MCA Granted $1 Million For Latinx And Caribbean Initiative
The Mellon Foundation has granted $1 million to the Museum of Contemporary Art. The contribution will allow the MCA to launch an institution-wide Latinx and Caribbean art initiative to include the development of exhibitions and related scholarly publications, acquisitions to its permanent collection, continued curatorial research, community partnerships and engagement, and the museum’s transition to a bilingual Spanish-English institution, as well as programs to deepen connections with the Latinx cultural community. More on the MCA here.
Picturing The Last Of Chicago’s Municipal Parking Garages
Lynn Becker looks at Chicago’s municipal parking spots: “Once Chicago had ten major municipal parking garages. Soon there will be none. They were built in the 1950s for a brave new world where a spawn of expressways was making the city increasingly car-centric. All were designed by major Chicago architects, holding up to 2,000 cars. Perhaps the most famous was ‘the birdcage’ on Wacker near State, adorned by Milton Horn’s sculpture ‘Chicago Rising from the Lake,’ which after demolition was rescued from a trash heap and now graces the north Riverwalk. Facility No. 10, at 535 North St. Clair, by Jensen & McClurg, was the smallest, in a style that could be called minimalist modern. There were no exterior walls, except for a partial one on Grand in graceful brick design. The sprawling floor slabs were cantilevered from a grid of internal mushroom columns. Strangely enough, Facility No. 10 was spruced up little more than a year ago, with a new paint job and a mural honoring first responders. The vertical signs are already gone. Did someone buy them? Where there was parking for 262 vehicles, there will be space for a hundred, plus 124 bicycles—and 248 apartments, in twenty-one stories. Over a decade ago, Forgotten Chicago was already saying Facility No. 10 had ‘condozing plans in the works,’ so I guess you could say it cheated time, but nobody can do that forever.”
Vacancy Rate In La Salle Street Corridor Above Twenty-Five-Percent
“Market analysts put the office vacancy rate around La Salle at twenty-six percent, the highest of downtown submarkets, with retail vacancies of about thirty-six percent. Mayor Lightfoot, in announcing a proposition to help property owners spiff up the street, said that amounts to five million square feet that’s unused,” reports David Roeder at the Sun-Times. “Think of it as twenty-five empty Walmarts… Or, as the city prefers to see it, maybe 1,000 new homes, 300 of them for people with low-to-moderate incomes. With its La Salle Street Reimagined initiative, the city is offering money to landlords to support renovations, especially those that diversify downtown housing.” A range of potential subsidies are out there, including “tax increment financing subsidies from property tax payments. The street includes the La Salle Central TIF district, which has long been one of the city’s biggest ‘mad money pots.’ At the end of 2021, the account had almost $197 million.”
Invest South/West Goes Slow
“As a candidate and as mayor, Lori Lightfoot has correctly argued there are swaths of the city that deserve greater investment—and that if Chicago is ever to fix its myriad problems, from gun violence to inequitable access to health care to a lack of meaningful job opportunities for far too many Chicagoans, then more capital must flow to neighborhoods,” writes Crain’s’ editorial board. Crain’s sees the city “measuring Invest South/West without a yardstick… when it comes to the most important economic development program in her administration.”
Bell Works In Hoffman Estates Lands More Tenants
The New Jersey developer that bought the empty complex in 2019 has signed leases with a new set of tenants for its Bell Works Chicagoland, the huge former AT&T campus in Hoffman Estates, reports the Trib, “nearly filling a suite of offices designed for small firms and startups. By offering leases only four pages long, fully built-out spaces and amenities, company officials said the 23,618-square-foot suite, called Ready-to-Wear, matches the needs of small companies trying to navigate an office market unsettled by the pandemic.”
DINING & DRINKING
Berlin Nightclub Closed While Death Investigated
Berlin Nightclub is temporarily closed after the death of a customer on Friday night, posts Eater Chicago. “Berlin Nightclub is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own last night,” the club posted on Twitter. “Please keep an eye on our page for mutual aid support in the coming days.” Block Club has more.
Molson Coors Donates $50,000 To Local LGBTQ+ Organizations
As part of its Tap Into Change program, Molson Coors has presented $50,000 to support fourteen Chicago-based LGBTQ+ organizations. This annual program supports nonprofit organizations by collecting a percentage of sales from Molson Coors products at participating locations. Since its inception in 2011, the program has raised more than $750,000 for LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS nonprofits across the country.
Oktoberfest Dresses Time Out Market Chicago
Sam Adams has partnered with Time Out Market Chicago for a weekend of German- and beer-themed events, October 7-9. Events include a DJ, a stein-hoisting competition, Oktoberfest sampling and giveaways, kids storytime and balloon twisting, a jazz band and a performance by Die Musikmeisters. Details here.
River North Speakeasy Bodega Opens To Public
“Behind the register, through the cold storage room, and beyond a parted curtain accessed only if you know about it, lies Chicago’s most exclusive speakeasy,” Bodega announces in a release. “Opened five years ago, Bodega masquerades as a Mexican minimart on Clark Street and serves as a popular Chicago private dining room—but after hours, the lights turn low. Until now, Bodega gained popularity only by word-of-mouth. When they opened the spot in the fall of 2017, DineAmic Hospitality principals, David Rekhson and Lucas Stoioff, as well as operating partner Alexios Milioulis decided against signage or advertising, preferring to keep the location a secret. At Bodega, the old-school attitude of a speakeasy melds with the thrumming energy of a nightclub. Red leather upholstered banquettes, brick walls and industrial accents set a sultry scene, and an expansive bottle service menu is on offer at every table. A rotating roster of the city’s top DJs, as well as world-renowned DJs from all over the globe, provide the soundtrack, with accompaniment from live musicians.” 353 North Clark, Friday and Saturday nights starting at 10pm. More here.
Clever Coyote Brings Tiki To Wicker Park
Six years after its opening in Chicago, the Robey Hotel will launch Clever Coyote on October 6. Clever Coyote is an ode to the history of The Robey’s landmarked 1929 building, and the cocktail bar’s name recalls the site’s former nickname, The Coyote. The second-floor bar, with a glowing psychedelic light installation, will serve 1980s and 1990s pop culture, represented by a classic rock atmosphere and games like Street Fighter and shuffleboard. The tiki-inspired libations include Rye Tai; Money-Cat (lavender, lemon and Aquavit); Black Hole Sun (mezcal, tequila, roasted grapefruit syrup, lime and activated charcoal); and the Suckerpunch (clarified gin milk punch with pineapple and lime). 2018 West North. More here.
FILM & TELEVISION
WTTW Premieres New Studio
WTTW News will debut tonight what they describe as “an enhanced experience for viewers, with exciting changes to the set, graphics, music and surrounding technology, along with expanded digital coverage, vivid enterprise storytelling, and essential community-driven reporting and dialogue.” The set will be seen on WTTW News programs including “Chicago Tonight,” “Week in Review,” “Latino Voices” and “Black Voices.”
“South Side” Staying Put
Despite upheavals at the parent company of HBO Max, Chicago-set “South Side” seems safe for now, reports William Lee at the Trib. On a set visit at the end of shooting, Lee says the show’s creators got “a boost of confidence… from their HBO Max bosses following an abrupt, late summer purge of television and movie properties like the shelved ‘Batgirl’ film following last spring’s merger between HBO Max and Warner Bros. Discovery Plus.”
Svengoolie Gets Horror Halloween BOOnanza
Rich Koz gets a MeTV tribute throughout October, entitled ‘Svengoolie’s Halloween BOOnanza,’ reports AP. “The host, as usual, will be dressed appropriately: comically ghoulish makeup—Koz does his own—flowing dark wig, top hat and peaked-lapel jacket in formal black.” Lynn Elber profiles the career of the Morton Grove native.
Why The Implications Of Amazon’s America’s Funniest Home Surveillance Aren’t Funny
“When smartphones first came on the scene, their built-in cameras were limited to personal use. Then social media sites like Facebook and Instagram created a beast that millions wanted to feed, and photos became a public spectacle. The same phenomenon is happening to doorbell cameras,” writes Parmy Olson at Bloomberg. “Footage is being uploaded for entertainment… Amazon.com Inc., which owns market-dominating Ring… grabbed a lucrative opportunity, and is contributing to the gradual erosion of our privacy in the process… A television show syndicated across more than seventy American cities… hosted by the comedian Wanda Sykes and produced by MGM, which Amazon finished buying in March, the twenty-minute program features videos captured on smartphones and Amazon’s Ring doorbell cameras” and are uploaded to a website.
Barnes & Noble Returns To Old Orchard
Barnes & Noble has announced a return to Old Orchard. The bookseller closed its previous location in the mall after twenty-seven years, when the building was redeveloped at the end of 2021. The 20,000-square-foot store is at 4999 Old Orchard Shopping Center, a short distance from Zara and opposite The Cheesecake Factory. The new two-story shop will also house a Paper Source store.
“Frankenstreisand” Runs Through Halloween
“The music… the mem’ries… the magic… the dog cloning!” Hell in a Handbag Productions promises of its world premiere of “FRANKENSTREISAND” by Tyler Anthony Smith, directed by Stephanie Shaw, playing through October 31 at The Raven Room at Redline VR, 4702 North Ravenswood. The production features ensemble members Elizabeth Lesinski, Nicky Mendelsohn, Ryan Oates, and Robert Williams, with Dakota Hughes and Brian Shaw. Tickets here.
Chicago Dancemakers Forum Announces 2023 Lab Artists
Chicago Dancemakers Forum has announced Benji Hart, Enneréssa LaNette, Zachary Nicol and Winfield RedCloud Woundedeye as the Chicago-based dancemakers who are their 2023 Lab Artists. Each receives a grant of $25,000, which can be spent fully at the discretion of each artist, with funds covering rent or other living expenses, mentorship, research, collaborator fees and expenses that support the artist while continuing their creative practice or making dance work, along with a year of tailored support during an extended period of creative research, development and potential presentation of new work. The Lab Artists Program is tailored to each participant and aims to foster growth and artistic fulfillment while also building relationships among dancemakers, presenters, audiences and supporters.
Ten finalists were selected for the distinctness of their artistic vision, their body of work, and the timing of the program in their artistic trajectory. This twentieth-anniversary year was open to all eligible dancemakers but prioritized artists that we recognize have historically been underrepresented in the program or those with a creative practice that directly benefits these communities. Eighty-percent of the open call applicants and a hundred percent of the finalists self-identified with one or more of the prioritization categories: Indigenous, Immigrant, Trans or Non-Binary, Parent or Caregiver, and/or Disabled Artists or those with a creative practice that directly benefits these communities. Since its inception in 2003, Chicago Dancemakers Forum has granted over $1.25 million to local artists and is the most significant, sustained source of support for individual dancemakers working in Chicago that has an open call process. The 2023 Lab Artists will be featured during the closing party of the Elevate Chicago Dance festival on Sunday, October 16 at 21c Museum Hotel Chicago. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Illinois State Museum Adds Heather Miller As Director Of Tribal Relations
The Illinois State Museum “has hired Heather Miller (Wyandotte Nation) to fill a new leadership role as director of tribal relations,” reports Native News Online. “Miller will build relationships with dozens of tribal nations the museum is undertaking consultation with in an effort to clear its collection of 7,590 human remains and 36,400 burial objects.” Says Miller, “One of the big things we know about Illinois is that we have [more than] 7,000 ancestors in collections… My job is going to make sure that we’re taking care of those ancestors and those relatives and that we’re doing right by our tribal communities… Another part of the position is going to be dealing with historic sites. I’ll be responsible for the management and caretaking of the historic sites across Illinois that have a significant tribal presence. Those could include things like Dickson Mounds and Cahokia Mounds, but they are also going to include the two state boarding school sites—the state only owns one of the two boarding school sites—that will be in need of [interpretation and] caretaking. Part of the work will also be managing policy and interpretation and caretaking of some of those Tribal Historic Sites.”
Planned Parenthood Will Launch Southern Illinois Mobile Abortion Clinic
“Planned Parenthood officials said they will launch the nation’s first mobile abortion clinic—offering medication abortions and eventually procedural abortions—in the border regions of Southern Illinois by the end of the year,” reports the Sun-Times.
World’s Largest Commercial Landlord (With Chicago Investments) Stymied By Denmark
A development in one of the most punishing trends in real estate: the mass purchases of homes by huge corporations, including in Chicago and across America as well as the planet. “The company has acquired houses and apartments at a voracious speed in cities around the world. Like any company, [the largest commercial landlord in history] Blackstone is focused on creating returns for its investors,” the Guardian writes in a highly detailed long-read piece. “Residents in some Blackstone properties have accused it of raising rents while reducing overheads, and the company has even been blamed–by an adviser to the United Nations–of helping to fuel the global housing crisis. (Blackstone vehemently denies these accusations and has previously said that the UN adviser’s findings included ‘numerous false claims…’) In most places where it began to buy up residential properties, Blackstone faced little opposition from governments or politicians… The giant asset management firm used to target places where people worked and shopped. Then it started buying up people’s homes.” Denmark, “when confronted with the indifferent force of this global real estate company, decided Blackstone had gone too far.” (Blackstone has invested hundreds of millions in Chicago. such as in a $151 million deal in the suburbs in April as reported by Crain’s.)
“After the  financial crisis, the industry started eyeing… places where people lived. In the U.S., as more and more people found themselves unable to pay their mortgages, thousands of houses became available at discounted prices. In spring 2012, Blackstone dispatched employees to hoover up such properties. It founded a subsidiary, Invitation Homes, to manage its new kingdom of houses, which spanned from Seattle to Atlanta….The firm looked for two- or three-bedroom houses in sunnier climes where an economic recovery seemed more likely. It avoided struggling cities such as Detroit or Cleveland. Invitation Homes hired local agents who knew every detail about the neighborhood, right down to whether a street had a ‘weird church’ or a rundown shopping [strip] on it… Soon, the company was spending as much as $125 million on houses every week.”
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