The death of modern architecture in Chicago, as seen by John Whiteman, director of the Chicago Institute for Architecture & Urbanism: “When I first arrived in ChicagoÉ everyone I met had a fragment from one of Sullivan’s dismantled buildings. These they proudly showed me. ‘Isn’t it beautiful?’ I was asked, repeatedly. Indeed each individual piece was beautiful, but, gazing on fragment after pathetic fragment, I could think only of Sullivan’s sad biography: the loss of his office, the dismissal of his theoretical ideas as ‘transcendental,’ his nervous breakdown after completing the Auditorium, his alcoholism, and his debts. Now I was being shown the dismemberment of his work” (Inland Architect, May/June 1990).
What, no matchmaker? “We expect them to be like our grandfathers–little bearded men in black coats who would take any job to survive,” Marilou Kessler of Jewish Vocational Services tells the Chicago Reporter’s Jennifer Wolff (June 1990) about the unprecedented influx of Soviet Jewish refugees–roughly 100 a week this year–into West Rogers Park and nearby suburbs. “But these people are very similar to Americans in their wants and needs. They are not from ‘Fiddler on the Roof.'”
The McNugget-Liar Report. Public TV does no better than commercial networks at reflecting the true diversity of opinion in the U.S. or the world, according to William Hoynes and David Croteau in Extra! (Special Issue, Spring 1990). They surveyed the guests appearing on the allegedly in-depth MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour from February to August 1989 and found an overwhelming bias in favor of the right-wing, white-male establishment. For instance, during those six months MacNeil/Lehrer had 14 guests from the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and none from any comparable left-leaning Washington think tanks. A total of 17 guests, including one environmentalist, appeared in programs on environmental issues. Overall, 90 percent of the guests were white and 87 percent male.
The most expensive office space in the world is in Tokyo, according to a 76-city international survey by Colliers International, at $192 per square foot per year, followed by London ($154), Hong Kong ($104), and Sydney ($60). Chicago ($39) was 14th overall and 4th most expensive in the U.S., after Washington, D.C. ($49), New York midtown ($45), and Boston ($41).
“We have not forgotten that this organization was founded by and for Chicago’s gay community,” writes Howard Brown Memorial Clinic executive director Judith Johns in HBMC’s newsletter Wellspring (Spring 1990). “Howard Brown is one of the few AIDS organizations which actually has the word ‘gay’ in its mission statement. Our programs and services are specifically designed for the needs and sensibilities of gays. So, when you see the diversity of our staff and volunteers, when you see us serving non-gay persons with AIDS, when you see us reaching out to raise money beyond the gay community, please understand… we are using the experience and the expertise of the gay community to help others deal with the AIDS crisis….The gay community fought this battle for many years almost entirely alone. We have an obligation to share what we have learned.”
Maid service courtesy of the International Monetary Fund. “The ‘debt crisis’ is providing many middle-class women in the United States, Canada, Britain, Italy, Singapore, and Kuwait with a new generation of domestic servants,” writes Cynthia Enloe in her book Bananas, Beaches & Bases, an excerpt of which is reprinted in the Utne Reader (July/August 1990). “When a woman from Mexico, Jamaica, or the Philippines decides to emigrate in order to make money as a domestic servant, she is designing her own international debt politics. She is trying to cope with the loss of earning power and the rise in the cost of living at home by cleaning bathrooms in the country of the bankers.”
Ya gotta have (tax money for) art. All but five of Chicago’s 50 wards landed some city-funded arts program in recent grant distributions by the CityArts and Neighborhood Arts programs. The losers were the south side’s 3rd and 16th wards, the southwest side’s 18th Ward, and the far northwest side’s 38th and 41st wards. Big winners, as expected, are downtown, most of the north lakefront, Hyde Park, and the near-west 32nd and 25th wards.
“It’s now an old joke that the introduction of computers into the workplace was going to create the ‘paperless’ office,” writes John Ortbal of the Services Marketing Group on South Michigan in his new booklet Buy Recycled! Your Practical Guide to the Environmentally Responsible Office. “Clearly, it’s had just the opposite effect. Today’s offices use more paper products–and create more paper waste–than ever before. By one estimate, U.S. offices use more than one million tons of computer paper alone, every year.”
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.