NEW YORK — Wandering through the darkened auditorium of Broadway's Cort Theatre here on a recent Saturday morning felt a lot like a tour of Chicago's off-
Michael Shannon, the former denizen of the Chicago fringe turned TV and movie star, was rehearsing, alongside his real-life partner, Kate Arrington, a
Just down the street, the Booth Theatre was being readied for the transfer of the Steppenwolf's Chicago production of Edward Albee's
The symphony crew just missed the chance to eat the food of Chicago's most famous chef,
It's hardly news, of course, for Chicago culture to be exported in New York. At one point in 2009, it dawned on me that there were two Broadway shows opening within a few days of, and right across the street from, each other — "Superior Donuts" and "A Steady Rain" — that actually were mostly set on the same couple of blocks in Chicago's
Chicago has been framing its aspirations and insecurities around New York for as long as its cultural life has existed. As far back as 1853, an unnamed Tribune critic was noting, with pride, that one of the city's new arts buildings was quite the equal of anything in New York. It is a civic obsession that, understandably, infuriates some independent-minded Chicagoans.
Still, it remains important for Chicago to link itself with New York, the nation's most important media and cultural marketplace, for all kinds of competitive economic reasons. And the little October invasion under way is noteworthy for its breadth and the way it plays to Chicago's cultural strengths: theater, classical music and, perhaps most striking of all, cutting-edge food.
Aside from the pair of Broadway shows, the prestigious Carnegie Hall outing and a "sister chef" arrangement with a media profile that every extant sister city agreement can only envy, there are also smaller Chicago-to-New York transfers this fall, including a
As a journalist from Toronto recently noted, there is a lot of competition for the silver medal when it comes to culture in North America, and this medal race has important implications when it comes to attracting business and tourists, especially of the international variety. Toronto, which is very focused on its cultural assets and recently announced a megaproject by celebrity architect
The Achatz-Humm deal (Humm cooks here beginning Wednesday) is interesting in that it represents a new way to leverage a chef's celebrity. It's not unusual, of course, for a successful chef to open a restaurant in another city, often moving from Chicago to New York, or, as in the recent case of the cutting-edge City Winery, the New York music venue and eatery, which just opened in the
What this does for the city's tourism boosters, hoteliers, economic development mavens, convention sellers and the like is help forge a kind of Coke-Pepsi duopoly in the prospect's mind. It might look like Coke spends money to compete with Pepsi, but it's actually more important to both companies that a third company cannot enter the upper reaches of the market. In terms of money and jobs, that's one advantage for Chicago of what is going on with Chicago and New York this month. And in the New York cultural mind? Well, at least some eyes are being diverted from London.
A special evening