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Demolishing The Fed Case For Demolition Of Historic State Street Skyscrapers
The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board looks at the upcoming Landmarks Commission hearing for the public on the federal rush to demolish the turn-of-the-twentieth-century State Street edifices, the Century and Consumers buildings. “The U.S. General Services Administration and the federal judges pushing for demolition would do well to hear and abide by what could be a flood of testimony next week in favor of saving the buildings.”
Architecture writer Lynn Becker breaks down the Senator Durbin-endorsed GSA case for destruction in an X/Twitter thread: “The call for demolition is based on security—a sniper using them to fire into the Dirksen courthouse. Demolition would open up a direct-line-of-fire from the former Home Federal on State. I have never read of a single instance of a U.S. Courthouse being fired into from a nearby building. Home Federal has an all-glass facade, as does the Citadel just across the street. The Century already has no windows facing the Dirksen. The Consumers could have theirs bricked up. The Century and Consumers have co-existed with the Dirksen courthouse for over a half a century without incident.”
The Sun-Times again: “The federal government has the legal power to demolish the Century and Consumers, landmarks or not. But for the sake of State Street and the city’s architectural legacy, the buildings must be preserved and reused. And if the GSA and the federal judges pushing for demolition are looking to actually serve the public, they’d do well to listen to and abide by what is likely to be a groundswell of testimony in favor of saving the buildings.” The Landmarks public hearing is today, November 13, beginning at 9am. (Relevant documents also at the link.) The livestream of the hearing will be here.
Federal Building On Rush Street For Sale
“The federal government is looking to unload an office building on Rush Street as part of a broader move to save money on real estate,” reports Crain’s. The GSA hopes “to sell the William O. Lipinski Federal Building at 844 North Rush… The fifteen-story building one block west of the Magnificent Mile is one of twenty-three properties the GSA said it will look to sell.” The 337,500-square-foot property “is home to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, an agency that oversees benefits for the nation’s railroad workers… The building was completed in 1923 and became the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board Building in 1942…The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Retail tenants on the ground floor include Epic Burger and the Gold Coast Auto Gallery, which includes showrooms for high-end car brands such as Bentley, Lamborghini and Maserati.”
DePaul Demolition Of Historic Lincoln Park Housing Opposed; University Says Must Be Replaced To Recruit Better Basketball Players
“Neighbors voiced their concerns about DePaul University’s plan to build a new basketball facility during a community meeting Thursday,” reports Block Club. “The meeting comes as DePaul looks to tear down four 1890s rowhouses and a courtyard building dating to 1925 on the 2300 block of North Sheffield Avenue for a new training center that officials say will give the university national recognition.” The Trib: “University officials [maintain] that tearing down the existing buildings is necessary to increase the school’s national exposure and recruit top athletes, particularly in men’s basketball.”
Obama Center Museum Director Talks Context
“The tower of the Obama Presidential Center is getting a lot of attention as it rises in Jackson Park,” reports the Tribune. “Meanwhile, Louise Bernard is trying to build the centerpiece museum’s interior: balancing former President Barack Obama’s philosophy and his namesake foundation’s mission with historical accuracy… While plans for the center’s outer shell have been known… for years, its [interior]—and the narrative Obama’s team plans to present over four floors of distinct exhibits have largely been unknown.” Bernard tells the Tribune “she has grappled with how to approach Obama’s history and the controversies and challenges from his two terms in office, and present them at an institution critics worry will turn into yet another of the presidential ‘temples of spin’ instead of an unbiased reflection of the time.”
Salvation Required For Navy Pier Crystal Gardens Palm Trees
“The Crystal Gardens was a free, peaceful getaway for three decades at Navy Pier,” reports the Sun-Times. “But the garden’s massive trees have been left to decay since it was closed to the public two years ago to make way for an immersive theater that still hasn’t been built. With the garden under threat of demolition as early as next year, the struggling palms are the target of a last-minute, grassroots effort to save them.”
Adidas May Write Off Unsold YEEZY Products After Ending Ye Collaboration
“Adidas said it might have to write off the remaining $320 million worth of Yeezy shoes left unsold after it cut ties with rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West,” reports AP. “The company will decide in the coming weeks whether or not to do a third release of the shoes next year to generate more donations to groups fighting antisemitism… The shoe and sports clothing company, which cut ties with Ye in October 2022 after he made antisemitic remarks online, has sold 750 million euros worth of the shoes in two stages earlier this year through Adidas smartphone apps and its website. Part of the profits went to groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change, run by social justice advocate Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd.”
DINING & DRINKING
New Restaurant For Erling Wu-Bower
“Maxwells Trading is the new project for the chef who earned acclaim at Pacific Standard Time and Nico Osteria,” reports Eater Chicago. “Wu-Bower says he worries if Chicago diners remember him. It’s been three years since he left Pacific Standard Time in River North… Maxwells Trading should open… this winter at 1516 West Carroll in the West Loop, west of Ogden near venues like Cobra Lounge and District Brew Yards. Reps are calling this area… the Kinzie Industrial Corridor.”
Calumet Fisheries Closed As River Rats Spelunk
“A sign in the window of the beloved smoked fish spot said it was closed for remodeling. City officials said it cannot reopen until it passes a health inspection,” reports Block Club. After a complaint, the Department of Public Health suspended the license of Calumet Fisheries over “evidence of rodents (mice and rats).” The Sun-Times: “The owners are hoping to reopen in the next few weeks. ‘We haven’t been in business for over seventy-five years to close down for a small violation,’ co-owner Mark Kotlick told the Sun-Times… Health inspectors found more than 150 droppings of mice and rats in storage areas and in the basement… ‘We think we got a bad deal from the health inspectors but we’ll go through and fix everything that was put on the list,’ Kotlick said… The shop will have a new paint job and new flooring when it reopens.”
Latest Loss On Michigan Ave: Twenty-One-Year-Old Grand Lux Cafe Location
Grand Lux Cafe is closing on Christmas Ev after twenty-one years, reports WGN-TV. Adds ABC 7, “The closure comes amid an exodus of longtime businesses leaving Chicago’s Downtown area and adds to the thirty-percent vacancy rate along the dwindling Magnificent Mile.” Grand Lux Cafe still hold locations in Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas.
Logan Square Lost Lake Locale Rediscovered As 1980s-Style Bar
The latest project of Carriage House and Funkenhausen’s Mark Steuer, Common Decency, “will fill the former Lost Lake space in Logan Square with a planned New Year’s Eve opening,” reports Eater Chicago. The storefront bar will be “a vibey, ‘Miami Vice’-inspired space complete with a DJ booth and a disco ball.”
Retreat At Currency Exchange Café Closing
“Currency Exchange Café, which has been a home for South Side creatives and chefs since 2020, will close as Theaster Gates’ foundation prepares to bring ‘a new concept’ to the space,” reports Block Club.
FILM & TELEVISION
Warner Kills Coyote: Studio Set To Retain Bad-Guy Standing
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is turning to taxpayers for a windfall of at least $30 million, reports Fortune, by permanently shelving “Coyote vs Acme,” a live-action-animation blend that’s been finished for a year. (WBD took a similar tax position last year by deep-sixing the nearly complete $90 million “Batgirl.”) The stock of Warner Bros. Discovery plunged sixteen percent last week as Zaslav blamed the youth, reports Yahoo Finance. “This is a generational disruption we’re going through,” Zaslav said. “Going through that with a streaming service that’s losing billions of dollars, it’s really difficult to go on offense.”
But Zaslav and eighty-two-year-old controlling investor John Malone have plans, reports CNBC. “Malone suggested that regulators may be open to media consolidation it wouldn’t typically allow if one or more of the merging companies was facing the prospects of bankruptcy. Zaslav said the company is preparing its balance sheet to be an acquirer in the next twelve to twenty-four months.” Industry rumor holds that the pair hope to gobble Paramount Worldwide. (Malone also sees “bundling” streamers as the future, just like the cable strategy that made him immensely rich.)
Jeffrey Katzenberg Says AI Coming For DreamWorks-Style Animation, Will Cut Ninety Percent Of Jobs
Artificial intelligence will lower the cost of creating big-budget animated movies drastically, according to seventy-two-year-old industry executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, reports Bloomberg. “I don’t know of an industry that will be more [affected] than any aspect of media, entertainment, and creation,” Katzenberg said last week. “In the good old days, you might need 500 artists and years to make a world-class animated movie. I don’t think it will take ten percent of that three years from now.” (No mention made of relative percentage of quality.)
The Origins Of Netflix And The Drowning Of “Prestige Television”
Provocative film book writer Peter Biskind has a new book about the coming of Netflix, and an excerpt is here. “Not satisfied with upending the cable applecart with its two-season buy, Netflix turned around and dropped the entire first season of ‘House of Cards’ at once, all thirteen episodes, thereby further scandalizing both the networks and cablers by discarding the old watercooler model that drip, drip, dripped out shows one episode at a time.” (Biskind’s penchant for doubtful color includes: “Content chief Ted Sarandos was flooded with scripts, but the cigarette burns, coffee stains and well-thumbed pages indicated that they had made the rounds before ending up on his desk.”)
At the New Yorker, Michael Schulman chronicles “The Twilight Of Prestige Television”: “What happened? One answer is what always happens: golden ages never last. Just look at the New Hollywood of the late nineteen-sixties and seventies, which gave us such boundary-pushing classics as ‘Midnight Cowboy,’ ‘The Godfather,’ and ‘Taxi Driver’… Many streaming services are cutting costs and curbing output while casting around for the broadest possible audience. We used to say that twenty-first-century TV was like the nineteenth-century novel—instead of staring at the idiot box, we were communing with Dickens or Zola!—but at some point that stopped seeming true.”
Poetry Foundation’s Michelle T. Boone On Proving Yourself
“I was always drawn to the arts,” Michelle T. Boone tells Mike Thomas at Chicago magazine. Of the Poetry Foundation, she says, “I had to prove a lot coming into this job because I was an outsider. My background wasn’t in poetry, and past presidents all came out of higher education. It was very high scrutiny, people watching to see: Now what’s she going to do? Because I wasn’t one of their own. What’s the Chicago politics saying? ‘I don’t want nobody that nobody sent.’ But I don’t have to know poetry. There are people here who do. What I’m good at is organizational structure, long-term vision, putting the pieces back together, relationship-mending.”
Columbia Issues “Call For The Safety And Freedom Of Expression Of Journalists Covering The Israel-Hamas War”
“Journalists play a vital role in reporting on and explaining events that are often clouded by accusation, misinformation, and the fog of war. Journalists’ dedication to the truth helps all of us better understand what is at stake in a time of war,” posts the Columbia Journalism School. “Even journalists who are not in the field of conflict find themselves increasingly targeted by social media and doxxing campaigns that impinge on their ability to gather and disseminate information. This climate of fear impedes reporting and leaves us all worse off… We are calling for the belligerents in the war to take all responsible precautions to protect journalists and guarantee their freedom to report information without restriction or censorship.”
“According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least thirty-nine journalists and media workers—thirty-five Palestinian, four Israeli, and one Lebanese—have been killed since October 7. Four journalists were killed in Israel by Hamas. Thirty-two more died amid the bombardment of Gaza, at least twenty-four of whom were killed by Israeli airstrikes. As CPJ notes, this is, among the more than 10,000 deaths since the war began, the highest number of journalists to have died in the first weeks of a conflict in more than thirty years.”
Photographer Nan Goldin Steps Away From New York Times
“Nan Goldin said she called off a project for the New York Times Magazine, saying that the newspaper has a ‘complicity with Israel’ in its reporting on Gaza,” relays ARTnews senior editor Alex Greenberger on X/Twitter.
Remaining Artforum Staff Publishes Statement On Statement
“In the aftermath of the unexpected firing of our editor-in-chief, David Velasco, and the subsequent resignation of several colleagues, we, the undersigned staff of Artforum, share your shock, confusion, and anger. We understand that faith in our integrity needs to be restored, and trust rebuilt,” they write on the magazine’s website. “We are deeply invested in continuing Artforum’s six-decade pursuit of innovative writing on art, culture, and politics.” ARTnews: “The statement was signed by most of the editorial masthead, including its managing editor and its executive editors. It was not, however, signed by the publishers… A representative for Penske Media Corporation declined to comment.”
Bobby Rush Nominated For Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy On His Ninetieth Birthday; Other Chicago Noms Include Kurt Elling, Lil Durk
Bobby Rush, two-time Grammy winner, Blues Hall of Famer, and fourteen-time Blues Music Awards winner received his seventh career nomination—on his ninetieth birthday!—for Best Traditional Blues Album for his new album “All My Love For You,” on Deep Rush Records / Thirty Tigers. Other Chicago acts include: Best Alternative Jazz Album, Kurt Elling (with Charlie Hunter and SuperBlue); Best Melodic Rap Performance, Lil Durk; Best Americana Album, “The Chicago Sessions,” Rodney Crowell, produced by Jeff Tweedy; “Teardrops for Magic Slim Live at Rosa’s Lounge,” John Primer; Best Engineered Album, Classical, CSO; Best Remixed Recording, Terry Hunter; and Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, Pacifica Quartet and Third Coast Percussion.
Madison’s Strictly Discs Gets New Owners
Ron and Angie Roloff, who opened Madison’s Strictly Discs record store in 1988, have sold the Monroe Street store and its 500,000-item collection to Rick Stoner, reports the Cap Times, coinciding with the thirty-fifth anniversary of the store. Stoner is a former advertising and marketing executive and University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate based in Milwaukee. Says Stoner, “I look at the store on Monroe Street as this sacred beacon of Madison’s community and culture.”
Remembering Chicago Stage Stalwart Linsey Falls
“A beloved stalwart of the storefront scene, the actor died at fifty on November 5,” writes Kerry Reid at the Reader. “You may not have known Linsey Falls’ name, but if you spent much time in the audience at Chicago non-Equity and storefront theaters over the years, you almost certainly knew his face and his voice. His expressive features, big eyes, and mischievous grin lit up the stage in comic roles, and his malleable voice and physical presence gave resonance to characters in everything from kids’ shows to Shakespeare.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
ShotSpotter Seen As 2024 Budget Line Item
Mayor Johnson pledged to end the Lightfoot-era contract during his campaign, reports South Side Weekly. But the 2024 budget “includes funding to continue the city’s use of ShotSpotter, a controversial gunshot-detection system owned by SoundThinking, according to Ralph Clark, the company’s CEO. Clark also expressed optimism to investors this week that the Chicago Police Department’s pilot of CrimeTracer, another SoundThinking product, will expand into the ‘mid or high six-figures’ by the end of 2024.”
Indiana University Move To Shear Off Kinsey Institute Postponed
“For seventy-five years, The Kinsey Institute, world famous for its study of human sexuality, has been a prominent part of Indiana University,” reports All Things Considered. “University trustees could vote to create a Kinsey nonprofit separate from the university. The vote comes months after state lawmakers blocked public funding from the institute, and faculty say the proposal to split the institutions could do irreparable harm to the reputation of both.” A Friday vote was postponed after backlash, reports the Indianapolis Star. From Fox 59: “During Friday’s board of regents meeting, IU President Pamela Whitten said she believes that singling out and restricting funding for a specific research institute ‘sets a troubling precedent.'”
Illinois Chamber Of Commerce Appoints New CEO
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce has named Lou Sandoval, a business owner and consultant to industries, as its new president and CEO, reports Crain’s.
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