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Today In The Culture, February 10, 2022: The Salt Shed Sets First Shows | Rick Bayless Takes the Stage | EXPO Announces Exhibitors

Dibs/Photo: Ray Pride



EXPO CHICAGO Lists 2022 Exhibitors

EXPO CHICAGO, the international exposition of contemporary and modern art, has released the list of exhibitors for its ninth edition, April 7–10, 2022 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. In the first in-person edition since 2019, EXPO CHICAGO welcomes more than 140 galleries representing twenty-five countries and sixty-five cities from around the world. Countries that will be represented include the United States, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. The 2022 exposition will also feature focused sections: EXPOSURE, dedicated to solo and dual-artist presentations by galleries that are ten years old or younger, curated by Humberto Moro, deputy director of program at Dia Art Foundation; PROFILE, highlighting single-artist installations and thematic exhibitions by international galleries; Editions + Books, featuring artist books, editions and multiples; and Special Exhibitions, highlighting curated booths by nonprofit organizations. The full list of participating galleries is here (pdf).



Friday’s The Day The City Ditches Your Dibs

The city will take advantage of a few days’ warm weather to scour some streets for large objects marking shoveled-out parking spaces, reports Block Club Chicago. “Department of Streets and Sanitation crews will begin clearing objects used for dibs from city streets on Friday, according to a news release. The items will be grabbed by workers on their usual garbage collection routes. Residents should remove their chairs, cones and other objects they wish to keep, according to the agency.” Writes John Greenfield at the Reader: “Some local media outlets speak charitably of dibs, suggesting that the totally normal labor of digging out your car after a snow event is some kind of noble deed that merits your own personal parking space.” But “dibs is a fundamentally selfish and antisocial practice, using fifteen or thirty minutes of shoveling as an excuse to live out your fantasy of free, private rockstar parking in front of your home. Worse, your claim is enforced through the implied threat of vandalism or violence against those who would move your crap.”

Lightfoot Seeks Fresh Notions For Lakefront Museum Campus

“A twenty-three-member committee has been tasked by Mayor Lightfoot to reimagine the city’s lakefront museum campus with the intent of helping drive Chicago’s tourism industry around a space the mayor has deemed the city’s crown jewel,” reports Patch. “Richard Price, chairman and CEO of Mesirow financial services, will lead the working group.” The Trib: “With Soldier Field’s future up in the air as the Chicago Bears eye potentially greener suburban pastures, Lightfoot has empaneled a group to recommend ways to improve the lakefront Museum Campus.” The “working group” tasked “to reimagine the Museum Campus experience targeting year-round tourism and [use of] the campus.”

CTA Awarded Nearly A Billion Dollars In Federal Funds

“The Chicago Transit Authority has been awarded $912.1 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds to help maintain services and prevent possible layoffs,” reports the Sun-Times. “With ridership remaining a fraction of pre-pandemic levels, CTA spokesperson Felicia Matthews called the additional federal support ‘critical’ in helping the nation’s second-largest public transportation system continue to provide rides for many of the region’s 8.6 million residents.” At the Tribune, F.K. Plous, director of communications at Corridor Rail Development Corp., submits that “Metra and Chicago’s entire transportation infrastructure must quickly adapt to a post-commuter world… Whether Metra’s traditional commuter ridership—from suburb to city in the morning and back to the suburbs at quitting time—will ever regain its former status is unclear. Office occupancy in downtown Chicago remains down, and it looks as if work-from-home is going to become the norm for many types of work that formerly had to be done on a common premises. The historic commuter timetable already is obsolete and most of the commuter railroads in North America will survive only if they transform themselves into an urban-suburban and inter-suburban rapid-transit model—as the Europeans already have done—and operate at least every thirty minutes. Regardless of workplace locations these railroads still have a strong contribution to make, but only if they change their operating model to make themselves useful for a wider variety of travel choices in the post-commuting world. But a new operating model is impossible without a change in the infrastructure map, and in Chicago that means building large civil-engineering projects to connect our truncated commuter lines into a regional system to make rail travel more attractive and productive all across and through the Chicago area, not just into and out of downtown.”

How Amazon And Walmart Increased Control Of The Supply Chain

Big-box stores “have circumvented many of the bottlenecks” in shipping, reports Rose Adams at The American Prospect. “Amazon, Walmart, and other giants have maintained their inventory by expanding logistics operations and striking deals with suppliers, allowing them to get products quicker and cheaper than their smaller rivals. Though the maneuvers keep consumers happy, small businesses have suffered: They wait longer for goods, pay more for shipping, and lose business as customers flock to big-box stores. The rapidly consolidating market has broader implications. As the biggest players eliminate competition, workers earn less and communities lose key services. ‘The conventional thinking of the last forty years is we don’t need small-scale producers and distributors because bigger is much more cost-effective,’ said Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. ‘But it has drained the life out of local communities and created a kind of despair across many parts of this country that are struggling.’” The extended report is here.

“Could Detroit Become the Next Fashion City?” Inquires The Times

“Detroit has long been in the fashion orbit,” reports the New York Times. “The highly influential retailer Linda Dresner, credited for bringing… Jil Sander, Martin Margiela and Comme des Garçons to the United States, ran stores in New York and Birmingham, Michigan—about a half-hour from Detroit—for decades. Tracy Reese, one of the few Black designers to be a mainstay on the New York scene, moved back to Detroit in 2019 to start her sustainable collection, Hope for Flowers. Carhartt, the workwear brand that has become increasingly tied to street and hype fashion, was founded in Detroit in 1889. In the last year or so, interest in Detroit has been rekindled by global players: Gucci introduced a collaboration with the hometown label Detroit Vs. Everybody, founded by Tommey Walker Jr., for a capsule collection of T-shirts and announced the opening of a new store in downtown Detroit; Hermès opened a store in the city; and in October Bottega Veneta staged what would be the creative director Daniel Lee’s last fashion show for the house in Detroit.” Detroit artist and “Don’t Sleep On Detroit” co-creator Cassidy Tucker tells the paper, “When people think of Detroit, they don’t think of a lot of the positivity that the city has to offer. It’s often overshadowed with some of the more sensationalized components of its history—struggle, triumph, struggle.”



Yelp Orders Its Hundred Great American Pizza Joints, With Coalfire At Number Nine

Yelp released a list of its “Top 100 Places for Pizza,” and Chicago’s Coalfire Pizza cracks the top ten. At thirty-one, The StopAlong in Bucktown; at fifty, Bob’s Pizza on 21st; at eighty-eight, Wicker Park’s Craft Pizza.

$200,000 Grant Accelerates Expansion Of Life Is Sweet Candy Business

Brown Sugar Bakery owner “bought the Cupid Candies factory in 2020 and launched her own candy line. With the Chicago Community Trust grant, she can accelerate renovation of the building and bring more jobs to her community,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Chatham’s Brown Sugar Bakery was one of the seven projects selected for the We Rise Together grant, a program funded by the Chicago Community Trust [toward] investments in Black and Latino communities… Brown Sugar owner Stephanie Hart will use a $200,000 grant from the trust to repurpose Cupid Candies, a longtime, family-owned candy factory… Hart bought the space from the original owners in December 2020 and started her own candy line, Brown Sugar Life Is Sweet. She’ll need about $1.5 million in total to complete the renovations.”

South Chicago’s Birrieria Ocotlan Closing Sunday

“Feb 13th willl be our last day serving from our 87th & Commercial,” Birrieria Ocotlan announces on Twitter and TikTok. “Since 1973, we are indebted to you South Chicago! To all of our clients, thank you for your support year after year, we love you.” Their bio: “Since 1973 the original Birria of Chicago. Founded by Ramon Reyes of Ocotlan, Jalisco. Family owned establishment.”



True/False Announces Thirty-One Nonfiction Features

One of the world’s premier nonfiction festivals, the superbly curated True/False, in Columbia, Missouri, announces its 2022 in-person film roster for March 3-6 here. Ragtag Film Society artistic director Chloé Trayner posts: “There are no words for how incredible it feels to have my first True/False program out in the world! This year has been a wild ride and I’m so excited to come back together to celebrate the art of non-fiction! Nothing but bangers in this line-up!”

CBS Looks Forward To Twentieth Century In Pilot For “Early Edition”

CBS has ordered a pilot for a retread of the 1990s series “Early Edition,” Variety reports. “The original series starred Kyle Chandler as a man who magically received tomorrow’s edition of the Chicago Sun-Times today, delivered to his door each morning by a mysterious ginger tabby cat. His knowledge of the future then gave him the chance to change it for the better.” Today, “an ambitious but uncompromising journalist starts receiving tomorrow’s newspaper today. She then finds herself in the complicated business of changing the news instead of reporting it.”



Yusef Komunyakaa Introduces Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition Of Clarence Major’s “Dirty Bird Blues”

Yusef Komunyakaa’s introduction to”Dirty Bird Blues”is at LitHub: “The author, born in Atlanta, Georgia, moved with his mother to Chicago when he was ten. First drawn to painting, then to poetry, this virtuoso compiled two dictionaries of African American slang, and it is understandable how Major’s intimate engagement with slang may have influenced the folkloric tone in ‘Dirty Bird Blues.’ Under the shaping hand of such a discerning disciple, the lived and imagined flow together without missing a beat—feeling and living the blues. Major astutely experiments with his verbal arsenal in this one-of-a-kind novel. This man knows how to make the sounds and cadences in language actually swing.”



Salt Shed Sets First Shows

The Salt Shed, created by 16 on Center, the company behind Empty Bottle, Thalia Hall, Evanston SPACE, Beauty Bar and The Promontory, is a new performance and multipurpose space with over one-and-a-half acres of indoor and outdoor grounds along the riverfront. “Chicago’s historic Morton Salt complex is being transformed into a center of arts and culture, with live music as its pulse,” the group states in its first announcement of outdoor summer shows, which begin August 3 and features Fleet Foxes, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Julien Baker, Jason Isbell including the 400 Unit, Lord Huron and Jorja Smith. Tickets go on sale Friday, February 18 at 10am. Tickets and details here.

Grant Park Hosts Debut Sueños Music Fest Memorial Day Weekend

The producers behind Baja Beach Fest, Chicago’s Reventon Promotions, and Lollapalooza have announced the first annual Sueños Music Festival, which will be the largest Latin Reggaeton music event to date in Grant Park. The two-day, one-stage event will feature headliners J Balvin, Ozuna and Wisin & Yandel, with performances from Myke Towers, El Alfa, Jhay Cortez, Sech, Fuerza Regida and other performers over Memorial Day weekend, May 28-29. Passes go on sale Friday here.

Coodie Simmons Talks “Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy”

“Coodie Simmons recalls a New Year’s Eve party with Kanye West in 2004, right before ‘The College Dropout’ was released,” reports Corli Jay at Chicago magazine. “You just see the innocence and everything and the anticipation,” Simmons says of his Netflix documentary, “Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy.” “Mama West was showing us so much love.” “Simmons, who hails from the Beverly/Morgan Park area, met Kanye back in 1995 when West was just a hungry eighteen-year-old. During that time, Simmons’ public access television show ‘Channel Zero’ highlighted the Chicago hip-hop scene, which granted Simmons the opportunity to hone in on the culture—ultimately leading up to Ye becoming” the subject of his documentary.



Ailey Dance Theater Returns

The Auditorium Theatre will present the return of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for six performances from March 2-6. “Marking a decade of leading the Company forward, artistic director Robert Battle presents a diverse repertory featuring Ailey’s renowned artists, including Chicago natives Solomon Dumas and Vernard Gilmore, now celebrating his twenty-fifth year with the company,” the Auditorium announces. “Three unique programs with premieres, new productions and Ailey classics include the Battle Tenth Anniversary program, which opens the Chicago engagement and features the Chicago premiere of Battle’s ‘For Four’ adapted from video to stage; the return of hip-hop innovator Rennie Harris’ acclaimed ‘Lazarus’; and an Ailey and Ellington program showcasing new productions of works paying tribute to Duke Ellington. Alvin Ailey’s American masterpiece, ‘Revelations,’ which has inspired generations through its powerful storytelling and soul-stirring spirituals since its creation in 1960, will serve as the finale for all performances.” More here.

Rick Bayless, Amy Rubenstein Join “A Recipe For Disaster”

Chef Rick Bayless and Windy City Playhouse artistic director Amy Rubenstein will join the cast of hit immersive production “A Recipe For Disaster,” written by Bayless, Rubenstein and Windy City Playhouse associate artistic director Carl Menninger. The production has been extended through Sunday, April 24, continuing on the Club Level at Petterino’s on Dearborn. Bayless and Rubenstein will perform in twenty select performances beginning March 23. Bayless will be on hand for post-performance conversation and a meet-and-greet after Saturday and Sunday performances. “Our cast has done a magnificent job of bringing this hilarious story to life and I’m excited to thrust myself right into the middle of it,” Bayless says in a release. “Returning to the stage for the first time since ‘Cascabel’ in 2014 will be a thrill. I love the idea of being fully immersed in cooking and performing and having Amy onstage will bring an entirely new dimension to the project.”



State Mask Mandates For Bars, Restaurants End February 28, With Schools To Follow

“During a press conference on his 2023 budget proposal, Gov. JB Pritzker announced plans to start rolling back the statewide indoor mask mandate at some locations,” reports WLS-TV. “Pritzker said Illinois has handled COVID better than almost every other state in the Midwest, in part because people wore their masks, but he acknowledged everyone is becoming weary of wearing them.” Pritzker after Wednesday’s press conference: “We are now seeing the fastest rate of decline in our COVID-19 hospitalization metrics since the pandemic began. If these trends continue—and we expect them to—then on Monday, February 28, we will lift the indoor mask requirement for the State of Illinois. In the coming weeks, it’s my hope and expectation that we will continue making progress to a place where we can remove school masking requirements and keep kids in school.” Kelly Bauer reports on remarks at the press conference from Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health: “Through all of your efforts, we have reached a point where we can take another step towards getting back to life before the pandemic. While masks will no longer be required in most indoor locations beginning Monday, February 28, I want to be clear that they are still highly recommended. There are places where, in fact, the mask is still required.’ Feds require it on transportation: airplanes, trains, buses, subways.” Dr. Anthony Fauci tells the Financial Times: “As we get out of the full-blown pandemic phase… which we are certainly heading out of, these decisions will increasingly be made on a local level rather than centrally decided or mandated. There will also be more people making their own decisions on how they want to deal with the virus… There is no way we are going to eradicate this virus, but I hope we are looking at a time when we have enough people vaccinated and enough people with protection from previous infection that the restrictions will soon be a thing of the past.”


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