Today In The Culture, June 27, 2022: After Roe | Cynthia Plaster Caster Celebration | RIP Jim Schwall – Newcity

Written by Amanda

Makaya McCraven/Photo: Sulyiman, courtesy International Anthem


City Could Open Some Pools

“The Chicago Park District has ‘every intention’ of opening at least some of its shuttered pools on July 5, but how many will actually be open depends on how many lifeguards it can hire and train in the coming days,” reports Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times.

Mass Alewife Die-Off Hits Lake Michigan

Echoes of a 1970s Chicago commonplace on Michigan shores: “People visiting Lake Michigan may be welcomed by an abundance of dead fish,” reports USA Today. “Alewife, a small prey fish that can reach two to nine inches in length, went through this summertime event frequently twenty-to-sixty years ago, but the occurrence has since been rare.”

Odds Running Against June 2023 Bally’s Opening

“Bally’s may be falling behind on an ambitious regulatory timeline for casino development,” reports the Trib. “Bally’s, which got the nod from the City Council last month to build the Chicago casino at the Tribune Publishing site in River West, is already something of a long shot to open its temporary facility at Medinah Temple by June 2023.” Bally’s “has yet to file an application for the Chicago casino with the Illinois Gaming Board. It took the most recent licensee—Hard Rock Casino Rockford—sixteen months to get preliminary approval from the board and two years to open a temporary casino.”


Yelp! Shutters Chicago Office

“Yelp continues to experience the benefits of a remote workplace and it’s the clear path forward for us,” Yelp!’s co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman posted to the corporate blog, announcing the closure of three offices on July 29, including Chicago, reports AP (via the Trib). “Yelp, which has 4,400 employees, said offices in San Francisco, London, Toronto and other locations will remain open for now.”


An Era Worse Than “Dirty Dancing”?

“America has been presented with the trailer for the movie of its own future. It is a film promising to make the pre-Roe, 1963 setting of ‘Dirty Dancing’ look pretty good for women,” writes Michael Phillips at the Tribune in a snapshot of a century of movies on the topic of abortion. “When ‘Dirty Dancing’ came out, a minority of Americans believed in wide-ranging legality of abortion. That minority had become a clear majority by the time the U.S. Supreme Court sent Roe v. Wade packing.” “Dirty Dancing,” in fact, “told two stories. One was a story of 1963, when abortions were illegal, and dangerous as hell. The other was the movie itself, a hit upon release in 1987, when the legality of a woman’s right to an abortion had been settled. For a while.”

Film And Television Unions On Roe Reversal

The actors’ union says in a release: “SAG-AFTRA is committed to protecting the health and safety of the members in our industry and beyond. Anyone who believes in the right of women to make their own healthcare decisions should be outraged with today’s archaic and dangerous ruling. Every American deserves and is entitled to an equal right to healthcare choice. Today, the United States Supreme Court abandoned that principle in a ruling that empowers states to enact draconian restrictions on healthcare choice and destroy lives, if we allow it. We will continue to fight to ensure the overwhelming majority voice of the people is heard in state and federal legislative bodies. We have the collective power to make certain today’s decision does not overcome the will of the people. SAG-AFTRA will fight to protect women’s right to choice and self-determination that has been recognized for decades.” The union provides its membership a reproductive health resource here.

The Producers Guild: “The Supreme Court decision is deeply dangerous and will create untold harm. Women deserve better than the oppression that we witnessed yesterday.” IATSE: “In its outrageous decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, SCOTUS has abandoned a fifty-year precedent and the will of seventy-percent of the American people to impose one of the worst contractions of freedoms in modern U.S. history. Make no mistake, this will directly harm the welfare of our union sisters and kin, and therefore we must respond strongly. We know well the catastrophic consequences that follow when authoritarians legislate control over our wombs, bodies, and lives.” The Directors Guild: “Today’s Supreme Court decision is a giant step backwards for our country and puts women’s lives at risk. It denies countless women the most basic of their human rights–the right to autonomy over their own bodies. We are committed to making sure our members continue to have access and ability to make their own reproductive decisions and determine the path they set for their own lives. We strongly condemn this ruling and stand in solidarity with so many others speaking out to decry this travesty.”


Warnings Against Social Media Use

Multiple media outlets have cautioned their workers not to give an impression of holding an opinion of the Supreme Court’s roster of extreme decisions in the past week. Axios sent a memo regarding reaction to the reversal of Roe Vs. Wade protections. Gannett: “You cannot use social media to take a political position, criticize or attack a candidate, or express personal feelings about an outcome or ruling.”

Brian Mann, who reports on addiction for NPR, posts on Twitter, “This is a [hot] topic in newsrooms now esp for women journalists who feel a fundamental human right has been erased. Where’s the balance between humanity and professionalism? Gets harder all the time.” Jay Rosen of NYU on New York Times guidance: “‘If our journalists are perceived as biased or if they engage in editorializing on social media, that can undercut the credibility of the entire newsroom.’ I am told the New York Times sent this reminder out to staff today. The language is from their social media guidelines.”

Meta, the corporate umbrella of Facebook and Instagram, cautioned employees to stop talking in internal chatrooms, reports the New York Times. “Meta told its workers on Friday not to openly discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion on wide-reaching communication channels inside the company.” Managers “cited a company policy that put ‘strong guardrails around social, political and sensitive conversations’ in the workplace.” In a May 12 memo, “Meta said that ‘discussing abortion openly at work has a heightened risk of creating a hostile work environment,’ so it had taken ‘the position that we would not allow open discussion.’” The memo instructed “Employees struggling with the Supreme Court’s ruling were directed to support one another in one-to-one conversations or in small groups of ‘like-minded colleagues.’”


Siegel-Schwall Blues Band Guitarist Jim Schwall Was Seventy-Nine

“Jim Schwall created a unique blend of folk-blues guitar and electrified Chicago style,” Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer tells Maureen O’Donnell at the Sun-Times. “His playing was melodic and subtle, and his original songs were filled with humor and fun. He could always make an audience feel better because his music was full of joy.”

New Music From Makaya McCraven In These Times

“‘In These Times’ is the new album by Chicago-based percussionist, composer, producer and pillar of our label family, Makaya McCraven,” relays International Anthem in a release. “Although this album is new, it’s been in process for a very long time, since shortly after he released his International Anthem debut ‘In The Moment’ in 2015. This is the album McCraven’s been trying to make since he started making records. And his patience, ambition, and persistence have yielded an appropriately career-defining body of work. The eleven-song suite was created over more than seven years, as McCraven strived to design a highly personal but broadly communicable fusion of odd-meter original compositions from his working songbook with orchestral, large ensemble arrangements and his edit-heavy ‘organic beat music.’ With contributions from over a dozen musicians and creative partners from his tight-knit circle of collaborators–including Jeff Parker, Junius Paul, Brandee Younger, Joel Ross and Marquis Hill–the music was recorded in five different studios and four live performance spaces while McCraven engaged in extensive post-production work from home.” Preorder and preview here.

Girls Rock! Benefit To Remember Cynthia Plaster Caster

“Thanks, Doll: A Celebration of Cynthia Plaster Caster” is set for Thursday, July 7 at Metro, featuring Jon Langford, Sally Timms, The Waco Brothers, Chris Connelly, Suzi Gardner, Bobby Conn, Monica Boubou, Danny and Margaret Doll Rod and Brad Elvis and The Handcuffs. Writes the Metro, “Anyone who knew or met her would be addressed by her signature ‘doll’ and would always be amazed by her seemingly shy demeanor, her lack of pretension and amazing sense of humor. This celebration of Cynthia’s life will feature many of her ‘castees’–both male and female–performing the songs she loved. Joining them onstage will be personal friends and admirers, all sharing their favorite Cynthia moments and stories as their way to say to her, one last time, ‘Thanks, doll!’ Proceeds from this event will benefit Girls Rock! Chicago–a local organization that Cynthia held near and dear. Girls Rock! Chicago works to build a socially just community with girls, transgender youth, and gender expansive youth by developing leadership, fostering self-esteem and encouraging creative expression through music.” Tickets are here.


After Roe

Thousands marched Friday night from the Loop to Grant Park. WGN-TV has helicopter footage. Protests continued over the weekend. The leader of an anti-abortion group interviewed by a Trib reporter volunteered, “We do fully expect Illinois to be ground zero in the abortion debate.” The Sun-Times: “More than a thousand people gathered at Federal Plaza Friday evening holding signs declaring ‘Forced Motherhood = Female Enslavement’ and ‘Overturn Roe? Hell No!’” Pritzker calls for a special legislative session to enhance reproductive rights: “Privacy rights are being eviscerated right before our very eyes. If they can take away your ability to control your own body, there’s not much that stops them from making marriage equality illegal and taking away employment protections for your beliefs or your orientation. No ifs, ands or buts about it: we are headed down a dangerous spiral that will erode our democracy.” Mayor Lightfoot “lambasted the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as ‘a horrible tragedy’ and threatened legal tactics against other states who seek to punish those who travel to Illinois to receive abortions.” “With Planned Parenthood predicting that 20,000 more people will come to Illinois for abortions in the next year, Lori Lightfoot tells them not to return home,” Medill prof and New Yorker contributor Peter Slevin cites Lightfoot: “Don’t go back. Stay here, where you can live your life in freedom.” Adds Tina Sfondeles at the Sun-Times: “The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that 7,534 nonresidents received abortions in Illinois in 2019, compared with 5,529 in 2017 and 2,970 in 2014.”

Julie Bosman at the New York Times offers a history of abortion law: “Abortion rights are also in jeopardy in other states because of older bans criminalizing abortion, some of which were written before the Civil War. Though the bans were considered dormant after the Roe decision in 1973, they were never repealed by state legislatures—and could now be enforced.” At the Trib, Angie Leventis Lourgos reports that “Illinois’ role as a haven of abortion care in the Midwest was magnified when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade… Abortion providers across Illinois have been preparing for the massive influx in patients expected to travel here for the procedure. Planned Parenthood of Illinois anticipates an additional 20,000 to 30,000 patients will be crossing state lines for abortion care here each year.” (She also speaks with eight Illinois women whose lives were affected by abortions in past decades.)

Clinics have stopped performing abortions in Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. There is a near-complete ban in Oklahoma and Utah, and strict prohibitions at around six weeks in Ohio, reports Associated Press. At the Washington Post, Kim Bellware visits a Detroit abortion clinic run by two generations of women. “It’s like the devil comes in,” Jakaiser Jackson at the Scotsdale Women’s Center said of the protesters, who scream that the women are killers murdering babies. “When those ladies keep walking and don’t pay them no attention, that’s when they get real cruel.” Black church leaders are predicting that this ruling will lead to renewed energy ahead of the elections, says Religious News Service.

Corporations Offer Abortion Travel To Some Employees

“It’s good that these companies are stepping up to back their women employees’ right to choose. And this kicks off a new U.S. trend for domestic travel,” writes Dennis Schaal at Skift. “U.S. companies including the Walt Disney Company and Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Inc. said they will cover employees’ expenses if they have to travel for abortion services… Bank of America, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Yelp, Microsoft Corp, Tesla, Johnson & Johnson, online dating services OkCupid and Bumble, Inc, Netflix, Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co will also cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions.” The New York Times has an ongoing survey of companies offering travel expenses to workers. Salesforce, Intuit, Disney, Warner Bros. and Box are among the additional companies. “Condé Nast said it would cover travel and lodging for employees to get abortions. “It is a crushing blow to reproductive rights that have been protected for nearly half a century,” Roger Lynch, Condé Nast’s chief executive tells the Times. “Zillow said it would reimburse its employees up to $7,500 when significant travel is required for medical procedures including abortions. ‘We strongly support our employees’ right to make health care choices that are right for them, and we will continue to do so.’”

A common refrain from posters on Twitter: “be nice if these companies would also pledge to stop donating to the party thats forcing this on their employees and the cable news channel celebrating their fear.” Patagonia will post bail for any worker arrested at abortion protests, the company writes on LinkedIn. Listing its health benefits, they conclude, “All part-time and full-time employees also receive: Training and bail for those who peacefully protest for reproductive justice; Resources to make informed decisions at the ballot box; Time off to vote.” “Starbucks combines its offer to help employee travel for abortions with union busting,” posts labor reporter Steven Greenhouse. “Starbucks offers all employees enrolled in its health plan access to abortion travel & gender-affirming care, But says it can’t ‘promise’ that for unionized stores.”

Griffin Philanthropy May Vanish

Fran Spielman considers Ken Griffin’s departure to the Panhandle State and its imminent effect on Chicago philanthropy: “The impact of his departure on the world of philanthropy and charitable giving cannot be overstated.” Recent departures include “the Reyes family of Reyes Holdings, former Gov. Bruce Rauner, former Commonwealth Edison CEO John Rowe and former Morgan Stanley executive Bill Strong. Like Griffin, all three of those families picked up stakes and moved to Florida. ‘Many of the major funders—like Ken Griffin, like so many others… who are huge donors are checking out… And they’re in Florida,’ …said a source close to the world of philanthropic and charitable giving in Chicago and Illinois.” Spielman’s source counts fifteen big-ticket direct flights from Illinois to Florida, which doesn’t include corporations that leave town. “You think the 606 would have been built without Ken? Do you think the Field Museum would have gotten a new dinosaur or what he did for the [Museum of Science and Industry] or the University of Chicago?”

Tina Sfondeles at the Sun-Times: “The announcement came rather awkwardly just five days ahead of the June 28 primary—a primary in which Griffin has contributed $53 million to the campaign of Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin. But polls suggest Griffin’s chosen candidate for governor is losing handily at the hands of downstate farmer Darren Bailey… Totally coincidental? Yes, according to a Citadel spokesman, who told the Sun-Times the timing of the announcement is unrelated to the election.” “The decision to move HQs to Miami and the timing around announcing it have absolutely nothing to do with the Governor’s race,” spokesman Zia Ahmed said in an email to the Sun-Times. Ahmed didn’t respond when asked whether Griffin would continue to contribute to Illinois causes and politicians.

Times Obituary For Gloria Allen

“Gloria Allen, a transgender activist whose experiences running a charm school in Chicago for at-risk transgender youth inspired an acclaimed documentary film, ‘Mama Gloria’ and play, ‘Charm,’ died on June 13 at her home in Chicago,” writes Alex Williams at the New York Times. “Ms. Allen overcame intolerance and sexual violence in the era before the Stonewall Inn uprising ignited the gay-rights movement in 1969 to become a celebrated figure in the transgender-rights movement in Chicago and beyond… Mama Gloria, as she was known, operated her charm school out of the Center on Halsted, a community center for L.G.B.T.Q. people in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. The school was informal, free—Ms. Allen often paid for a student’s meals out of her own limited budget… Attendees were usually transgender people in their teens or early twenties who were drawn from the economic margins. Lessons covered table manners, dating etiquette and job-interview comportment, as well as tips on hygiene, dressing and makeup. The goal was to help those who gathered to find jobs and confidence.”

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Source: newcity.com

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Hi there, I am Amanda and I work as an editor at impactinvesting.ai;  if you are interested in my services, please reach me at amanda.impactinvesting.ai