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Joffrey Partners With Chicago Architecture Biennial On Window Installation by Jan Tichy
In partnership with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, The Joffrey Ballet has announced the completion of Jan Tichy’s installation, “All of Mankind,” on the windows of Joffrey Tower, which is home to The Joffrey Ballet and the Joffrey Academy of Dance, The Joffrey Ballet is one of fourteen venues taking part in”CAB 5: This is a Rehearsal,” the citywide program including site-specific installations and presentations at ten outdoor City Sites and four cultural and civic institutions, including the Chicago Cultural Center, the James R. Thompson Center, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Chicago Architecture Center.
“All of Mankind” is a contemporary reconstruction and interpretation of William Walker’s 1973 mural, “All of Mankind–Why Were They Crucified?” This historic mural, painted by the founder of the Chicago Mural Movement on the façade and interior walls of a church in Cabrini-Green, was whitewashed in 2015. “The mural depicted intertwined figures of different races and featured names of innocent victims who were murdered for their beliefs, alongside names of events involving deadly racial violence. It served as a memorial to humanity’s intolerance and cruelty while calling for unity and solidarity. By repainting these names on the glass façade of Joffrey Tower and reconnecting them to the human bodies of dancers rehearsing behind, Walker’s question continues to be posed fifty years later in the heart of the city, compelling us to acknowledge the long list of victims added to it since it was first asked.” The Chicago Architecture Biennial is on view through February 11. More information here.
United, American, Tell O’Hare To Scale Back Massive Terminal Plans
“United and American airlines are slated to share a new ‘global terminal’ handling both domestic and international flights—a project funded in part by airlines. But now both carriers want Mayor Johnson to alter those plans,” reports the Sun-Times. “The airport’s massive expansion project [includes] a global terminal and two satellite concourses now $1.5 billion over budget.” The global terminal’s design is by Studio Gang.
Woodfield Mall Gets $89 Million Refinance
“The owner of Illinois’ largest mall has put up nearly $90 million in new equity to pay off its massive mortgage on the property, fallout from owning a shopping center whose value has dropped by about a third over the past decade,” reports Crain’s.
Meta Designed Instagram And Other Platforms To Hook Children; Millions Complained; Paid Ads For Conspiracy Theories Flood Facebook
“Facebook parent Meta Platforms deliberately engineered its social platforms to hook kids and knew—but never disclosed—it had received millions of complaints about underage users on Instagram,” reports Associated Press, “but only disabled a fraction of those accounts, according to a newly unsealed legal complaint described in reports from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. The complaint, originally made public in redacted form, was the opening salvo in a lawsuit filed in late October by the attorneys general of thirty-three states. Company documents cited in the complaint described several Meta officials acknowledging the company designed its products to exploit shortcomings in youthful psychology such as impulsive behavior, susceptibility to peer pressure and the underestimation of risks.”
The Times: “Meta ‘routinely documented’ children under thirteen on Instagram and collected their data.” Plus, reports FWIW News, “Facebook allows shocking video ads falsely claiming an imminent attack on U.S.… ‘Three-hundred million Americans will perish,’ asserts a recent $75,000 ad campaign from rightwing conspiracists, which uses deep fake technology.”
Toxic, Prurient Material Served To Children By Instagram
“Instagram’s Reels video service is designed to show users streams of short videos on topics the system decides will interest them, such as sports, fashion or humor,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The Meta Platforms-owned social app does the same thing for users its algorithm decides might have a prurient interest in children, testing by The Wall Street Journal showed. The Journal sought to determine what Instagram’s Reels algorithm would recommend to test accounts set up to follow only young gymnasts, cheerleaders and other teen and preteen influencers active on the platform. Instagram’s system served jarring doses of salacious content to those test accounts, including risqué footage of children as well as overtly sexual adult videos—and ads for some of the biggest U.S. brands.”
“Meta said the Journal’s tests produced a manufactured experience that doesn’t represent what billions of users see. The company declined to comment on why the algorithms compiled streams of separate videos showing children, sex and advertisements, but a spokesman said that in October it introduced new brand safety tools that give advertisers greater control over where their ads appear, and that Instagram either removes or reduces the prominence of four million videos suspected of violating its standards each month.”
Reporter Jeff Horwitz via X/Twitter: “IG’s recommendation systems know what pedophilic users want—and it scours the platform for videos of kids in their underwear to entertain them. We first told Meta about the problem over the summer, and informed the company last month that it was monetizing child sexualization content… IG’s systems recognize that a community seeking this content exists and the Reels algorithm is built to consistently give it to them.” More disturbing detail in the extended report here.
DINING & DRINKING
Esquire’s Best New Restaurants In America Include Warlord, Asador Bastian
Restaurants turn over, but culinary palaver is timeless as ninety-year-old Esquire and its list that contributors “couldn’t stop dreaming about”: “Whatever the reason, we’re all the beneficiaries of a culinary moment that revels in raw honesty. The collective dining experience right now is visceral, vulnerable, downright weird at times—and so very human,” surveys the magazine in its annual listing of America’s best new eateries.
Of Warlord, they write, “So why name your restaurant Warlord? ‘Because every night, we’re going to war,’ says the chisel-cheeked, mustachioed chef, dressed in all black, while the flames from the hearth rise up behind him.” Warlord “is going to battle every night until 1am, even on Mondays. This is a late-night spot, for the industry, by the industry. It’s loud. It’s packed. It’s rocking. Sit at the counter and watch the magic that happens when fire meets meat.”
Of Asador Bastian: “Stepping inside the elegant four-story townhouse that Asador Bastian is ensconced within feels like trespassing, but any impostor doubts subside once an ice-cold martini is handed to you in an oversized shot glass. Chef Doug Psaltis and co-owner Hsing Chen’s place is sneakily one of the most exciting steak joints in America. In the Basque tradition, it specializes in older cows, whose meat is complex and worth savoring and sharing, if only to save room for risotto-like arroz cremoso.”
A Quick-And-Dirty Oral History Of Berlin Nightclub
“Berlin Nightclub was founded in 1983 by friends Tim Sullivan and Shirley Mooney, who promised to create ‘the Neighborhood Bar of the Future’ in the club’s earliest ads,” recaps Block Club. “Berlin was one of the first video bars and quickly became home to queer people, artists and others who wanted an alternative to existing LGBTQ+ bars. ‘It was a tiny little neighborhood bar with a great back patio at the time, but it was wildly creative right out of the box,’ said Sharyl Holtzman, a club kid who frequented the bar after its opening. ‘You’d walk in and the installations would be completely off the chain. It was home for wildly creative imagination and art.'”
Olfactory Offense From Food Fixit Factory Floods Aurora
“When Factor, a business owned by meal kit company HelloFresh, opened a plant in an Aurora neighborhood in 2020, the greeting was more foul than fresh,” reports CBS 2. “It literally shakes the foundation of my house,” Julia Hirschberg said. “The stifling aromas of like diesel and garlic—all of that is getting sucked directly into my house and making us very sick. Headaches, nausea, coughing, congestion.” “The company is looking into what it calls aroma reduction technology to tackle the smell.”
Chefs Say “Addio, Italia!”
“Italy is no country for young chefs,” headlines Reuters. It’s not a new phenomenon: “The number of young Italian leaving to seek work in faster-growing economies has been steadily rising for decades—though the trend was briefly interrupted by the pandemic. Emigration, and a low birth rate, has contributed to a mounting demographic crisis: Italy’s population of fifty-nine million is shrinking. Much of the emigration has come from the Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia, as well as Italy’s economically underdeveloped south.”
Washington Post Layoffs Cut Deeper
The slices from departments and bureaus such as Chicago and the Midwest aren’t delineated yet, but the Washington Post is looking to shed 240 workers. Writes media reporter Max Tani on X/Twitter, “In a memo to staff, Washington Post CEO Patty Stonesifer says 120 employees have accepted buyout packages. If the paper doesn’t find another 120 people who will accept buyouts in the next two weeks, it will implement layoffs.” (The Post is owned by Jeff Bezos; Stonesifer also sits on Amazon’s board.) The Washingtonian posts the memo: “We have made the decision, if we fall short of this goal, to implement involuntary layoffs in those areas where we have already identified that positions do not need to be replaced, where work can be reassigned more efficiently or where we can otherwise achieve cost savings.”
Relays the Washingtonian, “When the Post announced the buyouts, its union blasted management: ‘Hard-working Post employees are going to lose their jobs because of a litany of poor business decisions at the top of our company. We cannot comprehend how The Post, owned by one of the richest people in the world, has decided to foist the consequences of its incoherent business plan and irresponsibly rapid expansion onto the hardworking people who make this company run.'”
Sports Illustrated Publishes A.I. Gibberish By Nonexistent Writers That Have Expiration Dates
After Sports Illustrated was confronted, a raft of fake articles was deleted, reports Futurism. The magazine’s publisher, The Arena Group, blames contractors. “The A.I. content marks a staggering fall from grace for Sports Illustrated, which in past decades won numerous National Magazine Awards for its sports journalism and published work by literary giants ranging from William Faulkner to John Updike… Making the whole thing even more dubious, these A.I.-generated personas are periodically scrubbed from existence in favor of new ones.”
“Similar operations appear to be alive and well elsewhere in The Arena Group’s portfolio. Take TheStreet, a financial publication cofounded by Jim Cramer in 1996 that The Arena Group bought for $16.5 million in 2019. Like at Sports Illustrated, we found authors at TheStreet with highly specific biographies detailing seemingly flesh-and-blood humans with specific areas of expertise—but with profile photos traceable to that same A.I. face website.”
Touring American Blues Theater’s $7 Million New Home
“In a cheering piece of news for Chicago’s struggling theater scene, American Blues Theater cut the ribbon on its new, $7 million home at 5627 North Lincoln,” writes Chris Jones at the Trib. “Aptly for a theater company that long has prided itself on its blue-collar identity, American Blues and the theater architect John Morris and Associates have adapted what had been both a Walgreens and Dollar General store into an impressive two-theater complex, replete with an elegant 137-seat mainstage… Next door is a fifty-seat black box studio, where ABT plans to debut new work.”
League Of Chicago Theatres Holiday Guide Is Here, With Half-Price Holidays
Chicago theaters are presenting festive plays, musicals, dance and comedy offerings this Holiday season. In support, the League of Chicago Theatres has created a comprehensive Holiday Theatre Guide, available at guest services at Block 37 Shops on State. Hot Tix is also kicking off the holiday season, with Half-Price Holidays through December 3. Half-price tickets will be available for select holiday productions from participating theaters, including the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Greenhouse Theater, Oil Lamp Theater, Court Theatre and Three Brothers. An updated list of holiday shows with additional details about each production will be available throughout the season; the online Holiday Guide is here.
Talking Curiosity With Raven Theatre Company Managing Director Adrianna Desier Durantt
“‘I’ve always had that in me—that strange curiosity about how it all works,’ said Adrianna Desier Durantt, the newly appointed managing director of Chicago’s Raven Theatre Company,” reports American Theatre. “Coming from a family that includes a jazz drummer and a Beat poet, Durantt grew up in New York City surrounded by music, art, and ‘the natural practice of observation, critical thinking, and inspiration’… ‘I’ve always been curious about what other industries are doing that the arts can glean,’ said Durantt, who also worked with Steppenwolf during its most recent leadership transition and campus expansion.”
“As she joins Raven’s leadership team alongside artistic director Sarah Slight, Durantt said she wants to be in a place where she can most benefit the growth and success of an organization… Durantt talked about joining her neighborhood theatrer company, what can be transferred from her experiences in other industries, and what challenges still await her theater as it prepares for its next chapter of growth. This follows a chapter of recovery: The theatre’s 2021 budget was around $404,000, and last year’s was around $789,000, which is… closer to its pre-pandemic budget levels.”
“‘Twas The Night Before… By Cirque du Soleil” Returns To Chicago Theatre
Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. and Cirque du Soleil are bringing back acclaimed family holiday theatrical, “‘Twas the Night Before… by Cirque du Soleil” to the Chicago Theatre for twenty-eight performances between December 7 and 28. “‘Twas the Night Before…” is Cirque du Soleil’s first holiday show, based on the classic poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas.” “A festive flurry of love and cheer created especially for families, ‘‘Twas the Night Before…’ features thrilling acrobatics, lovable characters, and a soundtrack including holiday classics reinvented by Cirque du Soleil. The show was conceived and is directed by Cirque du Soleil senior artistic director James Hadley, a twenty-five-year veteran of circus productions and live theater. The creative team consists of Manuel Bissonnette as creative director and James Hadley as writer and stage director.” Tickets and more here.
American Nonprofit Theaters Find Hope To Survive
“Stripped-down productions, nontraditional performance spaces and ‘hyper local’ programming are helping companies weather hard times,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The reasons for the crisis are numerous: competition for audiences from streaming and phones; corporate philanthropy’s pivot away from the arts; crime driving audiences away from downtown districts; didactic plays that alienate audiences. Even at the best of times, making theater is a financial challenge. In their 1966 study ‘Performing Arts: The Economic Dilemma,’ William J. Baumol and William G. Bowen identified a central problem: It ‘takes a long time and a lot of work to create a play… and it still takes about four hours to watch “Hamlet.” You can’t shorten the creation time—or performance time—without greatly reducing the quality.'”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Gas Prices Drop More Than Sixty Days In A Row
“The average price for a gallon of regular gas,” reports CNN, “stood at $3.25 a gallon on Tuesday… That’s down five cents from a week ago and twenty-six cents from a month ago.” Gas prices “have dropped for sixty-one consecutive days after getting dangerously close to $4 a gallon in September… Americans are particularly sensitive to shifts in prices at the pump as they are highly visible and largely unavoidable.”
Violence Reduction Agency Granted $21 Million By Sue Ling Gin Foundation
Chicago CRED, “the violence reduction organization founded by former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, will use the funds to expand its work on the South and West sides,” reports the Sun-Times. Sue Ling Gin “was a Chicago-based entrepreneur, philanthropist and businesswoman who founded airline catering company Flying Food Group and served on the boards of nonprofit and civic organizations.” Adds the Trib of the foundation’s first major gift, the “$21 million, three-year donation [is] to… a nonprofit community intervention program that focuses on reducing gun violence in some of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods.”
Authoritarian India Government Targets Every Last Digital Space
What can authoritarian politicos do when they control every source of online information? “When access to the internet exploded across the globe, it was considered the greatest democratizing force in history. And in the past decade, it was the province of free political expression, used to push progress, liberty, and rights,” reports Daily Dot in a major report. “But as malignant, authoritarian strains incubate and fester across the planet, governments are attempting to wrest control of it back. In India, that movement is not just well underway, it’s almost entirely implemented. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party, every facet of the internet has come under their control, every public space dominated by high-tech surveillance, every message potentially read by its prying eyes.”
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