so peculiar as the mysterious disappearance—now more than three decades ago—of the Guerrilla Cookie from the shelves of Midwestern food co-ops. A confection with a cult following, it rose to popularity in Madison, Wisconsin, in the 1970s. Then, sometime around 1990, it was gone,” writes Dave Denison at the Baffler. “Nobody seemed to know why. Years went by, and the lore and legend around it only grew… They were a dense, moist granola cookie. They had a sheen on top and were dark on the bottom. They were called ‘whole meal’ cookies; usually one was enough. They came in a plastic bag of six—or was it four?—and the pale yellow label that I remember was hand-lettered with a couple of drawn asterisks or stars and the admonition: ‘chew slowly.'” It just happens that one summer, Denison was Odell’s baker’s assistant, and of course there’s more to the mystery here.
No Longer The Full Shilling In Wrigleyville
Full Shilling Public House is yet another longstanding Wrigleyville bar to shutter, reports Block Club. “Houndstooth Saloon closed in May, Blarney Stone closed in 2021 and Redmond’s Ale House closed in 2020. Guthries Tavern briefly closed in 2020.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Full Spectrum Looking To Community Storytellers; Gets NEH Grant
“Community Storytellers elevates the narratives of Chicago residents by adapting community-driven stories into short films. With the help of film professionals, three participants are selected to translate their stories into a motion picture while organizing a series of meaningful events that mobilize their neighborhoods and spark awareness. This yearlong process culminates in a powerful film showcase that celebrates the legacy of their community—past, present, and future.” Details and application here.
Full Spectrum has also gotten an NEH K-12 Institute Grant to host a three-week teacher institute, “Japanese American Post-War Resettlement in Chicago, 1943-1950.” Full Spectrum Education will host thirty educators from across the United States to learn about Japanese American incarceration and resettlement history through community-engaged and place-based teaching. The institute will be carried out in three phases in summer 2024: a virtual preparatory stage, an intensive week of in-person engagement, and a virtual wrap-up and dissemination stage. More Full Spectrum here.
Brooklyn Drafthouse Workers Unionize
“Alamo Drafthouse workers in Brooklyn have won the theater chain’s first union with UAW,” reports More Perfect Union on Twitter.
Seminary Co-Op Solicits Director Nominations
The Nomination Committee of the Board of Directors of the Seminary Co-op Bookstore is inviting nominations for candidates to fill open director positions, due by October 9, to be emailed to [email protected]. “The Nominations Committee will consider nominations for two vacancies. The new directors may serve up to three three-year terms. The Board believes that its membership should be diverse in perspectives and skills so that it can provide concrete advice and assistance to the leadership of the Co-op, help the Co-op to steward its resources, and help the Co-op to reach the diverse community of readers whom it serves now and whom it may serve in the future. Nominations should include a statement or materials that indicate the perspectives and skills the nominee would bring to the Board and the way in which the nominee complements and extends the capabilities of the Board.” (Brief biographies of current members of the Board are here.) More here.
Why Nathan Hill Sets His Stories In Chicago
“Nathan Hill’s award-winning debut novel, ‘The Nix,’ was set in Chicago and its suburbs. Similarly, his second book, ‘Wellness’, follows the life cycle of a young couple,” reports Chicago magazine, “from their meeting in Wicker Park in the early 1990s [to adult life in] the North Shore.” Says Hill, “I was drawn to write about Wicker Park because it’s among my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago. And my wife and I would come back every summer. Because you’d see it only once a year, every summer, I’d be like, ‘Oh, that thing has changed. That business has left. And now there’s something new there.'”
“I would notice small, individual changes that over time really added up to a very different feel than the Wicker Park of the nineties. I think I decided to use Wicker Park as a setting because, of course, that’s what’s happening with my characters: they undergo all these small changes over time… The feeling of walking around is this neat sort of layering of time, because you’re looking at a building and you’re like, ‘Well, that was a sweatshop and then it was a warehouse. And then it was a coffee shop. And then it was the setting for a TV reality show. And then it was a gym.’ You’ve got all these layers of time existing in one place.”
The TRiiBE Expands
The Field Foundation notes (on Twitter) that its grantee, The TRiiBE, is hiring a managing editor, a digital news editor, a digital engagement editor and a social media coordinator. The Chicago-based employment opportunities are detailed here.
Soros Open Foundation Pauses Grants To Media
“George Soros’ $25 billion charity is on the cusp of a transformation that will reshape its operations, slash its staff and test whether his son Alex is ready to head one of the world’s biggest and most influential philanthropies,” headlines Bloomberg. “Alex, who was named official successor to his billionaire father at the Open Society Foundations in June, has revealed only a few details of the overhaul, which will include a five-month freeze on new donations starting in October and a minimum forty-percent staff cut. The organization, which has enlisted consulting firm Deloitte to help with the redesign, will emphasize urgency and outcomes.”
Describes Semafor, “Among Open Society grantees are free media outlets all over the world, and left-leaning projects in the United States, and we’ll soon see how crucial the foundation’s cash has been to those ecosystems.”
X Marks The CEO
Linda Yaccarino, the former head of global advertising for NBCUniversal and now CEO of Elon Musk’s app still known to many as Twitter, gave an “odd, uncertain and confrontational” public interview last week. Variety called her debut appearance in an onstage exchange “bizarre.” Yaccarino was also the subject of an extended profile in FT Weekend, with a portrait of herself in a bright red dress, hands up as if crucified to a wall.
“‘Elon talks about it a lot—that the feedback loop on X is one of the most powerful things. But you have to get comfortable with that negative feedback loop, and it’s sobering. It’s humbling.’ Locking eyes with me through her trademark chunky designer glasses, Yaccarino is making the hard sell for chaos… Yaccarino says she was drawn to X because of this relentless pace, which offers ‘intoxicating liberation, freedom to move quickly and to innovate and iterate in real time.'” Yaccarino’s full thirty-eight-minute appearance at the Code conference is on YouTube here.
North Carolina Public Radio Station Rejects Met Opera Broadcasts: “Jesus Christ On Judgement Day” Invoked
“A listener-supported radio station in North Carolina, WCPE, is planning to withhold the broadcast of six contemporary operas this season from New York’s Metropolitan Opera, because of the station management’s objections to the operas’ content,” reports NPR Music. WCPE general manager Deborah S. Proctor says, “If the Met wants to put these out as a ticketed organization with people coming to sit in their venue, for people who choose to be there, that’s one thing… But to broadcast these things to anybody who might happen to tune in, that’s something else entirely.”
“Proctor also appealed to the sensibilities of any children who might tune into her station or come across it online and said that her personal values were integral to her decision-making. Breaking into tears on the phone, Proctor said: ‘I have a moral decision to make here. What if one child hears this? When I stand before Jesus Christ on Judgement Day, what am I going to say?'”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Silence Urged By Joliet Bishop Over Sex Abuse Crisis
“Bishop Ronald Hicks might consolidate sixteen Joliet-area congregations and eventually close other parishes and schools, with ‘budgetary issues’ a factor. His aides won’t say how much has been spent on fallout from the sex abuse crisis,” reports Robert Herguth at the Sun-Times. “Among the subjects they won’t address: how much money has been spent under Hicks and his predecessors in settlements and other costs responding to child sex abuse accusations lodged against clergy members and other religious figures.”
Trib Front-Pages Citywide Crime Sprees
“While armed robberies are nothing new in Chicago, a disturbing new pattern has emerged in recent months where crews of robbers—many of them juveniles—toting high-powered weapons go on crime sprees, robbing or carjacking multiple victims in a matter of minutes, often using stolen cars and dressed head to toe in black.” Sunday’s Tribune front page featured the work of Jason Meisner, Sam Charles and Jake Sheridan, deciphering the crews behind “random and brazen” citywide crime. “They seem to be constantly one step ahead of authorities. Before police can even respond to one scene, more have popped up, leaving dozens upon dozens of victims in their wake.”
Teamsters Authorize Detroit Casino Strike
“Detroit casino workers have voted by an overwhelming ninety-nine percent to authorize a strike,” The Teamsters posted on Twitter. “The authorization allows Teamsters Local 1038 and four unions representing more than 3,500 workers to call a strike should MGM Grand Detroit, Hollywood at Greektown, and MotorCity casinos fail to deliver fair contracts by the October 16 deadline.”
Fly Ozempic Airways
“Slimmer passengers would mean less fuel needed for flights,” reports Bloomberg. “If flyers lose ten pounds, United saves $80 million,” an analyst predicts. “Airlines and planemakers obsess about reducing jet-fuel consumption by constantly finding new ways to reduce aircraft weight. They may have new allies in Ozempic and other similar slimming medications… Other industries seen benefiting from the growth of weight-loss drugs include pharmaceuticals, apparel—particularly athletic clothing—and cosmetics, the report said.”
West Humboldt Amazon Warehouse Opens
“After months of delays, Amazon will begin operating the delivery facility in early October and plans to hire for 350 full- and part-time jobs,” reports the Trib. “Community groups have attempted to wrangle commitments from Amazon related to local hiring and wages for around two years, but they have mostly stopped short of trying to keep the warehouse from opening. In a neighborhood that has suffered from decades of disinvestment, many residents see the warehouse… as a step forward. [But] Amazon is facing significant federal scrutiny over working conditions and injury rates within its warehouses.”
Over 4,100 American Companies Profit From Forced Prison Labor
“Incarcerated workers produce more than $2 billion each year in goods and commodities, and over $9 billion in services for the maintenance of the very prisons that confine them—all while being paid pennies an hour or nothing at all, according to research conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union and the University of Chicago Law School’s Global Human Rights Clinic,” reports Bolts magazine.
“Their labor enables mass incarceration by offsetting the cost of the country’s ballooning prison system, which has grown by 500 percent over the last fifty years. State and local governments rely heavily on incarcerated workers for… highway and road work; cleaning governors and mayoral estates; maintenance of hiking trails; making furniture for state and government buildings, including for public universities; and even doing hospital laundry.”
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