A photo of two tall lounge chairs seated next to a fireplace in the center of the photo, framed by two layers of large blue curtains on either side.

Violet Hour/Photo: Michael Robinson

ART

Cornelia Arts Building Announces Holiday Open Studios

The Cornelia Arts Building announces their Holiday Open House Event. The building opens its doors to the public to shop for artworks and gifts directly from artists. It’s one of the largest all-artist buildings on Chicago’s North Side, with two full floors of working art studios featuring over seventy local artists and artisans at work, including painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramic artists, printmakers and jewelers. “Building on nearly four decades of fostering creativity, the venue nears completion on a multi-year remodeling effort, with double the studios and artists, and more art than ever before.” Established in 1986 in a former ice-house, the Cornelia Arts Building is located at 1800 West Cornelia, at the border of three distinct Chicago neighborhoods; Lakeview, Roscoe Village and North Center. Friday, December 2, 6pm-10pm and Saturday, December 3, 11am-3pm. Details here.

 

DESIGN

Chorus Grows To Preserve Damen Silos

“Eight organizations, led by Friends of the Chicago River and Openlands, signed onto a letter urging Governor Pritzker to halt the sale of the site to MAT Limited Partnership,” reports WTTW. Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River, tells the station, “The governor should put this project on hold and open a meaningful discussion with the community about the future of the Damen Silos site for the betterment of public health and the ecological transformation of the Chicago River system… Any riverfront improvement opportunity should be part of a master plan that recognizes the Chicago River system as the wondrous natural resource it is rather than the uncared for alleyway it used to be.” The twenty-three-acre site, “home to abandoned grain elevators that have become popular with urban explorers, is strategically situated on a stretch of the river slated for restoration or improvement projects, including a pending multimillion-dollar revitalization of nearby Bubbly Creek, a famously polluted fork of the South Branch.”

One Of A Kind Show And Sale Returns

Chicago’s annual shopping extravaganza, the One Of A Kind Show And Sale, will return to THE MART from Thursday, December 1 through Sunday, December 4. In its twenty-first year, the show brings together 500 artists, artisans, and makers to offer fine art and handmade goods, gourmet cafes, bar areas, live entertainment and activities for all ages. A portion of ticket sales benefit the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Tickets to the four days of the holiday show are $15 here.

Business Owners Want $5 Million TIF Cash For Surveillance Of Fulton Market

“A small group of business and community leaders urged city officials to use $5 million in tax increment financing money to buy 200 surveillance cameras for the swanky Fulton Market District and the historically violent Garfield Park area,” reports the Sun-Times. “Our streets are running with blood,” said Roger Romanelli, executive director of the Fulton Market Association in online press availability. “We have to put a tourniquet on the crime spree that’s happening in our city.” The ACLU of Illinois “has repeatedly raised alarms about the POD [police observation device] cameras, warning last February that the city’s camera system ‘continues to operate without any regulation or privacy or regular public reporting.’” ACLU spokesman Ed Yohnka: “It’s been this long-term kind of shadow game of saying just one more set of cameras will be effective, this is what we need… It never works, and the answer is always more of the cameras.”

 

DINING & DRINKING

City Bans Archie’s Tavern Hamm’s Sign 

Since the 1960s, reports Block Club, “the intersection of Iowa and Rockwell streets in Ukrainian Village has been illuminated by a red, white and blue Hamm’s beer sign perched outside Archie’s Iowa Rockwell Tavern.” When Archie’s “went to renew the bar’s liquor license this month, Arthur said they were told the city would put a hold on the renewal unless the Hamm’s sign came down… Archie’s sits on a residential street and is the only business for a several block radius.” (In 2017, Curious City investigated why so many Chicago taverns have Old Style signs.)

Cure For The Violet Hour

Two industry leaders will come together on December 8 as Cure, New Orleans’ James Beard award-winning cocktail institution, goes behind the velvet curtains of the Violet Hour. They will shake up signature drinks from each bar and celebrate CureCo. partner-mixologist Neal Bodenheimer’s new cocktail book, “Cure: New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em from the Award-Winning Bar.” “It’s always great to be back where it all began,” Kirk Estopinal, founding partner of CureCo. and member of The Violet Hour’s opening team back in 2007, says in a release. “Being able to bring my very own team to a place that helped shape my journey and shake up some drinks with a few of my oldest friends in the industry is so special.” The event kicks off with a dual book signing and cocktail tasting sponsored by Chartreuse, where guests can mingle as Bodenheimer signs copies of his book, which features drinks and recipes from New Orleans chefs.

The Violet Hour founding partner and head mixologist Toby Maloney will also be on hand to sign copies of his cocktailing guide, “The Bartender’s Manifesto.” Both Bodenheimer and Maloney will jump behind the bar with bartenders from Cure and The Violet Hour to serve the evening’s menu of nine collaborative cocktails throughout the night. Two options are on offer: a seated, ticketed experience where guests can enjoy three curated bites by The Violet Hour alongside their choice of three four-ounce cocktails from the night’s featured menu for $75. There will be three seatings throughout the night: 5pm, 7pm and 9pm. For those who prefer an a la carte experience, walk-ins are welcome to order individual cocktails and bites from the bar with ample standing room, capacity permitting. Tickets for the seated takeover of The Violet Hour are limited and are on Tock here.

Old Town Spice House Collaborates With Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto 

“For sixty-five years, the Spice House in Old Town has sold salts, pepper, and turmeric to Chicago customers. The fabled business has carved its own path away from founder Bill Penzey’s path at Penzey’s Spices, and Chicagoans can find Spice House selections, like Vulcan’s Fire Salt and more, at select neighborhood grocers,” reports Eater Chicago. “It’s kicking off a collaboration with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. His blend features black garlic, black pepper and toasted onion. He’ll also be in the store on December 8 for a meet-and-greet with $75 tickets. Look for more collaboration with award-winning chefs in the future.”

More Legislative Opposition To Albertsons-Kroger Merger

“Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is the latest elected official to voice opposition to the proposed Albertsons-Kroger merger,” reports Northwest Newsradio. “If these two giants merge, I am deeply concerned about the resulting effects on competition in grocery industry,” the Seattle Democrat said at a press conference in West Seattle. “Jayapal has sent a letter to chair of the Federal Trade Commission, asking them to investigate the proposed merger over anti-competitive concerns.”

Starbucks Shutting Down Seattle’s First Unionized Store

“Starbucks is shutting down the first store to unionize in Seattle. The Broadway & Denny store is the fourth unionized store to be shut down in Starbucks’ hometown,” relays More Perfect Union. “Starbucks is citing safety issues after refusing to provide any security.” Starbucks Workers United posts: “The company is closing the store on December 9, the one-year anniversary of the first union win, in Buffalo.” The Seattle Times: Starbucks “said that its attempts to address the safety concerns at the location were not effective.” A Starbucks spokesman said, “Unfortunately, despite several mitigating efforts, safety and security incidents at our Broadway and Denny store have continued to escalate.”

 

FILM & TELEVISION

An Oral History Of “Planes, Trains And Automobiles” At Thirty-Five

“Starring Steve Martin and John Candy, the John Hughes road trip comedy had a nearly four-hour runtime at one point.” Jason Bailey talks to cast, crew, and Hughes’ family at Vanity Fair. “When ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles ‘roared into theaters on November 25, 1987, it was somehow both a sure thing and a big risk. Its writer-producer-director, John Hughes, was coming off a string of hits (‘Sixteen Candles,’ ‘The Breakfast Club,’ ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’), modestly budgeted character-driven dramedies whose big grosses meant big profits; leading actors Steve Martin and John Candy were among the biggest comedy stars in the country. But Hughes, who had established himself as the poet laureate of eighties teendom, was telling a story about grown-ups… Martin, whose biggest film successes [were] broad comedies, was attempting to remake himself as a more intellectual screen presence. And although Candy was one of the brightest lights of the SCTV ensemble, he had found precious few film roles that put his tremendous talent to full use.” (A forthcoming physical media and video-on-demand release contains over an hour of previously unseen material.)

What “Punch 9 For Harold Washington” Shows About Unfinished Legacy

Joe Winston’s “Punch 9 for Harold Washington,” writes Leonard Pierce at Jacobin, “largely succeeds in its own aspirations. It uses a broad range of archival footage combined with interviews and historical context to tell the story of Washington’s gripping and often astonishing win over an entrenched political machine, an electorate galvanized along racial lines, and… interest groups paralyzed by infighting over who would get how much of Chicago’s power structure. It’s difficult to explain the importance of Washington’s election, both for nonlocals and for those too young to remember him; he accomplished a great deal of progressive reforms in a notoriously corrupt city… Some of the archival footage is astonishing: machine mayoral candidate Jane Byrne decked out in furs and chain-smoking in the back of a limo; Washington offering a tour of his small apartment, littered in every room with piles of books; an impossibly young-looking Barack Obama, his face bearing an enigmatic expression, staring at the newly elected Mayor Washington from across the room… Washington, as can be seen in almost every frame…was a remarkable figure, simultaneously a validation of and a refutation of the ‘Great Man’ theory of history. He was brilliant, incredibly well-spoken and charismatic, unsentimental about politics but with a genuine desire to make politics work for the most people in the most ways. While flawed—[the film] tends to gloss over the compromises he was forced to make, particularly with business, to achieve his extraordinary victory—he was a once-in-a-generation figure, and likely no one else could have accomplished what he did.”

 

LIT

Chicago Public Library Posts Best Of The Best 2022 Books List

The Chicago Public Library has posted its Best of the Best for 2022, with lists of this year’s best books for children, teens and adults. The lists include 150 books for kids across categories including picture books, board books, fiction and informational books for both younger and older readers and libros en español; fifty books for teens, including fiction, nonfiction and graphic novels; and a hundred books for adults. The top ten books recommended for adults? “The Book of Goose,” Yiyun Li; “Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir,” Margo Jefferson; “Demon Copperhead,” Barbara Kingsolver; “An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us,” Ed Yong; “The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness,” Meghan O’Rourke; “Night of the Living Rez,” Morgan Talty; “Olga Dies Dreaming,” Xochitl Gonzalez; “Solito: A Memoir,” Javier Zamora; “Stay True: A Memoir,” Hua Hsu; and “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,” Gabrielle Zevin. The complete list is here.

 

MEDIA

Lin Brehmer Returns To ‘XRT

“Beloved personality Lin Brehmer, who has been medical sabbatical since July, will return to the airwaves Monday, November 28 at 10am,” tweets WXRT. “While Lin’s chemotherapy continues, he’s coming back to host weekdays 10am-1pm. Welcome back Lin, you were truly missed and we celebrate this milestone.”

More U.S. Consumers Reading, Subscribing To Local News Publications

“Data from the Medill Subscriber Engagement Index shows that even as the pandemic eased, subscriptions have continued to rise at all three categories of newspapers tracked: large, medium and small,” writes Susan Chandler at Northwestern Medill’s Local News Initiative. “The headline is that the bottom has not fallen out,” says Ed Malthouse, a professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School. “Among eight large metropolitan dailies surveyed in the top tier of the Index, six showed sizable increases in subscriptions from September 2021 through August 2022. One showed only a small increase and another showed a significant decrease.”

Now It’s Okay For New York Times Reporters To Gamble

“For many years, the New York Times Ethical Journalism handbook prohibited gambling on sports with only three exceptions: Journalists were permitted ‘occasional recreational wagering on horse racing or dog racing or jai alai,’” reports Max Tani at Semafor. “In June, the paper changed its editorial guidelines around gambling for the first time in nearly two decades, saying they ‘may place occasional recreational wagers on sports they do not cover, in line with the laws where they live.’ It was a compromise that came as the Times attempted to rein in sports gambling by staff at the Athletic… which until recently allowed its writers to gamble on sports they write about.”

 

MUSIC

Double Door Uptown Renovation And Marquee Approved

“The Double Door’s sign on its Uptown home will resemble the iconic sign from its years in Wicker Park,” reports Block Club. “Double Door will inhabit the Wilson Theater building that debuted in 1908” as a vaudeville house. (The Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved the planned renovation and signage earlier this month.)

“Laughing At Kanye Doesn’t Help”

“Far be it from me to tell my people not to laugh at a time like this; since when have we not turned our haters into humor? But something about the stickiness [of a clip of Ye describing his doctor as Jewish], in specifically Jewish circles, broke my heart, because it spoke of a group looking for something, anything, to use as a raft or security blanket,” writes Mireille Silcoff at the New York Times Magazine. “Here, coming from a public figure so media-dominating that his actions were impossible to ignore, was undisguised ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’-style hatred, sitting in full spread in the middle of mainstream popular culture…. And here was Dave Chappelle, on ‘S.N.L.,’ beginning his monologue by reading the apology Ye might have given to ‘buy time’ and continuing to riff on how there are ‘two words in the English language that you should never say together in sequence: “The” and “Jews.”’ … Antisemitism felt like it was trending—moving, with bewildering speed, from something verboten to something floating casually around the culture. To take refuge in a spare moment of unintended comedy, one that made Ye look silly rather than dangerous, was an understandable balm. But the laugh still felt to me like the queasy titter of being backed into a corner, with nowhere else to go.”

 

STAGE

Gift Theatre Sets Season

The Gift Theatre has announced its 2023 season, featuring the Chicago premiere of Anna Ouyang Moench’s dark comedy “Mothers,” directed by Lili-Anne Brown, and a revival of Jim Cartwright’s award-winning drama “The Rise and Fall of Little Voice,” directed by Devon de Mayo. The full season will be presented at Filament Theatre as part of a resource-sharing residency beginning in January 2023. “As we were dreaming about our first season announcement as a trio, we went on a listening tour and chatted with our ensemble to see what dreams they had for the future of Gift,” co-artistic directors Brittany Burch, Emjoy Gavino and Jennifer Glasse write in a release. “Similar themes were echoed throughout the conversations—an excitement for taking risks, exploring out of the box, dark comedies and working with directors who meet us where we are and challenge where our ensemble and audience can go.” Gift Theatre managing director John Gawlik says, “As we continue our plans to open a new theater space in Jefferson Park, this temporary home at Filament provides our current audience a familiar neighborhood to experience our work and introduces us to a new audience base of adults among Filament’s following.” More here.

Post-Fire, Factory Theater Seeks Help

“A fire started in The Factory Theater’s heating and cooling system, causing $15,000 in damage,” reports Block Club. “The thirty-year-old theater company is asking neighbors to contribute to a fundraiser to keep the theater” in the Rogers Park neighborhood on Howard Street.

Pegasus Theatre Announces Thirty-Sixth Young Playwrights Festival

Pegasus Theatre Chicago has announced the authors and plays for the thirty-sixth Annual Young Playwrights Festival, January 4-28 at Chicago Dramatists. The 2023 playwrights include “Dead Boy Walking,” Elliott Valadez (Whitney Young Magnet HS, teacher: Elizabeth Danesh), directed by Enrico Spada; “Terms and Conditions,” Lucas Bigos (Lane Tech College Prep, teacher: Kirsten Hanson), directed by Ilesa Duncan; and “Another Star in the Sky,” Jonathan Soco (Lane Tech College Prep, teacher: Julie Allen), directed by Jason A. Fleece. The Young Playwrights Festival, the oldest festival of its kind in the country, has, “for thirty-six years, engaged and inspired high school students across Chicago by teaching them to craft one-act plays with the winning teen playwrights’ productions work-shopped and staged by industry professionals.” Tickets go on sale December 1. More here.

 

ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.

O’Hare Gets Okay For $7.1 Billion Global Terminal

“O’Hare International Airport got the official federal go-ahead Monday for a $7.1 billion project to replace Terminal 2 with a ‘global terminal’ intended to link domestic and international flights in one location,” reports the Sun-Times. “The project is expected to start with two new satellite concourses, providing about 1.3 million feet of gate and amenity space, which will ‘dramatically expand the airport’s ability to accommodate aircraft of all sizes,’ Mayor Lightfoot said. ‘This is a big deal for us.’”

Galesburg Sees Struggle As Amtrak Leaves Town

Galesburg officials had no warning of Amtrak’s decision, reports WGIL. “Local tourism officials and downtown businesses are bracing for a negative impact from Amtrak’s decision to suspend partial passenger rail service between Galesburg and Chicago. Amtrak announced earlier this week it was suspending two morning trains leaving and arriving in Galesburg… The two lines have been replaced with chartered buses as alternate transportation through January 16.” An Amtrak spokesperson said the temporary suspension is over staffing issues.

Fancy Bet On Casino Costs

“Bally’s executes sale-leaseback on newly acquired Freedom Center site, raising up to $500 million to develop Chicago casino,” headlines the Trib. “Days after buying the 30-acre Freedom Center printing site, Bally’s has sold the land to a Chicago real estate investment firm, leasing it back for ninety-nine years and raising up to $500 million to help build its proposed $1.74 billion Chicago casino complex.” Crain’s: “Oak Street Real Estate Capital’s purchase of the Tribune’s Freedom Center plant property adds a new layer of complexity to Bally’s push to build a casino on the site.”

 

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