Get Chicago culture news sent to your inbox every weekday morning. Subscribe to Newcity Today here.
Sculptor Richard Hunt Joins White Cube
White Cube has announced global representation of Richard Hunt, one of the leading American sculptors of the twentieth century. The artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery will take place in spring 2024 at White Cube New York. Says Hunt, “It was important to me to partner with a gallery with global reach because I always meant for my art to express the concerns of people everywhere, especially the universal desire for freedom.” Over a seven-decade-long career, Hunt has staged over 150 solo shows, with more than 160 large-scale public sculpture commissions worldwide. In 1971, at the age of thirty-five, he achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first African American sculptor to have a retrospective at MoMA.
“Hunt’s hybrid sculptures are characterized by dualities, that of the natural and the industrial, the surreal and the abstract, the geometric and the organic.” White Cube will present a sculpture by the artist, titled “Years of Pilgrimage” (1999), at the 2023 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach. This will be followed by a solo exhibition at White Cube’s recently opened New York outpost at 1002 Madison Avenue. More here.
Art Institute Of Chicago’s Ex-Payroll Manager Sentenced To Prison For Embezzling
“Michael Maurello will serve three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release,” reports the Trib (via MSN). “He had pled guilty to falsifying the Institute’s financial records in order to funnel [$2.3 million in] payroll money into his personal accounts from 2007 to 2020.” Said Maurello in court, “I truly apologize for what I did. The Art Institute was good to me, and I took advantage of that.” Maurello appeared in court “without his prosthetic leg, with his brother pushing his wheelchair into the courtroom. Since the charges were filed against him, Maurello has been living in an assisted living facility after his husband of twenty years left him and his family will not care for him in their homes.”
“Save Ferris” Muralized In Northbrook
“A new mural in Northbrook is heavy on nature, with flowers, trees, a hummingbird, a cardinal, a red-tailed hawk, a bee, a caterpillar and a butterfly to give a sense of outdoor beauty. And, this being Northbrook, there’s also a water tower emblazoned with the words: ‘Save Ferris,'” reports the Sun-Times. “The father-and-son artists who painted it, Terry Luc and Gerry Luc, point to a real water tower not far away that, now blank, could be seen bearing those words in the 1986 movie ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ [which was] written and directed by John Hughes, who grew up in Northbrook… ‘It’s definitely a really cool part of Northbrook history,’ says the younger Luc, twenty-four. ‘I don’t think people fully understand the creativity that comes out of the Chicago area.'”
Fulton Market Gets Rare New Office Project
Real estate developers gathered last week in Fulton Market for “a groundbreaking ceremony for an office project,” reports CoStar. “The group led by Fulton St. also said it was pushing toward kicking off a massive residential project in the former meatpacking district. That project, which would include almost 1,300 apartments in three towers on a pair of sites across the street from one another on Fulton, is the latest sign that Fulton Market is largely thriving despite rising interest rates, soaring construction costs, scarcity of loans and a sluggish flow of real estate deals throughout the country.”
Rehabbed Covent Hotel SRO Opens In Lincoln Park
“The $21 million rehab of the historical Covent Hotel opened Thursday, bringing rare affordable housing to Lincoln Park,” reports Block Club. “This project represents a success story and the preservation of one of the only remaining twentieth-century residential hotels,” Jim Horan, acting commissioner of the Department of Housing, told the outlet. “Many of the rooms’ old doors and windows were preserved in the rehab to maintain the historical significance of the Covent Hotel, which opened in 1915 to accompany an adjacent theater, which was demolished in the sixties. The surviving three-story building [had] long served as a single-room occupancy [hotel], but it fell into disrepair after its previous owner died.”
Wilmette’s Optima Verdana Opens With a Hundred $3,000-$12,000/Month Units
“Optima, Inc. has completed the Optima Verdana rental complex in downtown Wilmette,” reports Chicago YIMBY. The property “has achieved a seventy-two-percent occupancy rate. Designed by David Hovey Sr. and David Hovey Jr., the new building offers a hundred units, comprising one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts, as well as penthouses. These units vary in size from 660 to 2,790 square feet, with monthly rents ranging between $3,000 and $12,000.”
DINING & DRINKING
Nick Kindelsperger Leaves Tribune
“Today is my last day at the Chicago Tribune,” former Tribune food writer Nick Kindelsperger posted Friday on Instagram. “The past seven-and-a-half years were wild, thrilling, and constantly chaotic… but throughout my tenure, the newspaper supported whatever crazed idea that came into my head. They said yes to a month of me eating nothing but tacos and paid for me to devour more burgers than most people do in a lifetime. I got to hang out in the swankiest hotel bars and consume pounds of barbecue in a company car. I reviewed $400 tasting menus and a hot dog stand in a Home Depot. I remain in awe of Chicago and the talent of the chefs. I tried to never shy away from criticism, but I defiantly refused to indulge in cynicism. To dismiss the abundance of restaurant riches around Chicago seems akin to turning your back on a daily miracle.” He says he’s taking a break from food writing, but staying in Chicago for “a job I’m thrilled about.” (Earlier, the Tribune posted a vacancy for “a general assignment reporter with a focus on the food and drink industries” here.)
Sawa’s Old Warsaw “Polish Tacos” Go Viral
“Sawa’s Old Warsaw, a fifty-year-old institution in Broadview, is probably the last place that you’d think would have gone viral,” reports Nick Kindelsperger at the Tribune. “As it has since 1973, the massive restaurant offers up a buffet of hearty Polish classics… but on the second Tuesday of every month, it also serves something called a Polish taco… The idea for Sawa’s Polish taco actually came to owner Stuart Sawa more than twenty years ago, but he didn’t serve the dish to the public until three years ago.”
Italy Bans “Cell-Based Meat”
“The Italian Chamber of Deputies has passed a law banning the production and marketing of cell-based meat and the use of meat-related names, such as ‘salami’ or ‘steak,’ for plant-based meat products,” reports FoodBev.
What’s Lost When Schools Get Rid Of Librarians
“As schools across the nation eliminate their librarian positions, many are worried that, without them, students will experience a loss in a variety of skills, from basic literacy and research practices to career readiness,” reports Governing.
Apple, EU, Disney Join IBM In Flight From X/Twitter After Musk’s Latest Promotion Of An Antisemitic Conspiracy Theory
Elon Musk, world’s richest man in the world and notorious rightwing activist, has lost the faith of multiple blue-chip corporations that have “paused” their advertising and their tens of millions of cash, including IBM, Apple, the European Union, Disney, Paramount Global, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate and Warner Bros Discovery, reports CNBC, after aligning himself with an antisemitic conspiracy theory. “‘Notorious antisemites are celebrating what they see as Musk’s complete conversion to blatant expressions of Jew hatred,’ said one hate crimes expert. ‘When we saw similar rants from Ye last October, anti-Jewish hate crime spiked across the country.’ Musk leads half a dozen companies that collectively employ around 150,000 people worldwide, including SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Co., Neuralink, X Corp. and his latest venture, xAI.” (Most of them rely on vast infusions of federal funding.)
Media Matters, which Musk has threatened with “thermo-nuclear” lawsuits to allegedly be filed today, has an ongoing tally of the exodus here. The group responds to the threat of legal action: “Far from the free speech advocate he claims to be, Musk is a bully who threatens meritless lawsuits in an attempt to silence reporting that he even confirmed is accurate. Musk admitted the ads at issue ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified. If he does sue us, we will win.”
Ray Tate, Eighty-Six, Ran Old Town School Of Folk Music, Taught John Prine Guitar
“Mr. Tate helped thousands of students reach their goals—whether it was becoming a professional, making music on the living room couch with friends, or playing alone after a day of work,” reports the Sun-Times. “‘The Old Town School is much bigger now, the bathrooms are cleaner and there’s corporate sponsorship, but the main thing that’s never changed is you could have a cabdriver sitting next to a brain surgeon trying to figure out how to play “Kumbaya” and they become friends, and Ray’s personality was a key part of that,’ said Ed Holstein, another teacher at the school.”
Barenboim Withdraws From Staatskapelle Berlin Tour
Daniel Barenboim has withdrawn from the Staatskapelle Berlin’s upcoming North American tour due to health reasons, the CSO relays. Jakub Hrusa will lead the orchestra in its Symphony Center Presents performance on Tuesday, November 28. Hrusa will make his Staatskapelle Berlin podium debut leading the all-Brahms program featuring the composer’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3. More here.
Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus Celebrates Forty Years of Holiday Music
Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus will celebrate its fortieth anniversary with “The Big 4-0, ho, ho!,” a celebration of CGMC’s holiday favorites over the last forty years. “Featuring festive arrangements from current artistic director James Morehead and a plethora of music from chorus alumni. Over 200 members will take to the stage for classic CGMC holiday tunes from the last four decades, including ’12 Gays of Christmas,’ ‘Deck Those Disco Halls,’ ‘I Get Even Gayer at Christmas’ and ‘We Three Queens.'” Friday, December 8, 8pm, at the Auditorium Theatre; Sunday, December 10, 3pm, at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. Tickets ($25-$92) and more here.
Chicago A Cappella Celebrates Thirty
Chicago a cappella musical ensemble celebrates its thirtieth anniversary season with “Hanukkah a cappella,” a performance featuring lush vocal arrangements of both traditional and contemporary songs that illuminate “the deeper essence of this cherished festival.” “Hanukkah a cappella” will take place on the first night of Hanukkah. This program, introduced last season, offers renditions of traditional folk songs, sacred works and the ever-popular “Funky Dreidel.” West Suburban Temple Har Zion, River Forest, Thursday, December 7, 7:30pm. Tickets and more here.
Goodman Casts “Highway Patrol” With Dana Delany, Dot-Marie Jones, Thomas Murphy Molony
“Part love story part ghost story—all true story. Emmy Award-winning actor Dana Delany stars in her new thriller at Goodman Theatre this winter, alongside three-time Emmy Award nominee Dot-Marie Jones and emerging Chicago actor Thomas Murphy Molony in the world-premiere production” of “Highway Patrol,” the Goodman advises. “Using Delany’s digital archives of hundreds of tweets and direct messages, co-creator Jen Silverman arranges and curates the text of the play from exchanges over Twitter—in collaboration with co-creators Dane Laffrey and Mike Donahue, who also directs.” “Highway Patrol” appears in the 856-seat Albert Theatre, January 20-February 18, 2024. Tickets ($25–$90) are available here.
Chicago Opera Theater Premieres “The Nose”
Chicago Opera Theater, a leading producer of new and reimagined opera for Chicago, continues its fiftieth anniversary season with the Chicago premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich’s absurdist Russian masterpiece, “The Nose,” at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in two performances only: Friday, December 8 at 7:30pm and Sunday, December 10 at 3pm. The new production, led by director Francesca Zambello, will be conducted by COT’s Elizabeth Morse and Genius Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya in her final performances conducting as COT’s music director before stepping down at the end of this season.
The comedic opera stars Ukrainian American baritone Aleksey Bogdanov as Kovalyav and Chicago favorite Curtis Bannister as The Nose alongside a massive cast that includes over thirty local and national singers. Fellow Harris Theater resident company South Chicago Dance Theatre will also be featured in the production performing original choreography by SCDT founder and executive artistic director Kia Smith. Tickets ($45-$135) here.
Sufjan Stevens’ “Illinoise” Headed To Park Avenue Armory
After playing Chicago Shakespeare Theater from January 28-February 18, “‘Illinoise,’ a theatrical adaptation of Sufjan Stevens’ career-breakthrough 2005 concept album ‘Illinois,’ will make its New York City premiere in March at Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory,” reports Deadline. “A dance-music-theater hybrid, ‘Illinoise’ will include music and lyrics by Stevens, based on his album, and will be directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Justin Peck (‘Carousel,’ Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’) with a story by Peck and Pulitzer-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury (‘Fairview’). The show, which will feature Timo Andres’ new arrangements of the entire Stevens album, will run from March 2-23, 2024.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Bumper Acorn Crop Leads To Tick-Borne Danger
“Ecologists call it a ‘mast year’ and a bounty of acorns has a domino effect on the ecosystem,” reports NBC 5. “These acorns, they’re incredibly nutritious, and all the critters that feed off of these—the chipmunks, the deer, the turkeys, the mice—will have bigger litters next year because they have a ton of food, a ton of nutrients and resources this year,” Murphy Westwood, VP of Science and Conservation at the Morton Arboretum told the station. “You can pretty much map out an increase in small mammals, deer and mammal numbers one year out and then the number of ticks two years out,” he said. “More ticks can lead to more tick-borne illnesses.”
Where Does Your Catalytic Converter Go After It’s Stolen?
“The pollution control devices contain valuable metals, making them a hot commodity for recycling. Some beneficiaries of the thefts look the other way,” reports the New York Times, as part of “a billion-dollar epidemic of catalytic converter thefts that has not only disabled vehicles but also involved dozens of shootings, truck hijackings and other violence. Replacement devices are often hard to get and can cost $1,000 or more. Despite public attention on the thefts, little has been known about where the stolen metal goes, who benefits or why stopping the thievery has proved so difficult.”
Pennsylvania School District Settles With After School Satan Club For $200,000
“Calling it a victory for free speech and religious liberty,” reports Lehigh Valley Live, “the American Civil Liberties Union announced a Lehigh Valley school district settled a federal lawsuit over the After School Satan Club. The club organizer, the Satanic Temple Inc., sued the Saucon Valley School District, alleging district officials had improperly blocked the club from meeting in school facilities. A federal judge in May had granted a preliminary injunction request that cleared the way for the club to meet at the district’s middle school. That ruling indicated the district had likely violated the First Amendment when it prevented students and families from gathering on school grounds in connection with the club.”
National Labor Relations Board Has Made It Easier For Workers To Organize
“In December, some of the nation’s lowest-paid workers will also gain the power to bargain with America’s largest corporations. Fast food employees, hotel housekeepers and millions of franchise workers are among those expected to benefit from a wonky new federal rule that will make it easier for them to form labor unions,” reports The Center For Public Integrity. “The National Labor Relations Board recently changed its standard in deciding when two companies are considered joint employers under the National Labor Relations Act, a federal law that grants workers the right to organize.”
“The independent federal agency scrapped a Trump-era rule that was less likely to consider certain corporations joint employers, therefore allowing them to evade responsibility for unfair labor practices and avoid bargaining with union members at their franchisees and staffing firms. McDonald’s is among the companies that have successfully fought such accountability.”
Only Twenty-Four-Hour Walgreens Open On Thanksgiving
“Most Walgreens stores will be closed on Thanksgiving for the first time in the company’s history ‘to give time back to its workforce,'” reports Axios. “The change comes as the drugstore chain is reeling from labor shortages, executive turnover, fierce competition, debt issues and [alleged] retail theft.” Most CVS and Rite Aid locations will have reduced hours.
Hackers Steal Gambler Personal Data In Rivers Casino Attack
“Hackers scored a potential jackpot at Illinois’ biggest casino over the summer in a cyberattack that gained access to the sensitive personal information of numerous gamblers and employees,” reports the Sun-Times. “Rivers Casino in Des Plaines alerted customers Thursday to the data breach, which happened in mid-August but wasn’t discovered until earlier this month. Dates of birth, driver’s license numbers and even Social Security numbers ‘may have been accessed or removed’ from the casino’s network.”
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]