Get Chicago culture news sent to your inbox every weekday morning. Subscribe to Newcity Today here.
San Antonio’s McNay Art Museum Names Mia Lopez Curator Of Latinx Art
The McNay Art Museum has appointed Mia Lopez as their first curator of Latinx art, the museum reports. An expert in working with living artists, Lopez will work in multiple curatorial areas and collaborate cross-departmentally to expand and infuse representation of Latinx artists throughout the McNay, with a focus on acquisitions and programming. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Rice University, Lopez has consulted on contemporary art, arts administration and Latinx art for institutions including the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (Chicago), Independent Curators International (New York), Weisman Art Museum (Minneapolis), Minneapolis College of Art and Design (Minneapolis) and many others.
She has held curatorial positions with the DePaul Art Museum (Chicago) and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis). Exhibitions curated or co-curated by Lopez include the upcoming online exhibition “The Backroom” at Museo Tamayo (Mexico City/Online, 2023), “LatinXAmerican” at DePaul Art Museum (Chicago, 2021) and “Remember Where You Are” at DePaul Art Museum (Chicago, 2019-2020).
City of Chicago Hosts Riverwalk Public Art Dedication Today
The City of Chicago and DCASE celebrate the five just-installed large-scale public art banners along the Chicago Riverwalk by acclaimed local artist Leonard Suryajaya. “Kin Link” “is a vision of an immigrant’s experience of the city through a queer lens that offers and creates space for differing patterns and identities to exist in cohesion.” Dedication speakers will include Leonard Suryajaya and city officials along with live performances from DJ Group Trqpiteca, South Asian dance from Mandala Arts and Javanese musicians from Friends of the Gamelan.
Most CTA Track Trespassers Do It For No Known Reason
“Just under 1,200 people climbed onto CTA tracks in the first eight months of 2023, risking death or injury from the train system’s electrified third rail,” reports the Tribune. “It’s more common for people to climb down onto the tracks to retrieve objects than because they’re intoxicated or suicidal… Suicide is the least common reason, followed by intoxication. But it’s most common for riders to climb down for no known reason at all. Fifty-three percent of people who have climbed onto CTA tracks this year as of August had no known reason for doing so.”
CTA Red Line Extension Gets $100 Million Federal Grant
“The Chicago Transit Authority has received a $100 million grant from the federal government to assist with a massive project to extend the Red Line to 130th Street,” reports NBC 5. “The grant was designed to encourage cities to mitigate congestion and to improve air quality while reducing carbon emissions…The project would aim to extend the Red Line by 5.6 miles from its current conclusion at 95th Street all the way down to 130th… New stations would be constructed at 103rd, 111th, Michigan Avenue, and 130th Streets on the Far South Side… A new railyard and expanded CTA facilities would be constructed to house cars and repair shops for the agency.”
Webster Place To Become Another Medical Center (But Theater Is Staying Put)
“Advocate Health Care is building a 60,000-square-foot medical center at the Webster Place shopping center in Lincoln Park,” reports Block Club. “Advocate’s project is a $75 million investment that will create space for offices, immediate care services and an ambulatory surgery center,” among a range of other products. The facility is expected to open in spring 2025.
DINING & DRINKING
Smoque Opening Loop Sandwich Shop
Smoque BBQ is closing its stall inside Revival Food Hall and rebranding, reports Eater Chicago. The new kiosk is called Uppercut Sandwich Co., says co-owner Barry Sorkin. “They’re using premium cuts like strip loin and prime rib: ‘This isn’t a sandwich concept where we’re bringing in deli meat and slapping it between a few slices of bread,’ he says. Sandwiches like shaved prime tenderloin and a tangy steak and a brie with mushrooms are part of the opening offerings. The items are from the lunch menu at Sorkin’s Avondale restaurant, Smoque Steak, which opened in May. Some of the menu came from staff meals.”
Inner Town Pub Continues Fortieth Anniversary Month
“Be Nice Or Leave Thank You,” the Ukrainian Village mainstay relays on Instagram, the way it does on its familiar residential corner. For the rest of October, it marks its decades with half-price happy hour, weekdays 5pm-8pm with $1 PBR.
Taking Lula Cafe’s Pasta Yiayia Off The Menu And Into The Kouzina
“Not only has Lula churned out upwards of fifty Pasta Yiayia [pronounced YAH-YAH] orders a day, six days a week for almost a quarter century, but the recipe predates the restaurant as a staple of co-owner Amalea Tshilds’ childhood,” profiles WBEZ. “Her two, now teenaged, children have grown up eating it just as she did. ‘I married into this dish,’ writes her husband, Lula chef and co-owner Jason Hammel, in his new cookbook, ‘The Lula Cafe Cookbook,’ which published this week and contains the recipe for this and some ninety other dishes from the restaurant. ‘This is the recipe my wife most associates with her grandmother and namesake Amalia, who came to Chicago from a village near Sparta as a child.'”
The Invention Of Hot Potato, Cold Potato
“A food runner clad in a raven black suit cries out. He glides across the Alinea kitchen, fixated on two paraffin bowls containing icy truffle potato soup, their smooth translucent walls pierced by sharp glinting pins upon which an eighth inch cube of Danish butter, a fissured chunk of parmesan, a crisp aromatic chive, and a truffle-draped sphere of hot Yukon Gold potato glistening in clarified butter are impaled,” writes Michael Nagrant as he returns at The Hunger to “The Lost Alinea Cookbook Essays.” “The bowls are perched precariously on stainless steel serving forks (to ensure that the heat from a runner’s hand doesn’t compromise the temperature of the cold soup during delivery) and held fast to a silver tray lined with non-skid black grip. The runner’s somber visage is clear. Don’t fuck with me, or you’re a dead person.”
Cajun/Creole Dinner Service Returns To CheSa’s On First Anniversary
Chef-owner Chesaree Rollins returns to the kitchen in CheSa’s Bistro & Bar with Cajun/Creole dinner service, starting October 24 with a new menu. The restaurant will feature a prix fixe menu from its new items that weekend, which is one-hundred-percent gluten free. A new menu of Southern-inspired libations is also on hand. More here.
FILM & TELEVISION
Cameo Perks Up
“The Hollywood actors strike has been a drag for audiences, but it’s given Cameo an unexpected lift,” reports Crain’s of the Chicago-based enterprise. “Nearly 5,000 performers have joined the platform for celebrity-video shoutouts since the strike began in mid-July. The amount of talent signing on in September was 246 percent higher than a year earlier.”
SAIC Seeks Tenure-Track Assistant Professor In Film, Video, New Media And Animation
“The Department of Film, Video, New Media and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track Assistant Professor position from candidates with expertise in experimental film and video, to begin in August 2024. Salary is competitive with peer institutions and commensurate with the quality of the practice, extent of teaching experience and current professional standing.” Details here.
Disney Could Consolidate Hulu Ownership To Sweeten Possible Sale
Comcast and Disney have hired Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan to value Hulu, reports CNBC. “On November 1, Comcast and Disney can both trigger an option that will kick off a sale process where Disney will acquire Comcast’s minority stake in Hulu. Hulu has a minimum valuation of $27.5 billion, as set in 2019; Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said last month he believes Hulu is ‘way more valuable today.'”
The TRiiBE Partners With Haymarket Books
Digital media publication The TRiiBE is partnering with Haymarket Books for a reissue of “The TRiiBE Guide: Heritage Edition.” “As a radical Chicago-based publisher, Haymarket is thrilled to be partnering with The TRiiBE to amplify the narratives of Black Chicago,” says Dana Blanchard, publicist at Haymarket Books. “The honoring of Black and Indigenous Chicago histories is what makes ‘The TRiiBE Guide: Heritage Edition’ truly invaluable, and we’re looking forward to introducing this work to a new audience of readers.”
Artist Chris Ware Selling Oak Park Home
“Chris Ware, a cartoonist, author of graphic novels and cover artist for The New Yorker, put a nicely restored Oak Park house on the market,” sketches Crain’s. Ware and his wife “are asking $720,000 for the five-bedroom, roughly 2,650-square-foot house built in 1906.”
Daniel Clowes Says Comics Freer Than Picture Shows
“Working on movies was a lifelong dream,” Chicago native Daniel Clowes tells Vanity Fair as the world of his latest, “Monica,” enters the world. “Comics will be his focus going forward because of the creative freedom and potential they provide. ‘It just has so much as both an artist and a reader… There’s so much that hasn’t been done that I want to explore. And this book, I just wanted to put everything I had into this one book in a way that I never have.'” Clowes drew the cover for the New Yorker’s “Money Issue” this week. What would he do if he had a billion dollars, asks art editor Françoise Mouly: “You might as well ask me what I’d do with some magic beans; I have no idea. All of us like to imagine we’d feed the poor or fund initiatives to fight climate change, but when the money appears we wind up buying spaceships and starting private militias. I already have a shaky sense of self, and can’t even imagine how profoundly something like that would rewire my brain.”
Clowes also talks to NPR about the culmination of his latest, seven-year project. “Well, the book is kind of an investigation of [the line between belief and skepticism]—the things that we imbue onto life to give it some kind of meaning. And the structures we imagine—the idea of creating religions or cults or things like that. It’s very similar to writing fiction, in a way, or creating characters or creating worlds like in comics.”
Art Spiegelman Didn’t Set Out To Be A Freedom Writer
“’Schools are the major socializing agent of the country,’ Art Spiegelman said pointedly one recent evening across the river from Washington—which is why he’s so concerned about how they’ve become battlegrounds over books,” profiles Michael Cavna in comics form at the Washington Post (free link). “The author of ‘Maus,’ the first graphic novel ever to win the Pulitzer Prize, had just spoken to high school students, then at a community event at a middle school hosted by the Arlington Public Library in Virginia, all ahead of Banned Books Week.”
WHPK Radio Struggles After Funding Cuts
“WHPK’s long-term financial stability was dealt a blow earlier this year when a University of Chicago student government panel slashed the radio station’s operating budget,” reports Block Club. “Out of a proposed budget of $57,000, WHPK received only $20,600.” There’s no money for needed equipment repairs. “Appeals from WHPK leadership—backed by hundreds of student, alumni and neighbor signatures—reached University Dean Melina Hale, who agreed to grant WHPK the $17,000… it needed to replace a failing mixing board. But that money is just a stopgap measure.”
Photographer-Graphic Artist-DJ Shelley Howard Passes
“My Dad was a social butterfly and man of the people. He accepted everyone for who they were and loved you with open arms,” his son Shaun posts on Facebook. “With a permanent smile on his face and a Ketel One martini in hand, he touched so many people and brought so many others together. He has left a hole that no one can fill.” On his website, Howard wrote, “Shelley got his start in the fashion industry, designing ads and catalogs for Chicago’s cutting-edge boutiques and designers in the early seventies. After a stint at Triad Magazine, Shelley founded Jam Magazine with Arny Granat and Jerry Mickelson from Jam Productions. This led to a long-term association with Jam that has lasted over three decades.”
“Throughout the eighties, Shelley produced a concept called Video Dancestand which presented music videos for a dance-club audience. This show appeared at such venues as Park West, Metro and Great America and was seen by thousands every weekend. The concept was nicknamed ‘ShelleyVision.’ He has always been a major participant in the club, concert, restaurant and party scene, and many of his candid photos appear on this website.” A service for Shelley Howard is Thursday, October 19, 2pm, at Weinstein & Piser Funeral Home in Wilmette, followed by “shiva at his favorite restaurant, Topo Gigio, at 5:30pm.”
Bandcamp Aches Eddy Outward
“Bandcamp: extremely profitable company, uniquely beloved of musicians and music fans alike, riding a wave of public goodwill, decides to sell themselves to a billionaire who then dumps them off to another billionaire who now fires half the company,” posts Deerhoof on X/Twitter. Songtradr, the new corporation, posts, “It’s business as usual. There will be no changes to existing services or the artist-first revenue share… Songtradr will offer Bandcamp artists the ability and choice to opt in to licensing their music. This will enable artists to continue to own and control their music rights, and increase their earning capacity from Songtradr’s global licensing network.”
Deerhoof replies, “While selling music on bandcamp is still better than watching penny fractions trickle in from Spotify and YouTube, claiming that firing half your staff, many of whom have been longstanding, beloved members of our community, is just ‘business as usual’ is unbelievably idiotic and cruel.” “God this is frustrating,” posts Mountain Goats on X/Twitter. “Bandcamp was an unalloyed good in the music business. Its editorial staff built on decades of aboveground & independent music press knowledge to make something awesome in the music world… Epic had kept its hands off editorial; it was surprising how good to their word Epic was about letting Bandcamp be Bandcamp, right up until they sold it.”
Cancelling A Stadium Show Can Cost A Million Dollars A Night
“From Bruce Springsteen to Madonna, high-profile artists are rescheduling tours, creating headaches for venues,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Perhaps the single most important factor is timing—is the artist canceling a day, a week or six months in advance? If the show is scrapped in the immediate run-up to show time, when production setup has commenced—or even worse, when roadies are literally setting up the stage—the consequences can be painful. Generally speaking, a sudden cancellation could mean an arena loses out on roughly $500,000 in revenue, according to some estimates. For music’s largest shows—stadium events—a dark night could mean the venue misses out on up to $1 million or more.”
Three New Shattered Globe Ensemble Members Named
Shattered Globe has announced three new ensemble members, AmBer Montgomery, Adam Schulmerich and Leslie Ann Sheppard, as well as four new artistic associates: Elizabeth Margolius, Jasmine Cheri Rush, Becca Smith and Austin Winter. More Shattered Globe here.
Study: Opera Gender Imbalance Goes Beyond Podium
“A new report found that women are dramatically underrepresented when it comes to conducting, directing and designing operas at leading American companies,” reports the New York Times.
Under The Radar Experimental Theater Festival, Jettisoned By The Public, Finds Fresh Partners
“The Under the Radar Festival… a casualty of budget cuts at The Public Theater, will reemerge thanks to partnerships between festival founder and director Mark Russell, creative independent producers Thomas O. Kriegsmann and Sami Pyne of ArKtype, and [several] NYC theater companies,” reports Playbill. “Running January 5-21, 2024, the festival will present performances across New York City.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Rat Alley Battle Bucks Boosted
The city has allocated $1.5 million more to fight rats in the coming year, reports Block Club. “The budget boost calls for three new rat-fighting crews as Chicago continues to be the ‘rattiest’ in America.”
Congregation Merger To Shed Portage Park Thrift
Greater Goods Community Thrift shop, 6025 West Irving Park, “a nonprofit owned by Big Shoulders Church, opened in September 2020 during the pandemic,” reports Block Club. Managers are “looking for new owners because the congregation is merging with another church, and the shop will not be part of that deal… The merger discussions are preliminary, but church members decided not to put the expectation of carrying on a business onto whichever church they decide to join.”
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]