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Art on The Mart Identity Honored By Society For Typographic Arts
The Society for Typographic Arts has honored the collaboration of Art on The Mart and Firebelly Design as part of the STA 100, with special notice to Will Miller, Ruth Lin and Betsy Lam, designers-producers-developers on this project. Art on The Mart is one of the world’s largest digital art platforms that transforms the surface of an iconic Chicago architectural landmark into a permanent, larger-than-life canvas. Using advanced video mapping technology, Art on The Mart showcases bespoke projections by contemporary artists such as Nick Cave, Yiyun Kang and Charles Atlas.
“To develop a fresh visual identity for Art on The Mart, we aimed to expand upon established Mart branding while ensuring the identity had a uniquely recognizable and memorable look of its own. The identity is designed to be a luminous, kinetic system that draws inspiration from viewers’ experiences on site. Inspirational characteristics include the dancing light of the Chicago River, the soft movement of projected video, subtle reflections on surrounding glass, and the art deco style of the Mart itself.” More design cites by the STA 100 here.
DINING & DRINKING
Berlin Closes After Ten Thousand Nights And Some Nights
Berlin, Chicago’s gay nightclub of forty years by the Belmont El tracks, is closed. The owners announced the shuttering on Instagram: “The party ended at 5am, November 19, 2023—nearly forty years and more than 10,000 nights from when it all began. The final chapter will surely be written by the essayists, the journalists, and memorialized in tribute events and documentaries but the magic that happened at 954 West Belmont will never be recreated. It couldn’t be. It was a remarkable tornado of talented performers and staff, inspired friends and customers, a crazy location and a lot of dreams. The expenses of increased security, insurance and licensing, equipment, rent and more cannot be overestimated and we could not imagine morphing the bar into a bottle service, VIP area venue. So the doors are locked. The music is silenced and our dreams are now memories. We hope you made some memories with us and that you smile when they visit you. The first ads in 1983 announced Berlin as the Neighborhood Bar of the Future. Unfortunately, the future is now and it’s time for us to go home.”
From the Berlin website: “When some of Berlin’s unionized workers went on strike and picketed on August 4th and 5th, we were shocked. Our entertainers and many of our staff were asked not to perform. As we rent our space, Berlin has high fixed costs and we can ill afford to lose a sold-out weekend in the summer or continue to operate with such uncertainty.” From Unite Here Local 1, according to the Sun-Times: “The union ‘made it clear to the company that our original proposals were not final and we were negotiating in good faith to reach an agreement that was financially practical for the business… While we are sad that Jim and Jo have made this decision, we know that our community is resilient, creative and capable of dreaming things into its place.'”
Chicago’s Jean Banchet Awards List Nominees
“The Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence, Chicago’s only restaurant awards that aren’t attached to [a] media company, [has] announced finalists for its 2024 awards in more than a dozen categories,” reports Eater Chicago. The awards took a 2023 break “while reorganizing into an independent nonprofit.” The finalists for Restaurant of the Year include omakase Kyoten, contemporary Korean restaurant Jeong, Middle Eastern Galit, and Midwestern comfort restaurant Daisies. Contenders for Chef of the Year are Paul Fehribach (Big Jones), Genie Kwon and Tim Flores (Kasama), Stephen Gillanders (S.K.Y., Valhalla, Apolonia) and Paul Virant (Vie, Vistro Prime, Gaijin). The complete list of nominations is on Instagram here, in a bizarre, eye-blazing animation.
Landlord Dispute Closes Your Happy Place Liquors
Your Happy Place Liquors in Logan Square will close December 8, reports Block Club. “Known for hosting art shows, wine clubs and events and collaborating with nearby businesses, Your Happy Place has been a hub for sharing artwork and getting artisan liquor. Since opening in 2016, the spot has built up strong neighborhood connections.” The landlord wanted to displace the business with another, while Your Happy Place was also selling vape products, contrary to the conditions of its lease, they say.
Calumet Fisheries Burns
“A fire broke out at Calumet Fisheries, badly damaging the famed fish shack just days after it reopened following a failed health inspection,” relays Block Club. “It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire, but officials said it occurred in a ‘large void in [an] upper area.’ The damage is ‘extensive,’ officials said… In the time it was closed to customers, Calumet Fisheries staff cleaned, patched up walls and doors and hired a contractor to fix the building’s electrical system and wiring, staffers said upon its reopening Saturday.” The seventy-five-year-old building had passed a health inspection the previous Friday. Trib photographer John J. Kim has photos here. “Management at the famed fish shack aims to repair the damage and reopen, though staff are still ‘not sure’ whether the building can be saved,” adds Block Club.
Jury Finds Historic Price-Fixing By Egg Oligopoly
U.S. egg producers, reports Just Food, engaged in a long-term “conspiracy to reduce supply in an attempt to increase the price of eggs, a court ruled.” Damages will be decided this month.
World’s Middle-Class Discovers Ramen Noodles
“Middle-class consumers around the world—including in countries with no tradition of eating noodles—are turning to instant ramen,” reports the Guardian. “In 2022, consumers in more than fifty countries slurped their way through a record 121.2 billion servings of instant noodles, according to the Osaka-based World Instant Noodles Association… In Mexico, demand soared by 17.2 percent in 2021—when many people turned to instant noodles during COVID-19 restrictions—but still rose by eleven percent last year. The United States has followed up on its healthy appetite for regular ramen to embrace the instant variety, in part to relieve pressure on household finances from the cost-of-living crisis. Nissin Foods and rival Toyo Suisan, announced the construction of production facilities in the United States and Mexico by 2025 to meet soaring demand.”
FILM & TELEVISION
A History Of Chicago Filmmakers At Fifty
“In 1973, it wasn’t yet Chicago Filmmakers, but rather Film Group at N.A.M.E. Gallery, the latter of which was established the same year and cofounded by art critic Jerry Saltz,” writes Kat Sachs at the Reader in a history of the half-century of the Chicago institution. In the early years, now-executive director Brenda Webb “went up against the screening committee to show David Lynch’s ‘Eraserhead’ (1977)—her ‘first act of defiance’ against them… which resulted in lines around the block and some people waiting up to four hours to see it. ‘That made me realize you can show weird, experimental films, and it doesn’t have to be that nobody shows up or that very few people show up… There’s a lot of things about our history that people don’t know… We were one of the first places, if not the first place, where punk bands played in Chicago, because the bars wouldn’t let them in, because they were too rowdy… And we did until they ruined our screen by somebody throwing beer at it.'”
Filmmakers Reopens Workforce Training Program
With the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike and the return to work that will follow for those in the feature film and TV industry, Chicago Filmmakers has announced the third run of its tuition-free in-person Workforce Training Program, which will provide twelve participants with the training and knowledge needed to land entry-level positions on motion picture productions. “Created in response to a high demand for qualified workers in Illinois’ rapidly growing industry and to increase diversity in the field, the program aims to be a pathway for workers, especially from groups underrepresented in the film industry, to access entry-level jobs in the feature film and TV sector,” Filmmakers relays.
Chicago Filmmakers is “seeking twelve participants who are passionate about film and TV and are committed to building a long-term career in Illinois’ entertainment industry. This program is particularly intended to increase participation of women, gender non-conforming, LBGTQ+, and people of color in the local creative workforce.” The deadline is December 11. More details and applications here.
Investor Could Resurrect Feminist Site Jezebel
Jezebel, “the iconic feminist website [could] be revived under new ownership,” reports the Daily Beast. “Four potential buyers came out of the woodwork following the shock news earlier this month that the site was shuttering… Two bidders have submitted seven-figure offers to bring the iconic site back to life… The frontrunner to resurrect Jezebel is believed to be an angel investor-turned-media buyer… If the deal goes through, former Jezebel EIC Laura Bassett would return to run the site, and most of the dozen-plus staff who were laid off by G/O Media would be hired back.”
Formerly Nonprofit Music Licensing Giant BMI Sold To Private Equity Firm
“BMI, the giant music licensing agency that represents hundreds of thousands of songwriters, including Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton, Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga, has agreed to sell itself to New Mountain Capital, a private equity firm,” reports the New York Times. “Broadcast Music Inc., one of the major performing rights organizations in the United States, collected $1.57 billion and distributed $1.47 billion for its 2022 fiscal year… Last year, after first considering a sale, BMI said it would switch to a for-profit model. That drew concerns from songwriter groups, who worried that profits for BMI for any new owners would come at the expense of royalties for writers.”
Founded in 1939, BMI “has operated on a nonprofit basis, collecting licensing fees and, after paying overhead costs, distributing the rest to its affiliated songwriters and publishers. These performing rights organizations do not own copyrights—the asset that has driven a gold rush in recent music deals—but typically have deals to represent songwriters for this part of their business.”
After Thirty-Five Years, American Blues Theater Finds Permanent Home
American Blues Theater, Chicago’s second-oldest ensemble theater, will celebrate the opening of its first permanent home in its thirty-five history, a two-theater venue in the Lincoln Square-West Ridge neighborhood. Audiences will be welcomed to the new space by the company’s signature holiday production, “It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!” The venue was designed by Morris Architects Planners and built by general contractors Lo Destro Construction and includes a 137-seat proscenium theater and a forty-seat flexible rehearsal studio; a lobby with box office, bar and concessions; company rooms and greenroom; administrative offices; production spaces for scenery, props and costumes; and an on-site parking lot as well as street parking.
“This historic move to a permanent home is over thirty-five years in the making. After decades of leasing, including the beloved space on Byron Avenue, American Blues Theater will control its own artistic and financial destiny for the first time. Our exceptional Ensemble has dreamed of a dedicated home to expand our programming, education initiatives, and community partnerships,” said American Blues Theater executive artistic director Gwendolyn Whiteside. “We understand all too well the limitations of being an itinerant company, and—with very few true subsidized venues in Chicago—we’re also excited to create an affordable rental space for other theater companies on their respective journeys.” More here.
After A Week On Strike, Most Of Syracuse Ballet Fired
“The Syracuse City Ballet has fired five of its eight full-time professional dancers ahead of its biggest show of the year,” reports CNYCentral. “Eight professional dancers wrote to the executive staff and board of directors to express concerns about their physical and emotional well-being, as well as that of the student dancers involved in the highly popular performance of ‘The Nutcracker’… Issues had simmered between the dancers and the executive staff for over a year regarding not only the artistic direction of the company but the safety of the dancers.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Cook County Has More Palestinians Than Any Other U. S. County
“More than 18,000 Palestinians live in Cook County, and more than 23,000 live in the Chicago metropolitan area, which includes fourteen counties in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin,” reports Amy Qin at WBEZ. “In the 1990s, many Palestinians began moving from Chicago’s Southwest Side to the suburbs. The majority now live in the southwest suburbs of Cook County… For more than a century, generations of Palestinians have settled, raised families and built institutions like mosques, schools and community centers in the Chicago area. The city’s first Arab American communities were established by Syrian-Lebanese and Palestinian immigrants after the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago… The Palestinians were mostly single men who worked as peddlers of dry goods and grocery store owners in what was then known as the city’s Black Belt. They carved out a niche working in majority-Black areas where white shopkeepers wouldn’t sell.”
Chicago Zoological Society Elects New Trustees
The Chicago Zoological Society’s Board of Trustees, which manages Brookfield Zoo, has appointed Amy Best and Representative Tim Ozinga to its Board. Best is the executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Exelon a Fortune 250 company, a position she has held since 2012. Best has extensive background in mergers and acquisitions and in all facets of HR including, executive compensation, benefits, employee relations, diversity, equity & inclusion, talent management, recruiting and organizational effectiveness. Representative Ozinga currently serves in the Illinois House of Representatives for District 37 in the south suburbs, including Mokena and Homer Glen, a position he has held since January 2021.
Michigan Automatic Voter Registration To Include Many More Citizens
Michigan state lawmakers have adopted a bill “which would put Michigan in a unique class. If signed by the governor, this would be the first law in the nation to require a state to register people to vote when they’re released from prison,” reports Bolts. “The bill would also bring other agencies into the program, building on steps that a few states have already taken to register people when they obtain a Native American tribal ID, or when they sign up for Medicaid.”
New York Power Company Steps Away From Arts Philanthropy
More arts philanthropy gives up: “New York energy company Con Edison, a longtime local supporter of the arts, is the latest corporation to back away from funding,” reports Broadway World. “Dwindling corporate giving has been a problem across the country… but this move from Con Ed is still surprising given that the company reinforced its dedication to the arts in recent years.” Beginning next year, Con Edison is “realigning our charitable grant efforts to invest in nonprofits who share our vision to combat the effects of climate change, advance social justice in the communities we serve, and create green jobs across our service territory.”
United Airlines May Sell Customer Data For Targeted Ads
United Airlines would like to sell its passenger information to push targeted ads to its customers, reports the Wall Street Journal. The “move would make airline the latest nontraditional player to expand into personalized ads.” These advertisements “could appear on its in-flight entertainment system or on the app that people use to book tickets and check-in… Offering personalized advertising would greatly expand United’s advertising business.”
Former Chicago Multibillionaire Ken Griffin Hopes To Buy Miami Dolphins And F1 Stake
Citadel founder Ken Griffin, tallies Crain’s, “is positioning himself to join the growing number of finance titans that count themselves as team owners in the National Football League.”
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