Today in Culture, January 24, 2022: Virgil Abloh’s last show | The Jane Collective at Sundance | Ezell Cooper from RIP Coop’s Records


The bar at Claudia’s


Virgil Abloh’s final runway show presented

Louis Vuitton presented its fall-winter 2022 men’s collection, reports The Cut, the last by Virgil Abloh. “‘When it’s all over and our time is up, we leave it to others to seek their own dreams,’ says poet Kai-Isaiah Jamal in the short film entitled ‘The [infinity]Feld.” While “Virgil Was Here” at Miami Art Basel last December was a tribute to the recently deceased designer and a rehash of his Spring-Summer 2022 show from last June, “The [infinity]th Field’ was his eighth and final runway show.”

Vornado plans residential tower next to Merchandise Mart

Vornado Realty Trust plans to build a 26-story, 288-unit tower on the southwest corner of Kinzie and Canal streets near its Merchandise Mart property, The Sun-Times reports. Plus: Renderings of the expensive Mart facelift are here.

Tishman Speyer plans second market project in Fulton

Tishman Speyer has commissioned its second Chicago workplace project to be built on the current site of a car wash facility on the edge of Futon Market. reports Ryan Ori at CoStar News.

Mega developments to watch

Axios Chicago lists some of the biggest big developments of 2022. “New projects on Chicago’s north and south sides could change the way we look (and live) for years to come.”

The Morton Salt logo reappears

“The iconic Morton Salt branding and logo was created for the main shed of the former Morton Salt Factory in West Town,” reports YIMBY Chicago. “This renovated roof is part of an adaptive reuse program by R2 Companies, Blue Star Properties and Skydeck. These plans at 1357 North Elston include the conversion of the facility into a new entertainment and office location.”

Investing in homes you can hold in your arms is a big thing

“Katie Lauffenburger has a three-month waiting list of clients paying $5,000 and up for her one-of-a-kind 10-inch homes,” said Block Club Chicago’s Mack Liederman. “It’s a bit unique, kind of whimsical,” she told the reporter while glancing over a ceramic “soon-to-be-exact model of 3008 West George, a Chicago-style three-apartment on Logan Square.” “Yeah, it’s a little weird,” said Phil Thompson, Lauffenburger’s husband, who sells thousands of his drawings of Chicago-style homes — from the city’s iconic two-family homes to its plethora of bungalows.” Liederman adds on Twitter, “Katie told me that since the article came out she was scheduled to do four TV spots. She is constantly answering emails from hopeful mini-households.”

Visit to the “Sistine Chapel” of the Schurz High School

Painted more than eighty years ago, the murals on the ceiling and walls of Northwest Side Schurz High School’s library “show, among other things, the ‘spirit’ of Chicago,” reports the Sun-Times in its Murals And Mosaics series. “They are still there, restored now. Other murals on the arched walls celebrate the history of the written word. Portraits of important people hang on the walls – from Homer in ancient Greece to Ludwig van Beethoven to Michelangelo, who painted the ceiling of the actual Sistine Chapel in the 15th century. In 2020, the artwork underwent a ‘touch up’, school officials say, to restore parts damaged by moisture or age – helping to keep the paintings in good condition for future generations of students.”

Neighbors pool nearly $300,000 to buy $600,000 building

In the prominent corridor of Jackson Park Highlands, a group of neighbors have purchased a home and commercial property from the receivership, reports WGN-TV. “At a cost of $600,000, 27 neighbors pooled their funds and raised more than $280,000 to purchase the home and commercial building…Michael Kelley moved to the Highlands just over three years ago. After learning that the building at 71st Street and Bennett Avenue was under receivership, he saw an opportunity. “I’ve been following the court process on this… Made an offer and accepted an offer. And then turned to the neighbors and said, ‘Okay, you asked about it. Let’s do it.'”


With Todo All In

Chef Jonathan Zaragoza (El Oso, Masa Azul, Newcity Restaurateur of the Moment 2016) has kept quiet about Con Todo, his anticipated Mexican-American restaurant planned for Logan Square, reports Eater Chicago. “This conservative approach has attracted a lot of attention [for] the chef whose family runs the acclaimed Birrieria Zaragoza in Archer Heights.” The restaurant has begun opening, “a take-out and delivery-only menu featuring Mexico City-style tacos, cocktails and genre-bending creations like the Pamburguesa, an inventive Smash burger torta mashup (‘guajillo-stained’ Telera bun, white onion, American cheese, salsa especial, pickles). Zaragoza and his business partners, brothers JC and Edgar Castañeda, are hoping to launch a dine-in service in February in the space that previously hosted brunch hit Jam and Japanese spot Yusho.”

Claudia and High Road Spirits work together on creative cocktails from Japan

Claudia and High Road Spirits are collaborating to host a cocktail and dinner event on Wednesday, January 26th that will highlight the “creative spirit of Japan” coupled with Chef Trevor Teich’s “innovative and quirky cuisine”. The five-course menu includes Stevan Miller-designed cocktails and spirits from Akashi, Mars, and Tsutsumi distilleries. Seating is available from 5:30 PM to 9:15 PM. Tickets cost $200 per person and are available here through Tock.


A history of fifty years of the film center

Kathleen Sachs provides the reader with a robust 3,000+ word overview of the first half century of the Film Center at the School of the Art Institute.

Abortion and the Jane collective in the spotlight at Sundance

Nearly fifty years ago, “If you lived in Chicago and needed help, you could call a number and speak to a woman who would offer a safer alternative. Members of the collective advised and organized the procedures, which they eventually carried out – a total of 11,000 during that time,” reports Nicole Sperling of the New York Times. “But then, in 1972, [seven] Members of the group were arrested and each charged with 11 counts of abortion or conspiracy to commit an abortion, with a possible 10-year sentence for each charge. Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision saved them all.” Members of “the collective share their stories in two films at the Sundance Film Festival… in the HBO documentary ‘The Janes’; and a fictional account titled “Call Jane” starring Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver, [which is] search distribution. The films debut at a particularly pivotal time for abortion rights…”

Chicago Film XLerator names third cycle winner

The Chicago Film XLerator, a content lab founded to discover BIPOC talent and expand creative pipelines in the entertainment industry, has announced its third cycle winner, Kimberly Michelle Vaughn, and her project, Hindsight. Vaughn will receive a $50,000 award for her project and the opportunity to work with executives to help produce and optimize the film. Funding partners include Chicago Filmmakers, BTEC, Camera Ambassador, and Periscope Post and Audio. More here.


St Charles Library closes doors after anti-mask mob attack and threats

St. Charles Public Library is closed to in-person visits following an attack on the library’s mask policy, WLS-7 reports. “Officials at the West Suburban Library said they stopped allowing people into the newly renovated facility after an incident earlier this week. The library’s director, Edith Craig, said police were called after a group of around thirty-five to forty adults and children burst into the building and refused to wear masks. After the incident, threats against library staff began because of the library’s mask policy.”


Bill Ruthhart on the final day at Trib before becoming a New York Times mentor

“Today is my last day at the Chicago Tribune” tweeted journalist Bill Ruthhart. “It has been the thrill and responsibility of a lifetime to represent millions of Chicagoans as their eyes and ears, questioning their elected officials and working on their behalf to hold the government and its leaders to account. Thank you to the thousands of voters, readers, workers, campaign workers, officials and, yes, politicians who have trusted me to tell their stories over the past 11 years. Meeting new people and understanding their circumstances was a joy for me at work. I’m honored and admire the many talented reporters, photographers, editors, editors, and designers I’ve had the privilege of calling colleagues at the Tribune. There are far too many to list here, but I look forward to continuing to follow their fantastic work. As local news and democracy are under attack, the work of a free press is critical to our country’s future and our ability to understand one another. I look forward to continuing this mission by working with the next generation of journalists at The New York Times.”


South Side jazzologist Ezell Cooper was 89 years old

“Ezell Cooper had a sign outside one of his record stores that said ‘IF IT’S NOT AT COOP’S…IT’S NOT OUT!'” reports Maureen O’Donnell of the Sun-Times. “He sold all kinds of records at Coop, but Mr. Cooper’s specialty earned him a nickname: ‘The Jazzologist’… Long before people routinely found music via Spotify and Google, ‘people from all over town’ were coming to his stores to help them find the music they loved, his son said. “They said, ‘Doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo doo,’ and he said, ‘Oh, that’s Miles Davis’ ‘Kind of Blue.'” People waiting for a bus came in and in get lost in the dustbins.’”


Cindy Williams’ one-woman show Me, Myself & Shirley has been postponed

Cindy Williams in Me, Myself & Shirley, scheduled for April 1-3 at the Studebaker Theater, is now in production at a later date. More here.

New York governor proposes tax credit for high-end commercial theater

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has “proposed a $200 million budget for the New York City Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit, which will provide up to $3 million per show to cover production costs,” reports Michael Paulson of the New York Times. “Under the program, shows can receive tax credits to cover up to 25 percent of many production expenses, including labor costs. As a condition of recognition, shows must have a state-approved diversity and arts professional training program and take steps to make their productions accessible to low-income New Yorkers.”

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