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Nathan Allen leaves House Theatre of Chicago after nearly 20 years as leader

Nathan Allen, the founding artistic director of the House Theatre of Chicago and its principal public face and creative force for the last almost 20 years, is leaving his post.

“I am not going to stop making art,” Allen said, noting that money factored into his decision. “But I have two school-age kids and my wife is working a lot of overtime.”

As with many other theater companies, the pandemic has had an acute impact on House, a company founded by a group of college friends in 2000 and known for its innovative original theater, its interest in popular culture and its longstanding determination to attract millennials and Gen-Xers who do not typically attend theater. Allen, known for his exuberant curtain speeches (“let’s make some noise”) and his warm-centered personality, was a big part of that appeal, as was his work.

Unlike most non-profit theaters, House made an impressive 70%

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Documentary shows Obama years through photographer’s lens

Pete Souza served as the official White House photographer for a pair of two-term presidents, one a Republican hero, Ronald Reagan, and a Democratic hero: Barack Obama.

The son of Portuguese emigres, a nurse and a boat mechanic, Souza earned his master’s degree at Kansas State University and got his start in photojournalism at newspapers in Chanute and Hutchinson.

His lavish account of the Obama years, “Obama: An Intimate Portrait,” became a best-seller, and Souza followed it up with “Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents.” The new documentary “The Way I See It” grew out of those two books, and Souza’s subsequent tours and speaking engagements on the subject of the approximately 2 million photos he took during the Obama years.

The movie, which played at theaters in some cities, airs at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, on MSNBC.

Once Donald Trump took office, Souza says in the documentary, he

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President John Tyler’s grandson, Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr., dies 175 years after his grandfather left the White House

For many Americans, going two generations back takes them to World War II.



a group of people sitting at a table using a laptop: Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. signs his name on the inside of a desk drawer with other descendants of past presidents who gathered in Washington in August 2018.


© Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. signs his name on the inside of a desk drawer with other descendants of past presidents who gathered in Washington in August 2018.

For Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr., who died September 26, two generations stretched to a century earlier, when steam locomotives ruled the land and his grandfather was 10th president of the United States.

Tyler, 95, was the grandson of John Tyler, who served as president from 1841 to 1845.

He died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. A younger brother is among his survivors.

That someone in the 21st century could have a grandfather who knew Thomas Jefferson can be attributed to late-in-life paternity, second wives and longevity in his family: Three generations of Tyler men spanned an incredible 230 years.

While Tyler, a World

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Legendary Charlie Trotter’s sous chef Reggie Watkins, ‘backbone’ of kitchen for 25 years, dies at 64

For 25 years, Reginald Watkins was the backbone of one of the most famous kitchens in the world, the acclaimed Charlie Trotter’s in Lincoln Park. While a stunning roster of chefs passed through the restaurant throughout the years, Watkins remained a constant, working as the primary sous chef — and kitchen confidante for owner Charlie Trotter — until he left the restaurant in 2011, a year before it closed for good.



Charlie Trotter, Margalita Chakhnashvili posing for the camera: Chef Reginald Watkins, right, holds a sign honoring his former boss Charlie Trotter, center, during a ceremony naming a portion of Armitage Avenue as Honorary Charlie Trotter Way in August 2012.


© Chris Walker, Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Chef Reginald Watkins, right, holds a sign honoring his former boss Charlie Trotter, center, during a ceremony naming a portion of Armitage Avenue as Honorary Charlie Trotter Way in August 2012.

On Monday night, Watkins died at age 64, of unknown causes during a visit to the emergency room in his home city of Chicago, after having spent the last several years working and living in Louisiana.

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Following news of his

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Ruth Bancroft Garden Honors Curator’s 40 Years Of Service

WALNUT CREEK, CA — Forty years into his dream job, Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery curator Brian Kemble is never entirely alone in his head as he goes about planting, hybridizing, photographing, documenting and building databases. He is still channeling, on a daily basis, the lovely, cactus-crazed lady who inspired, then hired him, back in 1980.

Kemble, 75, is the designated keeper of the flame lit by the late Ruth Bancroft, who over the course of decades turned her 3.5-acre plot of land in Walnut Creek into a world-renowned showcase for the variety, hardiness and beauty of ornamental, drought-tolerant plants.

A couple of weeks ago, Kemble’s colleagues at the garden surprised him by drilling a plaque in his honor into a large boulder on the premises. He can’t tell you what it says, exactly, because he hasn’t actually read it yet. But he was both thrilled and, yet again, a

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Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nusery Honors Curator’s 40 Years Of Service

Forty years into his dream job, Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery curator Brian Kemble is never entirely alone in his head as he goes about planting, hybridizing, photographing, documenting and building databases. He is still channeling, on a daily basis, the lovely, cactus-crazed lady who inspired, then hired him, back in 1980.

Kemble, 75, is the designated keeper of the flame lit by the late Ruth Bancroft, who over the course of decades turned her 3.5-acre plot of land in Walnut Creek into a world-renowned showcase for the variety, hardiness and beauty of ornamental, drought-tolerant plants.

A couple of weeks ago, Kemble’s colleagues at the garden surprised him by drilling a plaque in his honor into a large boulder on the premises. He can’t tell you what it says, exactly, because he hasn’t actually read it yet. But he was both thrilled and, yet again, a bit flummoxed by the

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Tim Griffin to Depart The Kitchen After Nine Years as Director

Tim Griffin is leaving The Kitchen after nearly a decade as the director and chief curator of the experimental New York art space. During his tenure, Griffin continued and expanded the storied institution’s focus on interdisciplinarity and oversaw a program featuring Chantal Akerman, ANOHNI, Charles Atlas, Gretchen Bender, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Ralph Lemon, Aki Sasamoto, and Tyshawn Sorey, among others. His term also led to new initiatives including the hybrid talks series “The Kitchen L.A.B.” and electronic music series “Synth Nights.” Griffin—who began helming the nonprofit in 2011 after a seven-year run as the editor-in-chief of Artforum, where he is currently a contributing editor—will shift into an advisory role at The Kitchen by year’s end; he has accepted a visiting professorship in the art history and English departments at Ohio State University in Columbus, where his wife, Johanna Burton, directs The Wexner Center for the Arts.  

“I can’t imagine a

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House prices jump by most in four years amid COVID-19 buying boom

Estate agents property for sale boards on display outside a residential property in north London. Photo: Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA
Estate agents property for sale boards on display outside a residential property in north London. Photo: Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

UK house prices are surging at their fastest rate in four years, as pent-up demand post-lockdown and a temporary stamp duty cut fuel a buying boom.

Nationwide’s closely-watched House Price Index found prices jumped by 5% on an annual basis in September, the biggest increase since September 2016.

Prices grew by 0.9% between August and September. Both the annual growth figure and the month-on-month growth were ahead of City forecasts.

The average UK house price now stands at £226,129 ($288,167), Nationwide said.

Watch: Why house prices are rising despite COVID-19 and a recession in the UK

“The rebound reflects a number of factors,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist.

“Pent-up demand is coming through, with decisions taken to move before lockdown now progressing. The stamp duty holiday is

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In the Garden: Time to get garlic cloves in the ground for next year’s harvest

There are two foods that really make life worth living: chocolate and garlic. While I can’t grow my own chocolate, I certainly can cultivate garlic. It is really easy to grow, and the resulting crop enhances the flavors of so many savory dishes.

Fall is the time to plant garlic. You also can plant in the spring, but the resulting bulbs will be much smaller.

If you are a first-time grower, you’ll need to purchase “seed garlic” at your local garden center or from an online source. Seed garlic is another name for garlic bulbs, which are certified to be disease-free and are comprised of several individual cloves. Since each clove will grow into a large bulb containing many more cloves, you’ll get a great return on your initial investment. In subsequent years, use cloves from your previous harvest rather than having to buy more.

There are two types of

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This Year’s Best Halloween Decor, From Classic to Frightfully Over-the-Top

This Year’s Best Halloween Decor, From Classic to Frightfully Over-the-Top

Including lawn decor so good, it’s scary.

With the CDC advising against trick-or-treating, Halloween looks a little different this year. At-home celebrations have become even more important, and that means that Halloween decorations (along with all the Halloween-themed movies Netflix has to offer) are essential to helping us get into the spirit of the season. If you’re crafty, consider conjuring up your own DIY Halloween decorations, but for those who prefer not to tackle homemade projects, we’ve curated a list of the best Halloween decor you can order online. No matter if your style is subtle and sophisticated or full-on haunted house, we’ve found the indoor decor and yard decorations to set the scene.

Crate & Barrel

RELATED: No, Halloween Isn’t Canceled This Year—Here’s How to Celebrate Safely

Antique Glass Pumpkins

For a sophisticated spin on traditional pumpkins, order Terrain’s

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