Recent Comments

Re: “A sudden lights out for Too Much Light at Neo-Futurists

There's more to this story than Allen pretends. Please report on this response by former artistic director Megan Mercier:…
Some Excerpts:
"...I find it very hard to believe that Greg Allens decision to pull the rights to Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind is in any way related to the Trump presidency. As a former Artistic Director of The Neo-Futurists, I can tell you that this threat has loomed since the end of 2011, when Greg was democratically removed from the active ensemble.

This decision to suspend Greg from the active ensemble was emotional and painful for everyone in the company...There were plenty of transgressions warranting suspension in the past, but as the company had no formal harassment policy (one of those things you think you dont need until you need it), it was always one persons word against his. There was no structure for recourse, until Greg acted out in front of the entire active company...The ensemble told him that no public statements would be made and that if anyone ever inquired about his absence from Too Much Light, we would not mention the suspension. We did this out of respect to his reputation and for his years of service to the company. This was not banishment; this was a necessary, disciplinary suspension...After a year (which would have been January 2013), Greg was free to petition his return to the ensemble. He never petitioned.

A few facts that I would like to share, as they do question the declared intention of Allens actions:

1. As of November 30th, 2016, the active Chicago Neo-Futurist ensemble is comprised almost entirely of artists who identify as queer and gender non-conforming, people of color, artist/activist women and disenfranchised voices.

2. The specific incident that lead to Gregs suspension in January 2012 was best described as bullying, intimidation, and abuse of power. He tried, against policy, to eject from the show a piece of personal work on the subject of child abuse, written by a survivor of child abuse, because he found it personally offensive. He then walked out of a rehearsal and refused to perform in the show if it contained this material, which had already been publicly produced.

3. In the summer of 2012, The Neo-Futurists raised $5,439.65 for support for the UCAN LGBTQ Host Home program[1], which provided housing and support to queer youth in Chicago. In order to maximize proceeds, most organizers and members of the performing ensemble voluntarily wave their pay. As the license holder of Too Much Light, Greg was entitled to 6% royalties for any performance of the show, regardless of whether he contributed work or not. Every year prior to 2012, he had waved his royalties in the same spirit as those creating and performing the art. In 2012, the same year he was suspended from the active ensemble but still the companys salaried Founding Director, he chose to withhold his royalties, totaling $461.78.

In revoking the rights to the Chicago Neo-Futurists flagship show, Greg Allen directly revokes employment opportunities from the very demographic he claims to be so passionate about employing."

13 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by ThinkDeeper on 12/01/2016 at 11:28 AM

Re: “Let’s celebrate the loss of the Lucas Museum

Wake Up: The museum was not "going to invest $1,000,000,000" - that was the cost to taxpayers for the second proposed Lakefront site. Lucas was not going to invest in anything except his vanity curio space on public land.

3 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by ThinkDeeper on 06/30/2016 at 12:32 PM

Re: “Let’s celebrate the loss of the Lucas Museum

Those buying the Mayor/Lucas talking points are, tellingly, overlooking or deliberately omitting key facts.

1. Lucas, one of the richest men in America, refused to buy great locations on the market, including land along the river, at least one semi-abandoned skyscraper downtown, the old Post Office. He demanded free land from the city.

2. Lucas was only paying for the Museum - the cost of additional infrastructure (which is significant) would have been on the taxpayers.

3. A billionaire almost received free land and infrastructure worth hundreds of millions from a city that can't afford public schools. The "ECONOMICS of the thing" (to quote the Lucas fangirl) is the city was facing an indirect and direct a net loss for the city, particularly for the 2nd site which required 1 billion dollars from the public.

4. As Friends of the Parks and others pointed out, if the city wanted to gift Lucas land there was the Michael Reese Hospital site, but he rejected because he wanted the lakefront.

5. The "parking lot" talking point is a lie - a false dichotomy invented by Rahm/Lucas pretending it was the lakefront or nothing. There were many options.

6. Building a museum on public land, would have given Lucas direct tax breaks on his personal wealth and the museum itself would pay little to no taxes.

7. All the factors amounts to a massive direct and indirect cost to the public which vastly outweighs the alleged jobs of unspecified pay.

8. Lucas provided little info on what was actually going to be in the museum and what he did indicated a dubious collection of expensive mediocre stuff (Norman Rockwell, etc.) The museum plans devoted a huge amount of space to movie theaters, conference rooms and shopping - a convention center/shopping mall on public land yet not accountable to the public.

9. Admission to this museum wouldn't be free. Going by the cost of other museums, those poor people Father Showboat cares about would rarely be able to go. It was a toy for the well off by the super rich. And it's worth celebrating its defeat.

6 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by ThinkDeeper on 06/30/2016 at 12:28 PM

Re: “Quentin Tarantino is still out of ideas

"All cops are "bad apples" because Tarantino can't see people as more than stereotypes or caricatures" That ignores what "institutional racism" means - i.e. the inherent racism in how police work, and how it biases their response, means it doesn't matter if any cop is a good apple or not. I'm kind of amazed this was written after multiple incidents in which it is clear the stereotype of blacks as inherently racist and violent clearly informed the deadly use of force (no matter how good an apple the cop may have thought themselves). It reads like another evasion of a valid critique by pretending the pointing out endemic racism is the "real" racist act, i.e. responding to "black lives matter" with "all lives matter". Hateful 8 may suck but this is just dishonest.

Along the lines of ignoring this point is misreading Tarantino's questions about justice and revenge as conclusive and proscriptive rather than open ended prescriptive. This isn't discounting "the tenets of law and philosophy that are the benchmarks of human progress", but an artist's response to grotesque counter examples from the continued worship of the Confederacy to the Iraq War to cop murders of unarmed people of color. It may not be a good response, but to call it "hatred of human progress" seems off. Uncharitably, it seems dangerously close to "why can't people just get over" whatever past injustice is under discussion.

I also question such a wild misrepresentation of Tarantino's use of anti-history to address the stories people tell about the past (in film and otherwise). It may not work for you, but it's bogus to pretend Basterds is about "discrediting the Nuremberg trials" rather than playing with decades of storytelling which obscures actual WWII memory. And Django is clearly straining to point out the revenge fantasy onscreen is an imagined cathartic response to reality of slavery. At the same time, art is about mood and emotion rather than concrete conclusions, so expecting some sort of "no, but I really believe in human progress" insert seems kind of nonsensical as well as not appropriate to the work involved.

I can see arguing that Tarantino's artful/philosophical intent falls short and even Brecht at his most preachy probably provides a more satisfying experience (although a Tarantino adaptation of Threepenny Opera would probably be great). But this seems like Tal has a political ax to grind, this need to emphasize the mythical "benchmarks of human progress" and good cops over a discussion of brazen inequalities and human flaws, and it obstructs the ability to write coherent criticism.

I give Tal this much - this makes me want to give 8 a look whereas before it merely seemed totally inert.

14 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by ThinkDeeper on 01/05/2016 at 4:22 PM

Re: “The Tribune's Kristen McQueary takes a Katrina-strength pounding

Dear Mr. Miner,

Here's you in 1991, discussing a feature/editorial article in the Chicago Sun Times which many found racist: "A writer, at any rate, cannot take refuge in a cultural chasm. Unlike the lowly reporter or rewrite man, a writer cannot assert that his words were misunderstood. He must answer for every level of meaning. He can never plead innocent."…

Here's you in 1991 writing about the Reader's own racially controversial cartoon: "A dismissive shrug was less than those black callers and picketers deserved; if we still felt right in principle, that didn't mean we'd foreseen the impact of the Tillman cartoon on blacks who came across it...Were we offended? No, we didn't think anything of it at all. That's why it seemed worthwhile to reach a few people who'd reacted differently. We didn't attempt to argue Jarrett or Muwakkil or Washington out of their convictions. We merely listened to them."…

What happened? Why aren't writers accountable for all the obvious varied meanings of their words now? Why aren't offended black voices deserving of more listening now? At one time you acknowledged just because one couldn't see offense didn't mean it wasn't there and even hinted the issue might be not thinking at all. What happened to the thoughtful person who could see that?

25 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by ThinkDeeper on 08/17/2015 at 3:33 PM

Re: “A Dozen or None

New Wave is wise to protect its own interests - I respect the no coffee clause - but they can't act put upon when they were in an ideal position to play hardball and clearly did.

Zoning, health codes, landlord stability, real estate prices and foot traffic are all vital issues unto themselves and impact a the ability to finance a business. Location by itself can decide if a loan is approved or not.

Those scorning Vincent for agreeing to a bum deal are ignoring the other factors, especially in this economy and with Chicago's often hostile attitude towards small business.

Looking around the Square, the range of options is decidely more limited than some claim. Several storefronts have been empty for years due to issues limiting appeal for any business, let alone food.

New Wave is in an ideal location in a stable income area, and it can't take credit for making it this way.

Vincent's sacrifice was entirely voluntary and while he may have decided it was worth it, but the crossiant issue seems like a take or leave it tactic. New Wave put a draconian restriction on one item which is not key to there profits but central to a French bakery item. If people think that was a jerk move and go elsewhere, that's part of doing business as well.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by ThinkDeeper on 10/30/2010 at 8:51 AM

Favorite Places

  • None.
Find places »

Saved Events

  • DJ Major Taylor @ Five Star Bar

    • Saturdays, 10 PM
    • 1 going/interested
Find events »

Saved Stories

  • Nope.
Find stories »

Custom Lists

  • Cal