Today In The Culture, July 26, 2022: Goodman Names Susan V. Booth New Artistic Director | Soldier Dome? | Newberry Book Fair

Dance For Life


DuSable Displays Street Art From Businesses’ Window Boards

“During the civil unrest that followed the police killing of George Floyd in 2020, wooden boards covering businesses’ windows turned into canvases for street artists,” reports the Sun-Times. “Those boards eventually came down, but instead of being discarded, dozens of them are now being displayed as part of an exhibit on the grounds of the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center…. The plywood went up to protect businesses but soon became a canvas for street artists to capture the pain of the moment, encourage unity and express hope.”


Soldier Field Dome Proposal Pitched

“Chicago Mayor Lightfoot unveiled three options for renovating Soldier Field, including enclosing the stadium with a dome,” reports Gregory Pratt at the Trib. “Another option would rebuild the stadium to make it ‘dome ready’ with columns at both end zones, while the third would modify the venue at a multipurpose facility better suited for soccer ‘while improving its flexibility’ for other events… ‘Soldier Field must be a year-round destination,’ the mayor said. Lightfoot unveiled the options as part of her ongoing campaign to keep the Bears from skipping town for Arlington Heights, or at least deflect blame if the venerable sports team leaves.”

River North Group Wants Public Park Instead Of Riverfront Music Venue For Bally’s Casino

“A River North group is pushing Bally’s to drop the outdoor music venue it’s planning at Chicago’s first casino and replace it with a public park,” reports Block Club Chicago. “A public park is just one in a forty-two-item wish list the group submitted to Bally’s. Brian Israel, president of the River North Residents Association, said residents across the river don’t want to be bothered by the loud noise a riverfront music venue would bring.”

Edward Feiner Gave Federal Buildings To Modern Architects

“As the government’s chief architect, Edward Feiner prioritized good design in the construction of hundreds of courthouses and office buildings,” reports the New York Times upon his death at seventy-five. He created a program called “Design Excellence” that viewed work rather than paperwork. “For the Oklahoma City Federal Building, which replaced the one destroyed… in 1995, Mr. Feiner chose Carol Ross Barney, whose designs for public schools in Chicago impressed him in their balancing of security with accessibility and openness. ‘He didn’t look at how many big office buildings we had done, but the quality of our work,’ Ms. Barney said… Bad design, he said repeatedly, could only diminish the public’s respect for government and what it could achieve; good design, on the other hand, was critical to creating a vibrant civic culture.”

River North Fall Gallery Walk Set

The River North Design District has announced this year’s River North Fall Gallery Walk on September 9. The walk will consist of twenty-two locations with special events throughout River North, featuring thirty-one artists and twenty designer vignettes. The Gallery Walk’s philanthropic partner is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which will receive a portion of proceeds. The walk is free and open to the public except for opening night parties. Showrooms will have extended hours on September 9 and will offer food and libations. More here.

Construction Season Quarry Strike Continues

Unionized “Chicago area quarry workers striking for forty-seven days reject employers’ ‘final offer,’ per a statement from the companies,” posts WTTW’s Amanda Vinicky. “No workers = limited aggregate/asphalt = problems for construction on roads… Vote for a contract without the healthcare coverage they’d been striking for… or keep a forty-five-day strike going?”


Bistro 110 Chef Dominic Tougne Was Fifty-Six

“RIP Dominic Tougne, fifty-six, who ran Chez Moi and French Quiche in Lincoln Park and La Voute in Homewood, but was mainly known as the chef for many years of Bistro 110, a Levy restaurant near Water Tower which was one of the most popular French restaurants of the 80s and 90s,” reports Fooditor. “Born in Alsace, he cooked under chefs including Joel Robuchon and Jacques Senechal before coming to America; he ran Bistro 110 from 1996 until it closed in 2011.” (Via the same link: a photo-rich behind-the-scenes from 2016 with Tougne at Chez Moi.)

A Chicago-Style Hot Dog To Make At Home

Eric Kim sidebars his journey through the particulars of the Chicago hot dog for the New York Times with a recipe. “No neon-green sweet relish? Stir a drop or two of green food coloring into regular sweet relish. If you can’t find Chicago-style sport peppers, then sliced pepperoncini works in a pinch. Don’t skip the celery salt; its herbal lightness makes these dogs shine… Top with as many sport peppers as you can handle.”

The Chocolate Cake From “The Bear” Coming To Avondale

Sarah Mispagel of Loaf Lounge, a bakery and cafe opening in August in Avondale, made the desserts seen on FX’s “The Bear,” reports Eater Chicago. “The Bear” “hired Mispagel as a consulting pastry chef and spotlighted her doughs, doughnuts, and even the famous chocolate cake that Marcus, portrayed by actor Lionel Boyce, makes on the show… ‘We’re aiming for a small, stable, dependable menu that will hopefully give us some breathing room to take on seasonal projects… But our backgrounds are still in creative approaches to food and we’re not trying to walk away from that—we want to embrace it where it’s practical or fun, to cook with the seasons and hangout at farmers markets.’”

Scottish Whisky Maker Turns Back On Peat?

Makers of classic liquor are changing their ways. “Nc’nean distillery sits above the sea, looking across to the colored houses of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. ‘We want to change the way the world thinks about Scottish whisky,’ says founder Annabel Thomas, ‘to create delicious spirits that exist in harmony with nature—putting planet, people and profit on an equal footing.’ … She never considered using peat. Traditionally, peat fires were used to dry malted barley,” reports the BBC. “‘Extracting peat to burn is not sustainable. Peatlands are created over a very long time. They are a great carbon sink and house enormous biodiversity… When cut and burned, it [affects] both the biodiversity of the peat bog and releases carbon back into the atmosphere… Peatlands cover just three-percent of land across the globe but store at least twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests.”

Weber Grill’s New CEO

“Grill maker Weber, which went public about a year ago, said today that Chris Scherzinger was leaving as CEO and a director,” reports Crain’s. “Chief Technology Officer Alan Matula has been named interim CEO, the Palatine-based company said.”


Newberry Book Fair This Weekend

“Chicago’s most popular used-book sale is back! Browse through thousands of books in dozens of genres, including fiction, philosophy, history, art, cooking, children’s literature, and much, much more. With many items priced at $3 or less, you can stock up on new reads and expand your own personal library on the cheap,” the Newberry Library advises. “Everything for sale at the volunteer-led Book Fair is generously donated, and all proceeds help further the Newberry’s mission to foster a deeper understanding of our world through research and learning.” The Book Fair is cashless; bring your own bags. Friday, July 29-Sunday, July 31, 10am-6pm.


Borderless Magazine Adds Director

“We’re excited to welcome Andrew Herrera to our board of directors,” posts Borderless magazine. “You might know Andrew through his work for City Bureau, where he led the expansion of the Documenters program nationwide.”

Bronzeville Neighborhood Jazz Fest Coming In August

Martin Luther King Drive from 39th to 37th will be the site of the Bronzeville Neighborhood Jazz Fest. “Curated by music producer Frank Goss III, the festival pays homage to the historical neighborhood of Bronzeville, known for its rich music history of Jazz and Blues influenced and powered by the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the North,” the group relays. Featured will be local musicians Julia Huff, Reggie Foster, Smooth Willie Fultz and Audley Reed, alongside products from local vendors and food trucks including Anointed Appetite and Harold’s Chicken.


Susan V. Booth To Lead Goodman as Artistic Director

Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees has named award-winning theater artist Susan Booth as the next artistic director of Chicago’s largest not-for-profit theater company—marking the eighth creative leader in the company’s ninety-seven years, and its first woman. Booth departs Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre Company where, in twenty-one years as artistic director, she doubled both the theater’s annual operating budget and its endowment; earned national recognition for artistic excellence, including the Regional Tony Award (2007) and six world-premiere musicals that later opened on Broadway; completed a multi-year campaign to build a new mainstage theater and new rehearsal studios (opened in 2019); and was twice cited by the U.S. Department of Education as a national leader in literacy development for education programming. Booth succeeds current Artistic Director Robert Falls, who previously announced his departure after thirty-five years; she assumes Goodman leadership on October 3, following her final production at the Alliance (“Everybody” by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, co-directed with Tinashe Kajese-Bolden).

Goodman chairman Jeff Hesse and board president Maria Wynne write in a joint statement, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are thrilled to welcome Susan Booth, an incredible artist and civic leader of national repute, as Goodman Theatre artistic director following her long tenure at Atlanta’s most important theater company. Her breadth of innovative leadership experience, artistic triumphs, depth of creative connections, and the unparalleled care and commitment she’s demonstrated to the creative community makes Susan a great fit for the Goodman. She will be a dynamic force to lead us towards our Centennial Anniversary in 2025, and beyond.” Booth directed widely throughout the Chicago theater community, taught for both Northwestern and DePaul Universities and, as the Goodman’s Director of New Play Development (1993-2001), shepherded new works from writers including Luis Alfaro, Rebecca Gilman, José Rivera and Regina Taylor.

From Atlanta: After leading Atlanta’s Alliance Theater “through two decades of significant growth and achievement, artistic director Susan V. Booth is leaving Georgia to return to her Midwest roots,” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Chicago is the city where Booth’s career began, and in 2001 she was serving as director of new play development at the Goodman when she was hired to take the Alliance into the new century… Booth joins the Goodman after twenty-one years at the Alliance Theatre, a time when she doubled the theater’s annual budget to just under $20 million and tripled its endowment… She established the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. Among the playwrights whose careers were kickstarted by Kendeda are Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play ‘In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue’ inspired the 2016 Academy Award-winning film for best picture, ‘Moonlight.’”

Chicago Performs At MCA

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago has announced its first annual Chicago Performs showcase, an intimate festival of live arts highlighting local artists whose work is embraced by national audiences. The showcase will include work by Chicago artists Derek McPhatter, Erin Kilmurray and Bimbola Akinbola. Each artist will share a new work—some for the first time publicly—including pieces developed through MCA’s In Progress series and the New Works Initiative, “the museum’s comprehensive, restructured set of programs to fund and support the development of new performances, fostering connection between artists, audiences and communities in Chicago.” MCA, September 15-16. More here.

Dance For Life 2022 Coming In August

Seven companies will join Chicago Dancers United for Dance for Life 2022, its thirty-first annual fundraiser. The lineup of companies includes Chicago Dance Crash, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, Giordano Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, NAJWA Dance Corps and Trinity Irish Dance Company. Randy Duncan will choreograph a world premiere finale, “Never Enough,” with music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and featuring dancers from throughout the Chicago area. “The event showcases the city’s variety of dance traditions and styles by bringing together professional dance companies and dancers from throughout Chicago who unite to support their peers by generously donating their time, energy and artistry.” Dance for Life raises money for The Dancers’ Fund, which provides Chicago dance industry professionals with financial support for preventative health care and critical medical needs. Saturday, August 13, 6pm, Auditorium Theatre. More here.


The Janes Underground Network Revived In Englewood

“The Janes helped thousands of women get abortions before Roe v. Wade. Now, activist Tamar Manasseh is reviving the concept with We Are Jane, partnering with the Chicago Abortion Fund and Planned Parenthood to help Black and Brown women,” reports Block Club. “Heather Booth, a co-founder of the Jane Collective, told [the organizers] in an email she supports the organizer’s efforts to revive The Janes’ work.”

Trader Joe’s Raises Pay As Union Organizes

“Facing a wave of unionization, Trader Joe’s announced this week it is raising pay by $10/hour on Sundays, increasing sick time & bumping pay rates at stores nationwide. Workers in Hadley, MA will vote on becoming the first unionized Trader Joe’s in the country next week,” posts More Perfect Union on Twitter, attaching the memo. Adds Washington Post labor reporter Lauren Kaori Gurley, “Trader Joe’s just announced a big raise + a lot more paid time off for workers nationwide. This comes 6 days before a union election at a store in MA. Could be the 1st of 530 locations to unionize. Organizers tell me they think it’s intended to dissuade votes for union.”

Shedd Getting Forty-Foot Underwater Tunnel In Half-Billion-Dollar Revamp

“Visitors to the Shedd Aquarium will be able to feel like they’re walking underwater as creatures swim around them as part of major renovations,” reports Block Club. “The Shedd will see parts of its exterior and interior redesigned for its eight-year, $500 million Centennial Commitment initiative, a mission to update the aquarium and make it more accessible by its hundredth anniversary in 2030.”

Water For Beverage Factories But Not For Residents In Monterrey, Mexico

How do our beverage choices affect the places they come from, such as Topo Chico? “Drought has drained the three reservoirs that provide about sixty-percent of the water for the region’s five million residents,” the Los Angeles Times reports from Monterrey. “Most homes now receive water for only a few hours each morning. And on the city’s periphery, many taps have run dry…Many are angry at government officials and also the region’s mega-factories, which have… continued work… thanks to federal concessions that allow them to suck water from the strained aquifer via private wells. Experts say the crisis unfolding here is a stark warning for the rest of Mexico—as well as the American West… The Heineken plant is drilling a well for public use. PepsiCo has donated thousands of gallons of bottled water. The Topo Chico factory, which is at the foot of a craggy mountain here with the same name, has long allowed local residents to fill up jugs with drinkable water outside the plant. Now people are coming from all over the city, waiting for hours to procure water for bathing and other necessities.”

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