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Balthus Painting Deaccessioned By Art Institute
“La Patience” (1948), one of two Balthus paintings in the Art Institute collection, will go up for auction at Sotheby’s New York next month, reports the Art Newspaper, and is expected to yield at least $18 million. The painting has been part of the Art Institute’s holdings for almost sixty years; the museum intends to use the yield for future acquisitions. “The fact that the museum’s collection now contains numerous works by Balthus, including two that are regularly on view, was one factor in the decision, the museum said. ‘Girl with Cat‘ (1937) is now the only significant painting by Balthus in the museum’s collection. When the AIC acquired ‘La Patience’ in 1964 directly from Balthus’ dealer Pierre Matisse (son of Henri) in New York, it was the only work by Balthus in the collection. The painting has not been on display in the galleries in nearly a decade… though it has been lent out extensively for exhibitions (the painting is currently on display at Sotheby’s showroom in Hong Kong).”
Million-Dollar Driehaus Grant Toward Revival Of Historic West Side Sears Garden
A million-dollar grant will help “cover the planned $5 million restoration and rehabilitation of the 1907 North Lawndale garden,” reports Lee Bey in his Sun-Times architecture column. “The garden was built in 1907 by Sears & Roebuck and was a centerpiece of the then-mighty retailer’s expansive campus headquarters… Sears famously abandoned the campus for the Sears Tower in the 1970s. But most of the original Sears buildings are still there, as is the pretty fancy, nearly block-long sunken garden the company created for its employees, complete with a Greek Revival pergola. Though still handsome, the garden has seen better days after 116 years.”
Evanston Nonprofit Sues Over Alleged Use Of AI On Renter Applications
“Open Communities, an Evanston nonprofit focused on fair housing, filed a lawsuit in federal court last week accusing a national property management company of using an artificial intelligence program to screen out lease applicants using housing choice vouchers,” reports Evanston RoundTable. The nonprofit found “more than a hundred properties managed by Harbor Group across the country [with chatbots that] automatically replied with a similar or identical line ‘informing the applicant that housing choice vouchers or Section 8 were blanketly not accepted.'”
“According to the lawsuit, the National Fair Housing Alliance and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, discriminating based on a person’s source of income, like a voucher, can constitute racial discrimination when members of a protected class disproportionately represent those with certain income sources. In all the cases that Open Communities investigated, the Harbor Group properties were located in places where African Americans are overrepresented among those with housing vouchers.”
Eddie Bauer Ditches Logo: “Gen Z Doesn’t Read Cursive”
A rebranding team behind changes in Eddie Bauer’s look “initially toyed with the idea of keeping the script font [but] the general reaction they received was that it looked dated and, to some, confusing,” reports Fast Company. “A big part of what I’m going to need to do here is reintroduce this great heritage brand to the next generation,” one of the workers says. “And kids don’t even learn to read cursive in school anymore.”
DINING & DRINKING
Crossover Croissants From Daisies And Kasama
Daisies executive pastry chef and partner Leigh Omilinsky has teamed up with the Kasama crew to create ube and coconut croissants, filled with ube-toasted coconut pastry cream, topped with an ube glaze, and sprinkled with even more coconut. October’s Crossover Croissant will only be available at the cafe Monday, October 16 through Thursday, October 19, or until they run out.
Voodoo Doughnut Chain Fulton Market Store Will “Really Feel Like Chicago”
Portland, Oregon-based Voodoo Doughnut “is hard at work determining Chicago-centric details of the store, interior and food,” reports NBC 5. “Chicago… it’s so big and so diverse with so many different, amazing neighborhoods—truly amazing neighborhoods—and we’ve been looking, waiting for the right place to land,” the CEO says. Voodoo Doughnut is opening in Fulton Market.
Metro Brewing Reorganizing
“Yeah, it’s true,” Metropolitan Brewing posts on Twitter. “Earlier this week, we filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This is the ‘reorganization’ type of bankruptcy, meant to help us right our ship. The details are super boring. Importantly… We are still open, and we have no current plans to change that status. But we are struggling a little, especially going into the cooler months when people don’t want to hang on the patio. We have a gorgeous tap room with floor-to-ceiling windows so you can enjoy nature even if u don’t want to be out in it. Our patio is open year-round. Bundle up & order that liter you’ve always wanted… Bottom line: we still have plenty of fight in us. And we still believe in the beer we brew.”
Costco: King Of Cashews
“Half of the world’s cashews are sold by Costco, or more than $300,000 worth a week,” reports the Wall Street Journal in a multimedia piece on the cost and sources of Costco products, particularly clothing.
FILM & TELEVISION
Diverse Voices In Docs Introduces “10 For 10”
“The Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID) Fellowship is a collaborative fellowship that supports Midwest-based filmmakers of color committed to unflinching documentary filmmaking rooted in social justice and community,” the documentary production enterprise relays. “Founded by Gordon Quinn of Kartemquin Films and Margaret Caples of Community Film Workshop of Chicago, ten years ago the program began supporting nonfiction filmmakers telling stories that are intimate, grounded in community, and provoke audiences to question the world around them. ‘Ten Voices, Ten Years’ is a limited online publication of commissions from alumni whose voices have helped shape… this fellowship and the entire field of documentary. Over the next ten weeks, [essays will contain] the reflections and experiences of filmmakers and the curious-minded ways these artists explore, challenge and re-imagine established frameworks for documentary story-finding and storytelling about the world… around them.”
ALA Executive Director Exits
Executive director Tracie D. Hall has resigned from The American Library Association (ALA), relays American Libraries in a statement. “Hall has been executive director since 2020, leading the Association through the pandemic. During her tenure, ALA received the largest unrestricted grants in its history and improved its financial health while advancing its work in strategic areas.”
Free Library Boxes In Florida’s Time Of Book Bans
“Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’ sat one book away from Ibram X. Kendi’s ‘Antiracist Baby.’ But it wouldn’t for long. Titles in Heather Encinosa’s Little Free Library clear out fast,” reports the Palm Beach Post. Those two books… have both been targeted and even removed from some school shelves in Florida and across the country… The box, painted black, stands in front of Encinosa’s Tallahassee home. It’s covered in stickers.”
“Florida is No.1 in book banning, according to a recent PEN America report. Even closer to the box is the governor’s mansion, where DeSantis, who has pushed for and signed the bills into law, lives when he’s not on the presidential campaign trail… A couple of people have taken issue with the library. One woman once packed it with Bibles. But Encinosa, an attorney and mother of two teens, said most people think ‘it’s a valuable part of our neighborhood.'”
Twitter/X CEO Musk Promotes War Disinformation Accounts
“Information researchers said that the… outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas is an early test of how the revamped X conveys accurate data during a major crisis,” reports the Washington Post (free link). “Owner Elon Musk personally recommended that users follow accounts notorious for promoting lies.”
Chicago Made Music Showcase Finale Hits Chicago Cultural Center
Sixteen finalists will perform at the final Chicago Made Music Showcase of local talent for a chance to win $10,000. DCASE, in collaboration with Next Showcase USA, have announced the local artists and bands selected to perform before a panel of industry experts. More than 140 live auditions were held with more than 300 applications submitted to DCASE. The performers are Deonte Baker; Liam Taylor; Jamiah Rogers; Queen Ari; The Remedy; Ty Simms; Kopano; Starlet; Wan00; De’Narie Luv; Ace Da Vinci; Paige Kizer; Jasmine Marthel; Zia Jenaye; CallmeIsrael; and Big Kid. Saturday, October 21, 7pm-10pm, doors open at 6pm, Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center. Seating is first come, first served.
Discogs, “a fastidiously detailed Wikipedia for music… has been fractured by increased fees that are pushing sellers and shoppers to other platforms,” reports the Verge. “The site has become the internet’s foremost database of recorded music and one of the most extensive marketplaces available for physical music media, with every bit of it generated and offered by users. You can catalog your collection, look up information about even the most obscure artists, cross-check record store prices to see if your local shop has a markup, and purchase records, typically at something close to their ‘market rate’… But sellers who use the platform say the site’s old tech has started to wear on them, and new fees and restrictions have made it harder to do business. Changes within the company are threatening to turn a bastion for vinyl fans, record stores, and anyone who cares about music into just another dysfunctional website—and dismantle a singular record of music history, even if just by pushing the sellers and users who have created that record away.”
Black Arts & Culture Alliance Of Chicago Christened
The nonprofit African American Arts Alliance of Chicago has been rechristened as the Black Arts & Culture Alliance of Chicago. President Charlique C. Rolle and vice president Vershawn Sanders-Ward speak of the service organization’s twenty-six-year legacy and mission to support, showcase and advance excellence in the Black arts and culture sector in Chicago: “We are immensely grateful to our founders for creating this space for us,” says Rolle. “As the next generation of Black voices and artists in Chicago, our goal is that the Black Arts & Culture Alliance is truly a hub for artists and voices of the diaspora, where we can see ourselves represented through all of the nuances of our history and our future.”
“Art-making and storytelling have always been a vital tool for liberation in our community and a driver of our cultural experience and community-building efforts. The Alliance will continue to build and support the intersections of how Black artists influence and stimulate our culture, society and economy.” In 1997, African American Arts Alliance co-founders Jackie Taylor, Joan Gray, Chuck Smith and Ron O.J. Parson saw a need for community interaction and development, and incorporated the African American Arts Alliance to build upon the rich history of the original Black Theatre Alliance, later expanding the organization to serve the needs of Black performing, visual, literary, technical and design art forms.
Ruin Of Chicago Rental Stages Rued
“Losing rental venues [hits at] the ability for all artists, including emerging, fringe, under-resourced, and underrepresented makers, to produce their work in Chicago. No access, no art,” asserts American Theatre. (“When Storefronts Run Out Of Storefronts” is the headline.) “Small and midsize performance venues help create Chicago’s patented storefront scene. For years, multi-venue spaces across the city have been home to these intimate productions and the companies that crafted them, providing residencies of a sort for smaller theaters that didn’t have their own spaces to not only make their work but cultivate audiences. When these rental outfits shutter or change direction, as a number of notable Chicago venues have in the last few years, they disrupt this fragile community… Space has become increasingly hard to find for theater companies in Chicago, making it more difficult for smaller companies to maintain their already tenuous footholds.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
City Of Chicago Spent $3.5 Million For NASCAR Weekend For $620,000 Yield
“Mayor Johnson’s decision to bring a NASCAR road race back downtown comes even though the event this past 4th of July weekend generated less economic impact than predicted and cost the city at least $3.5 million for police overtime and construction,” reports the Tribune. “The $3.5 million figure stands in contrast to the $620,000 NASCAR paid the city to transform streets surrounding Grant Park into a twelve-turn, 2.2-mile racetrack. NASCAR paid a base $500,000 permit fee to the Chicago Park District in April and in late September cut a final check for the 2023 race for nearly $120,000 to pay the city its portion of ticket sales as well as commissions for food, beverage and merchandise.”
Times On Migrating Birds Dropping Dead In Chicago
“Millions of birds fly over Chicago during the fall migration season, and a number of them die after being confused by bright lights or after trying to fly through a window, but the carpet of bird carcasses outside [McCormick Place Lakeside Center] shocked people who have been monitoring birds in the city for decades,” reports the New York Times. “A large number of birds were migrating that night because their travel had been delayed by unfavorable weather conditions… The temperature had been unusually high and the birds encountered a headwind… When the temperatures dropped and the wind shifted, a huge number of birds took advantage of the improved conditions and flew over Chicago” as about a million and a half birds were in flight above Cook County.
“A small storm system moved through the city,” said Douglas Stotz, a senior conservation ecologist at the museum. “The birds hit this storm and they drop out, they don’t want to fly through the storm… So they come down to the ground, and that sets up the conditions for the incredible migration we saw—and for the big kill we saw.” Adds the paper, “Birds are confused by lights and windows, which they don’t know they can’t fly through.”
Gamblers Drop Nearly $7 Million In First Three Weeks Of Medinah Temple Casino
“Bally’s Chicago is already the second-busiest casino in the state,” reports the Trib. “More than 80,000 visitors made their way into the Bally’s Chicago temporary facility at Medinah Temple,” generating “nearly $6.7 million in adjusted gross receipts—the money kept after winnings are paid out—which put it in the middle of the revenue pack among the state’s fifteen casinos.”
Kroger Hopes To Stall Shoplifting With Its Addition Of AI To Surveillance; Sued Earlier This Year For Alleged Wage Theft
“Kroger has an intrusive plan to stop theft (Walmart and Target might follow),” reports The Street. “Shrink increased during quarter two, primarily due to rising theft and organized retail crime,” the grocery conglomerate’s CFO said on an earnings call. “We are implementing initiatives to mitigate the financial impact, including increased security and new technology solutions…” The tech is already in place at 1,700 of its 3,500 stores in thirty-five states. “Cameras will watch the self-checkout lanes and AI will examine how customers scan their goods. A company called Everseen Visual AI will virtually examine the video, flagging any discrepancies. The AI flags not only incidents of customers stealing but also abnormal patterns, and it will alert store personnel.”
“Four lawsuits have been filed accusing Kroger of paying employees less than they were supposed to make or failing to deliver payment at all. The culprit behind the error seems to be a new payroll system,” reported Supermarket News in March. (Popular Information has more.)
Amazon Satellites Will Blind The Night Sky
“Large constellations of satellites interfere with telescope observations, and Amazon will eventually add another 3,200 of them to the night sky. Scientists are concerned and searching for solutions,” reports WIRED.
Not Nice: USPS Hiking Postage For Third Time This Year, Including Forever Stamps To Sixty-Eight Cents
“The United States Postal Service filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission of mailing services price changes to take effect January 21, 2024. The new rates include a two-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, from sixty-six cents to sixty-eight cents,” announces the USPS.
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