Today In The Culture, July 15, 2022: City Makes Big Plan | Randolph Street Market Returns | As Does Back Alley Jazz

Banana the Pygmy Hippopotamus at Brookfield Zoo


City Of Chicago Issues Ten-Year Plan

“City officials Thursday published the draft of a planning document that is intended to guide policy decisions in Chicago for the next ten years,” reports David Roeder at the Sun-Times. The 148-page document, “We Will Chicago” (which refers to Chicago’s “I Will” motto) “is drawn from comments during nearly 200 meetings around the city over the last two years and provides a vision for Chicago’s future with overarching themes of equity and community involvement. The city has had no such forward-looking outlook since the 1960s, and ‘We Will Chicago’ is the first to acknowledge past injustices harming mostly Black and Brown neighborhoods.” The report is here.

Randolph Street Market Returns to West Loop

Randolph Street Market returns to the West Loop-Fulton Market neighborhood July 30-31. In its nineteenth season, this mid-summer event will “focus on unique goods, amazing live musical acts, fun food and cocktails in an entirely secure environment—and now customers can keep themselves and their vehicles safe and sound inside our gates with a brand new multi-level onsite parking garage,” the event relays. “Presenting a curated selection of antiques, vintage and modern goods, find the top 175 dealers of vintage fashion, art, jewelry, decorative objects and retro furnishings for the home, global goods plus the best-of-the-best makers and independent designers who will be coming in from cities including Seattle, Washington and Savannah.” The event will feature a continuous line-up of live musical acts plus DJ D.Jones. Tickets here.

Wrigley Field Gambling Addition Gets Full Permit

A full building permit has been issued for the addition at Wrigley Field, reports Urbanize Chicago. “The new structure will rise at the site of the former Captain Morgan Club, along the southeastern side of the ballpark… With a design from Gensler, the addition will stand three floors, measuring 22,350 square feet. The building is expected to hold the long-planned onsite DraftKings sportsbook as well as food and beverage… The Cubs first revealed plans to redevelop the corner site as part of the team’s 2013 master plan. The addition doesn’t require rezoning since it was already approved under Wrigley’s existing Planned Development.”

Cubs Sued Over Alleged ADA Violations

“Federal prosecutors in Chicago filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Cubs, alleging the team failed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act when it executed a series of renovations at Wrigley Field,” reports Sam Charles at WGN-TV. The suit states that while the Cubs “significantly enhanced the gameday experience for many fans, particularly those able to take advantage of premium clubs and other luxury accommodations, the same can not be said for fans with disabilities.” The Trib has the lawsuit here.



Alderman Wants 4am Bars Out Of River North

Downtown alderman Brian Hopkins “wants to revoke late-night licenses for bars in River North as the hub for tourism and nightlife struggles with an alarming spike in shootings,” reports Block Club Chicago. “But as Hopkins is pushing for a crackdown on bar hours, bar and club owners say the shootings aren’t stemming from bar patrons. ‘If the city wants to close down all the bars and give them to criminals, that’s the wrong way to go,’ said Sam Sanchez, owner of Moe’s Cantina and chairman of the Board of the Illinois Restaurant Association. ‘We need to pay more attention to the corners.’”

Ferrero To “Innovate” In Marshall Field Building

Ferrero North America, part of global confectioners Ferrero Group, announced in a release “plans to open an Innovation Center in Chicago’s Marshall Field and Company Building. The new 45,000 square foot facility will bring together Ferrero’s R&D teams throughout the U.S. and also house employees from Ferrero’s Old Post Office location representing Fannie May, Nutella Café, Keebler, Famous Amos, Mother’s, and other distinctive cookie brands in the Ferrero portfolio.” More here.



Iowa Library Closes Over Complaints Over Books And LGBTQ Staff

“Residents of a small Iowa town criticized their library’s LGBTQ staff and their displaying of LGBTQ-related books until most of the staff quit. Now, the town’s library is closed for the foreseeable future,” reports Iowa Starting Line. “Located about forty miles northwest of Cedar Rapids, the doors of the Vinton Public Library—housed in a brick and stone Carnegie—have been open to the public since 1904, but were shuttered.. while the Vinton Library Board tries to sort out staffing issues seemingly brought on by local dalliances with the national culture wars. It comes after a handful of locals whipped up a controversy first over the library displaying books about prominent Democrats, and later about it displaying LGBTQ books and having LGBTQ people on staff.”

“What Should A Queer Children’s Book Do?”

“The assumption that ‘a gay book’ is necessarily a sexualized book, and therefore inappropriate for children, is baked into the language of ‘Don’t Say Gay,’ the censorious, proudly homophobic Florida law that Republicans would like to pass and enforce everywhere,” writes Jessica Winter at The New Yorker. “In March, Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, signed the Parental Rights in Education bill, popularly known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay‘ law, which declares that ‘classroom instruction… on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade three or in a manner that is not age-appropriate’; it also prohibits ‘classroom discussion’ of such topics. In April, Governor Kay Ivey, of Alabama, signed a bill with similar language, and multiple states have comparable legislation pending. In Texas, where Governor Greg Abbott has attempted to criminalize gender-affirming pediatric care and asked the state’s education agency to investigate ‘the availability of pornography’ in public schools, the state representative Matt Krause has compiled a widely circulated master list of some 850 books that potentially violate HB 3979, which bars the teaching of material that could cause a student to feel ‘psychological distress on account of the individual’s race or sex.’ Other groups, such as the right-wing Moms for Liberty, have disseminated hit lists of their own.”



Streetsblog Sniffs Out John Kass Hoosier Homestead

Streetsblog Chicago reports curmudgeonly former Chicago Tribune opinion columnist, the conservative John Kass, a persistent critic of Chicago and Illinois, purchased “through an opaque Indiana land trust” “a four-bedroom, 2,448-square-foot split-level house in St. John, Indiana” for nearly $300,000, relays the Tribune.

What Does Robert Feder’s Retirement Mean For Media Accountability?

“With national corporations gobbling up local outlets, the city needs watchdogs to keep tabs on who’s keeping us informed,” writes Axios Chicago. “I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve been in where a manager was yelling at us about something Feder reported,” adds Axios’ Justin Kaufmann. “He didn’t just inform Chicago, he also kept management in check. I fear his departure may change that.”



Chance The Rapper And Vic Mensa Take Students From Chicago To Accra

“Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa took eight incoming high school freshman students from Chicago to Accra, Ghana for an educational travel experience over the course of ten days,” reports XXL.

Chicago Gets First Big Reggaeton Fest

“Reggaeton is an expression of movement, release, sexuality, storytelling, connection, and fashion. It’s taken over the world of pop music, despite the Puerto Rican government’s many attempts to erase it during the 1990s and 2000s,” writes Nancy Sánchez Tamayo at the Reader. “And Chicago now has a chance to experience this forbidden and infectious sound on an unprecedented scale: brought to you by Grass Root Events (which also produces the Michelada Fest and the My House Music Fest), Mas Flow bills itself as the Midwest’s first reggaeton festival.”

Back Alley Jazz Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Back Alley Jazz returns to South Paxton Avenue in South Shore for a full day of live jazz performances and art. Daytime performances and activities will extend along the 7200 and 7300 blocks of South Paxton. As evening falls, the festivities will migrate to the 7400 block of South Oglesby, ending with an afterparty at The Quarry. Back Alley Jazz is free and open to all. More details, including full line-up, here.



See Chicago Dance Sets Awards

See Chicago Dance’s 2022 Community Celebration is set for Tuesday, October 11 at Venue West. At the celebration, See Chicago Dance will present its Dance Legacy Award to Joan Gray, longtime executive director of Muntu Dance Theatre and a leader and mentor in the dance community for decades. Also honored will be Ginger Lane with the Distinguished Service to the Dance Field Award in recognition of her groundbreaking artistry and advocacy, establishing Chicago as a city at the forefront of dance and disability. More here.



Businesses Encouraged To Increase Travel To Chicago

“Leaders of the hotel industry joined with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the Choose Chicago promotional group to urge businesses to increase their travel plans,” reports the Sun-Times. “The American Hotel & Lodging Association cited a survey it commissioned that found seventy-seven percent of business travelers want to be on the road more and that nearly two-thirds reported a loss of productivity due to mostly remote work. The executives cited increases in convention attendance, hotel occupancies and other benchmarks. But one speaker at the news conference directly addressed a problem cited as impeding that rebound: the growth of crime, especially in downtown and River North areas that tourists frequent. ‘All indicators point to the road to recovery,’ said Glenn Eden, chairman of Choose Chicago. Crime has worsened during the pandemic, but it’s not a problem unique to Chicago.”

From the Trib: “Travel and tourism is at the epicenter of this vital hub-and-spoke model, and a true economic engine of our entire region,” Jack Lavin, CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce said at the event. “Chicago’s hospitality industry, battered by the pandemic, has been slower to come back than in other cities, the CEOS of Hyatt Hotels and American Airlines have said. The return of international and business travelers, traditionally a key piece of the city’s hospitality industry, has been slower than the return of leisure travelers.” From Chicago Loop Alliance: The CLA released its June report on downtown activity, using multiple data sources to track operations during COVID-19, as it has done monthly since July 2020. The report tracks positivity rates, pedestrian activity, parking volumes, hotel occupancy and number of office workers onsite. The data indicates that hotel occupancy reached another record high, along with an increase in office occupancy, and continual progress in pedestrian and public transportation. The full June report is here.

Banana The Pygmy Hippopotamus Arrives At Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo has welcomed Banana, a female pygmy hippopotamus who will be turning three at the end of August. (The zoo’s most recent pygmy hippo, Adelle, lived to the age of forty-four.) Much smaller and rarer than the common river hippopotamus, the pygmy hippo weighs between 350 and 600 pounds and can reach a body length of up to almost six feet. “Although adapted for spending time in the water, it is less aquatic than its larger relative. Hippos secrete a white or pinkish substance called ‘blood sweat’ from their pores that provides a protective coat like sunscreen on their skin. The pygmy hippo, whose closest living relative is the whale, is listed as endangered on the IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List of Threatened Species. Found in the interior forests of West Africa’s Ivory Coast, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the population is declining mainly due to deforestation of its habitat as well as an increase in development associated with mining. In addition, due to the pygmy hippo’s range becoming more fragmented, hunters are posing an additional threat to the remaining population, which is estimated to be between 2,000 to 3,000 individuals.” More here.


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