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Guggenheim Names First Woman CEO-Director
The Guggenheim Museum has announced Mariët Westermann, vice chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi, as the next director and CEO of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, which has four museums around the world, reports ARTnews. “She succeeds Richard Armstrong, who has held the role for the last fifteen years.” Westermann appears to be “an unusual choice… The museum said Westermann has ‘a proven track record of successfully leading world-renowned organizations in higher education and philanthropy, dedicated to the arts and humanities. She brings deep knowledge of art history, museums, and research combined with expertise in institutional management, philanthropy, and international relations.'”
Architectural Biennial Gets First Reviews
“The 2023 Chicago Architecture Biennial has opened with installations focusing on monumentality, race and material innovations on show at sites throughout Chicago,” reports Dezeen, plucking nine installations to see. Architectural Record: “The Thompson Center’s reopening that evening [after almost a year] was… cause for celebration—a kick-off party for ‘This is a Rehearsal,’ the fifth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB 5). Curated by the four co-directors of art collective Floating Museum (architect Andrew Schachman, artists Faheem Majeed and Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford, and poet avery r. young), the fifth cycle of CAB recognizes ‘cities as sites of perpetual transformation,’ said Hulsebos-Spofford, noting the team’s intention that the biennial function ‘not just as a flash-in-the-pan exhibition, but the beginning of long and enduring relationships’ between municipal entities and community organizations with artists, architects, designers, and other creatives. ‘We’ve started dialogue that crosses power hierarchies and spaces, organizations and structures.'”
Northwestern Gets Permission To Tear Down Stadium After Evanston Promised More Cash
“After more than a year of debate, the Evanston City Council gave Northwestern University’s proposal to rebuild Ryan Field a green light,” reports NBC 5. The ninety-seven-year-old stadium will be demolished. “The new venue would have around 35,000 seats, compared to the 47,000 currently at Ryan Field… Residents have voiced concerns around the potential for concerts, specifically noise pollution, traffic and overcrowded street parking.” Posts architecture writer Lynn Becker on X/Twitter: “You have to hand it to Northwestern. Usually bribery is done behind closed doors, but in goo-goo Evanston, you just keep handing out millions in ‘sweeteners’ right out in the open until you get the OK to build your $800-million vanity stadium.”
CNA Subleasing Loop Space
Insurance company CNA has put part “of its workspace up for sublease, more evidence of remote work’s assault on the downtown office market,” reports Crain’s.
DINING & DRINKING
Goose Island Beer Co.’s 2023 Bourbon County Stout Arrives
Six bottles comprise the 2023 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout family, including Original Stout; Eagle Rare 2-Year Reserve Stout; Angel’s Envy 2-Year Cask Finish Stout; Bananas Foster Stout; Backyard Stout and Proprietor’s Stout. Of the Original Stout, the brewers write, “After crafting the very first bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout, we’ve learned that to have the best beer, you start with the best possible ingredients. Barrels are such an important ingredient, and we continue to use only the best our friends on the bourbon trail have to offer. Bourbon County Original Stout is aged in a mix of freshly emptied bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill, Four Roses and Wild Turkey distilleries. Barrel-aged for an average of twelve months, Original boasts deeply developed flavors of fudge, vanilla, and caramelized sugar with a rich, decadent mouthfeel.”
The most intricate and satisfying mouthful sampled was the Backyard Stout, of which the brewers write, “This barrel-aged stout was first aged in bourbon barrels for at least one year, and then finished and blended with mulberries, boysenberries and marionberries. Each addition of berry contributes its own distinct flavor profile, with some adding sweetness and others providing acidity and complexity. A taste of the past, this imperial stout is a balanced and nuanced play on fresh fruit, vanilla, and chocolate.” The range goes on sale Friday, November 22.
How Dog Food Led To Pop-Tarts
“Of the three major breakfast food producers of [the 1950s and 1960s]—Kellogg’s, Post, and General Mills—there was particular animosity between Kellogg’s and Post, which both have manufacturing facilities located in Battle Creek, Michigan,” chronicles Vinepair. “In the 1920s and thirties, the two companies were reported to frequently count the number of boxcars entering and leaving their competitor’s facility and were often accused of stealing ideas from one another, with one of the most famous examples the debate over the true creator of Corn Flakes. In 1961, Post’s pet division debuted Gaines-Burgers, the very first shelf-stable soft food for dogs. Instead of the decade’s standard can, the moisturized dog food was wrapped in foil packaging, and did not require refrigeration to stay fresh and unspoiled. This innovation inspired Post’s product engineers to apply similar technology to preserving food for human consumption,” which led, in time, to Pop-Tarts.
FILM & TELEVISION
Last Picture House Ready To Open In Davenport, Iowa
Beck/Woods, director-writers of “A Quiet Place” and “65,” relay that their hometown Davenport, Iowa kino-outpost is ready to roll picture, and the “front row balcony [is the] best seat in the house!”
Netflix And Amazon Prime Video Back Off From India
“When the U.S. streaming giants, Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video, entered India seven years ago, they promised to shake up one of the world’s most important entertainment markets, a film-obsessed nation with more than a billion people and a homegrown moviemaking industry with fans worldwide,” reports the Washington Post. In the last four years, “a chill has swept through the streaming industry in India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party tightened its grip on the country’s political discourse and the American technology platforms that host it… Projects that deal with India’s political, religious or caste divisions are politely declined when they are proposed, or dropped midway through development. Even completed series and films have been quietly abandoned and withheld by Netflix and Prime Video from their more than 400 million combined viewers worldwide.”
Chicago Public Library Posts Its Annual Best Of The Best Books
CPL highlights the year’s books for children, teens and adults, with lists of books for kids across categories including picture books, board books, fiction and informational books for both younger and older readers and libros en español; books for teens, including fiction, nonfiction and graphic novels; and books for adults, including a new guide to all the most acclaimed books of the year. The top ten books recommended for adults are “Absolution,” by Alice McDermott; “Chain-Gang All-Stars,” by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah; “The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration,” by Jake Bittle; “The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store” by James McBride; “Hello Beautiful,” by Ann Napolitano; “Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of ‘Latino'” by Héctor Tobar; “The Talk,” by Darrin Bell; “Tom Lake,” by Ann Patchett; “The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder,” by David Grann and “Yellowface” by R. F. Kuang. More here.
Virginia Adds Seventy-Five Books To Nation’s Library Of The Banned; Pink Distributes Four Banned Books At Florida Concerts
Hanover County Schools has released a list of seventy-five banned books, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch, including “Forever” by Judy Blume; “Glass” by Ellen Hopkins; “GRL2GRL” by Julie Anne Peters; “Grown” by Tiffany D. Jackson; “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” by Erika Sanchez; “Like a Love Story” by Abdi Nazemian; “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood; “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez; “Red White and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston; “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut; “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie; “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein; “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson; “The Glass Castle” by Jennette Walls; “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky; “The Sun and Her Flowers” by Rupi Kaur; “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” by Haruki Murakami; “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher and “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.
At Florida concerts last week, Pink gave out over 2,000 copies of four “banned” books, reports the BBC: “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison; “The Family Book,” by Todd Parr; “The Hill We Climb,” by Amanda Gorman; and “Girls Who Code,” by Reshma Saujani.
Free-Jazz Adept And Psychedelic Furs Saxophonist Mars Williams Was Sixty-Eight
“Even in his sixties, Mars Williams remained an omnipresent, indefatigable musical presence in Chicago and beyond. His live-wire sax sound expanded to fill the space it was in, whether a DIY hole-in-the-wall or a teeming arena concert with the Psychedelic Furs, with whom he toured as recently as last month,” reports the Tribune. “Williams was born in Elmhurst on May 29, 1955, and grew up in nearby Franklin Park… ‘Mars Williams is one of the true saxophone players—someone who takes pleasure in the sheer act of blowing the horn and there are not many saxophone players I can truthfully say this about,’ John Zorn wrote in the liner notes to ‘Eftsoons,’ Williams’ 1984 duo album with multi-instrumentalist Hal Russell.”
In experimental free jazz, “Williams was a musicians’ musician. A sampling of the projects he either led or founded includes the NRG Ensemble, the legendary improvising unit founded by Russell; Extraordinary Popular Delusions, quite likely the longest-running free jazz act in the city; Witches & Devils, a tribute to saxophonist Albert Ayler; and the Chicago Reed Quartet. He toured internationally with all of these, as well as with lauded free jazz groups run by fellow saxophonists Peter Brötzmann (Brötzmann Tentet) and Ken Vandermark (the Vandermark Five).”
“Until the end, Mars’ inexhaustible humor and energy, and his love for music, pushed him forward,” Williams’ family wrote in a statement, according to Pitchfork. “As it became clear in late summer that his treatment options were coming to an end, he chose to spend six weeks of the time he had left living as he had since he was a teenager—out on the road performing night after night. Those last performances with the Psychedelic Furs will live on with all of the other incredible contributions that Mars has made as a person, and as a musician, and that boundless energy will continue to inspire.”
Liquid Soul will play Metro on Saturday, reports Axios Chicago. The band “had planned to reunite for a show Saturday at Metro to raise money for Williams’ medical treatment, but the benefit will now be held to honor his musical legacy… Williams had been playing in Chicago bands for over fifty years. His band, Liquid Soul, connected Chicagoans with early residencies at Double Door in Wicker Park and Elbo Room in Lincoln Park in the nineties. ‘We started this band just jamming in the Elbo Room, just trying to figure out our sound,’ trumpeter Ron Haynes says. ‘Chicago gave us a chance to be who we are.'” (In 2020, Bart Lazar profiled for Newcity “Chicago’s singular holiday traditions of ‘An Ayler Xmas,’ orchestrated by one of our treasured, genre-defying musicians, reedist Mars Williams.”)
David Del Tredici, Eighty-Six, Set “Alice” To Music
“A Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, David Del Tredici was an experimentalist who redefined himself, becoming identified with a lush style called the New Romanticism… which yielded a series of rich-hued, tuneful pieces based on Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’ stories,” notates the New York Times. “When ‘Wondrous the Merge’ (2001), a cycle about the love between a male professor and a male student, had its premiere at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Michigan in 2003, a section was deleted because the festival considered it too explicit. And his ‘My Favorite Penis Poems’ (2002) was rejected by several musical organizations before Symphony Space in New York City presented its premiere in 2008.”
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra conductor Georg Solti and the soprano Barbara Hendricks world-premiered “Final Alice” in 1976. “Final Alice” is a “seventy-minute score for soprano and a huge orchestra that was packed with hummable melodies, as well as just enough chaotic brashness to keep its late-twentieth-century provenance clear… A PBS broadcast and a recording by the soprano Barbara Hendricks, with Georg Solti conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (which had commissioned the work), brought ‘Final Alice’ to a large audience that embraced it enthusiastically—as did many musicians.” (More on “The Alice Works” here.)
Liz Phair To Trib: You’re Wrong, My Shows Sold Out Long Ago
In a positive review, the Tribune described Liz Phair’s Chicago Theatre stand as “nearly” sold-out, which Phair contested: the shows sold out last summer. (The Tribune corrected its remark, noted by Phair here.)
Get Close: Rolling Stones Hit Soldier Field In Summer 2024
The Rolling Stones will tour sixteen North American cities from April to July, reports WGN-TV. June 27 is the Chicago date; Soldier Field responded to the news on X/Twittter: “Chicago is ready to rock! Can’t wait.”
Goodman’s Fall Quarter Best In Five Years
“Susan V. Booth’s first season as artistic director opens to wide critical and popular acclaim, drawing record numbers of audiences to the Goodman this fall—both newcomers to the Goodman and those returning to the theater for the first time since pre-pandemic,” relays the Goodman. “The most successful season opener since 2017, Pearl Cleage’s ‘The Nacirema Society,’ directed by Lili-Anne Brown, welcomed nearly 23,000 to its extended run in the 856-seat Albert Theatre, exceeding the production’s revenue goals. At the same time, sixty-percent of the single-ticket purchasing audience members at ‘Lucha Teotl’ by Christopher Llewyn Ramirez and Jeff Colangelo were new to the Goodman to experience lucha libre in 350-seat Owen Theatre transformed into a professional wrestling ring.”
“Thousands of theatergoers flocked to thirteen events in the citywide ‘Pearl Cleage Festival,’ produced in partnership with six of Chicago’s Off-Loop theater companies. Booth, the first woman to be named artistic director of Goodman Theatre in its ninety-eight-year history, will direct her first Goodman production this spring—Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Penelopiad’ (March 2–31).”
Sarah Siddons Society Produces One-Night Performance
In a first for the seventy-one-year-old Sarah Siddons Society, the group will produce a one-night performance of “Noor Inayat Khan: The Forgotten Spy,” a new one-woman play written and performed by Almanya Narula, a 2016 Siddons Scholarship recipient, followed by a conversation with Narula. The one-act play’s Chicago premiere is Monday, December 11, 7pm, at The Edge Theater. Tickets through the Sarah Siddons Society here.
What The Largest Dance Companies In America Look Like
Dance Data Project has released further reports analyzing the largest U.S. contemporary and modern dance companies. The reports also examine the financial scope of the “Largest Seventy-Five U.S Contemporary and Modern Dance Companies” and rank the companies, providing an overview of the contemporary and modern dance industry. The rankings in the report are based on fiscal year 2021 with preliminary findings for FY2022. The reports and more here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Oak Park Battles Leaves; Looks To Raise Fees
“The Oak Park Village Board proposed increasing fees charged for refuse, recycling and yard-waste collection and disposal. The new fees sparked a discussion among trustees about safety concerns during leaf disposal,” reports Wednesday Journal. “Trustee Lucia Robinson said she estimates Oak Park currently pays roughly $30,000 per week for leaf collection during the six-week program… A few weeks ago, a car caught fire on North Kenilworth Avenue after the owner parked it on top of a pile of leaves. The catalytic converter, which was still hot, set the dry leaves on fire. Robinson said she also recently read about two kids who were almost run over by a car while playing in a leaf pile.”
Junk Fees Doomed? Powerful Interests Rebel
“An array of powerful moneyed lobbyists have warred with the Biden administration over its new regulatory crackdown as they scramble to protect their profits,” reports the Washington Post. “The Biden administration has broadened its efforts to expose or eliminate ‘junk fees’ throughout the economy, touching off a groundswell of opposition from airlines, auto dealers, banks, credit card companies, cable giants, property owners and ticket sellers that hope to preserve their profits.”
Airline Worker Unions Favor High Credit Card Fees
“As lawmakers propose a bill that would protect small businesses and consumers from predatory credit card fees, Visa and Mastercard have found an unexpected ally: airline unions,” reports The Lever. There are “complicated financial allegiances that led these unions to break ranks with their labor colleagues and fight these reforms… Swipe fees, which retailers pay to process credit card transactions, fund the airlines’ lucrative credit card rewards programs that flight attendants push on travelers mid-flight in exchange for a healthy commission. To protect that arrangement, labor unions representing industry workers have joined forces with powerful banking and credit card lobbies to beat back the reforms.”
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