As anti-LGBTQ legislation ramps up across the U.S., fast food giant Taco Bell is dancing — backward, in heels — away from an explosion of bigoted rhetoric, and is instead promoting a message of inclusivity with a new Taco Bell Drag Brunch Tour scheduled to pop up in May in Wrigleyville. Chicagoans can munch on chalupas and slurp boozy Baja Blasts while basking in the charisma, style, nerve, and talent of local drag performers on May 22 at the Taco Bell Cantina at 1107 W. Addison Street, just around the corner from Wrigley Field.
The tour was inspired by Taco Bell’s LGBTQ employee resource group, Live Más Pride, and each event highlights the work of the It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit that advocates for queer youth, according to the Sun-Times. Events kicked off in early May in Las Vegas, and stops are lined up for additional cities including Nashville, New York City, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, all hosted by Tijuana-based drag performer Kay Sedia.
Though Pride month celebrations are still a month away, many supporters of LGBTQ equity are keeping a close eye on big companies and corporations, weighing their public statements against behind-the-scenes political donations to conservative politicians. As the ongoing debacle at Disney demonstrates, brands that hawk rainbow-hued products can, and often do, hand those dollars over to anti-LGBTQ legislators. In 2020, 52 percent of PAC donations from Taco Bell’s parent company, Yum Brands, went to Republican politicians. Its CEO furnished 64 percent of total donations to Republicans that same year.
Chicago returns to medium COVID risk and KN95 masks remain the hottest accessory of 2022
Just as everyone predicted, the end of mask mandates in Chicago has correlated with a rise in COVID-19 cases and Dr. Allison Arwady, the city’s health commissioner, strongly recommends that people start wearing masks again on the CTA and in public indoor places like restaurants and bars, Block Club reports. The city’s risk level officially moved from “low” to “medium” on Friday when the number of new cases over the past seven days rose to 195 per 100,000 people. But Arwady said masks won’t become mandatory again until the caseload crosses the “high” threshold, which is when more than 10 percent of new hospital admissions are COVID-related; currently it’s 4.2 percent.
We strongly urge people to mask up in public indoor settings and on public transportation.— Dr. Allison Arwady (@DrArwady) May 6, 2022
This shouldn’t stop anyone from going to work or school, or traveling on CTA buses and trains, but taking that precaution will help protect everyone. https://t.co/EHftgepNb8
LaGrange Starbucks workers vote against union
Workers at a Starbucks in suburban LaGrange became the first in the Chicago area to vote against unionizing, Crain’s reports. Organizers blamed five months of “coercive propaganda and intimidation” from Starbucks corporate headquarters. Six more elections are scheduled in Chicago and the suburbs before June 7. Meanwhile, Starbucks recently announced it was investing $1 billion in training, equipment upgrades, and, most crucially, pay bumps, but only for stores that aren’t unionized.
Future of Food summit draws more tech entrepreneurs to Chicago
Chicago, the convention capital of America (for now), is also the food logistics capital of America, home to 2,600 innovation tech startups, according to Axios, 11 of which have raised $111 million in the first quarter of 2022. So it makes sense that World Business Chicago, which in 2021 raised $9 billion to support some of these startups, will be hosting the Chicago Venture Future of Food summit May 25-26. Highlights include a pitch competition for new food and agriculture startups who are looking to cash in.
Wicker Park Farmer’s Market returns, with dog treats
It’s farmer’s market season again in Wicker Park. The local market kicks off this Saturday, May 15, at 8 a.m. in the neighborhood’s namesake park, Block Club reports. This year’s lineup will have 46 vendors, including Treats de Cuisine, a “farm to paw” pet bakery that opened earlier this spring. The market runs till 2 p.m. every Saturday through October 30.