Get Chicago culture news sent to your inbox every weekday morning. Subscribe to Newcity Today here.
Demolition Of Thompson Center Façade And Atrium Approved By City
Google’s $280 million Thompson Center makeover begins with demolition of the glass façade and atrium, reports Lee Bey at the Sun-Times. “The $6 million demolition isn’t a complete surprise, but it possibly means the end of the building’s current blue, salmon and white color scheme, one of its signature features… Under permits issued October 13 by the Department of Buildings, Google will—at minimum—remove the metal and glass skin on the seventeen-story structure… and on its soaring, trademark atrium as well… the task will likely include replacing the building’s single-paned glass facades with ones that are more energy-efficient.”
Writer Lynn Becker (on Twitter/X): “Ten years ago Google jump-started a new city by stripping Fulton Market Cold Storage of its facade and giving it an architecturally banal replacement. Now they’re getting ready to strip the facade off the Thompson Center. Will they turn the building into another bland box?”
Avian Advocates: McCormick Place Should Go Dark Every Night
“Conservation groups are calling on McCormick Place to more routinely turn off its lights to protect [migrating] birds while advocates push the city to enact bird-friendly building rules,” reports Block Club. “Every year, millions of birds pass through Chicago as they migrate south, but thousands die from crashing into urban infrastructure… Birds are not used to buildings being along their historical migrating route and often are drawn in by bright lights.”
400 Lake Shore Sets Construction At Former Spire Site
“Construction will officially begin on 400 Lake Shore Drive in forty-five days,” reports Urbanize Chicago, as Related Midwest outlines in their construction schedule. “Located on the former Chicago Spire site, the development was originally approved back in the summer of 2020… With LR Contracting and BOWA Construction working on the towers, the construction will start with the northern tower.” Along with the northern tower, the first phase of the project will include the construction of DuSable Park as well as a new stretch of riverwalk along the southern edge of the site.
“Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the seventy-two-story skyscraper will rise 858 feet tall clad in a glass and aluminum window wall with decorative metal accent panels. The project will deliver 635 rental apartments overlooking downtown and Lake Michigan with 300 underground parking spaces.”
Fulton Market Condo Project Turns To “Modern Social Bathhouse”
“A New York-based bathhouse company inked a build-to-suit deal for a site originally earmarked for million-dollar-plus condominiums,” reports Crain’s. Instead of a ten-story condo building at Madison and Morgan, “Fulton Street Cos. and the bathhouse company, called Bathhouse, are working with architecture firm Gensler on the planned 40,000-square-foot, two-story spa with an accompanying rooftop restaurant and pool. Construction could begin as early as the beginning of 2024 with hopes of the bathhouse opening by spring 2025.”
Ground Broken On Studio Gang-Designed Shirley Chisholm Rec Center In Brooklyn
A 62,000-square-foot “recreation center that will serve as a hub for learning, fitness, and recreation is coming to East Flatbush,” reports 6sqft. New York City officials “broke ground on the $141 million Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center, a new facility named after the late congresswoman and Brooklyn native who was the first Black woman ever elected to Congress.” Architecture firm Studio Gang designed the center.
Metra May Retire The Most Polluting Diesel Trains After Fed Grant
“Metra is set to receive a $169.3 million federal grant to buy self-propelled rail cars that could help the commuter railroad reduce its carbon dioxide emissions,” reports the Sun-Times. “‘We think zero-emission train sets could be an exciting and positive addition to Metra’s fleet…’ Metra CEO Jim Derwinski said… ‘Beyond the environmental and noise reduction benefits, they also offer savings in energy consumption as well as better efficiency, flexibility and reliability.’ Metra said it is the largest competitive federal grant ever won by the agency.”
Train Track Trespassers Addressed By CTA Advertising
“A new ad campaign launched by the Chicago Transit Authority is seeking to discourage riders from venturing onto train tracks, with more than 1,100 reports of trespassing already filed this year,” reports NBC 5. The campaign “will feature signage posted on digital screens and at rail stations within the CTA’s system, as well as on cards within train cars.”
ACLU Comes For Robot Police Dogs
“Many police departments are buying robots, drones, and other surveillance technologies without telling us when, where, and how they may be used,” the ACLU writes, introducing a new petition. “We are fighting to ensure these technologies do not threaten civil liberties.”
Facial Recognition Is Ready To See You Now
“You may not have to fumble with your cellphone in the boarding area very much longer. As the travel industry embraces facial recognition technology, phones are beginning to go the way of paper tickets at airports, cruise terminals and theme parks, making checking in more convenient, but raising privacy and security concerns, too,” reports the New York Times. “Facial recognition systems are already being expanded at some airports… Disney World said it tested facial recognition to enter parks in 2021 but decided not to keep using it… There are no federal laws regarding the use of biometric data.”
DINING & DRINKING
Long-Vacant Grandbar Locale To Become Lemon Chicago Cocktail Bar
“‘Lemon is a neighborhood craft cocktail bar with a stage’… Co-founders Zak McMahon, Jeremy Owen Barrett, Seth Blumenthal and Mason McIntire are renovating the corner building [at Grand and Ashland] to transform it into a cocktail bar and small performance venue that will host jazz shows,” reports Block Club. “Lemon’s owners hope to create a ‘creative sanctuary’ where staff, performers and customers can experiment with cocktails and music, and shape the vibe of the space together.”
Gibsons Settles On Fulton Space
“The owners of the steakhouse finally have a space in the area after searching for a decade,” relays Eater Chicago. “We’re a couple years from opening,” Gibsons CEO Steve Lombardo says. “We haven’t finalized the concept. It’s likely an American concept—something Gibsons-related. We’re still working it out.”
Avondale’s Anelya Opens Next Week
James Beard award-winning Chef Johnny Clark will open Anelya on October 24. The restaurant aims to preserve Ukrainian culinary traditions, as well as serve as an introduction of the cuisine to a larger national audience. “The restaurant is the most personal project Clark has launched, with the name and background of the restaurant derived from his grandmother, Anelya, and it serves as her hundredth birthday gift.” More here. Reservations open here.
Costera Cocina Tulum Open In Fulton Market
Parker Hospitality’s newest restaurant, Costera Cocina Tulum, is open at 850 West Fulton Market. “Drawing upon the melting pot of flavors and bohemian energy of Tulum,” the space “transports guests to the lively, yet zen Mexican vacation destination, where jungle, beach, and bohemian nightlife intersect.” The menu was assembled by chef Rick Tramonto and executive chef Aldo Ayala, with raw bar items, salads, tostadas, tacos, pastas and slow-cooked meats and fish.
With Floreen’s Closure, Uptown Restarateur Says Eighth Concept On The Way
“Floreen’s Chicken & Roost opened in July at 1303 West Wilson, serving fried chicken and other homestyle dishes on owner Andy Kalish’s vegan restaurant row in Uptown,” reports Block Club. “But by late September, Kalish closed the restaurant due to staffing issues… ‘I just couldn’t find enough competent, personable, kind adults to work.'” Kalish has “a new restaurant venture for Wilson Avenue… potentially a to-go breakfast spot styled after New York City’s bodegas.”
Light On Mars: How Snickers Are Readied For Halloween
“For decades, the fall holiday has been the biggest day of the year for candy makers,” reports CNBC. “In recent years, Halloween has stretched to become a three-month season for Mars and rivals such as Hershey, Ferrero and Mondelez, as well as the retailers that stock their candy. The National Retail Federation predicts consumers will spend $3.6 billion on Halloween candy this year, up from $3.1 billion last year, even as many shoppers pull back spending elsewhere.”
Tyson Foods Partners For Insect Protein
Tyson Foods, reports Food Dive, “has set a strategic investment with insect protein startup Protix to boost the presence of insect ingredients utilized in the food system.” The meat giant “plans to construct an ingredient facility in the United States with Protix that will ‘upcycle food manufacturing byproducts into high-quality insect proteins and lipids,’ for use in pet food, aquaculture and livestock production.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Michael Phillips On Minhal Baig: “The Next Great Chicago Filmmaker”
Chicago Film Fest opener “We Grown Now”‘s filmmaker Minhal Baig is interviewed by the Tribune’s Michael Phillips on her Chicago origins and how she returned to Chicago to make the Sony Pictures Classics release. “I wasn’t a bad assistant [on Los Angeles], I just felt my soul being, you know, crushed. Slowly. I’m a person who has to achieve in whatever I set my heart on, so if I decided to be a development executive or a producer I’d go at it as hard as possible. But I just couldn’t see myself happy there. All those aspiring artists in the midst, assistants, people in the mailroom, everyone with a desire to write or direct, hoping to parlay what they had into something more. And I realized this wasn’t parlaying into anything for me. So I left to do my own thing.”
Studios And Striking Actors About A Half-Billion Dollars Apart On Pay
$480 million a year, reports Variety, is “the difference between what SAG-AFTRA wants in a new streaming residual formula—$500 million—and what the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is currently willing to pay—$20 million. The two sides are at odds on other issues as well, including artificial intelligence and increases in minimum rates. But it was the vast gap on streaming residuals that prompted the breakdown in talks.” Production is down 41.4 percent in Los Angeles, reports the Strikegeist newsletter. “Even areas not hit by the scripted TV-related strikes experienced a plunge: reality TV production fell 23.2 percent and commercial production sank 25.8 percent.”
Barnes & Noble Sheds Storefront Uniformity
“As the bookstore chain mounts a comeback, it’s breaking a cardinal rule of corporate branding and store design: consistency,” reports the New York Times. “The green-striped wallpaper and hunter-green walls have been scraped away and painted over in sandy shades of white and pink as the nation’s biggest brick-and-mortar bookseller pursues, in fits and starts, a back-to-basics, books-first strategy.” The CEO “describes himself as ‘an independent bookseller in background and ethos’ [and] is pushing the chain to act more like the indie stores it was once notorious for displacing—and to embrace lighter, brighter interiors with modular shelves designed for maximum flexibility.”
Ken Griffin To Crain’s: Leave Me Alone
Crain’s gets letters: “A recent Crain’s editorial,” writes Ken Griffin from Miami, “demonstrated a complete lack of integrity in criticizing me for raising my voice about the worsening plight of the city I called home for over thirty years. The editorial opens by asking, ‘Is it possible to defame an entire city?’ and refers to me as ‘one of Chicago’s most vocal and long-standing critics.’ The truth is quite to the contrary. For over three decades, I have done nothing but advocate for the city and people of Chicago… Rather than point a finger at me for expressing real concerns about the direction Chicago and Illinois are headed in, Crain’s should devote its coverage to holding elected officials in the city and state responsible for their continued dereliction of duty.”
Skilling Forecasts Hawaiian Weather
“I’m dying to learn more about Hawaii’s Big Island, the carbon dioxide measurements on the Mauna Loa volcano, go to the observatory near the the summit of the Mauna Kea, which is taller than Mount Everest if you look at its height from the bottom of the ocean,” the retiring Tom Skilling tells Block Club. “And I just love seeing the waves. This is the kind of year where storms track across the Gulf of Alaska, and they kick out waves that make it all the way down to the Hawaiian Islands. I find that just fascinating.”
Musk To Take Credit Card Numbers For New Users Of Twitter/X
“The social media platform,” reports AP (via the Sun-Times), “has started trying out the annual subscription method [and a one-dollar fee] for new and unverified accounts” in two countries. “The program, dubbed Not a Bot, won’t apply to existing users. It’s not clear why it only applies to New Zealand and the Philippines or why those countries were chosen.”
Raven Theatre Names Managing Director
Raven Theatre Company, in its forty-first season, has named Adrianna Desier Durantt as managing director. Durantt joins Raven after serving as founding partner and producing executive director of PARA.MAR Dance Theatre, “where she drove business strategy, creative development, strategic partnerships, community relations, brand and identity strategy, fundraising communication, artistic programming and producing,” the company says. More Raven here.
Goodman Adds Five Performances Of “LUCHA TEOTL”
“LUCHA TEOTL,” the Goodman’s immersive play “rooted in Aztec mythology that brings masked luchadores to the wrestling ring in a story about family, honor, tradition and redemption,” has added a week of performances and other events, including shows November 2 at 7:30pm; November 3 at 7:30pm; November 4 at 2pm and 7:30pm; and November 5 at 2pm. Tickets and more here.
“Decentering Doom” In Chicago After Crisis Coverage Of The American Stage
“By focusing their coverage on larger institutions and established voices, [the recent] deluge of articles about the theater industry only perpetuated the inequity that has brought our industry to this point of distress,” write Elsa Hiltner and Yasmin Zacaria Mikhaiel at American Theatre. “A longer view of the context, history, and structure of our industry shows that the reason we’re at this crisis point in the first place is that we’ve operated the same way for so long, without thought of the long-term consequences. Finding solutions to such a complicated crisis, of course, will never be one-size-fits-all: Theater models range from storefronts to regional, nonprofit to commercial, and what works in Chicago can’t necessarily be copied in South Dakota or California without adjustments for local dynamics, economic realities, and labor laws.”
“But if we truly want to address the current state we’re in and find a better way forward, we need to include small and mid-size theaters in the conversation, look at economic history, and speak to the artists and workers, not just the administrators and board members. In short, we need to dig into the root causes. As writers and artists based in Chicago, we are well positioned for this inquiry, as innovations are happening right here that provide possibilities toward working more equitably and with an abundant—albeit realistic—mindset.”
Auditorium’s Made in Chicago Dance Series Starts With Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
The Auditorium Theatre presents Deeply Rooted Dance Theater—the Chicago-based contemporary dance company rooted in traditions of American and African-American dance—in a one-night-only performance as part of the theater’s Made In Chicago Dance Series. The high-energy mixed repertory program features choreography by the company’s artistic staff—including the world premiere of the full-length “Madonna Anno Domini” choreographed by Nicole Clarke-Springer, with music by Culoe De Song and Aretha Franklin; Ulysses Dove’s “Vespers,” returning by popular demand after its 2022 company premiere, with an electronic score by Mikel Rouse and revivals by Gary Abbott and Kevin Iega Jeff. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Pritzker Puts Own Cash Behind National Abortion Rights Advocacy Group
Governor Pritzker “has created Think Big America, a tax-exempt nonprofit that will spend money and resources to protect and expand abortion rights throughout the country,” reports the Sun-Times. (Pritzker’s ninety-second introductory video is here.)
United Announces Window Seating-First Boarding
Starting next week, “United Airlines plans to speed up its boarding process by having passengers in economy class who have purchased window seats get on the plane before people in the middle and aisle seats,” reports the New York Times. The change “could cut up to two minutes from boarding time on each flight… It will affect domestic flights and some international ones.”
LinkedIn Appears In At Least 668 Searches
LinkedIn is laying off 668 employees, reports TechCrunch. “The majority of the layoffs, some 563, will be in R&D, [affecting] teams across engineering, product, talent and finance.” These “cuts bring the total number of layoffs to Microsoft-owned LinkedIn to 1,384.”
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]