WBEZ | Portage Theater http://www.wbez.org/tags/portage-theater Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Can a closed movie palace define a sense of place? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/can-closed-movie-palace-define-sense-place-108990 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/PORTAGE-1.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>I&rsquo;m standing in front of the shuttered 1,300-seat Portage Park Theater. It opened in 1920, back during the silent film era. Its cream-colored terra cotta tiles and giant marquee can can be seen up and down the street. But it&rsquo;s been shuttered since May when its owner Eddie Carranza closed the building. That move displaced art shows, second-run movies<br />and a winter farmers&rsquo; market, all the kinds of things that make up the essence of a community anchor, according to David Perry, professor of urban planning and policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Most people would suggest that anchor institutions are things that if<br />they leave, diminish the place immensely,&rdquo; Perry said. &ldquo;So the question is,<br />the&nbsp; Portage Park Theater, with its physicality, with its place, is this still Portage Park?&rdquo;</p><p>Well, it depends who you ask. Several groups that used the theater have moved on. The Northwest Chicago Film Society now shows its movies at the Patio Theatre about two miles away. The Silent Film Society took its annual festival to Des Plaines.<br />And there&rsquo;s no word yet on whether there will be a winter farmers&rsquo; market in the theater lobby, or anywhere in Portage Park.</p><p>With all of these institutions gone, some are rethinking what makes a community anchor, and if one&rsquo;s even needed anymore.</p><p>&ldquo;My philosophy is you don&rsquo;t put your eggs in one basket from an economic development<br />standpoint,&rdquo; said 45th Ward Ald. John Arena. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t just rely on one thing to be the thing to sustain you and that sustains you and sustains your foot traffic.&rdquo;</p><p>He&rsquo;d like to see the Portage to reopen. But Arena thinks we&rsquo;ve moved beyond the idea<br />of any single place being an anchor. Instead Arena is working to fill vacancies with several businesses including Chipotle and a Jimmy John&rsquo;s.</p><p>&ldquo;Because the market is too unpredictable,&rdquo; Arena explained. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t know how long the theater is going to be sustainable. And if one show doesn&rsquo;t produce, does that close the theater? Who knows?&rdquo;</p><p>But UIC Professor David Perry disagrees.</p><p>&ldquo;If they are place-based, I would simply say they have the potential to be an anchor,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;If they&rsquo;re simply profit-based, and they could change tomorrow and change again tomorrow, (it) is probably something that (I) would advise against.&rdquo;</p><p>He pointed to another anchor, the 70-year-old Sears celebrating its anniversary a block away. Perry noted that the giant retailer wasn&rsquo;t enough to retain other business along the street.</p><p>But Perry said all the empty storefronts aren&rsquo;t necessarily a bad thing. He sees opportunity in all these vacancies the alderman is trying to fill. The Filament Theatre Ensemble opened right across from the Portage. And that&rsquo;ll keep the sense of place alive, he said.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the reasons Chicago works even better than San Francisco or New York is that it&rsquo;s got neighborhoods like this where community theater can move into,&rdquo; Perry said.. &ldquo;Place matters in all sorts of different ways.&rdquo;</p><p>A few blocks away, at the Portage Park Farmer&rsquo;s Market, Todd Crnovich ducked the raindrops as he wandered among the stands. He bought honey from the same vendor he sought out during the winter, when the market moved into the Portage Theater lobby. Crnovich was OK with the alderman&#39;s plans to bring in some chain restaurants.</p><p>&ldquo;So I&rsquo;m not explaining to my kids, &lsquo;That&rsquo;s daddy&rsquo;s old comic shop, that&rsquo;s where daddy saw movies before he went home.&rsquo; I&rsquo;d like to be able to take my kid to a nice restaurant over there and take a walk with her and experience Portage Park,&rdquo; Crnovich said &ldquo;But that whole strip &hellip; it&rsquo;s nothing but memories.&rdquo;</p><p>Crnovich also would like to see the Portage reopen as a movie theater. But there are reports that a new tenant would use the venue for concerts. Owner Eddie Carranza couldn&rsquo;t be reached for comment. The&nbsp; theater website claims: &ldquo;movie and music theater operator coming soon.&rdquo;</p><p>Crnovich has mixed emotions about that possibility. He has fond memories of going to shows himself as a teen. But as a 38-year-old father, today he sees things a little differently.</p><p>&ldquo;Sure it&rsquo;ll bring money to the community,&rdquo; Crnovich said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;ll also bring what comes with concerts and venues like that. Kids acting goofy. Learning how to be adults and doing stupid things. Do I want that in my neighborhood? Of course not.&rdquo;</p><p>The future of the Portage Theater is still in question. It has landmark status, and is largely protected against demolition. And after more than 90 years here, Professor Perry said it&rsquo;ll continue to define the sense of place here in the neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;But it (the area) needs more than a Chipotle and a Jimmy Johns. In a very real sense it&rsquo;s going to require a substantial number of stores, &ldquo; Perry said. &ldquo;In the sense that Sears is an anchor of a mall, Portage Park Theater could be an anchor of the street. It could be.&rdquo;</p><p>How likely that is could depend on the Portage Theater owner, who&rsquo;s been coy about his plans.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Follow WBEZ Host &amp; Producer Yolanda Perdomo on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews">@yolandanews</a>.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 23 Oct 2013 10:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/can-closed-movie-palace-define-sense-place-108990 The sound of silents http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/sound-silents-108269 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/silent organist2_130802_yp.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Silent Summer Film Festival is underway and showing cinematic classics.</p><p>Along with seeing stars like Rudolph Valentino, one of the pleasures of the show is watching organists including Jay Warren take a seat behind the huge theater organ.&nbsp; Warren&rsquo;s been performing the soundtrack to silent films for three decades in the Chicago region.</p><p>The festival, which runs every Friday through Aug. 23, has a new home this year at the Des Plaines Theatre. The organizers moved the festival after the new owner of the Portage Theater <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-05/portage-theater-didn%E2%80%99t-have-close-it-did-107368">unexpectedly closed the doors</a>.</p><p>Jay Warren is the stage name for Dennis Wolkowicz.</p><p>WARREN: The silent cinema appealed to me as a young boy. We discovered Laurel &amp; Hardy and Buster Keaton and all the pies in the face and Keystone Cops, etc. One day I&nbsp; happened to discover a full length film, Battleship Potemkin, and I realized this was anything but slapstick.</p><p>Warren said he got hooked on silent cinema by the power and the gravity of the subject matter.</p><p>WARREN: I think I initially became fascinated by the fact that this is something from another era, which was long before when I was around ...</p><p>To learn how Warren prepares to perform, and to listen to him play (including theme music for the bad guy!), check out the audio above.</p><p><em>Yolanda Perdomo is a host and producer at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews">@yolandanews</a></em></p></p> Fri, 02 Aug 2013 08:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/sound-silents-108269 Community groups scramble after Portage Theater closes http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-05/community-groups-scramble-after-portage-theater-closes-107425 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/1513199400_5c3d405ff8_o.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Built in 1920, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portage_Theater">The Portage Theater</a> is one of Chicago&rsquo;s cinematic treasures.</p><p dir="ltr">Literally, the building&rsquo;s facade and interior space is landmarked.</p><p dir="ltr">But since a renovation in 2006, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/PortageTheater">the Portage </a>has developed a stellar reputation for its eclectic screenings of classic, silent, and horror movies, many of which are rare and/or can only be found on film.</p><p dir="ltr">That speaks to the partnerships the Portage has formed with a number of local film societies. &nbsp;And that&rsquo;s why so many local film buffs were left in the lurch when the Portage abruptly shut down recently.</p><p dir="ltr">But the closing has had a big impact on other community groups as well.</p><p dir="ltr">Today I talked with Mark Goles, who has been the volunteer assistant manager at the Portage for the past four years.</p><p dir="ltr">His job these days is finding new venues for all the groups, from schools to dance troupes, who were displaced when new owner (since late last year) Eddie Carranza shut things down.</p><p dir="ltr">Now the Portage&rsquo;s commitment to being a community resource goes way back as well. &nbsp;The theater is an anchor of the &ldquo;six corners&rdquo; business district on Chicago&rsquo;s northwest side. Gaper&rsquo;s Block has a great summary of some of the theater&rsquo;s key moments<a href="http://gapersblock.com/ac/2012/04/19/celluloid-graft-puppies-the-abbreviated-portage-theater-story/"> here</a>, including its stint selling war bonds and raffling puppies.</p><p dir="ltr">These days, Goles says they do graduations, weddings and birthday parties. Here&rsquo;s a short list of some of the other events/organizations that are searching for new space.</p><p dir="ltr">1. The Portage has been home to a number of dance troupes, including <a href="http://www.ricodancestudio.com/">Rico Music and Dance.</a> Rico was supposed to do a second performance of their &ldquo;Voice of a Child&rdquo; gospel play this Sunday (the first one sold out). &nbsp;Goles said he found them a new venue at <a href="http://www.schurzhs.org/">Schurz High School.</a></p><p dir="ltr">2. <a href="http://williampgrayschool.schoolfusion.us/">William P. Gray Elementary School.</a> The school has held its 8th grade graduation at The Portage for the past 5 years. A school official said they&rsquo;ve decided to use their own auditorium this year, though it isn&rsquo;t big enough. But there was no time to find another location.</p><p dir="ltr">3. <a href="http://6cornersbbqfest.com/?page_id=3494">6 Corners BBQ Fest</a> Like any other neighborhood, Portage Park has its share of summer festivals. The Portage participated with screenings and a wrestling event put together by Goles (who previously brought WWF champion CM Punk to the Portage!). Goles says he&rsquo;s looking for another venue.</p><p dir="ltr">4. <a href="http://spookshowentertainment.com/">Spook Show Entertainment</a> produced the Laugh or Die comedy festival, The Prairie State Film Festival and the Chicago Horror Film Festival. They&rsquo;re still in search of a new venue.</p><p dir="ltr">5. <a href="http://cfaff.org/">The Chicago Filipino American Film Festival </a>was booked at the Portage. No new location has been announced.</p><p dir="ltr">6. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/PortageTheater">Northwest Chicago Film Society</a>, the <a href="http://www.silentfilmchicago.com/">Silent Film Society</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/PortageMonsterShows">Monster John&rsquo;s Monster Shows</a>, and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/terrorintheaisles">Terror in the Aisles</a> all had regular programs at The Portage. Northwest found alternative venues for some of their immediate screenings; but are still looking for a long-term solution. Meanwhile Goles says the annual Silent Summer Film Festival, which typically runs July through August, is still looking for a space.</p><p>If you know of other community groups looking for space - or who&rsquo;ve found a home - please let me know!</p><p><b id="docs-internal-guid-60f38713-f355-8b5d-d001-758cfbfed1e0" style="font-weight:normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter. Follow her</span><a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">@wbezacuddy</span></a><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">, on</span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Facebook</span></a><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> and on</span><a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Instagram.</span></a></b></p></p> Wed, 29 May 2013 21:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-05/community-groups-scramble-after-portage-theater-closes-107425 Congress Theater gets another pass from the city http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-05/congress-theater-gets-another-pass-city-107101 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/congress_flickr_nickis.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="DJ Bassnectar at the Congress Theater in Chicago on April 14, 2012. (Flickr/Nicki Spunar)" />In his third appearance in Cook County Circuit Court Thursday facing a long list of building, health, and fire code violations at the 87-year-old Congress Theater, controversial venue owner Erineo &ldquo;Eddie&rdquo; Carranza once again was given the &ldquo;all&rsquo;s clear&rdquo; to continue operating.</div><p>During the court appearance, which lasted less than five minutes, attorneys for the city and Carranza updated Judge James McGing on building renovations, including the removal of obstructions from passageways in the corridors and installation of back-up lighting on the upper floors. Another inspection was scheduled for May 22, with another court date the following day.</p><p>Judy Frydland, the deputy corporation counsel who is the city&rsquo;s top building code enforcement official and the attorney prosecuting the case, said that there is a &ldquo;small show&rdquo; tomorrow night (the <a href="http://venue.congresschicago.com/event/256667-electric-circus-chicago/">Electric Circus</a> DJ event), but nothing else is scheduled past that date.&nbsp;This, however, contradicts the theater&rsquo;s list of upcoming concerts advertised <a href="http://venue.congresschicago.com/">on its own website</a>.</p><p>Carranza&rsquo;s lawyer said he wants a &ldquo;short court date&rdquo; for May 23, because they only have a few &ldquo;minor&rdquo; repairs to go and then they&rsquo;ll be &ldquo;ready to rock and roll,&rdquo; reopening the upper floors and restoring the capacity to one of the largest music venues in the city.</p><p>Thursday&rsquo;s quick hearing comes as no surprise, since <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-04/city-wants-congress-theater-shut-down-immediately-106698">after filing a lawsuit on April 12</a> seeking the immediate closure of the Congress based on a harrowing, 26-item, literally A-to-Z list of &ldquo;dangerous and hazardous&rdquo; building, health, and fire code violations, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-04/congress-theater-allowed-remain-open-next-inspection-scheduled-106799">the city flip-flopped a mere 10 days later</a> and declared that the main floor of the venue could remain open, though the second and third floors have been shut since January, and capacity is reduced from over 5,000 to 3,000.</p><p>Frydland <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-05/congress-theater-safe-or-not-106931">told this blog on May 1</a> that the city &ldquo;tries to work with&rdquo; venues like the Congress because, &ldquo;Theaters are like churches&hellip; They&rsquo;re also older buildings with large assemblies.&rdquo; Of course, crowds dense with 18-year-olds&mdash;some of them over-served with alcohol or high on drugs, according to testimony before the Liquor Commission&mdash;generally do not dance the night away in most churches.</p><p>As Chuck Sudo <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2013/04/23/congress_theater_gets_another_repri.php">wrote on Chicagoist on April 23</a>, &ldquo;Carranza has nine lives, a genie who granted him three wishes, a lucky rabbit&rsquo;s foot, a backyard full of four-leaf clovers, and a horseshoe planted firmly up his ass.&rdquo; Well, we now can assume that there also is a rainbow hovering over his Logan Square theater, as well as a stash of wishbones in its basement.</p><p>Carranza may not be so lucky on other fronts, however. While the latest <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-05/congress-theater%E2%80%99s-neighbor-%E2%80%98sometimes-i-feel-i%E2%80%99m-monitoring-fifth-0">Deleterious Impact/Public Nuisance hearing Tuesday</a> found the Department of Business Affairs cautiously optimistic about progress, the owner is awaiting a ruling about whether the Congress can keep its liquor license, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-04/congress-theater-defends-itself-liquor-commission-106912">following three hearings before the Liquor Commission</a> that included testimony about fights, drug activity, and security&rsquo;s mistreatment of concertgoers.</p><p>The venue owner also may be stymied in his plans to bring more music to another vintage theater at Six Corners on the Northwest Side, the Portage, which he purchased last September, two months before his bank filed a $4 million foreclosure suit (since settled) against the Congress.</p><p>On Wednesday, the City Council granted the Portage Theater landmark status, which could frustrate Carranza&rsquo;s plans for the venue to host live music as well as movies. Ald. John Arena (45<sup>th</sup>) has expressed extreme skepticism about Carranza and live music at the venue, and he praised the landmark designation <a href="https://www.facebook.com/john.arena.14/posts/10151757978018888">on his Facebook page</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;May the light from the projection booth shine long and bright for generations to come,&rdquo; Arena wrote.</p><p><strong><u>Earlier reports about Carranza, the Congress and the Portage theaters:</u></strong></p><p><br /><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-05/congress-theater%E2%80%99s-neighbor-%E2%80%98sometimes-i-feel-i%E2%80%99m-monitoring-fifth-0">May 7: Congress Theater&rsquo;s neighbor: &lsquo;Sometimes I feel like I&rsquo;m monitoring a fifth-grader running the venue&rsquo;</a> (By Leah Pickett and Jim DeRogatis)</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-05/congress-theater-safe-or-not-106931">May 1: Is the Congress Theater safe or not?</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-04/congress-theater-defends-itself-liquor-commission-106912">April 30: Congress Theater defends itself before the Liquor Commission</a> (By Leah Pickett and Jim DeRogatis)</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-04/congress-theater-allowed-remain-open-next-inspection-scheduled-106799">April 23: Congress Theater allowed to remain open, next inspection scheduled</a> (Alison Cuddy reporting)</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-04/city-wants-congress-theater-shut-down-immediately-106698">April 17: City wants the Congress shut down immediately</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/chicago-police-official-congress-theater-untruthful-night-underage">March 27: Chicago police official: Congress Theater &lsquo;untruthful&rsquo; on night of underage drinking</a> (Leah Pickett reporting)</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/fate-portage-theater-remains-mystery-105970">March 8: The fate of the Portage remains a messy mystery</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/congress-theater-liquor-hearing-rescheduled-105941">March 6: Congress Theater hearing rescheduled</a> (Robin Amer reporting)</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-02/congress-theater-restoration-underway-it%E2%80%99s-got-long-way-go-105685">Feb. 22: Congress Theater restoration underway, but it&rsquo;s got a long way to go</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-01/congress-theater-liquor-hearings-begin-undercover-cops-testimony-104950">Jan. 16: Congress Theater liquor hearings begin with undercover cop&rsquo;s testimony</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-12/rally-save-portage-theater-we-know-it-104169">Dec. 3, 2012: A rally to save the Portage Theater &lsquo;as we know it&rsquo;</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-11/congress-theater-defaults-4-million-loan-104101">Nov. 29, 2012: Congress Theater defaults on $4 million loan</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-11/portage-theater-uses-graham-elliot%E2%80%99s-name-vain-104089">Nov. 28, 2012: The Portage Theater uses Graham Elliot&rsquo;s name in vain</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-11/congress-theaters-new-security-chief-ex-cop-troubled-past-103611">Nov. 2, 2012: Congress Theater&rsquo;s new security chief: An ex-cop with a troubled past</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-10/congress-theater-police-calls-rank-soldier-field-united-center-103569">Oct. 31, 2012: Congress Theater police calls rank with Soldier Field, United Center</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/how-did-things-turn-so-bad-so-fast-portage-theater-102606">Sept. 23, 2012: How did things turn so bad so fast at the Portage Theater?</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/new-owner-portage-theater-moves-evict-current-operators-102602">Sept. 22, 2012: New Owner of the Portage Theater moves to evict current operators</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/congress-theater-splits-development-partner-102451">Sept. 16, 2012: Congress Theater splits with development partner</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/portage-theater-what%E2%80%99s-eddie-102350">Sept. 11, 2012: The Portage Theater: What&rsquo;s Eddie up to?</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/congress-theater-partners-up%E2%80%A6-and-looks-expand-101199">July 26, 2012: Congress Theater partners up&hellip; and looks to expand</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/culture/art/chicago-officials-scrutinize-public-safety-other-neighborhood-concerns-congress-theater">April 18, 2012: Chicago officials scrutinize public safety, other neighborhood concerns at Congress Theater</a> (Robin Amer reporting)</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/more-trouble-congress-theater-98249">April 14, 2012: More trouble at the Congress Theater</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-28/critical-congress-security-headliner-brings-his-own-97696">March 28, 2012: Critical of Congress security, headliner brings his own</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-25/congress-theater-responds-complaints-97597">March 25, 2012: Congress Theater responds to complaints</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-22/city-congress-theater-clean-your-act-97549">March 22, 2012: City to Congress Theater: Clean up your act!</a></p></p> Thu, 09 May 2013 12:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-05/congress-theater-gets-another-pass-city-107101 Congress Theater restoration underway, but it’s got a long way to go http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-02/congress-theater-restoration-underway-it%E2%80%99s-got-long-way-go-105685 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/congress theater_Bey.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Following in its tradition of surprisingly gullible and shortsighted reporting on Chicago&rsquo;s most troubled music venue, DNAinfo.com declared in a headline yesterday that &ldquo;<a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130221/logan-square/congress-theater-owner-wants-restore-it-its-1920s-glory">Congress Theater Owner Wants Venue Restored to Its 1920s Glory</a>,&rdquo; adding in the lede of the story: &ldquo;The days may be numbered for anyone who loves to complain about the dismal bathrooms.&rdquo;</p><p>Well, controversial venue owner Erineo &ldquo;Eddie&rdquo; Carranza may indeed want the historic theater restored to its prime. But as is made clear in the city Building Department&rsquo;s ongoing legal proceedings against him, which cite a daunting list of 37 violations, he&rsquo;s got a long way to go to get there.</p><p>In fact, city inspectors recently ordered the Congress closed to the public for eight days, from Jan. 31 to Feb. 7, because of the lack of quick-release &ldquo;panic bars&rdquo; on exit doors&mdash;a situation that proved fatal during the notorious stampede at the E2 Nightclub in 2003.</p><p>Furthermore, the violations on the upper levels of the building have resulted in the second and third floors being sealed off to concertgoers. The only exception is that patrons are allowed access to the second-floor bathroom&mdash;the dismal state of which remains open to debate.</p><p>Carranza and the Congress are doing battle with the city on three fronts, any one of which could result in shuttering the venue. Hearings before the Liquor Commission could result in the loss of the theater&rsquo;s liquor license; the next session takes place on March 5. Hearings on the building code violations, which are being prosecuted by an attorney from the Law Department&rsquo;s Drug and Gang House Enforcement Section, opened on Jan. 31 and resume on May 9. Finally, there are the much-publicized Deleterious Impact/Public Nuisance proceedings, which resume on May 7, and which prompted the other two, potentially more serious lawsuits.</p><p>While DNAinfo reporter Victoria Johnson cheerfully quotes Carranza&rsquo;s optimistic promises for a spiffy Congress development that will include a community center, a premium bar, a café, a restaurant, an ice cream shop, a grocery store and a second, smaller nightclub, and her photographs show a fresh coat of paint being applied here and there, the substance of the 37 building code violations or the recent closures at the venue are not addressed.</p><p>&ldquo;There are serious problems at the Congress,&rdquo; a city official told this blog. &ldquo;While the owner seems intent on remedying them, it is going to take a ton of money just to bring the building up to code.&rdquo;</p><p>Lighting repairs alone top $100,000, the official added. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s just the tip of the iceberg.&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, Carranza has had no further word on the mysterious corporate partner and savior he promised <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20121217/logan-square/partnership-works-for-congress-portage-theaters">DNAinfo</a> in early January. As this blog earlier reported, representatives of the monopolistic national concert giant Live Nation met early in the new year with city officials and discussed an interest in leasing and operating both the Congress and the Portage theaters, though there has been no action in that regard in the last seven weeks.</p><p>Live Nation has so far declined to respond to requests for comment today and in mid-January.</p><p><strong><u>Earlier reports about Carranza, the Congress and the Portage:</u></strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-01/congress-theater-liquor-hearings-begin-undercover-cops-testimony-104950">Jan. 16: Congress Theater liquor hearings begin with undercover cop&rsquo;s testimony</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-12/rally-save-portage-theater-we-know-it-104169">Dec. 3, 2012: A rally to save the Portage Theater &lsquo;as we know it&rsquo;</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-11/portage-theater-uses-graham-elliot%E2%80%99s-name-vain-104089">Nov. 28, 2012: The Portage Theater uses Graham Elliot&rsquo;s name in vain</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-11/congress-theaters-new-security-chief-ex-cop-troubled-past-103611">Nov. 2, 2012: Congress Theater&rsquo;s new security chief: An ex-cop with a troubled past</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-10/congress-theater-police-calls-rank-soldier-field-united-center-103569">Oct. 31, 2012: Congress Theater police calls rank with Soldier Field, United Center</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/how-did-things-turn-so-bad-so-fast-portage-theater-102606">Sept. 23, 2012: How did things turn so bad so fast at the Portage Theater?</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/new-owner-portage-theater-moves-evict-current-operators-102602">Sept. 22, 2012: New Owner of the Portage Theater moves to evict current operators</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/congress-theater-splits-development-partner-102451">Sept. 16, 2012: Congress Theater splits with development partner</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/portage-theater-what%E2%80%99s-eddie-102350">Sept. 11, 2012: The Portage Theater: What&rsquo;s Eddie up to?</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/congress-theater-partners-up%E2%80%A6-and-looks-expand-101199">July 26, 2012: Congress Theater partners up&hellip; and looks to expand</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/more-trouble-congress-theater-98249">April 14, 2012: More trouble at the Congress Theater</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-28/critical-congress-security-headliner-brings-his-own-97696">March 28, 2012: Critical of Congress security, headliner brings his own</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-25/congress-theater-responds-complaints-97597">March 25, 2012: Congress Theater responds to complaints</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-22/city-congress-theater-clean-your-act-97549">March 22, 2012: City to Congress Theater: Clean up your act!</a></p></p> Fri, 22 Feb 2013 12:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-02/congress-theater-restoration-underway-it%E2%80%99s-got-long-way-go-105685 Congress Theater defaults on $4 million loan http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-11/congress-theater-defaults-4-million-loan-104101 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><strong><u>UPDATED 11:30 a.m. with comment from Eddie Carranza</u></strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Even as controversial venue owner Erineo &ldquo;Eddie&rdquo; Carranza is trying to evict the current operators of the Portage Theater for back payment of $103,000 in rent &mdash; and on the same day he filed a $260,000 lawsuit against former development partner Phil Tadros for breach of contract &mdash; the bank that holds his mortgage <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/114896207" target="_blank">filed a lawsuit</a> in U.S. District Court stating that he has defaulted on a $4 million loan and is moving to foreclose on the embattled Congress Theater.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/carranza_1.jpg" style="height: 458px; width: 280px; float: right;" title="Eddie Carranza (Andrew Gill/WBEZ)" />Filed yesterday by the Chicago firm of Adelman &amp; Gettleman on behalf of Delaware-based PNC Bank, the lawsuit claims that Carranza has defaulted on repayment of $4 million he borrowed in August 2007 and secured with a mortgage on the historic Congress Theater. The bank has been seeking repayment of the loan since August 2011.</div><p>In addition to payment of its legal fees, PNC Bank is seeking &ldquo;an order for the appointment of a receiver, a judgment of foreclosure on the mortgage and sale of the subject property for payment of its lien and costs&hellip; and such other and further relief as the court deems just.&rdquo;</p><p>Also named in the 58-page lawsuit is the City of Chicago, though it is not clear why. (Legal experts say the city may have a lien on the property and PNC is seeking to terminate the lien.)</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s an insurance placement issue, it has nothing to do with non-payment on the loan,&rdquo; Carranza&rsquo;s attorney Thomas Raines said in an email when asked about the foreclosure lawsuit this morning. &ldquo;It will be straightened out in a week.&rdquo;</p><p>Three letters that PNC&rsquo;s attorneys sent to Carranza between August 2011 and September 2012 about defaulting on the loan make no mention of insurance. The letters are attached as an exhibit in the lawsuit.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t have authorization to comment at this time,&rdquo; said Attorney Brad Berish, who filed the suit for Adelman &amp; Gettleman on behalf of PNC. &ldquo;If that changes, I will get back to you.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Carranza has been fighting the city in a battle on two fronts over issues at the Logan Square theater. At the same time, he recently closed on purchase of the Portage Theater at Six Corners for a price close to $3 million.</div><p><br />The next Deleterious Impact/Public Nuisance hearing on complaints against the Congress ranging from noise to the number of police calls to unsafe conditions for concertgoers is scheduled for May 7.</p><p>The next hearing for complaints before the Liquor Commission is set for Jan. 15.<sup> </sup></p><p>The commission has not responded to a Freedom of Information Act request for the specifics of the complaints against the venue in those proceedings.</p><p><u><strong>UPDATED 11:30 a.m.</strong></u></p><p>Carranza has posted the following to the <a href="http://chicago.everyblock.com/announcements/nov26-a-message-from-congress-portage-management-team-5553489/">EveryBlock discussion about the Portage Theater</a>:</p><blockquote><p>Jim,</p><p>Here you go again trying to start false rumors, Like the one yesterday about me buying Logan Theater and me not having meetings at Portage Park with Graham Elliot. I tried hard to bring in Elliot&#39;s his brand to Portage Park, for now it&#39;s not his market. I&#39;m aiming high because I do believe 6 corners can be great again like the good old days full of life. The entrepreneur restaurateur operators I&#39;m targeting are the best in the business. Please show support and I will continue working hard for the community to rebuild 6 corners together.</p><p>Jim, now you start rumors about me being foreclosed on Congress?<br />Farthest thing from the truth. I have a perfect monthly payment history<br />with PNC bank. You can call and find out for yourself.</p><p>The issue I have with PNC is over an insurance policy issue, which will be taken<br />care of in the next week. I will post the insurance issue resolved on this post next week.</p><p>I&#39;ve have offers from music corporations offering me 5 times more<br />then I owe, why would I lose it to a foreclosure. You sound desperate.</p><p>Again, it&#39;s an insurance placement issue, it has nothing to do with non-payment on the loan (although I&#39;m sure you wish it did!). It will be straightened out in a week.</p><p>Just a thought Jim, if you directed some of the energy and diligence you expend digging into my every move and happenings on something worthwhile, you could become a productive member of society.</p><p>-- Eddie Carranza</p></blockquote><p><u><strong>Earlier reports about Carranza, the Congress and the Portage:</strong></u></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-11/portage-theater-uses-graham-elliot%E2%80%99s-name-vain-104089">Nov. 28: The Portage Theater uses Graham Elliot&rsquo;s name in vain</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-11/congress-theaters-new-security-chief-ex-cop-troubled-past-103611">Nov. 2: Congress Theater&rsquo;s new security chief: An ex-cop with a troubled past</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-10/congress-theater-police-calls-rank-soldier-field-united-center-103569">Oct. 31: Congress Theater police calls rank with Soldier Field, United Center</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/how-did-things-turn-so-bad-so-fast-portage-theater-102606">Sept. 23: How did things turn so bad so fast at the Portage Theater?</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/new-owner-portage-theater-moves-evict-current-operators-102602">Sept. 22: New Owner of the Portage Theater moves to evict current operators</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/congress-theater-splits-development-partner-102451">Sept. 16: Congress Theater splits with development partner</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/portage-theater-what%E2%80%99s-eddie-102350">Sept. 11: The Portage Theater: What&rsquo;s Eddie up to?</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/congress-theater-partners-up%E2%80%A6-and-looks-expand-101199">July 26: Congress Theater partners up&hellip; and looks to expand</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/more-trouble-congress-theater-98249">April 14: More trouble at the Congress Theater</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-28/critical-congress-security-headliner-brings-his-own-97696">March 28: Critical of Congress security, headliner brings his own</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-25/congress-theater-responds-complaints-97597">March 25: Congress Theater responds to complaints</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-22/city-congress-theater-clean-your-act-97549">March 22: City to Congress Theater: Clean up your act!</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/114896207/Congress-Foreclosure-Lawsuit" style="margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block; text-decoration: underline;" title="View Congress Foreclosure Lawsuit on Scribd">Congress Foreclosure Lawsuit</a><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="" data-auto-height="true" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_10400" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/114896207/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-1j6gplh0g2bnqq5kodn2" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 09:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-11/congress-theater-defaults-4-million-loan-104101 The Portage Theater: What’s Eddie up to? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/portage-theater-what%E2%80%99s-eddie-102350 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/576px-Portage_Theater.jpg" style="height: 733px; width: 550px; " title="The Portage Theater (Wikimedia Commons)" /></div><p>It&rsquo;s official: As of a week ago Friday, Erineo &ldquo;Eddie&rdquo; Carranza, owner and operator of the embattled Congress Theater in Logan Square, now also owns <a href="http://www.portagetheater.org/Home/">the Portage Theater</a>, that 1,325-seat gem of a 1920s movie palace at Six Corners on the city&rsquo;s Northwest Side.</p><p>But what does he want to do with it? And, given the many complaints from the community and city officials about the way he&rsquo;s running the Congress, what can his new neighbors and fans of the Portage expect?</p><p>Carranza was typically uncommunicative when I traded emails with him yesterday. Though this blogger has done five stories totaling more than 10,000 words about the Congress since March, he started by asking what media organization I worked for. (Um, that would be WBEZ/Chicago Public Media.)</p><p>&ldquo;Have you ever been to Portage Theater?&rdquo; Carranza responded.</p><p>Sure, many times. I used to live at Six Corners.</p><p>&ldquo;What do you want to report on the condition of the theater?&rdquo; Carranza asked.</p><p>&ldquo;Eddie: I am interested in what you hope to accomplish with the theater, either physically or in terms of the kind of programming you hope to do there,&rdquo; I wrote at 4 p.m. Monday. I wrote again a few hours later to reiterate that I&rsquo;d like a comment. So far, no response.</p><p>Some background: The first theater in the area built specifically for movies rather than vaudeville, the Portage opened in December 1920 with 1,938 seats, and a grand place it was for several decades. Like many venues of its vintage, however, it has become increasingly expensive to maintain in recent years. Though it&rsquo;s in much better shape than the Congress, it needs a significant amount of work, including extensive repairs to the roof.</p><p>Partnering with hardcore film buffs in organizations such as the Silent Film Society of Chicago and the Northwest Chicago Film Society, David Dziedzic and the management team currently in place have for years offered a rich calendar of eclectic film programming. Their lease runs through 2015, but they owe some back rent, according to <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-09-06/entertainment/chi-portage-theater-chicago-sold-20120906_1_new-owner-chicago-tabernacle-portage-theater">The Chicago <em>Tribune</em></a>.</p><p>Earlier this year, the Chicago Tabernacle bid $2.5 million to buy the venue and turn it into a church, but that plan was opposed by community groups and Ald. John Arena (45th). Dziedzic and his group thought they had placed a winning bid to replace that one, according to press accounts, but they were edged out by Carranza.</p><p>Dziedzic told <em><a href="http://chicagoist.com/2012/09/11/the_portage_theater_has_new_owner.php">Chicagoist</a></em> that when he spoke last week with the new owner, &ldquo;Carranza put forth a plan that would transform the Portage into a music venue and rip out the seats, but [it] would still be able to screen films.&rdquo;</p><p>In a statement released via Chicago EveryBlock, Carranza said, &ldquo;We are BIG fans of movie and film programming&hellip; There are no immediate formal plans for our own entertainment programming as the current tenant maintains the venue&rsquo;s event calendar. However, we will seek opportunities and will put forth ideas to further add diverse entertainment programming and live music events.&rdquo;</p><p>In other words, at least in part, Carranza would eventually like the Portage to become a smaller version of the now-music-exclusive Congress (capacity 3,500), a little less than four miles south and east on Milwaukee Avenue. But there are several obstacles in his path to making that happen.</p><p>For one, the Congress is in the midst of a series of high-pressure &ldquo;Deleterious Impact/Public Nuisance&rdquo; hearings with the city that could result in the venue losing its liquor license if concerns about security, the condition of the building and noise are not abated. City officials say some progress has been made, but there still is a long way to go: Police reported 16 calls to the theater in the first half of August alone. (The next hearing takes place on Oct. 31, and an account of hearing number three on Aug. 16 can be found on <a href="http://chicago-pipeline.com/2012/08/17/dispatch-from-congress-theaters-3rd-public-nuisance-hearing-aug-16th/">Chicago Pipeline.com</a>.)</p><p>For another, converting the Portage into a general admission music venue like the Congress would require both a liquor and a public place of amusement license, and neither is likely to be granted to Carranza soon, one city official said.</p><p>Finally, though Carranza recently partnered with the digital marketing agency Doejo to redevelop the streetfront at the Congress, the venue owner has frequently and spiritedly complained about a shortage of cash to make the many improvements there that the city and community are demanding.</p><p>Putting aside the question of how he financed the Portage deal, one might naturally ask that if Carranza doesn&rsquo;t have the money to fix the theater he&rsquo;s owned for seven years in Logan Square, where will he get the money to fix the one he just bought at Six Corners?</p><p>Though he offered them as few specifics about his plans for the Portage as he gave this blogger, Carranza has been talking with Ald. Arena, and he met with a community group on Monday. Arena says he is &ldquo;cautiously optimistic.&rdquo; (He also has posted some comments on his <a href="http://ward45.org/portage-theater-sold/">ward-office Web site</a>.)</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m just happy to finally have somebody who owns the building that I can talk with and have these conversations with,&rdquo; Arena told me. &ldquo;The previous owners were on their way out for years,&rdquo; and they showed little interest in improving the building, a cornerstone of a neighborhood that has seen significant redevelopment.</p><p>(Have you been to the wonderfully old-school <a href="http://www.citynewsstand.com/">City News</a> lately? You can hardly recognize the place. It has now expanded to include a &mdash; gulp! &mdash; bona fide yuppie-friendly café!)</p><p>One thing community groups, city officials and Carranza agree on: With all due respect to its rich history, the Portage remains a key to the future of Six Corners &mdash; though what the Portage itself will become remains to be seen.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong><u>Earlier reports in this blog about the Congress and Portage theaters:</u></strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/congress-theater-partners-up%E2%80%A6-and-looks-expand-101199">July 26: Congress Theater partners up&hellip; and looks to expand</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/more-trouble-congress-theater-98249">April 14: More trouble at the Congress Theater</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-28/critical-congress-security-headliner-brings-his-own-97696">March 28: Critical of Congress security, headliner brings his own</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-25/congress-theater-responds-complaints-97597">March 25: Congress Theater responds to complaints</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-22/city-congress-theater-clean-your-act-97549">March 22: City to Congress Theater: Clean up your act!</a></p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 11 Sep 2012 14:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/portage-theater-what%E2%80%99s-eddie-102350 Steven Pate thinks the Portage Theater is 'already a church' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-04/steven-pate-thinks-portage-theater-already-church-97995 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4890127457_0c7d30e747_z.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 451px;" title="The Portage Theater, in better days (Flickr/Thomas Hawk)"></div><p>On Thursday, Alderman John Arena<a href="http://chicago.everyblock.com/announcements/apr05-preliminary-landmark-status-the-portage-theater-4883248/"> announced that the Landmark Commission</a> had voted unanimously to allow preliminary landmark status to the Portage Theater. This was a blow for the Chicago Tabernacle, an Albany Park ministry that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-04/plot-thickens-threatened-portage-theater-suddenly-possible-landmark-status">had plans to turn the Theater into a church</a>. The Theater could <a href="http://www.timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/film/15236146/portage-theater-granted-preliminary-landmark-status">still be sold</a>, but the historic nature of its designs would potentially be protected.</p><p>Speaking at <em>The Paper Machete</em> last week, Chicagoist's Steven Pate explains the value of the Portage, which he said had "become a kind-of movie nerd's paradise."</p><p>"We grow and we change but preserving continuity with our heritage strengthens our diversity and improves the likelihood of a richer future," he elaborated. "We resist the proposed transformation of the Portage into a church, because it is already a church." Read an excerpt or listen:</p><p><em>"Dear Lou Reed,</em></p><p><em>You're probably busy. It's probably a packed schedule right now, what with all the demands of being the coolest 70 year old on the planet. Maybe you're doing Tai Chi with Metallica, or curating some European electronic festival that we won't even know exists for several years but maybe you could explain what you meant by this line from your song 'Perfect Day':</em></p><p><em>'Just a perfect day/Feed animals in the zoo/Then later a movie too/And then home.'</em></p><p><em>Just wondering: have you been to a movie theater in the past 40 years? If so, would you like to revise that agenda? A popcorn and two Cokes will cost you more than a </em>Metal Machine<em> LP in very good plus-plus condition on eBay. You will endure a torturous info-tainment regimine, wherein Channing Tatum wll talk about what </em>GI Joe<em> means to him, and Sprite will convey to you access codes for downloading behind the scenes footage from a 3D Justin Bieber movie. Someone in the seat next to you will be playing Tiny Tower on their iPhone during the movie. Or, let's be real, telling everyone and Facebook that they're sitting next to you?</em></p><p><em>Is this really an essential component of your perfect day? If not, is it the drugs talking?"</em></p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a><em>&nbsp;is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It's always at 3 p.m., it's always on Saturday, and it's always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.org/thepapermachete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Sat, 07 Apr 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-04/steven-pate-thinks-portage-theater-already-church-97995 The plot thickens: Threatened Portage Theater suddenly up for possible landmark status http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-04/plot-thickens-threatened-portage-theater-suddenly-possible-landmark-status <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/portage theater_flickr_eric alix rogers.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nthpBwHIMgI" width="420"></iframe></p><p>In a surprise move, the city plans to ask a commission to grant preliminary landmark status to the Portage Theater--a decision that could complicate a congregation's controversial plans to purchase and significantly alter the 92-year-old North Side movie house.</p><p>Staff from the Historic Preservation Division of the city's Department of Housing and Economic Development will ask the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to confer the designation at the commission's meeting Thursday, according to an agenda<a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/zlup/Historic_Preservation/Agendas/CCL_April_2012_Agenda.pdf"> posted online</a>. If the proposed preliminary designation includes the marquee, facade and interiors of the building, approval by the commission could virtually forbid alteration or removal of those elements while a permanent designation is worked out.</p><p>The Portage's future came into question last month when word surfaced that Chicago Tabernacle, an Albany Park-based ministry, made an offer to purchase the still-functioning movie theater building at 4042 N. Milwaukee and convert it into a place of worship. In addition to the marquee removal, the church is considering changes to the auditorium and eliminating the storefronts.</p><p>The theater and its architecture is featured in the above video. The theater owned and operated by two different entities. The owners have been attempting to sell the theater since last year.</p><p>Chicago Tabernacle's plans have hit a wave of resistance from the Six Corners community and the larger body of theater fans seeking to preserve the movie house, which screens an ecletic mix that includes rare and silent films and horror movies. The interior of the 1300-seat single-screen theater as a stand-in for the Biograph Theatre in the 2009 John Dillinger flick, <em>Public Enemies.</em></p><p><em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> film critic Roger Ebert spoke up for the Portage last month, tweeting: "Chicago has countless churches but not enough theaters like the very special Portage. Help save it." A "Save the Portage Theater" <a href="https://www.facebook.com/SaveThePortageTheater">page on Facebook</a> has 2,700 followers. The website of Ald. John Arena (45th) last week reported the councilman received two emails--out of 389--in favor of a special use zoning permit that would allow the church to operate in the space. "The remainder support preserving the Portage in its present form," Arena said on the site.</p><p>But Chicago Tabernacle's pastor, the Rev. Al Toldeo told the <em>Chicago Tribune</em> last month the church plans to undertake a multi-million dollar repair job on the church--"We would be willing to really make it beautiful"--and believed his congregation would be an economic driver for the area.</p><p>The city's zoning commission will meet April 20 concerning the special use permit. More as it develops...</p></p> Sun, 01 Apr 2012 20:56:59 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-04/plot-thickens-threatened-portage-theater-suddenly-possible-landmark-status Daily Rehearsal: 'Cascabel' is extended http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-28/daily-rehearsal-cascabel-extended-97681 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-28/Mangiameli, Bayless - H.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Pine Box Theater Company's 2012 season </strong></span></span>will include<em> The Jammer</em>&nbsp;by Rolin Jones, directed by Artistic Director Vincent Teninty;&nbsp;the world premiere of <em>25 Saints</em> by Ensemble Member Joshua Rollins, directed by Ensemble Member Susan E. Bowen. Pine Box hasn't put up anything since last summer's<em> A Girl With Sun In Her Eyes</em>, but these two productions are something different: <em>The Jammer</em> is being described as "the King Lear of roller derby plays."</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-28/Mangiameli%2C%20Bayless%20-%20H.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 200px; " title="'Cascabel' at Lookingglass"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. <em>Cascabel </em>has been extended through April 29</strong></span></span>; as of yesterday at 3 pm, there were only 200 tickets left to the additional shows. However, <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/gglasstheatre">Lookingglass will be tweeting tickets</a> when they pop up at the last minute.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3.&nbsp;Louise Roche’s Off-Broadway show&nbsp;<em>Girls Night: The Musical</em>&nbsp;</strong></span></span>will come to Detention in June. Never heard of Dentention? That's because it's a dance rock club suited for this production. it is a&nbsp;"hilarious, touching tale that follows five friends—Carol, the party girl; Anita who tells it like it is, Liza stuck in marital and emotional downfall; Kate, the prissy designated driver and Sharon the 'not-so-nice' nice girl—all in their 30s and 40s during a wild and outrageous girls night out at a karaoke bar." A <a href="http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117935616?refCatId=33">review in <em>Variety </em>of the play</a> when it was at the Coronet in LA argued, "Roche's playwrighting, to use the term out of courtesy, consists of five stereotypes who assemble to celebrate a daughter's engagement, pour the booze and let 'er rip. No story necessary."&nbsp;Comparisons to <em>Bachelorette </em>are inevitable, I suppose.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Save the Portage Theater!</strong></span></span> The Portage Park building is the subject of some controversy over its impending sale and what will happen to it after that,<a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/film/15208711/save-the-portage-theater-community-meeting"> reports <em>TimeOut</em>.</a></p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. <em>Rock of Ages</em> tickets <a href="http://www.broadwayinchicago.com/shows_dyn.php?cmd=display_current&amp;display_showtag=RockOfAges2012">are on sale today</a></strong></span></span>. <a href="http://www.justjared.com/2011/12/13/tom-cruise-rock-of-ages-trailer/">Tom Cruise</a> will not be in attendance.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 28 Mar 2012 15:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-28/daily-rehearsal-cascabel-extended-97681