September 23, 2023

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Today In The Culture, August 22, 2022: Sentrock Solo at Elmhurst Art Museum | Why Downtowns Will Not Die | National Film Preservation Grant to Chicago Film

Today In The Culture, August 22, 2022: Sentrock Solo at Elmhurst Art Museum | Why Downtowns Will Not Die | National Film Preservation Grant to Chicago Film

Art by Sentrock


Aveda Founder’s Art Collection Heads To Auction

“An internationally curated art collection that once belonged to the founder of the Aveda Institute will go to auction” this week, reports the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. “‘Style and Splendor: Selections from the Estate of Horst Rechelbacher’ will offer 333 pieces of artwork… The expansive collection includes… fine art, jewelry and furniture. Pieces for sale include the work of Salvador Dali, Hung Liu and Carlo Bugatti.”

Theaster Gates: “I Am Careful Never To Call Myself An Architect”

Theaster Gates talks about his Serpentine “Black Chapel” in a video interview at Dezeen. “Gates explained he sees an affinity between the disciplines of art and architecture, but doesn’t refer to himself as an architect. ‘I’ve always had this belief that art and architecture were just two peas in a pod, that there are moments when great art requires that you imagine new things in space that require a certain amount of poetry in order to manifest them… Architecture does the same… I’m careful never to call myself an architect because I value too much the discipline of architecture, the schooling and tooling that goes into making architects architects.’ … Gates collaborated with architecture studio Adjaye Associates to create the simple cylindrical structure, which was built almost from a black-stained timber structure supported by wooden laminates and galvanised steel with an exterior wrapped in black rubber.”

“Sentrock: The Boy Who Wanted to Fly” Is Artist’s First Solo Exhibition

The Elmhurst Art Museum concludes its exhibitions of its twenty-fifth year with the first solo museum show of Pilsen-based street artist Sentrock, “who seeks to uplift and empower youth through his murals and educational projects,” the museum relays. “The multimedia exhibition will feature new work by the rising artist that reveals for the first time the origin story of his distinctive Bird City Saint character, which appears in over twenty prominent murals in Chicago and other cities.” “Sentrock: The Boy Who Wanted to Fly” opens September 9 and runs until January 15, 2023. More here.



An Endorsement Of The Englewood Rail Line Transformation

“It’s encouraging to see Englewood and West Englewood—two neighborhoods that have gone so long with so little—receive $20 million toward turning an abandoned railroad line into a public nature trail,” writes the Sun-Times editorial board. “The federal grant will be used to convert the elevated former rail right-of-way that runs parallel to 59th Street into an accessible, active pathway called the Englewood Nature Trail… The cash will fund the design and construction of the trail, which will run from Wallace Street west to Hoyne Avenue, with twenty-six viaducts in between… As this editorial board has said time and again, it will take large projects like this to help jump start the portions of the South and West sides, such as Englewood and West Englewood, that have been left adrift for the past fifty or sixty years with the barest of public or private investment.”

City Committee: Abolish Balbo Memorial; No Return For Columbus Statues

“A city committee spent more than a year meeting with neighbors and community groups as it reviewed what should be done with controversial monuments,” reports Block Club Chicago. The committee “recommends the city take down the controversial Balbo monument and not return several statues of Christopher Columbus.” Reports the Tribune, “Christopher Columbus statues should not return to their old spots in Grant Park or Little Italy and the city will pay out $50,000 grants to support a new series of public memorials across the city.” Also recommended for removal: the “Jacques Marquette-Louis Jolliet Memorial,” because it “reinforces stereotypes about American Indians and glorifies a complicated and painful history of Western expansion. It features a cowering American Indian, following submissively in the footsteps of Marquette.” A number of other plaques are marked for removal in the report.

Why Downtowns Will Not Die

“Downtowns and the cities they anchor are the most adaptive and resilient of human creations; they have survived far worse. Continual works in progress, they have been rebuilt and remade in the aftermaths of all manner of crises and catastrophes,” writes Richard Florida, author of “The New Urban Crisis,” at Bloomberg CityLab. “The rise of remote work today won’t kill off our downtowns, but they will be forced to change once again. And with smart strategies and perseverance on the part of city leaders, real estate developers and the civic community, they can become even better than they were.”



Edgewater Starbucks Seventh Local Store To Unionize; Labor Officials Allege Starbucks Threatened Local Baristas

A Starbucks store in Edgewater is the chain’s seventh location in the area to unionize, reports the Sun-Times. “Workers at 6350 North Broadway voted 12-2 in a tally supervised by the National Labor Relations Board… The staff is affiliating with Workers United, part of the Service Employees International Union…Across the country, according to the most recent NLRB count, the union has won elections at 221 stores and lost at forty-six, with elections ordered or in progress at another thirty-four locations.” Starbucks’ reaction locally has not been placid, reports the Trib. “Local labor board officials allege the coffee giant threatened and interrogated Chicago baristas at stores where workers were attempting to unionize… The regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago alleged that Starbucks violated labor law by threatening employees with the loss of benefits and wage increases for organizing; interrogating workers about the union; forbidding workers from wearing pro-union face masks and T-shirts; and telling workers that organizing was futile…The complaint involves… actions at two of its Chicago stores: one in Edgewater, which was one of the first in Chicago to unionize, and one in Palmer Square, where employees voted against forming a union.”

Fourth Annual Wine Rival Sets September Sip

After a two-year hiatus, the fourth annual Wine Rival (formerly Somm Madness) returns to Venue West on Thursday, September 22, to award the title of Wine Rival Champion. The event brings together the nation’s sommelier community and wine aficionados for a blind tasting tournament. Sixty-four individuals will go head-to-head to advance to the championship round with the ultimate hope of taking home the grand prize of $10,000 cash. There is a $3,000 cash prize for the runner-up and a $1,000 cash prize to those who place third and fourth. The event kicks off with “an over-the-top Tailgate Tasting, the exciting pre-party to the main event that will run through the first half of the competition.” Ticketholders also have access to more than 300 luxury wines in a walkaround tasting as well as a display of bites. Guests will sample from wineries that include some of the most iconic names in the world, including Jordan, Moet Hennessy, Louis Roederer and Heitz. All ticketholders can watch the tournament while the sixty-four registered competitors try their luck at the tasting tournament led by renowned judges. Tickets and more here.

Circle K Arrives In Loop

“Amid slow demand for retail space around downtown Chicago, a competitor in the convenience-store market is plotting a challenge to long-established 7-Eleven locations,” reports the Sun-Times. “Circle K, a brand best known for its combined stores and gas stations along America’s highways, is leasing smaller format outlets in and around the Loop.” Ten downtown locations are listed on their website as “coming soon.” “The first, at 190 West Madison, is expected to open by the end of August, said [a] company spokesman,” with others soon to follow. “We’re growing the Circle K brand,” the spokesman said. “We are finding new ways to meet customers where they are.”

No More Papa Ray’s Monster Slices In Uptown

Papa Ray’s in Uptown is closing after ten years, reports Block Club Chicago. “Papa Ray’s Pizza & Wings opened in 2011 in Uptown as the second location of the local pizza chain, which now has six outposts.”

McD ChickMac Test

McDonald’s is testing a Big Mac that substitutes chicken patties for beef, reports WGN-TV. “The Chicken Big Mac, made with ‘crispy tempura chicken patties’… made its debut February in the United Kingdom and Ireland to much fanfare—and significant sales. McDonald’s U.K. announced the limited-edition offering had ‘sold out almost everywhere’ after a little over a week.” The ingredients appear identical to the original: cheese, lettuce, pickles and special sauce.



National Film Preservation Grant For Chicago Film Archives

The Chicago Film Archives has received a grant, one of sixty-four awarded nationally, for the preservation of eight films by Helen Morrison documenting dance performances by Sybil Shearer. The NFPF provides an overview here. The full list of awardees is here, including the Helen Morrison works :”In a Vacuum” (circa 1956), film of Sybil Shearer’s solo dance on the mechanization of the individual, first performed during her 1941 debut at Carnegie Hall; “No Peace on Earth” (circa 1956), Morrison’s documentation of a solo dance by Shearer; “O Lost” (circa 1956), Morrison’s documentation of Sybil Shearer’s dance celebration of individualism; “Untitled (Mussorgsky)” (circa 1956), documentation of Shearer’s dance set to Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”; and several films under the rubric, “Salute To Old Friends,” including “Salute To Old Friends: Agnes de Mille” (circa 1956), Shearer’s solo dance tribute to a fellow dancer, set to music by the Dave Brubeck Quartet; “Salute to Old Friends: Doris Humphrey” (circa 1956), Shearer’s solo dance tribute to a fellow dancer, set to music by Miles Davis; “Salute to Old Friends: John Martin” (circa 1956), Shearer’s solo dance tribute to the New York Times dance critic, set to music by the Benny Goodman Quintet; and “Salute to Old Friends: Walter Terry” (circa 1956), Shearer’s solo dance tribute to the New York Herald Tribune dance critic, set to music by the Count Basie group. Also: “Trip Or I’m Late I’m Late,” (circa 1975), an abstract depiction of a journey on Chicago’s El by Zora Lathan.

Movie Exhibition Giants Exploring Options During Film Release Drought

“Movie theater giant Cineworld Group, whose business includes the Regal cinemas [has warned] that ‘despite a gradual recovery of demand since re-opening in April 2021,’ following COVID-related theater closures, ‘recent admission levels have been below expectations,’” writes the Hollywood Reporter. “These lower levels of admissions are due to a limited film slate that is anticipated to continue until November 2022 and are expected to negatively impact trading and the group’s liquidity position in the near term.” Cineworld operates 751 locations in ten countries, including Regal cinemas.

Streaming Viewing Tops Cable Viewing For First Time

“Streaming platforms, led by Netflix, in July 2022 for the first time surpassed cable networks to claim the largest share of U.S. TV viewing for the month,” reports Variety. “It was only a matter of time before the milestone was reached, as streaming usage has continued to climb while traditional TV declines amid the steady drip-drip-drip of cord-cutting losses.”



Libraries Censoring Books In “New Era Of Education”

“The start of the 2022-2023 school year will usher in a new era of education in some parts of America—one in which school librarians have less freedom to choose books and schoolchildren less ability to read books they find intriguing, experts say,” reports the Washington Post. “This is a state-sponsored purging of ideas and identities that has no precedent in the United States of America,” said John Chrastka,  executive director of nonprofit group EveryLibrary. “We’re witnessing the silencing of stories and the suppressing of information [that will make] the next generation less able to function in society.”



WBEZ Wins Second National Murrow Award In Three Years For Investigative Reporting

“WBEZ has won two national Murrow Awards in the investigative reporting and hard news categories, for coverage of widespread sexual harassment, abuse and assault involving Chicago Park District lifeguards,” the station relays. “The prizes honored stories last year by Dan Mihalopoulos, a reporter on WBEZ’s Government & Politics Team. Alex Keefe and Angela Rozas O’Toole edited the stories…This is the second time in three years WBEZ has received the National Murrow Award for investigative reporting by a large-market radio station, having won in 2020 for a two-part story about video gambling done in partnership with ProPublica Illinois.” More details here.

Why Did Gannett Fire So Many Journalists?

Defector takes a look at the media conglomerate, which still holds eleven Illinois properties. “Gannett publishes more than 400 local publications across forty-eight states, as well as the national publication USA Today.” Gannett has great “sway on how people—especially those outside of New York and Washington, D.C.—get their state and local news. At least, for now. These layoffs happened for the same reason layoffs historically happen at a shop like Gannett: The company’s millions in revenue were somehow not enough, and the fastest way to make more money appear on the ledger and keep shareholders of a public company happy is to cut payroll… Gannett made $748.7 million in revenue in the second quarter of this year alone… The real issue is Gannett is currently carrying more than $1 billion in debt from its merger with GateHouse Media, and CEO Mike Reed said the company intends to pay back $150 million to $200 million of that debt this year.”



Questions Grow Over Security At Live Nation Events

“Security arrangements vary depending on the concert, but at Once Upon a Time in L.A., Astroworld and other events, Live Nation has been repeatedly accused of failing to follow industry safety protocols for controlling large crowds and protecting concertgoers and performers from weapons and faulty stage construction,” reports the Los Angeles Times in an extensive report grounded “in a review of wrongful death and injury lawsuits as well as interviews with security experts, Live Nation employees and witnesses to concert tragedies. The alleged breaches include disregarding crowd safety plans and hiring too few or poorly trained security and other personnel, creating potentially hazardous conditions for millions of fans who flock to concerts annually…In its 2021 annual report to the SEC, the company said that ‘hundreds of civil lawsuits have been filed against Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. asserting insufficient crowd control and other theories… These effects could have a material impact on our business.’”

Vintage Vinyl Marks Forty-Three Years In Evanston

“Vintage Vinyl specializes in collectible, rare, original vinyl recordings in all genres of music. They go a step further by curating a rare collection of psychedelic, progressive and mod,” reports Tom Barnas at WGN-TV. “Some are the rarest on the planet… Celebrating its forty-third year, it’s one of the Chicago area’s longest-running record stores. Owner and founder Steve Kay has [curated a] collection that stands over 250,000 records between his shop in Evanston and online business. ‘I started out in the art world as a painter, I started the record store to supplement my art career and the record store took off.’”

Further Disgrace For Plácido Domingo

“Plácido Domingo, the disgraced eighty-one-year-old operatic tenor roundly exiled from opera circles in the United States for allegations of sexual harassment that spanned three decades, has now reportedly been linked by Argentine prosecutors to a criminal enterprise in Buenos Aires that included sex trafficking of minors,” reports the Washington Post (via MSN). “Law enforcement officers have carried out dozens of raids in Buenos Aires targeting the Buenos Aires Yoga School, which ‘built a cult around its leader’ and reduced members to ‘a situation of slavery and/or sexual exploitation,’ according to prosecutors’ documents in the Argentine case against the school. The organization set up a business structure that included offices in Argentina and the United States, including branches in at least three U.S. cities: Las Vegas, New York and Chicago. So far, nineteen people have been detained in Argentina.”



Treasured University Of Michigan Library Galileo Likely Twentieth-Century Forgery

“One of the University of Michigan Library’s most prized possessions, which appeared to be a Galileo manuscript, is now thought to be the work of a twentieth-century forger,” reports the New York Times. “The manuscript showed the draft of a letter at the top, and sketches plotting the positions of the moons Galileo discovered around Jupiter—which the university had believed were ‘the first observational data that showed objects orbiting a body other than the earth.’”

Teen Vogue Asks Young Chicago Leaders About Alternatives To Policing

“The Chicago Transformation Collab, a three-day event in June, brought together activists, artists, and public defenders to talk about what alternatives” to modern-day policing could look like, says Teen Vogue. “With our partners at Zealous, who helped organize the Collab, Teen Vogue asked eleven of the attendees: ‘What is one thing you know most people think about our current response to violence, and one thing you wish people knew about an alternative way?’” Among the responses is this from Bella BAHHS of the Sister Survivor Network: “Most people think that violence is a justification for violence. They think that some ‘good’ people have a right and even a duty to use brute force to control and subdue other ‘bad’ people. They believe that there is something noble, respectable and even godly about the work of police, prosecutors, criminal court judges and corrections officers because they believe that some people deserve imprisonment, brutalization and even to be put to death. But brutalization cannot ever lead to positive transformation and violence cannot ever suppress wickedness. As long as violence is considered permissible and agreeable for some, we are all in danger. Forgiveness, love and moral influence are the only sustainable and godly ways to redress harm—not authority and punishment.”


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