Show Me Chicago's top stories from 2017

Typically at this time of the year we look back before we leap ahead. You’ll see the big stories from 2017 everywhere but you may want to look back at some smaller Chicago stories that we covered on Show Me Chicago and see what they mean for the future or just to remember.

Hollywood in Chicago

Chicago continues to be a favorite location to film movies and television series.

Chicago continues to be a favorite location to film movies and television series.

In January 2017, the Chicago Film Office at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE)  announced that Chicago experienced an increase in film production for 2016 of 25% from the previous year with an unprecedented 2339 film production days.

It seemed film production in Chicago was on fire. With the likes of NBC’s Chicago Fire franchise a big part of the picture bringing in the most viewers–as many as 10 million per episode. With new film production studios cropping up and tax incentives it will be interesting to see if this trend continues–as it has year every year since 2011. Click here for more.

The Year of Public Art

2017 was named the “Year of Public Art in Chicago” by  Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

In addition, to the MCA the Art Institute of Chicago and Galleries and expos throughout the city, 2017 showcased the 2nd Chicago Architecture Biennial, a new look hat the Wall of Respect and, would you believe, the 50th Anniversary of the Picasso (sculpture). Click here for more.

It’s in the bag  checkout-bag-tax-placard

Taxes took up a lot of space in the media from the bag tax to soda pop–not to mention the big ones like property, water, sewer and amusement. Since February 1st Chicagoan’s were required to pay a bag tax of $.07 per bag. The “bag” tax was not popular, but we did have alternatives like bringing our own bags whereas the only alternative to not paying the soda pop tax that went into effect in July was to abstain or drive outside of Cook County.Due to vocal protests the penny an ounce tax added to all “sweet” drinks including sweet teas–was short-lived.

A $500 Million Facelift

Artist rendering of new look for Willis Tower

Artist rendering of new look for Willis Tower

In February, “A visionary plan” for Chicago’s Willis Tower, aka, Sears Tower was announced. The $500 million planned transformation of the Tower is expected to bring a combination of sleek design, comfort, openness and intimacy to the 43-year-old skyscraper that was beginning to show its age.

Like a bridge over Muddy Watersmuddy-mural

A special performance and dedication ceremony for the nine-story Muddy Waters Mural on State Street was held as a kick off to the Chicago Blues Festival that took place in Millennium Park June 9-11.

Look Who Turned 50

Mayor Richard J. Daley (closest to the sculpture) unveils the Picasso "with the belief that what is strange to us today will be familiar tomorrow." The sculpture celebrated art rather than civic achievement. (Tribune archive photo)

Mayor Richard J. Daley (closest to the sculpture) unveils the Picasso “with the belief that what is strange to us today will be familiar tomorrow.” The sculpture celebrated art rather than civic achievement. (Tribune archive photo)

The Chicago Picasso, Pablo Picasso’s large-scale civic sculpture in Daley Plaza–the first of its kind in America–turned 50 in August 2017. Click here for more.

Move over Sue

The The Field Museum announced a new resident dinosaur–bigger than Sue–will be moving into Stanley Field Hall late spring of 2018 in the very spot that Sue has occupied since her heralded arrival to the museum in 2000.

The new dinosaur, made from the fossil bones of Patagotitan mayorum (pat-uh-go-tie-tan my-or-um), is 122 feet long. Click here for the rest of the story.

A New Take on Art Exhibitions

Detail from 100 Arhats, 2013, Acrylic gold and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on board. Ten panels. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Detail from 100 Arhats, 2013, Acrylic gold and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on board. Ten panels. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

A somewhat controversial larger-than-life art exhibition: Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg opened June 6th at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The popular exhibition offered a pop-up commercial aspect which some found off-putting but crowds flocked to in order to purchase Murakami merchandise including limited edition t-shirts, skate decks, hats, tote bags and more from a truck parked in front of the MCA.

Gaugiun Exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago

Visitors to the Paul Gauguin exhibition at the AIC saw a retrospect that went way beyond the bare-breasted native women in idyllic Tahitian settings that many associate with the artist. More than 240 pieces were featured in Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist–the largest ever public presentation of Gauguin’s ceramics and groupings of objects–reunited for the first time since leaving his studio.

A New Look for the MCA

Los Angeles-based architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee of Johnston Marklee (JML) completed a major redesign of select public spaces of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) as part of a major $16-million renovation that converted 12,000 square feet of interior space coinciding with the MCA’s 50th anniversary. Click here for more.

Everything under the Sun

The solar eclipse that took place in Chicago, starting at 11:54 am, Monday, August 21 had Chicagoan’s scrambling for the best viewing spots and protective eyewear. Click here for more.

Sad news from Lincoln Park Zoo

Kobe.

Kobe.

In October, Lincoln Park Zoo announced that their new polar bear Kobe had to be euthanized. It was hoped that Kobe, the zoo’s female polar bear, would be raising a family in the zoo’s state-of-the-art Polar Bear digs. Click here for pictures and more.

Cranes celebrate Chicago’s building boom 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Buildings announced in November that the 60th tower crane to operate in Chicago in 2017. The amazing 400% increase since 2010, breaks records for the most tower cranes to operate in one year since the height of the great recession, speaking well to investment and confidence in our city.Here’s the story.

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