Today In The Culture, April 24, 2023: Richard Hunt Day | Kartemquin Diverse Voices Fellows | Lin Brehmer Sendoff (2023)

New bison calf at Fermilab

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Today Is Richard Hunt Day In Illinois

“Richard Hunt reflects the best of Illinois, a creativity, passion, and care for community and public spaces that makes art accessible to all,” Illinois first lady MK Pritzker says in a release. “We celebrate and recognize his work and are deeply grateful that he has contributed one of his creations to the Governors Mansion, giving our many visitors an opportunity to experience his work for themselves. Richard Hunt Day serves as a call to all Illinoisans to look beyond the conventional and tell their own stories, no matter the medium,”reports the Crusader.


Luxe Rentals Add Plush

“As developers sacrifice apartment square footage for communal amenity space, loaded gyms with saunas, sleek board rooms and resort-style pools are increasingly hallmarks of the city’s luxury buildings,” reports Axios Chicago. “‘Every new building that goes up has got something you’ve never seen before.'”

Bed Bath &Beyond Bankrupt

Bed Bath & Beyond’s 360 locations will start closing on Wednesday and the company will try to sell parts of its business, reports the New York Times. All stores are expected to close by June 30. The company will stop accepting its coupons on Wednesday and customers have until May 8 to use gift cards. The company “failed to fully reckon with the rise of online shopping.”

Tulsa’s Frank Lloyd Wright Goes To Market For $8 Million

“The only Frank Lloyd Wright house in the most beautiful town of Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as ‘Westhope’ just hit the market,” pictures Zillow Gone Wild. “The home was built for Tulsa Tribune publisher Richard Lloyd Jones, cousin of Wright in 1929 for a little over $100,000 at the time. The residence has over 10,000 square feet and is ‘made with alternating piers of square glass windows and cement “textile” blocks.’ Listed for $7,995,000.”

Why Is Transit Tracker Not Good?

“Why is Chicago’s transit tracker unreliable?,” asks WBEZ. “The search for answers included a twenty-nine-mile trek to Ikea, four transit apps and more than a dozen calls to experts.”


Malört Spilled Inside Book

The history of Jeppson’s Malört is coming from liquor writer Josh Noel. “Since the 2018 publication of ‘Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out,’ I’d been chipping away at another project that never quite felt like a story for me to tell. The story of Malört hit several intersections that quickly felt like mine to explore: what we drink, why we drink it, and how and why tastes change. Above all, and like any great narrative, it turned out to be a story of people and relationships.” The still-unnamed project is expected from Chicago Review Press in fall 2024.

Sixty For Eighty For Ina Pinkney

Sixty chefs gather to celebrate the eightieth of retired breakfast boss Ina Pinkney and Eater Chicago breaks bread with her: “Pinkney earned the moniker the Breakfast Queen as the chef and owner of Ina’s, which was a West Loop staple from 1991 to 2013… Since closing her restaurant, Pinkney has [shared] her love of food, spending five years writing her monthly breakfast column for the Chicago Tribune and publishing ‘Ina’s Kitchen: Memories and Recipes from the Breakfast Queen’…Pinkney turned eighty in February and Chicago Chef’s Cook will honor her with a birthday bash on Wednesday, April 26. The party, a fundraiser, is open to the public and will feature food (not all of it is breakfast) from more than sixty chefs including Brian Jupiter (Frontier, Ina Mae), Tony Priolo (Piccolo Sogno), and Sarah Stegner (Prairie Grass Cafe). Chicago Chef’s Cook is the fundraiser effort born out of Green City Market organizers and chefs.”

Global Rice Shortage Largest In Two Decades

“From China to the U.S. to the European Union, rice production is falling,” reports CNBC, “and driving up prices for more than 3.5 billion people across the globe, particularly in Asia-Pacific, which consumes ninety-percent of the world’s rice.” “Given that rice is the staple food commodity across multiple markets in Asia, prices are a major determinant of food price inflation and food security, particularly for the poorest households,” an analyst said.

Last Pint Poured; Lone Owl Perches

“A new bar and restaurant is taking over Pint, the Wicker Park bar that’s been in business for almost twenty years,” reports Block Club. “Lone Owl Pub is set to open there by early May. Lone Owl is owned by husband-and-wife team Eric and Olya Groat, who just moved back to the city after living in Portland for six years… ‘We wanted to just bring a nice, chill vibe, bring the West Coast to the Midwest,’ Eric Groat said. ‘There’s not really a Pacific Northwest cuisine per se, but we wanted to bring some seafood and just kind of take the food up a little bit, just elevated food.’ …Lone Owl will also feature signature cocktails like a wasabi martini [and] Oregon white and red wines.”

Lao Sze Chuan To Stay Open On Mich Ave Despite Chapter 11

“Lao Sze Chuan, whose acclaimed flagship restaurant earned owner Tony Hu the unofficial title ‘Mayor of Chinatown,’ is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for its satellite location… in River North, which is perched on the fourth floor of the Shops at North Bridge.” Over $1.37 million is owed on its lease, reports the Trib. “We have a little bit of an issue with the landlord, just for the downtown location,” Hu told the paper. “We’ll be OK.”

Chicago Sixth-Best Food City?

Food & Wine’s added a reader’s-choice hook, “Global Tastemakers,” which lists Chicago as America’s sixth-best place to eat. “There’s a lot to eat in the Windy City, not even including the hot dogs and deep-dish pizza Chicago is known for. The Midwest mindset means that restaurants, bars, and cafés are warm and welcoming—more often than not, giving off the feeling that you’ve just walked into a spot a friend owns. Communities of immigrants pepper the city’s seventy-seven neighborhoods, offering unforgettable no-frills meals spanning the globe. Don’t miss Alinea for the tasting menu, Mako for omakase, Dovetail Brewery for a flight, and George’s Deep Dish for a pie—and don’t skip at least one shot of Malört at a dive bar.”

Eighty-Six Chicagoans Apply For Lifetime Cheeseburgers Via Ass Tattoo

“Eighty-six people from Chicago have entered a lottery for a chance to win a lifetime supply of cheeseburgers from Omaha Steaks,” reports the Sun-Times. “The winner, in order to get the burgers, must also get a giant tattoo of a cheeseburger on their butt. If you guessed Florida is the state with the most entrants, you would be correct. Illinois is running seventh, with 465 applicants.”

“Ultra Right Beer” Tapped Out

Rightwing activist Seth Weathers “seems to have hit a snag finding a brewery. The company he was so convinced would sell his ‘anti-woke’ beer that he put its name on his website reportedly backed out after it saw how he was marketing it,” reports Daily Dot. Says Illinois-based Bent River Brewing Company: “We were initially approached to possibly contract a beer for a customer. Without our knowledge our name was listed on a website for a brief period of time. When we were made aware of the marketing for the product, we chose to pass on producing it.”


Sweaty Not-Siskel Travolta “Saturday Night Fever” Suit For Sale

“One of two identical white three-pieces worn by star in 1977 role expected to fetch $250,000,” reports the Guardian. “Designed by Leading Male, the jacket, matching waistcoat and twenty-eight-inch waist flared trousers will go under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles, along with the black polyester shirt worn with the suit… and Travolta’s 45-year-old sweat marks. ‘We never wash memorabilia. People want the stains, the DNA, particularly when a suit like this one hasn’t been auctioned before.'”

Kartemquin Announces 2023 Diverse Voices In Docs Fellows

The tenth group of Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID) fellows have been named: Eli Hiller, Lishune Mahone, Abdi Mohamed and Asia Taylor. DVID, a professional mentorship program for Midwestern documentary filmmakers of color, was created by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago. Fellows receive hands-on support from experienced Kartemquin and Community Film Workshop staff, award-winning filmmakers, and invited experts before pitching to a panel of major funders, which in previous years has included representatives from ITVS, Sundance Institute, Doc Society, POV, Black Public Media, and WTTW Channel 11. The program culminates with a showcase of the fellows’ work featuring a keynote speaker. More about the fellows and their projects here.


Illinois Library Funding Tied To Anticensorship

“A bill that explicitly prohibits Illinois libraries from banning books is speeding its way toward passage by the General Assembly, and the Illinois Secretary of State said he wants ‘every librarian in the country to know we have their backs,'” reports Library Journal.

Book Bans Advance Nationwide

“A new report from PEN America, the free speech organization, details a rise of censorship efforts across the United States,” reports the New York Times. “Since the organization began tracking bans in July 2021, it has counted more than 4,000 instances of book removals… The numbers don’t reflect the full scope of the efforts, since new mandates in some states requiring schools to vet all their reading material for potentially offensive content have led to mass removals of books… The statistic also fails to capture the rapid evolution of book restrictions into what many free speech organizations consider a worrisome new phase: Book bans are increasingly driven by organized efforts led by elected officials or activists groups whose actions can affect a whole district or state.”

Makers Invited To Zine Pavilion At The American Library Association Annual Conference

Applications are open for zine makers, distributors and zine libraries that would like to have a table at the Zine Pavilion at the ALA conference, June 23-June 26, for one day or up to all four. Tables are free, but space is limited. Priority will be given to makers of color and makers local to the Chicago area. Zine makers have until May 5 to apply for space here.


Why Fox News Isn’t Reliant On Advertisers Or Outside Pressure

“The top cable and satellite providers serve about seventy-six million households. Importantly, their customers can’t order individual channels à la carte. Instead, customers have to choose from a small number of plans offered by Comcast or whoever is their provider and pay for all the channels that are part of the plan they’ve selected, whether they [watch] the channels or not. If you pay for cable or satellite TV, you’re subsidizing Fox News,” reports the Intercept. “As of 2020, [Fox News] charged providers about $2 per month per subscriber. By contrast, CNN (including CNN’s HLN) cost $0.70-$0.90, and MSNBC was just $0.33. The carriage fees for Fox News appear to be the second-highest of any channel, behind only ESPN.”


A Sendoff For Lin Brehmer At Hideout

Tony Fitzpatrick, “noted artist, actor and writer, created a series of artworks in tribute to Lin Brehmer under the theme ‘Cinderella Blackbird.’ He wrote a long, gritty and beautiful poem to accompany the images of the artworks projected during an hour-long event” at Hideout, Frank Sennett relays at Chicago Culture Authority. Jon Langford, “noted musician and artist, provided the music and sang parts of the poem, while Tony recited others. They were accompanied by John Szymanski, who also created the arrangements, on electric guitar. Long-time local rock critic Greg Kot likened the happening to Ken Nordine’s ‘Word Jazz.'” Fitzpatrick recounted how Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”“helped spark his friendship with Lin, and ultimately inspired the ‘Cinderella Blackbird’ series.”

What Lyon & Healy Is Taking Away From Their 130-Year Home

As Lyon & Healy prepares to leave its Ogden and Lake premises, looking back to 2019, here’s a feature on “The Chicago Harp That Rules The World.” “Each harp will be handled by thirty-five people—out of 120 woodworkers, gilders, and artists on staff—in the course of its construction. In fact, most of what goes on inside the West Town factory involves little machinery. Almost everything is done by hand, and some harps take more than a year to manufacture.”


“Cherry Orchard” Extended To May 7

“In response to high demand for tickets to Robert Falls’ ‘The Cherry Orchard,’ which opened last week to unanimous critical and popular acclaim, Goodman Theatre extends the run with five additional performances—now closing May 7,” they report. Tickets and more here.


Why Polls Favored A Vallas Win Instead Of His Four-Point Loss

“Most polls rely on random sampling to find potential respondents, which ensures the polls include a representative sample of the population. But declining response rates to traditional polling methods have made it increasingly difficult for pollsters,” reports Amy Qin at WBEZ. “Younger voters, Black voters, Latino voters and low-income voters are more difficult to reach and have voting patterns that are harder to predict than white or wealthier voters, said Trevor Tompson, senior vice president of public affairs and media research at… an independent research institution affiliated with the University of Chicago. Those harder-to-poll voters were a key part of Johnson’s base in the runoff and were likely undersampled… ‘When you look at all these polls put together, it does seem that they all sort of tended to overstate the support that Vallas would get in the election over Johnson, and it probably has to do with the demographic makeup of the bases of the two different candidates,’ said Tompson. ‘Johnson’s voters, in particular, are also those kinds of voters [that] are harder to get to respond to surveys.’”

Vallas Sues Consultant For Alleged $680,000 Fraud

“Chimaobi Enyia, hired to get out the vote in Black communities, is accused of being paid for work he refused to give an accounting of or return the money when confronted by mayoral candidate Paul Vallas,” reports the Sun-Times, with a range of details. The Tribune’s Gregory Pratt posts of Vallas’ acumen: “Even if Enyia did what he said—take down signs and put them up—anyone who’d agree to pay $700,000 for that probably can’t manage the nation’s third-largest city.”

Charting Illinois’ “Foreign-Named” Towns

Axios Chicago makes a map of the state’s “foreign-named towns.” It’s part of an endeavor by the larger Axios enterprise.

Baby Bison Season Begins At Fermilab

Minutes away from Fermilab’s particle accelerators, the lab’s bison herd welcomes its newest member. The first calf this spring was born on April 13, relays Fermilab. The newest calf brings the herd to forty animals, joining twenty-four cows, two bulls and thirteen yearlings. “This year we have more than usual because we kept more calves from last year,” said c, Fermilab’s bison herdsman. Normally, calves are sold in the fall after they’ve been weaned, but last year, eleven were not purchased, and two calves arrived so late in the season that they were still nursing.”

Bison have been living on the natural areas of Fermilab since 1969, when the lab’s first director, Robert Wilson, established the herd to connect the lab with the Midwestern prairie on which it’s built. More here.

Chess Sweeps Nation

“Teachers nationwide are flummoxed by students’ new chess obsession,” headlines the Washington Post. The trend, “fueled by social media stars, has left teachers divided between displeasure and delight.” (It’s partly the result of the longterm investment by Missouri’s Rex Sinquefield.) “Data from, whose usership is the highest it’s ever been, and anecdotal evidence nationwide suggest a fervid, growing base of young users.”

Jeffrey Otterby, a middle school teacher in the St. Charles Community district in Illinois, “is facing an epidemic of student distraction. When his seventh-graders are supposed to be learning social studies, they are glued to their school-issued Chromebooks. He has taken to standing in the back of the room to monitor their screens, where he can see the online game they’re all playing: chess. ‘I guess I’m happier they are playing chess rather than some shoot-’em-up game. Actually, I love it,’ said Otterby, a chess enthusiast. ‘I just need them to do it at a better time.'”

Missouri Trans Informant Hotline Paused

“A Missouri government tip site for submitting complaints and concerns about gender-affirming care is down after people flooded it with fanfiction, rambling anecdotes and the ‘Bee Movie’ script,” reports TechCrunch. The press secretary for Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, blamed “far left activists…Rather than standing on their supposed science to back up their facts, they’re resorting to trying to hack our system to silence victims of the exact network we’re attempting to expose.”

Pause On Declawing

“Lawmakers in more than a dozen states have filed legislation this year to outlaw the declawing of cats, which many animal advocates and some veterinarians say is a cruel deforming of felines’ bodies and impedes their natural instincts to climb and scratch,” reports Pew.

Carbon Dioxide Kicks Grasshoppers

“Partly due to [a] nutrient-deficient diet,”reports Ars Technica, “there’s been a huge decline in grasshopper numbers… by about one-third over two decades… The prairie’s not hoppin’ like it used to—and a major culprit is carbon dioxide.”

Texas Establishes Religion In Classroom

“The Texas Senate passed a bill to force every public school classroom in the state to prominently display a copy of the Ten Commandments. They also passed a bill to set prayer and Bible reading times during the school day,” relays Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett.

Kentucky Schools Can’t Teach Puberty

“Kentucky has outlawed the teaching of sex ed, including puberty—even to students who are already going through it,” reports VICE. “A new law bans the instruction of sexuality and sexuality transmitted infections up to fifth grade, which can include kids as old as eleven, and forces the Kentucky Department of Education to change the… standard of describing ‘basic male and female reproductive body parts and their functions as well as the physical, social and emotional changes that occur during puberty.'”

Treasure Coast Pride Parade Cancelled After DeSantis Anti-Drag Law

“Officials in the southeast Florida city of Treasure Coast have canceled a gay pride parade and restricted other pride events to people twenty-one years and older in anticipation of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signing a bill meant to keep children out of drag shows,” reports WFLA.

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