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Galleries And Museums Blur Lines
“From Philip Guston and El Anatsui to Marina Abramovic and Georg Baselitz, gallery stands at Frieze London and Masters are awash with artists whose works are… on show in the capital’s public institutions. A strong gallery presence is, in turn, being felt in the museums, where dealers’ logos are splashed over entrances, wall labels and exhibition catalogues,” writes The Art Newspaper. “In an increasingly difficult fundraising climate, dealer involvement in museum shows has become ever more prevalent. This begs the question: are the works we see on museum walls actually for sale?”
Detroit Faces Issues Of Privately Funded Public Art
“Does the Motor City’s public art serve the public?” asks Detroit Metro Times. “The city of Detroit announced plans to add 200 new murals in neighborhoods… The announcement was a high-water mark for the role that murals have played… for more than ten years, expanding with festivals like Murals in the Market and official government programming like City Walls… Money has flowed from public, philanthropic, and corporate coffers… demonstrating a commitment to public mural art as an important slice of the city’s cultural space. Murals have long been touted as a truly public art form… One of the most popular and revered artworks in the city is Diego Rivera’s courtyard mural at the Detroit Institute of Art—a painting depicting the working people’s struggle, crafted by a communist and honoring the workers of Detroit.”
“Something important seems to be happening with this new emphasis in cultural funding. While publicized as an investment in art and beautifying the city, the location, impact, and funding sources of these murals seem to correspond closely with private real estate and corporate investments… Why has a mayor who spent years persecuting graffiti artists embraced public murals as a centerpiece of this cultural programming? Why have corporate sponsors lined up behind this new push?… It all leads to a fundamental question: what role are murals playing today, and how could—or should—our communities approach them?”
“Culture is Power” Mural “Reimagined” On South Side
Chicago artist Max Sansing restored—and reimagined—”Culture Is Power,” his work “across from the Avalon Regal Theater, after years of chipping and fading resulting from Chicago’s weather,” reports the Sun-Times. “One of the figurative bright spots of 79th Street is literally bright once more… ‘I pretty much painted it from scratch, to be honest with you,’ Sansing says.”
Yayoi Kusama Apologizes For Anti-Black Comments
On the eve of the opening of her exhibition “Infinite Love” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama expressed “deep regret” over past anti-Black comments… “I deeply regret using hurtful and offensive language in my book,” Kusama said in a statement… provided by SFMOMA and published in the San Francisco Chronicle. “My message has always been one of love, hope, compassion, and respect for all people. My lifelong intention has been to lift up humanity through my art. I apologize for the pain I have caused.” In response, says the Chronicle, “SFMOMA is creating a series of public programs slated for the spring of 2024 meant to address how museums and audiences navigate the work of artists with problematic histories.”
Douglas Neighborhood Could Become Douglass
Ald. Lamont Robinson wants to rename Douglas, “the city’s official name for the area south of 26th Street that everyone calls Bronzeville,” named for Democratic senator Stephen Douglas, “who had a complicated stance on slavery,” in honor of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, reports Block Club.
Illinois In Multibillion-Dollar Hydrogen Fuel Project
“Illinois joined Indiana and Michigan in announcing a $1 billion federal funding award from the U.S. Department of Energy for the Midwest Hydrogen Hub, a network that enables decarbonization through strategic hydrogen use and will reduce carbon emission by approximately 3.9 million metric tons per year,” the Governor’s office says in a release. “The $1 trillion infrastructure bill that was passed in 2021 included $7 billion for clean-hydrogen hubs. The Biden administration announced seven hubs, including the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen, known as MachH2, which involves Illinois, Michigan and Indiana,” reports Crain’s. These seven hubs “will make and use hydrogen, a clean-burning fuel with the potential to power ships or factories without producing any planet-warming emissions,” adds the New York Times.
Mars Candy Factory Gets Preliminary Landmarking
“Preliminary landmark status has been granted to the Mars Candy Factory at 2019 North Oak Park in Galewood… adjacent to the Mars Metra station,” reports Chicago YIMBY. “Out of this facility… iconic snacks like Snickers and M&M’s were created.”
DINING & DRINKING
Boka Goes West With Chris Pandel
Boka Restaurant Group will convert the ground-floor space of “The Hoxton: Downtown L.A.” to “an all-day restaurant called Moonlark’s Dinette with superstar Chicago chef Chris Pandel,” reports Eater Los Angeles. “Pandel, who has worked with Boka for over a decade, linked up with the restaurant group following the success of his first restaurant, the Bristol, which opened in 2008. Together with Boka, Pandel opened a slew of restaurants including Italian spot Balena in 2012, steakhouse Swift & Sons and seafood restaurant Cold Storage in 2015, and Cira at the Hoxton in Chicago in 2019… Pandel was appointed executive chef of Le Select when Boka parted ways with [former Hoxton chef Daniel Rose].”
“[Boka] also owns and operates Cabra on the rooftop at the Hoxton in Downtown and Girl & The Goat in the Arts District with chef Stephanie Izard… Moonlark’s Dinette is Pandel’s first restaurant outside of Chicago. The menu promises classic diner fare served from breakfast through late-night. Diners can anticipate plenty of egg preparations, sandwiches, salads, house-made pastries, shareable mains and memorable desserts.”
Fertilizer Cost Strikes Poor Nations
In many lower-income countries, reports the New York Times, “Farmers are grappling with shocks that made fertilizer scarce and unaffordable, diminishing harvests, raising food prices and spreading hunger. The war in Ukraine reduced the region’s grain exports and sent the price of staples like wheat soaring from Egypt to Indonesia. The world’s food supply is also menaced by the ravages of climate change—heat waves, drought, floods. Now, scarce and expensive fertilizer is combining with these other forces to threaten livelihoods.”
FILM & TELEVISION
“The Punk Show In Chicago” Winner Of The Pitch At Industry Days
The fifty-ninth Chicago International Film Festival has announced “The Punk Show In Chicago” as the winner of The Pitch at the ninth edition of Industry Days. Written and directed by Erika Valenciana, produced by Anuradha Rana, and executive produced by Christina Shaver, “The Punk Show In Chicago” is “a comedy about Alicia, a timid Chicana punk teen and her brash Filipina BFF Belen, who travel to Chicago to go see their favorite band play, meet up with a dreamboat and get an abortion.” The project receives an awards package of in-kind goods and services with contributions from Panavision, Light Iron, Periscope Post & Audio, Camera Ambassador, Ramo Law PC, PR Casting and All Senses Go.
Studios And Streamers Refuse Negotiations With Actors; Other Trades Suffer Stalemate, Too
“After months of self-righteous declarations about wanting to end the hundred-day-long actors’ strike and get Hollywood, and all of the industries that support it, back to work, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has walked away from the negotiating table once more,” writes Mary McNamara at the Los Angeles Times. “Negotiating members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio artists claimed to be shocked by an AMPTP-inflicted breakdown in talks, and perhaps they were. But they shouldn’t have been. For the trade organization, whose sole purpose is to represent the studios in contract negotiations with Hollywood unions, this is the favored move.”
“Studio heads, including Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and NBCUniversal Studio Group Chairman Donna Langley, who joined the recent talks, may be concerned about how a continued strike will affect their shareholders and upcoming quarterly reports, but unlike the 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members, and the hundreds of thousands of other workers impacted by the strike, they’re still getting (very large) paychecks.”
Reports NPR, “Hollywood’s unions and guilds, including writers, directors and Teamsters, issued a joint statement, demanding studios resume negotiations with the actor’s union.” The New York Times: “The lives of hundreds of thousands of crew members have been upended, and even a deal between the actors and the studios might not help much in the short term.”
Netflix Will Move Merch Through “Netflix House” Storefronts
“Netflix Inc. plans to open new destinations where fans can immerse themselves in the worlds of their favorite TV shows, shop for clothing, eat themed food and maybe even try a ‘Squid Game’ obstacle course,” reports Bloomberg. The brick-and-mortar Netflix House “will feature a mix of retail, dining and live experiences… The streaming TV pioneer plans to open the first two in the United States in 2025 and then expand the concept around the world.” In the meantime, the live “Squid Game: The Trial” opens in Los Angeles in December, replicating the paces the desperately impoverished are put through for prizes in the bleak, dystopian series.
Siskel-Ebert Success Sibling Struggle?
There’s a new book about the professional lives of Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, and at the Trib, Michael Phillips talks to Matt Singer, writer of “Opposable Thumbs.” Of their performative and real-life combativeness, Singer tells Phillips, “So many people I talked to said that things changed when Roger met and then married Chaz Ebert in 1992. Robert Feder, who was a huge help to me on the research, said that. It’s a cliché, I suppose, to say Roger and Gene’s was a sibling rivalry. That’s how they referred to it. And it may be the best way to look at it.”
Scholastic On Segregating Books At Book Fairs
“There is now enacted or pending legislation in more than thirty U.S. states prohibiting certain kinds of books from being in schools–mostly LGBTQIA+ titles and books that engage with the presence of racism in our country,” Scholastic relays in a closely worded press release. “Because Scholastic Book Fairs are invited into schools, where books can be purchased by kids on their own, these laws create an almost impossible dilemma: back away from these titles or risk making teachers, librarians, and volunteers vulnerable to being fired, sued, or prosecuted. To continue offering these books, as well as even more high-interest titles, we created an additional collection called ‘Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice’ for our U.S. elementary school fairs.”
“We cannot make a decision for our school partners around what risks they are willing to take, based on the state and local laws that apply to their district, so these topics and this collection have been part of many planning calls that happen in advance of shipping a fair. We don’t pretend this solution is perfect—but the other option would be to not offer these books at all—which is not something we’d consider. There is a wide range of diverse titles throughout every book fair, for every age level. And, we continue to offer diverse books throughout our middle school fairs, which remain unchanged.”
In Fog Of War Misinformation, Twitter/X Cracks Down On Nudity And Sex Workers
“Sex workers report notifications that their accounts have been restricted in reach and hidden from search results,” reports Rolling Stone. “X, formerly Twitter, may sound like a porn site, but it’s growing more hostile to adult content… The platform is apparently focused on keeping nudity out of users’ feeds rather than how it may be fueling violence and geopolitical instability.”
Chicago Adopts Cleveland’s Period-Instrument Orchestra
“Chicago embraces Apollo’s Fire, a baroque orchestra based in Cleveland,” reports the Sun-Times. The “ensemble deepens its connection to the city, filling a void for performances of early music in period instruments.”
Music Of The Baroque Founder Thomas Wikman Was Eighty-One
Music of the Baroque has announced the passing of founder and conductor laureate Thomas Wikman. “A gifted church musician, voice teacher, choirmaster, keyboardist and orchestral conductor, he formally established Music of the Baroque in 1972, leading the organization for thirty years as music director. Beginning in 1984, he also sustained a thirty-year tenure as Choirmaster at Church of the Ascension, a flagship Anglo-Catholic church known for its purity of musical and liturgical tradition and the quality of its all-professional choir. Under Thomas Wikman’s direction, Music of the Baroque built a strong and lasting reputation for top-notch performances of large-scale seventeenth- and eighteenth-century works, many of which were Chicago premieres.” More here.
Chicago Theatre Week 2024 Announces Dates
The next Chicago Theatre Week, the annual celebration of theatergoing in Chicago with value-priced tickets, will be February 8-18, 2024. For the second consecutive year, HotTix.org will host Chicago Theatre Week from February 19-25, 2024, which will extend Theatre Week discounts to participating productions for an additional week. The value-priced tickets will be $30, $15 or less. Tickets will go on sale Tuesday, January 9, 2024 here.
Goodman Announces New Stages Festival And Residents
“Blues and rock artists headline the 2023 New Stages Festival, under artistic director Susan V. Booth, as staged readings of two new musical theater projects and three new plays comprise Goodman Theatre’s nineteenth annual celebration of new plays—offered free of charge,” the Goodman announces. The offerings are “Revolution(s),” with book by Zayd Ayers Dohrn, music and lyrics by Tom Morello, directed by Steve H. Broadnax III; “Slippin’ Through the Cracks: The Blues Journey of Bobby Rush,” with book by Bobby Rush and Stephen Helper, songs by Bobby Rush, directed by Stephen Helper and Arminda Thomas; “Black Bear Island,” by Karissa Murrell Myers, directed by Henry Godinez; “Perry Street,” by Lucy Thurber, directed by Thomas Sadoski; and “Cephianne’s Reflection,” by Mallory Raven-Ellen Backstrom, directed by Malkia Stampley.
The Goodman Theatre’s 2023 New Stages Residency (formerly the Playwrights Unit) includes Rammel Chan, Dolores Diaz, NJ Draine, Brynne Fraenhoffer, Terry Guest and Matthew C. Yee. “This yearlong program for Chicago-area theater artists commissions up to four theatrical projects per season—now including single- and multiple-authored works, non-musical and musical alike—with the artists-in-residence meeting bimonthly with the Goodman’s artistic staff and fellow artists to develop their new works towards mid-point and final readings.” New Stages Festival runs November 30–December 10 in the 350-seat Owen Theatre; reservations for free tickets open on October 23 here.
Sarah Siddons Society Award To Stephanie J. Block
The Sarah Siddons Society will present its 2023 Award to Tony Award-winner Stephanie J. Block, whose Broadway credits include “Wicked,” “Anything Goes” and “The Pirate Queen” and was recently in Chicago as The Baker’s Wife in the national tour of “Into The Woods.” The Society’s award is presented each year to someone who has achieved outstanding artistic achievement in theater. Block will be honored at the Society’s 2023 benefit on Monday, November 20 at The Arts Club of Chicago. Following a reception, the evening’s program will include musical selections from some of Block’s shows, performed by Chicago theater artists Marya Grandy, Heidi Kettenring, Rob Lindley and Bethany Thomas, under the music direction of Chuck Larkin. The program will feature the induction of the Sarah Siddons Society 2023 Scholarship Recipients. Tickets and more here.
English National Opera Music Director Quits Over Staff Slashes
Further funding battles in stage mainstays worldwide: ENO music director “says proposals to axe nineteen posts and employ remaining musicians part-time is plan of ‘managed decline,'” reports the Guardian. “Although making cuts has been necessitated by Arts Council England’s interference in the company’s future, the proposed changes would drive a coach and horses through the artistic integrity of the whole of ENO as a performing company, while also singularly failing to protect our musicians’ livelihoods. This is a plan of managed decline, rather than an attempt to rebuild the company and maintain the world-class artistic output for which ENO is rightly famed.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
American Museum Of Natural History Sheds Skeletons
“The American Museum of Natural History said it would address its collecting of [12,000 samples of human] remains, which stretched into the 1940s and included practices now viewed as abusive and racist,” reports the New York Times. “The new policy will include the removal of all human bones now on public display and improvements to the storage facilities where the remains are now kept. Anthropologists will also spend more time studying the collection to determine the origins and identities of remains, as the museum faces questions about the legality and the ethics of its acquisitions.”
Sports Gambling Essential To Disney’s Future?
“After years of internal debate, entertainment giant Disney did a deal with a gambling company and will launch an ESPN betting app next month,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Can it draw a bigger sports crowd without alienating Mickey’s fans? In August, the company struck a ten-year deal with sports-betting company Penn Entertainment to bring gambling to Disney’s ESPN sports network. Sports fans will be able to wager on games on their phones through a new app called ESPN Bet that accepts bets through Penn’s sportsbook… For ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro and Iger, who saw his two adult sons glued to gambling apps on their smartphones, the chance to engage a younger male audience, and the money, were eventually too good to pass up. Penn will pay Disney $1.5 billion in cash [and] operate the app and Disney will help market it.”
Guaranteed Income Pilot Set For St. Louis
“St. Louis is launching a program that seeks to help low-income families by providing them with $500 monthly payments for eighteen months,” reports AP. “The program is a signature priority for Mayor Tishaura Jones, who said that the money will go to hundreds of city households, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. She believes it will help rebuild neighborhoods and prevent the root causes of crime. ‘St. Louis’ guaranteed basic income will give hundreds of St. Louis families the resources they need to lift themselves out of poverty, giving them a strong foundation to grow and to thrive,’ Jones said.”
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