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SpotOn News – June 2020

June 8: We doubt any pundit foresaw the historic times through which we are now passing as a country. The murder of George Floyd, the massive and continuing outpouring of civil protest, and a pandemic that has sickened almost 2 million and killed over 100,000 Americans have created a unique moment in time. In response to police brutality, the arts community has raised its collective voice to express the outrage and sorrow of society. Rather than pass along event news (which we will do in a soon-to-be-released mail) we are presenting a list of the Chicago institutions that have taken a stand against brutality and inhumanity in emails to their patrons. We doubt any institution in Chicago follows as many arts providers as we do at SpotOnChicago. We receive updates from over 700 institutions across northern Illinois. Below you will find a list of the organizations that have spoken out in their emails. We make no claim that this list is complete, and some arts providers have used social media to communicate their solidarity with this movement. This is not a time to remain silent. We urge our readers to explore the response of the institutions they support. Image: In...

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SpotOnChicago News 5/9

  May 9:  There’s good news and bad news concerning the arts in recent weeks. The good news: there are many new online fundraising events hosted by big name celebrities aimed at helping impacted communities. The bad news: traditional, large scale events are being cancelled - not postponed. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra cancelled the remainder of its season that was scheduled to run through June 27. We estimate that since the shelter-in-place order took effect, the CSO has cancelled over 30 programs. Similarly, the Grant Park Music Festival, which usually hosts over 300,000 fans during the summer, cancelled its entire 2020 season. Other bad news came Thursday at a Lincoln Forum/Union League Club event. Rick Bayless and other Chicago chef/owners agreed that the restaurant industry, as we know it, might not survive COVID-19. Thin margins and fewer customers when restrictions are loosened may make the business untenable. In the face of all this bad news, the arts community has been very active in creating new forms of gathering to support fundraising efforts…On a local basis, Pants Optional, airing tonight, supports Steppenwolf Theatre Company and features Claire Danes, Shonda Rhimes, Chris Rock, John Malkovich, Laurie Metcalf, and many others. (See the...

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SpotOnChicago News

April 18: The Music of the Night – Is Silent…for Now. Whatever your opinion of Phantom of the Opera and Andrew Lloyd Webber, you might want to check out The Show Must Go On. Every Friday, a different Webber musical will be livestreamed for 48 hours. This week the stream is the 25th anniversary staging of Phantom from Royal Albert Hall in 2011. Nothing was held back and over 200 actors, musicians, and dancers appeared on stage. If nothing else, this performance reminds us of the magic of a live performance as well as the vast number of actors, musicians, stagehands, set designers, and the like whose talents have been put on hold by the pandemic. Along these lines, a benefit will be held on Sunday April 19 at 6:00 pm to benefit the Chicago theatre community. CHICAGO OFFSTAGE: LIVE AT HOME is sponsored by Season of Concern. The non-profit was "founded in 1987 to support Chicago theater practitioners afflicted with AIDS and AIDS-related illnesses.” Highlights from recently announced Virtual events include: the late Brian Dennehy’s film Driveways, benefitting Wilmette Theatre; Pete Buttigieg being interviewed by David Axelrod in a discussion hosted by the Institute of Politics; Michael Shannon reading...

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SpotOnChicago Updates & News

Baldwin and Beethoven - Virtually April 11. In a sign of the times, the arts community has harnessed its creativity and adaptability to significantly ramp up the production of online offerings. Below we’ve listed 30 events out of the 60 new "Virtual" additions this week to SpotOnChicago. The events span a wide range of interests – from theatre to magic to gardening. Highlights as follows...Tonight (April 11) Alec Baldwin and an all-star cast will host a worldwide presentation of Orphans written by Lyle Kessler. See our page for details. The play was staged by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre in the mid-80’s and starred John Mahoney. This version is being hosted by Red Line Production out of Australia. Also, on Easter Sunday, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will present Beethoven 9, a Facebook Premiere at 3:00 pm. This broadcast of a 2014 performance “features Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and distinguished soloists in one of history’s most powerful and inspiring artistic works.” Other just-posted virtual events include a booktalk by Sarah Paretsky, author of the V.I. Warshawski mystery series; a book club discussion of the Eric Larson work of non-fiction Devil in the White City; comedy...

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SpotOn News – Special Edition

Is This the Time for Art? Chicago’s Art Scene Reacts to the COVID-19 Reality   April 5. It has been two weeks since Governor Pritzker ordered most Illinoisans to stay at home. It feels as if our prior world was a long, long time ago. At SpotOnChicago we’re thinking of those who have been infected by this virus and those whose families have suffered. We’re also thinking of the healthcare workers and first responders who are saving lives, as well as the retail workers, restaurant staff, and the other front-line individuals who provide society with some semblance of normalcy. They are called the “new heroes” and indeed they are. What We Have Done at SpotOnChicago: We have created new pages highlighting some of the great art institutions (large and small) that make Chicago a great place to live. We have included links to their sites and to their appeals for financial help. It is clear that some institutions and businesses will not survive this shutdown. If you can, when you can, please consider a donation. Many continue to pay their staff. Many have been in operation for decades and their legacy depends on our continued support. We will be adding more...

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