WBEZ | Metropolis http://www.wbez.org/tags/metropolis Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en How Superman saved a small Illinois town http://www.wbez.org/news/how-superman-saved-small-illinois-town-107699 <p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid--7784882-42c0-b798-7e29-1a4ecbd48bcc"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/for%201%20block.jpg" style="height: 471px; width: 620px;" title="Superman fans stand to try to break the world record for most people dressed as Superman in Metropolis, Illinois. (Michele Longworth/Metropolis Planet)" />Today is the day many comic book fans have been waiting for. <em><a href="http://manofsteel.warnerbros.com/index.html">Man of Steel</a></em>, the latest Superman movie, opens in theaters across the country. Much of the film was shot in Chicago, a stand-in for the comic book&rsquo;s fictional Metropolis. But some folks in the real city of <a href="http://www.metropolistourism.com/">Metropolis, Illinois</a> may take issue with that.</p><p dir="ltr">For more than 40 years, the town at the southern tip of Illinois has been the official home of Superman. Every summer, 30,000 super fans converge on this small city along the Ohio River for the <a href="http://www.supermancelebration.net/">Superman Celebration</a>. Now in it&rsquo;s 35th year, they&rsquo;re all there for one reason: to celebrate the big guy in the blue tights and the red cape.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This is my third time here,&rdquo; says Steve Younis with a thick Aussie accent. &ldquo;I wish I could come every year but it&rsquo;s expensive to come from Australia every year.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Younis runs <a href="http://www.supermanhomepage.com/news.php">SupermanHomepage.com</a>, one of the largest Superman fan sites in the world, from his home in Sydney. But in Metropolis last week, Younis was just another fan.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Metropolis%20patch.JPG" style="float: right; height: 333px; width: 250px;" title="The emblem of the police department in Metropolis, Illinois, official home of Superman. (WBEZ/Michael Puente)" />Here, you can find Superman everywhere: On billboards, in drug stores, even on the badges of the Metropolis&rsquo; police force.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I just think everybody needs a hero. People always look for that; troubled times and people need some happiness in their lives and they escape with Superman,&rdquo; says actor Michael Rosenbaum. He played Lex Luthor in the TV series Smallville and was on hand for the celebration. &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s great.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">In reality, Metropolis is a lot more like Smallville than the big city in the comic books.</p><p dir="ltr">So, living in Metropolis &ndash; with Superman as a neighbor &ndash; &nbsp;has to be pretty exciting, right?</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s boring,&rdquo; says Eric Phillips, who&rsquo;s lived in Metropolis for the last seven years. &ldquo;Not a lot of action here. Superman almost got nothing to do. He sits around all day.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Actually, Superman stands around all day, with a clenched jaw, 16-feet high in front of the Massac County Courthouse.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;You can walk up here at the courthouse any day, and there&rsquo;s somebody taking a picture with the Superman statue,&rdquo; Phillips says.</p><p dir="ltr">Of course, Metropolis, Illinois was around long before Superman, which was founded in 1839 to be exact. At the time, the city&rsquo;s founders envisioned a large transportation hub that would develop into a major metropolis. But those illusions of grandeur never materialized. Factories closed, people moved away, and by the early 1970s, Metropolis was anything but.</p><p dir="ltr">That&rsquo;s when somebody suggested that Metropolis take advantage of its name and push to be Superman&rsquo;s official hometown. DC Comics signed off on the idea &ndash; and so did the Illinois legislature. Longtime resident Sue Barfield says the idea was kryptonite to some folks.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We had a lot of naysayers. When we had our first Superman statue at the square, we had a lot of people make a lot of fun of it,&rdquo; Barfield said.</p><p dir="ltr">Still, some credit Superman with saving this struggling town. Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel goes further than that.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We strive to operate our city as just what it says: truth, justice and the American way&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We try to raise our kids the same way: with integrity. How you treat your neighbor, how you treat other people is important in your life,&rdquo; McDaniel said. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t all agree on everything but I can tell you when something happens, you forget your differences and you try to help each other.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The journalist Michele Longworth backs that statement up.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Like in 2011, we had the worst flooding that Metropolis has seen in a long time. We had community members out sandbagging and pulling together. So, I think people really are super.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Longworth works for the the local newspaper called, of course, the<a href="http://www.metropolisplanet.com/"> Metropolis Planet.</a> The original name, the Metropolis News, was changed in 1972, the year the city became Superman&rsquo;s hometown.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;When we get phone calls, people always ask, &ldquo;Where&rsquo;s Clark, Where&rsquo;s Lois?&rdquo; We always say, They&rsquo;re on assignment,&rdquo; Longworth jokes.</p><p dir="ltr">Like her counterpart Lois Lane, Longworth says there are days when she could use Clark Kent&rsquo;s help.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Like the time I took the wrong turn trying to go take some pictures to cover a story and ended up in the middle of a cornfield with my Mustang,&rdquo; Longworth said. &ldquo;Sometimes I wish there were a real life Superman to come rescue me.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But there are those in Metropolis who say Superman could be doing more for the town than just standing around.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think there should be an amusement park. I think there should be a lot of developmental things,&rdquo; says resident Pam Turner, who was eating lunch at the local Rube&rsquo;s Diner. &ldquo;I think it would have been a gold mine for Metropolis, a lot better than a riverboat.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But according to city officials their hands are tied. They say DC Comics tightly controls anything having to do with the man with the &lsquo;S&rsquo; on his chest. On the other hand, Turner&rsquo;s mother, Loreen McGinnis, could hardly care less about Superman, the statue, or anything else. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll soon be 89-years-old and I&rsquo;ve been to it twice,&rdquo; McGinnis said. I went home and I &lsquo;ain&rsquo;t&rsquo; been back.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">McGinnis says with a riverboat casino in town, Superman&rsquo;s high ideals aren&rsquo;t doing much good anyway.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s Sin City,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I feel like our young people have too much of the devil&rsquo;s playground in Metropolis.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Sounds like a job for Superman.</p><p dir="ltr">But for now, residents have other things to worry about, like where to see the new movie. When &ldquo;Man of Steel&rdquo; opens today, folks in Metropolis will have to travel across the river to Paducah, Kentucky to watch it.</p><p dir="ltr">That&rsquo;s because the city&rsquo;s only movie theater closed decades ago. The last movie shown there?</p><p><em>Superman</em> starring Christopher Reeve.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ reporter Michael Puente on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews">@MikePuenteNews</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><object height="465" width="620"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157634123510406%2Fshow%2Fwith%2F9040164078%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157634123510406%2Fwith%2F9040164078%2F&amp;set_id=72157634123510406&amp;jump_to=9040164078" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157634123510406%2Fshow%2Fwith%2F9040164078%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157634123510406%2Fwith%2F9040164078%2F&amp;set_id=72157634123510406&amp;jump_to=9040164078" height="465" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620"></embed></object></p></p> Fri, 14 Jun 2013 07:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-superman-saved-small-illinois-town-107699 Daily Rehearsal: 'Miss-Cast' at Metropolis, tonight only http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-18/daily-rehearsal-miss-cast-metropolis-tonight-only-94175 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-18/showimage_misscast.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Early next week, Odradek Theatre Company</strong></span></span> will be holding auditions for <em>Paradise Park</em>, which will run in February. They're looking for a few men and women in the 20s and 30s, and then a few men and women in their 40s and 50s - excecpt that some actors can double up. Go <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/auditions/industrydetail.php?AuditionID=1563">here </a>for more.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. If you haven't <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-17/daily-rehearsal-good-wife-actually-comes-chicago-94149">gotten enough of Hershey Felder</a></strong></span></span>, he was interviewed on the <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/talk/interior.php?podshowID=344">most recent Talk Theatre</a> podcast with Tom Williams.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. This is the next best thing to working at Medieval Times</strong></span></span>. Caton Enterprises goes into middle schools and presents "classic culture and literature assemblies" and <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/auditions/industrydetail.php?AuditionID=1559">you could be one of them</a> (if you're a male and want to be part of<em> Medieval Knights</em>. Actors "should have stage combat skills, regal demeanor, experience with presenting for students." Auditions are at Emerald City on Tuesday from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-18/showimage_misscast.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 250px; height: 250px;" title="The cast of Miss-Cast"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Another person has <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-15/daily-rehearsal-offensive-comments-about-not-vulgar-enough-musical-">complained </a>about the "<a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/street-tempo-theatres-let-my-people-come/Content?oid=5007119">prudish</a>"</strong></span></span> nature of <em>Let My People Come!</em>. Either we've got a lot of oversexed critics 'round these parts, or this show really isn't very good. Justin Hayford says that Brian Posen's production is "straitlaced" compared to the 1974 original, containing&nbsp;"exactly one second of nudity."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Tonight and tonight only! See <a href="http://www.metropolisarts.com/index.php/fuseaction/show.details/showid/274/misscast.html"><em>Miss-Cast</em></a></strong></span></span> at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, a cabaret-style show with&nbsp;Laura Freeman, Denise McGowan, Beckie Menzie and Marianne Murphy Orland. They'll be singing things like “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Big Girls Don't Cry”, which aren't exactly all Broadway, so get it while you can.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Fri, 18 Nov 2011 15:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-18/daily-rehearsal-miss-cast-metropolis-tonight-only-94175 Daily Rehearsal: 'The Great Fire' burns Chicago again http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-26/daily-rehearsal-great-fire-burns-chicago-again-92456 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-26/GreatFire_602x262_080811.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-26/GreatFire_602x262_080811.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 350px; height: 152px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. What you might not know about Lookingglass</strong></span></span>' <a href="http://www.lookingglasstheatre.org/content/box_office/the_great_fire"><em>The Great Fire</em></a>, currently in previews, is that part of the set is this super cool bookshelf that kind of has a life of it's own, and is BURNING UP the place (no, it's not, that's a terrible, terrible pun). This bookshelf, a feat of engineering by set and prop designers John Dalton and Joel Lambie, does some stuff normal bookshelves might not do, but it's also causing a bit of a headache for the crew. See it to believe it, I'm not giving it all away.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. David Cromer has officially <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/theaterloop/chi-cromer-is-coming-back-to-chicago-for-rent-20110923,0,156142.column">signed on to direct <em>Rent</em></a></strong></span></span>, except you have a long while to wait; the production doesn't open until June, which for uber-<em>Rent </em>fans, is basically 525,600 minutes aka, a long time.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. <em>Chicago Live!</em> has a brand-new season</strong></span></span> for ya, which includes highlights like the Human Rhythm Project in November, and the co-founder of <em>Louder Than A Bomb</em> Kevin Coval. The fall season runs for six weeks, and starts October 13.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Brinkenbrak's got <em><a href="http://www.brikenbrak.org/alive.html">Alive </a>coming </em>in October</strong></span></span>, and I'm going to be real, I don't know much else about it, save that their website looks pretty scary. When the casting call went out, Brikenbrak was looking for a few people to join them "for this unique, immersive Halloween experience." And, it's a very intimate -- the theater holds only 10 people -- so maybe bring a date and cozy up while you're frightened out of your mind?</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-26/theandrewsbrothers.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 156px;" title="Matt Edmonds, James Nedrud and Patrick Tierney as the Andrews Brothers"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Head to Arlington Heights to see <a href="http://www.metropolisarts.com/index.php/fuseaction/show.details/showid/242/the-andrews-brothers.html">The Andrews Brothers</a></strong></span></span> perform at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. These "brothers" take one part mid-century crossdressing and another part "the show must go on" mentality for this, I guess you could say zany?, show. "Deemed unfit for military service but desperate to help in the war effort, Lawrence, Patrick and Max Andrews decide to be stage hands for the USO show at Fort Kittylock, hoping to one day perform themselves," says the press release. "They’re all set to run the lights and move scenery for the big Andrews Sisters’ show when they get word that the Sisters have caught the chicken pox and won’t be performing. Not wanting to let their soldiers down, the Brothers squeeze into nylons, throw on wigs and give those boys a show they won’t soon forget."</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2011 14:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-26/daily-rehearsal-great-fire-burns-chicago-again-92456