Art in Alternative Spaces

presents

All The World's a Stage II

Artists examine the evolution of Chicago area theatres from past to present (including vaudeville stages, silent pictures, live performance venues and motion pictures) to sometimes extinction.

Featured theatres include the Admiral, Aragon Ballroom, Auditorium Theatre, Biograph Theater, Cadillac Theatre Palace, Calo Theatre, Chicago Theatre, CIBC Theatre, Coronet Theatre, Davis Theater, Esquire Theatre, Geneva Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Granada Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, Lake Theatre, Logan Theatre, Lyric Opera House, Merle Reskin Theatre, Music Box Theatre, Nortown Theatre, Paramount Theater, Patio Theater, Pickwick Theatre, Portage Theater, Rialto Theatre, Riviera Theatre, Uptown Theatre, and the Varsity Theater.

 

The Old Granada     Digital Archival Print  23 1/2" x 27 1/2"  © Lisa Zane

EXHIBITING ARTISTS:

John Baker, Zhanna Biletska, Don Elmi, David Floodstrand, Ted Gordon, Howard Heath,

Sandra Holubow, Robert Kameczura, Debra Nichols, Herb Nolan, Lisa Zane & Jill Zylke

On Exhibition at

Devonshire Cultural Arts Center 4422 Greenwood St, Skokie, IL

Free Public Reception Sunday, May 26, 2019 (2 pm – 4 pm)

EXTENDED BY POPULAR DEMAND THROUGH SEPTEMBER 8, 2019!

Admission to the exhibition is FREE.    

The Center’s regular viewing hours are Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 9pm; Saturday and Sunday 8:30 am - 6 pm.      

To Purchase Artwork, Please phone 224-432-4240

Or email info@anatomicallycorrect.org

 

Lake Theatre, 1022 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL  

On April 11, 1936, the Lake Theatre opened with a single screen, and a seating capacity of 1,420. Designed by world-renowned architect Thomas Lamb, the Lake is a prime example of art deco style. When Classic Cinemas took over the Lake in 1981, its distinctive decorative elements had long been painted over, and water damage from a leaky roof had destroyed much of its plasterwork. Classic Cinemas was finally able to purchase the theatre in December of 1984 and immediately embarked on an ambitious renovation project. A new roof was installed, air conditioning and heating units were put in place, and the theatre was divided into three separate auditoriums. Special attention was given to the center auditorium to ensure it retained its original look. Over 1,000 feet of plaster bands were recast from the original pieces to put on the new walls and the beautiful ceiling light arrangement was re-lamped. In 1985, a fourth auditorium was added, using space formerly occupied by two retail stores. In 1988, the marquee was renovated and in 1991, additional neon was added.

In June of 1995, Classic Cinemas purchased the building next door where an additional three auditoriums and a restaurant were added, which opened in August of 1996. In November of 2005, the Lake premiered Real D Digital 3-D projection in auditorium 7. Today the Lake is home to many decorative elements brought in from theatres that are no longer standing. The ceiling fixtures in the new lobby rotunda are from the Will Rogers Theatre, which stood at 5635 West Belmont until 1991. Two plaster musician busts are from the demolished Southtown Theatre at 636 West 63rd Street. Fixtures in the transition lobby are from a Lake Theatre Concessions 1930's renovation of one of the Schock houses in Austin and were removed when that house was remodeled. In Theatre #1 the art deco wall fixtures were rescued from the Colonial Theatre in Marengo, Illinois, prior to its demolition. They were repainted and over half of the glass panels were replaced. In the main auditorium two large statues have been placed over the exit ways. These 10-foot neo classic ladies were originally in the Marbro Theatre, 4110 West Madison, Chicago (created in 1927). Many other elements at the Lake Theatre were copied from other theatres. The Lake's custom carpet design was copied from a fragment of the original 1936 carpeting found in the building when Classic Cinemas first acquired it. Affinity Art Glass Company copied interior signage from the Lake's original signs. This attention to historic detail has made the Lake Theatre one of Oak Park's treasures. In March 2009, remodel was complete. Classic Cinemas owners Willis, Shirley and Chris Johnson are members of a number of preservation societies, as well as the Theatre Historical Society. Along with the Tivoli, the company has restored such older downtown movie theatres as the Lindo in Freeport, the York in Elmhurst, the Lake in Oak Park, the Woodstock in Woodstock and the Paramount in Kankakee.

JOHN BAKER

My paintings, mainly oil on canvas, are done in a French Post-Impressionist style. I love the color, the characteristic brushwork, and the understanding that it is not what you do, but what you don’t do that makes an impressionist painting come alive.    I started drawing at around the age of five. Through grade school and high school, I attended classes at the Art Institute of Chicago and received mentoring from one of the teachers there. Now I understand all the things he tried to teach me back then. Drawing classes at the Latin School in Chicago really inspired me to continue painting and grow as an artist.   I’ve done work for schools, the Federal Government, for Macy’s, and a lot of commission work. I hope that I am useful in giving what people love and appreciate. In addition to the US, my artwork is owned by art lovers in many parts of the globe.  Although I have an MBA from DePaul University, and have worked at some of the largest companies in the world, I have always tried to find time for my love of painting.

 

Lake Theatre

Oil on Canvas

30 x 40"

©  John Baker

$400

 

 

Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence, Chicago, IL

Aragon’s Moorish architectural style, with the interior resembling a Spanish village, was built in 1926. Named for a region of Spain, the Aragon was an immediate success and remained a popular Chicago attraction throughout the 1940s. The Aragon's proximity to the Chicago 'L' (elevated railway) train provided patrons with easy access, and often crowds in excess of 18,000 would attend during each six-day business week. Each night, powerhouse radio station WGN broadcast an hour-long program from the hall to audiences throughout the Midwestern United States and Canada. The ceiling looked like the sky, the clouds moved across the stars. According to legend, the secret tunnels under the nearby Green Mill bar, a Prohibition-era hangout of Al Capone, lead to the Aragon's basement.


A fire at an adjacent cocktail lounge in 1958 forced the Aragon to close for several months. After the reopening, crowds declined significantly, to the point that regular dancing ended in 1964. A succession of new owners used the Aragon as a roller skating rink, a boxing venue, and a discothèque, (the Cheetah, a spin-off of the New York disco) among other uses. There were also occasional efforts to revive it as a traditional ballroom. The Aragon hosted nearly all of the top names of the big band era.


During the 1970s, the Aragon was home to so-called "monster rock" shows; which were marathons of rock and roll acts often lasting six hours or more. The shows gained a reputation for attracting a tough crowd, leading to the nickname, "the Aragon Brawlroom." In 1973, Latin promoters Willy Miranda and Jose Palomar, who had promoted Hispanic dances and concerts in Chicago for years, became owners of the Aragon. They soon teamed up with rock promoters Arny Granat and Jerry Mickelson, owners of Chicago-based Jam Productions, who used the hall for their rock concerts. World championship boxing made its way to the Aragon Ballroom on December 15, 1982, when the World Boxing Association's world Cruiserweight champion, Puerto Rican Ossie Ocasio successfully defended his title by beating challenger Eddie Taylor by a 15 rounds decision. In the late 1990s, Luis Rossi (former owner of La Raza newspaper), Ivan Fernandez, and Mercedes Fernandez purchased the Aragon. In September 2014, Mercedes Fernandez sold all her interests in the Aragon. Under the name Aragon Entertainment Center, the hall continued to host a variety of Spanish language and Vietnamese language shows as well as English language rock concerts. It still hosts occasional boxing events.


In 2015, the theatre was used in the filming of Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, doubling as the theatre where Thomas (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Martha Wayne (Lauren Cohan) get shot. The sign for the venue and the marquee was temporarily reconstructed, and removed once the filming had been completed.
As of late 2017, Live Nation owns the Aragon Ballroom, and produces a variety of English language and Spanish language pop and rock concerts there.  

ZHANNA BILETSKA

Zhanna  is a Chicago based artist who works primarily in oils along with watercolor, acrylic, etc. She began her formal study in Art school and subsequently at the Prydniprovska State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture in the Ukraine where she received a bachelors degree in architecture.

Independently, Zhanna studied with master painters and participated in exhibitions in Ukraine. Upon arrival in the US, she explored the landscapes and cityscapes of the country by capturing them with paints, a photo camera, or sketchbook.

Plein air painting remains her passion. Zhanna actively participates in exhibitions and Plein air competitions.  Zhanna participates in Anatomically Correct's Brush with Nature plein air painting festival at the Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie and her artwork has been exhibited several times by Anatomically Correct Arts at the Nature Center.

 

Aragon Ballroom       

Oil on Canvas     

18 x 21"   

©  Zhanna Biletska

$350

 

 

Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, Chicago, IL

The grandeur of The Chicago Theatre often leaves its visitors breathless. The elegant lobby, majestic staircase and beautiful auditorium, complete with murals above the stage and on the ceiling, was called “the Wonder Theatre of the World” when it opened on October 26, 1921.  It was the first large, lavish movie palace in America and was the prototype for all others, constructed for $4 million by theatre owners Barney and Abe Balaban and Sam and Morris Katz and designed by Cornelius and George Rapp (Rapp & Rapp Architects).   It was the flagship of the Balaban and Katz theatre chain.   Built in French Baroque style, The Chicago Theatre’s exterior features a miniature replica of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, sculpted above its State Street marquee. Faced in a glazed, off-white terra cotta, the triumphal arch is sixty feet wide and six stories high. Within the arch is a grand window in which is set a large circular stained-glass panel bearing the coat-of-arms of the Balaban and Katz chain – two horses holding ribbons of 35-mm film in their mouths. The grand lobby, modeled after the Royal Chapel at Versailles, is five stories high and surrounded by gallery promenades at the mezzanine and balcony levels. The grand staircase is patterned after that of the Paris Opera House and ascends to the various levels of the Great Balcony.   The 3,600 seat auditorium is seven stories high, more than one half of a city block wide, and nearly as long. The vertical sign "C-H-I-C-A-G-O," at nearly six stories high, is one of the few such signs in existence today.  It also featured a Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ.   Marshall Field's supplied the drapes, furniture and interior decoration. Victor Pearlman and Co. designed and built the crystal chandeliers and lavish bronze light fixtures with Steuben glass shades. The McNulty Brothers' master craftsmen produced the splendid plaster details and Northwestern Terra Cotta Company provided the tiles for the facade. “The Sign on the Door” featuring actress Norma Talmadge was the first movie to premiere on October 26, 1921.  A 50-piece orchestra performed in the pit and Jesse Crawford played the mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. After a "white glove inspection," a staff of 125 ushers welcomed guests who paid 25 cents until 1 p.m., 35 cents in the afternoon and 50 cents after 6 p.m.   

During its first 40 years, The Chicago Theatre also presented the best in live and film entertainment, including John Phillip Sousa, Duke Ellington, Jack Benny, and Benny Goodman. The Chicago Theatre was redecorated in preparation for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair and "modernized" in the 1950s when stage shows, with few exceptions, were discontinued. In the 1970s, under the ownership of the Plitt Theatres, The Chicago Theatre was the victim of a complex web of social and economic factors causing business to sag. It became an ornate but obsolete movie house, closing on September 19, 1985. 

In 1986, Chicago Theatre Restoration Associates, with assistance from the City of Chicago, saved the theatre from demolition and began a meticulous nine-month multi-million dollar restoration undertaken by Chicago architects Daniel P. Coffey & Associates, Ltd. and interior design consultants A.T. Heinsbergen & Co. of Los Angeles, interior design consultants. The Chicago Theatre reopened on September 10, 1986 with a gala performance by Frank Sinatra.   Since then, many musicians and singers have performed on the stage, including Johnny Mathis, Al Jarreau, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Barry White, Harry Connick Jr, Lyle Lovett, Prince, the Isley Brothers, Allman Brothers Band, Indigo Girls, Blues Traveler, Gipsy Kings, Buena Vista Social Club, Oasis, Beck, Robin Williams, David Letterman and Ellen DeGeneres.  Also staged was Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Donny Osmond and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.   The Chicago Theatre remains a vital part of both the history.  It was purchased by TheatreDreams Chicago, LLC on April 1, 2004, and continues to be an active and vibrant venue offering a variety of entertainment, including stage events, concerts, dance, comedy and special events.

TED GORDON

Gordon is Lead Animator at Raw Thrills, Inc, animating characters for Arcade games such as Jurassic Park Arcade. He earned his B.A. from Columbia College Chicago, with studies in film, animation, commercial, & fine art. Gordon’s career in the game industry began with a love of drawing. In developing the game art curriculum at Chicago’s Flashpoint Academy, he reimmersed himself in traditional art. He has participated in group exhibitions in Chicagoland and is represented in private collections within the U.S.

Gordon’s world view is enhanced by his work in digital spaces - where objects are intangible, unrestrained by physics, and motion can be modified endlessly. In contrast, Ted’s traditional artworks are primarily created in discrete moments - plein air paintings, life drawings, & urban sketches that capture the light and his response, in fleeting moments. In this way, Gordon seeks to balance his experience of the virtual with the real.

 

Chicago's Very Own

Gouache  19 x 15"

© Ted Gordon

$350

 

 

 

 

Uptown Theatre, 4816 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL

Surprisingly vacant for almost 40 years, The Uptown Theatre was built by architects Rapp and Rapp for the Balaban and Katz Corp in 1925. This prolific corporation started as a family business in the late nickelodeon era and by the early 1920s had control of most film markets in Chicago. A financial analysis Balaban and Katz completed in 1923 suggested that their best interests were served by building a theatre as large and lavish as they could manage near Broadway and Lawrence. And so, the Uptown was planned. According to the press of the time, all of these buildings were built for substantial cost and quality in order to be "for all time." When the Uptown opened in August 1925, the phrase "an acre of seats in a magic city" was coined to describe the wonders of over 4,300 seats in a theatre that covered 46,000 square feet of land. At the time, it was the third largest in terms of seating. But it was the largest, by far, in land area and cubic volume, due in part to the three vast lobby areas. Many of the details we associate with a movie palace had not been codified by the time the Uptown opened. The stage shows were planned in consideration of the feature. Music was customized for the large orchestra, as well as for the Uptown's Wurlitzer organ, the second largest one in operation. Stars of national fame played regularly. Even the posters in the display cases were custom artwork with new items every week. By the end of the 1920s, after more than 20 million people had already attended the Uptown. Some of the greatest theatres, such as Radio City Music Hall in New York, were not even on the drawing boards yet. Initially, sound film and depression economics did not affect the Uptown, because of the uniqueness and quality of the entertainment, and the competition that had been eliminated through the policies of Balaban and Katz. Eventually, with the availability of 1930s musicals and the like, film became the mainstay. The stage was used only on rare occasions through the 1940s.

By the end of the decade, Balaban and Katz reinstituted their traveling shows, booking first the Chicago and then traveling weekly to the Uptown in the north, the Marbro in the west, and the Tivoli in the south. This system proved unsuccessful. Competing distractions such as radio and television, and an increase in the number of working housewives limited both evening and matinee audiences. Thereafter, through the 1950s and early 1960s, film fare became the mainstay again with occasional use of the stage for rentals. The most notable rented use of the stage was for the television show "Queen for a Day," which televised one week every year in the theatre. The Uptown was also used as a large hall, especially for corporate meetings, such as those held here by Standard Oil of New Jersey. These uses created revenue. But later, with declining film revenue, furnishings were sold on occasion, starting with the organ in 1962. Soon, because of high insurance costs and vandalism, all extraneous artwork was sold, including more than 90 major oil paintings and 18 major marble groups. These sales yielded several million dollars.

In the early 1970s, a campaign of interested volunteers petitioned the corporate successor to Balaban and Katz to investigate other uses for the theatre beyond just movies. This was an attempt to ensure sufficient revenue and interest was generated to maintain the viability of the structure. At this time, various rock concert promoters were booked occasionally to great success and profit. Bands such as ELO and the Grateful Dead performed at the theatre. However, with deferred maintenance in the 1960s and 1970s, when revenues were failing, the building at more than 50 years had reached a point of much-needed repairs. Rather than manage the building, it was marketed, sold, and reverted back to the successor, Plitt Theatres. With no ability to manage such a complex facility, Plitt boarded up the building and awaited further ideas. The American Broadcasting Corporation purchased the theatre in 1969 and was subsequently operated as part of the Plitt Cinemas theatre chain.

The theatre closed in 1981. Burst water pipes and flooding followed. Most of the damage to the building occurred in the early 1980s, making it unusable without restoration. It's only occupants were a variety of pigeon species who infested the building through shattered windows. Subsequently, even with the assistance primarily of volunteers, the building remained in the hands of a notorious tax-sale buyer and continued to deteriorate. In 1986, preservationists teamed up with neighborhood activists to secure the addition of the Uptown to the National Register of Historic Places.

Several plans to restore the theatre, perhaps as a venue for concerts and other live performances, have been proposed, but none has thus far moved beyond the planning stages. One recent restoration campaign centered around an organization known as the Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts. Founded in 2001, the organization received the support of prominent Chicago philanthropists, but suffered a major setback in April 2002, when the Illinois attorney general's office charged its head with misappropriation of funds.

The building was auctioned in August 2008 and the highest bidder was Jam Productions. Their intent was to return it to a live performance venue, however it sat shuttered since then until the City of Chicago Community Development Commission signed off on the project in 2018 to fund it with an estimated $14 million from an Uptown TIF earmarked for the restoration. Total cost of the renovation was estimated to be $75 million including $14 million in state money through the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act, which lets building owners make energy-related improvements paid over time through special assessments on the property; $3 million in Adopt-A-Landmark funds; and $10 million in Build Illinois Bond funding. The project is also relying on getting $30 million from “equity, conventional financing or charitable contributions.” Plans for the renovations to begin are set for summer of 2019.

 

                 

Photos courtesy of http://www.compassrose.org/uptowntheatre/history-intro.html

Internet Resources:  uptowntheatre.com and chicago.urban-history.org

A documentary film by John Pappas and Michael Bisberg was released in 2006 about the theatre titled Uptown:  Portrait of a Palace.   The dvd is available for purchase from Compass Rose: http://www.compassrose.org/books/available.html
 

 

A self taught artist, Mr. Elmi worked as a freelance illustrator for most of his life and is known for his paintings of Chicago's historical buildings.   

Mr. Elmi passed away in 2014 at the age of 87.     Over the years, Mr. Elmi's artwork was exhibited by Anatomically Correct Arts in many venues.   These artworks are shown courtesy of the Anatomically Correct Arts' collection as we celebrate in his memory.

An Acre of Seats  The Uptown        16 x 20"    Oil on Canvas       ©  Don Elmi      $600

 

Nortown Theatre, 6320 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL (demolished)

Built in 1931 by Architect J.E.O. Pridmore, The Nortown was known for its sea horse, mermaid, and zodiac motifs and featured a 3/15 Wurlitzer theatre organ. After an unsuccessful dividing the theater into 3 sections (tri-plexing) in 1984, the theatre closed in 1990 and was rented out as a community center and later as a church. Unfortunately, the Nortown was demolished in June-August 2007. Much of the original artifacts had already been sold or stripped from the theatre.    

                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Photos courtesy of Theatre Historical Society of America (Brian Wolf)

Nortown in 1931      Oil on Canvas   ©  Don Elmi

$ 800

Shuttered  Nortown   18 x 24"  Oil on Canvas   ©  Don Elmi

$ 500

 

Esquire Theatre, 58 E. Oak St., Chicago, IL


Built in 1937 by Architect William L. Pereria, the Esquire was owned by H&E Theatres, (the 'H' and 'E' being the two youngest brothers in the Balaban family.) Elmer & Harry started their own theatre company, H and E Balaban Corporation and built a dozen or so theatres in Illinois and Detroit. Their most famous theatre was the Esquire. It opened on February 16, 1938 with Jeanette McDonald in “The Firefly”. The Esquire also held the Chicago premiere of Gone with the Wind.


The original art-deco style theatre had 1,400 seats, but the Esquire underwent a conversion to a six-plex Loews Cineplex chain in the late 80's. AMC Entertainment operated the Esquire until it closed on September 14, 2006. The Esquire was an example of an ornate movie house dating from Hollywood's Golden Age of the 1930’s, but in its last years it was relegated to second-run films. The newer multiplexes got the best bookings. The Chicago City Council turned down landmark status for the theatre in 1994. In 2011, the theatre was gutted and the marquee removed. It was repurposed and became retail space, with the vertical marquee remaining as part of its facade. In 2015, the building was sold to a Spanish fashion mogul for $176 million and now houses several high end retail shops.

 

Esquire Theatre    24 x 24"  Oil on Canvas   ©  Don Elmi    $ 800

 

The Coronet, 817 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL (demolished)

Built in 1915, The Coronet was originally known as the Triangle Theatre, then re-named Park Theatre, and later the New Main Theatre. In 1938, it was again renamed as the Coronet Theatre and was part of the Balaban & Katz chain for many years. In the 50's and 60's the theatre was known for its foreign and art films. In the 70's it served as a first-run movie theatre. From 1990-1994, the theatre was the home to Northlight Theatre Co. (now located in Skokie, IL). It was torn down in 2000. A condominium building stands in its place.

 

Coronet    22 x 28"  Oil on Canvas © Don Elmi    $ 900

The Varsity, 1710 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL

Built in 1926 by Architect John E.O. Pridmore, the Varsity Theater was the largest and most lavish of all the suburban Chicago movie palaces. Its original owner, Clyde Elliot was from Evanston and worked in Hollywood for several years. The Balaban & Katz chain bought the theatre in the early 30's and it continued to show movies into the 1980's. In 1988 it closed and the building was converted to retail spaces. It has lost its marquee, ticket booth and entryway. It is currently undergoing landmark consideration to save what is left.

 

 

 

 

The Varsity   18 x 24"  Oil on Canvas ©  Don Elmi   $ 900

Photo Courtesy of EvanstonNow.com

 

CALO THEATRE, 5404 N. CLARK ST., CHICAGO, IL

The Calo Theatre, designed by the firm George & Borst, still stands today in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood. Its Spanish Baroque Revival style features an elaborate white terra-cotta facade. It opened in November 20, 1915 for the Ascher Brothers circuit. With an original seating capacity of 880, the Calo began as a very popular silent movie house. In the early 20's, the silent movies featured a live piano player to add sound to the pictures on the screen. The movies also featured a newsreel, and was a useful way of distributing footage of world events. Movie serials became popular at this time. The movies ended with a cliff-hanger, so you had to return to see what happened next (Netflix series anyone?).

Back then, children were allowed to see movies without an adult present. Admission was usually only 5 or 10 cents per movie. You could have a ride on a street trolley, have lunch at a local diner and see a movie all for 25 cents! Ushers would walk up and down the rows of seats offering candy and popcorn. In the 1920’s and 30’s, they hosted amateur nights with a competition for a prize. In the 30's, the theatre transitioned easily into "talkies".

The Calo is possibly best known for being the location of notorious cop-killer, Gus Amadeo’s, death in 1954. A sting had been set up to catch Amedeo who had recently escaped from the Cook County jail. However, instead of meeting his girlfriend at a local drugstore, he chose to catch a movie instead. He was shot and killed by the dead officer’s partner, Frank Pape.

The theater closed shortly after that, and as television became popular, the Calo was turned into a bowling alley (yet maintained its screening capabilities) until the 80's when it became a carpet store for a short time. In the early 90’s, it became the home of the Griffin Theatre Company, which put almost $100,000 into renovating, subdividing and restoring it back to a legitimate theatre.

In the summer of 2004, the Griffin Theatre Company left the Calo due to upkeep and renovation costs. It was then acquired by Brian Posen in 2005, with the intention of converting the theatre into a three-auditorium rental venue for local theatre groups, however, those plans never materialized. Instead, the Calo Theatre was reopened as a resale shop, The Brown Elephant. The exterior facade remains intact and the interior distressed walls with peeling paint, original plaster work and friezes are still visible inside the theatre.

 

Calo Theatre, Chicago, IL  

Watercolor, Acrylic, Pastel on Canvas 50 x 50"  ©  David Floodstrand  $1,250

David is a resident of Skokie David and is a multi-faceted artist endeavoring in a wide variety of mediums.   His art encompasses various creative forms from pencil and ink, to watercolor, and acrylic, the written word, music composition and performance.

"My wife and I and our 2 dogs, and 2 snakes lived in the Calo Theatre from 1991-02.   We had the other side of the theatre from The Griffin Theatre Company, the side where the screen used to be.  We lived right under the screen in the area where the orchestra pit would have been.  The main room had a 50 ft ceiling.  There were beautiful sconces about half way up the room at about 25 ft.   The sconces were of neo-Grecian style women in robes.   I loved it there. Also behind some of the wall were hand painted scenes of tropical locations with palm trees and such.   I was building a recording studio and soundstage, attempting to make improvements while getting a break on the rent.   We used to have great after-hours parties there.   I ran a mobile night club around Chicago in the 80’s and 90’s called The Phantom Club. The Calo Theatre was one of the last locations.   It was a great location because you had to go to the alley behind the Griffin to get in (no front door, speakeasy style). What a wonderful building. I painted this piece from a composite of my recollections and photographs of a recent visit to The Calo Theatre."

Nevertheless, She Persisted,  Calo Theatre  16 x 20"

Color Photography  ©  Debra Nichols

$300

Debra, a resident of Skokie, is a self-taught artist and photographer.  Her paintings have been in several exhibits at the Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie and were exhibited in Anatomically Correct Arts recent 5,6,7,8 Dance Exhibition at the Devonshire Cultural Arts Center.    

 

 

PICKWICK THEATRE, 5 SOUTH PROSPECT AVE., PARK RIDGE, IL

Designed by Roscoe Harold Zook, William F. McCaughey, and Alfonso Iannelli, the Pickwick opened in 1928 as a vaudeville stage and movie theatre. It is widely recognized for its marquee and 100-foot tower, which appeared in the opening credits of Siskel & Ebert At the Movies.

The main auditorium, built to resemble an Aztec or Mayan temple, originally seated up to 1,400 people.    Seating capacity in the main auditorium was reduced by 200 seats in 1968 and an additional 400 seats in 2012 as the result of renovations.    The 2012 renovation project, valued at $1.2 million, also included a new roof, mechanical improvements and exterior renovations including those to the original marquee.

The theatre was named in 1928 by the mayor of Park Ridge, William H. Malone I, for the title character Samuel Pickwick in Charles Dickens' novel The Pickwick Papers.

The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and continues to host films as well as live stage shows.

In 1990, theatre management expanded the Pickwick by adding three new screens behind the original auditorium. In 2017, owner Dino Vlahakis added a 39-seat theatre located on the second floor of the rear building, in place of the theatre's offices.    In celebration of the 2018 Illinois Bicentennial, the Pickwick Theatre was selected as one of the Illinois 200 Great Places [9] by the American Institute of Architects Illinois component (AIA Illinois).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pickwick, Park Ridge, IL  

12 x 16"  Photography on Canvas

© Howard Heath

$160

Howard Heath is a product of Chicago Public Schools and graduated from Wendell Phillps High School. After college, he taught at Lane Technical High School for 31 years as a math and computer teacher.  He was active in the teachers union his entire career and was a union delegate for more than twenty years.  In 2001, he  was elected Vice-President of the Chicago Teachers Union.  His position not only included filling in for the President when needed, but also lobbying for current and retired teacher issues, which he still does. In my role as the Vice-President of the union, he was fortunate enough to work politically with, most notably Lisa Madigan, Jesse White, Barack Obama and our current State Senator Omar Aquino.    After his stint at the Chicago Teachers Union, he returned to Lane where he retired in 2007. Currently, he volunteers with the Chicago Teachers Union and serves on the Class Size and Teacher Evaluation Appeals Committees. He also serves as the National (AFT) Retiree representative from the CTU. Recently, he co-authored several articles for the Chicago Union Teacher monthly magazine, on issues related to retirees.   He is a serious photo fine art, nature and journalism photographer for over forty years and regularly have photo credits in the teacher publication Chicago Union Teacher (CUT). In the last ten years, he has exhibited at the "Uri-Eichen" and the "The Health in the Arts" Galleries and several local cafes including Mathers LifeWays. One of his other favorite subjects is architecture. Particularly of churches and theatres. Thus, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this show. 

 

James M. Nederlander Theatre

(formerly the Oriental)

24 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 

The Nederlander opened in 1926 as the Oriental Theatre. (It was built on the site of the Iroquois Theatre, which burned in the deadliest theatre fire in U.S. history in 1903. After the fire's recorded death toll reached over double the death toll of The Great Chicago Fire (602 deaths), city officials closed all theatres in the city for inspection. Following the incident, the city enacted new laws that addressed aisle-way and exit standards, scenery fireproofing, and occupancy limits.) The newly built Oriental, featuring the architecture of India, was designed by architects George L. and Cornelius W. Rapp (who also designed the Palace and Chicago Theatres) as a deluxe movie house and vaudeville venue. The city's dominant theater chain, Balaban and Katz (a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures) operated the 3,250-seat venue.


By the 30's, it had become predominantly a movie house, though live performances and concerts continued. Duke Ellington and his orchestra made frequent appearances at the Oriental. In October 1934, 12-year-old Frances Gumm and her sisters performed at the theater but received laughs when George Jessel would introduce them as The Gumm Sisters. At his urging, they changed their name to The Garland Sisters after his friend, Robert Garland, critic for The New York Times. Frances Garland would later change her first name, to become Judy Garland. Many other stars also performed here, including Fanny Brice, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Cab Calloway, Eddie Cantor, Bing Crosby, Alice Faye, Stepin Fetchit, Ella Fitzgerald, Ana Gasteyer, Jean Harlow, Billie Holiday, Bob Hope, Al Jolson, Danny Kaye, Jerry Lewis, The Marx Brothers, Frank Sinatra, The Three Stooges, Sophie Tucker, Sarah Vaughan and Henny Youngman. In the 70's, the downtown theatre district began to decline. The United Artists Theatre, Woods Theatre, Garrick Theater (originally constructed as the Schiller Theater and Building) State-Lake Theatre, Erlanger and Roosevelt Theatre were all demolished.

Soon the Oriental fell into disrepair. In an effort to preserve the theatre, it was added to the Federal National Registry of Historic Places in 1978, but the building continued to crumble. The theatre was closed to the public in 1981, and the site was considered for a shopping mall and cinema. In 1996, then Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley stepped in and announced that the venue would be restored to its original grandeur for the presentation of live stage musicals.

Renamed the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in 1997, the restoration was completed in October 1998 with a seating capacity of 2,253 and opened with the Chicago premiere of Ragtime. Broadway In Chicago, formed in 2000, began to light the stage with the record-breaking run of Wicked for three and a half years and the long-run production of Billy Elliott, along with many Pre-Broadway World Premieres including: The Addams Family, Big Fish, On Your Feet!, The SpongeBob Musical, Escape to Margaritaville, Pretty Woman: the Musical, and The Cher Show with many more to come. In February 2019, the theatre was renamed the James M. Nederlander Theatre, in honor of the legendary Broadway theatre owner and producer and patriarch of Broadway James M. Nederlander. As the founder of Broadway In Chicago, he championed theatre in Chicago having presented shows here for over six decades.

James M. Nederlander Theatre  12 x 16"  Photography on Canvas

© Howard Heath

$160

 

 

CADILLAC PALACE THEATRE

151 W Randolph St., Chicago, IL 


The Cadillac was originally called the New Palace Theater and opened on October 4, 1926 with Roger Wolfe Kahn and his Orchestra topping the bill. The Rapp Brothers, George and Cornelius, were responsible for the design, featuring a French Baroque style of the interior. Their inspiration came from the Fountainebleau and the Palace of Versailles, both found in France. The interior includes huge decorative mirrors, breche violet and white marble. The walls inside are adorned with gold leafing and wood decorations, as well as a series of complex arches and detailed brass ornamentation. It was built at a cost of $12 million as part of the Eitel Block Project. The theater opened as part of vaudeville's Orpheum Circuit. As part of the Orpheum Circuit, the theater presented such stars as Jimmy Durante, Mae West, Jack Benny, Sophie Tucker, and Bob Hope. After the loss of interest in vaudeville, the theater was converted into a movie palace in 1931.

When movie audiences began staying at home to watch television in the 1950s, the theatre managers, hoping to attract larger audiences, booked occasional Broadway shows into the theatre, such as GENTLEMAN PREFER BLONDES starring Carol Channing. During the late 1950s, the Palace was fitted with special equipment to show films in Cinerama. During the mid-1970s, the management of the Bismarck Hotel transformed the auditorium into a banquet hall by removing the seats on the orchestra level and bringing the floor flush with the stage. In 1984, the theatre, now renamed the Bismarck Theatre, was converted into a rock venue.


Sporadically used during the 1990s, the venue was completely restored and renovated during 1999, and reopened as the Cadillac Palace Theatre after Cadillac purchased naming rights. It currently has a seating capacity of 2,344. Since this reopening it has been home to many pre-broadway hits. Broadway in Chicago which has allowed for more Broadway hits to tour through Chicago causing a great economic impact on the city of Chicago.


The theater presented The Phantom of the Opera in the 2007-2008 season and became home to pre-Broadway tours and world premieres with the opening of Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida in the autumn of 1999. This was the beginning of many Broadway-caliber shows to pass through the Cadillac Palace. Mel Brooks's The Producers premiered in Chicago starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in February 2001. The Pirate Queen, Oprah Winfrey's The Color Purple, the national tours of Mary Poppins and Shrek the Musical brought outstanding performances to this stage. In December 1, 2010, Wicked played a limited return engagement on its first national tour and performed for sold out audiences through January 23, 2011. Since then, it continues to present many Broadway caliber shows with touring companies.

CADILLAC PALACE THEATRE

12 x 16"  Photography on Canvas

© Howard Heath

$160

 

 

CIBC Theatre

18 West Monroe St., Chicago, IL 

This theater opened in 1906 as the Majestic Theatre, named for The Majestic Building in which it is housed. As the first theater built in Chicago after the Iroquois Theatre fire, the Majestic Theatre was specially cited for its fire safety. This theater was also constructed to bring a more elegant audience into the vaudeville circuit. The architects, Edmund R. Krause and the Rapp Brothers (George and Cornelius), thought that by using decadent colors and textures they could attract a more upper-class crowd than traditionally attended vaudeville. The house of the theater also has two prosceniums. These were constructed to racially segregate the audience, as they prevent patrons on the ground level from seeing the patrons on upper levels. Also, by some sources, this theater was once Chicago's tallest building. The Majestic was a popular vaudeville theater offering approximately 12 to 15 vaudeville acts running from 1:30 pm to 10:30 pm, six days-per-week.

By the 1920s the theater had become part of the Orpheum Circuit and presented many famous vaudeville headliners including Al Jolson, Eddie Foy, Harry Houdini, Lily Langtry, and Fanny Brice. In 1932, during the Great Depression, the Majestic closed its doors and remained empty for 15 years.

In 1945, the theatre was purchased by the Shubert Organization and reopened as the Sam Shubert Theatre. The venue was restored and redecorated, although much of the original design was retained. The Shubert stage became home to an astounding array of classic plays and musicals such as CAROUSEL, SOUTH PACIFIC, GUYS AND DOLLS, THE KING AND I, MY FAIR LADY and A CHORUS LINE.

In 1991, the Nederlander Organization purchased the Majestic Building from the Shubert Organization, however, Chicago Public Schools owned the land until 1997 when Nederlander subsequently purchased it. The Shubert continued to host a wide array of quality theatrical productions, including the Chicago premiere of RENT, CHICAGO—THE MUSICAL, CABARET and the Pre-Broadway engagements of THE GOODBYE GIRL in 1993 and Julie Andrews in VICTOR/VICTORIA in 1995 starring Julie Andrews, Tony Roberts and Michael Nouri. It ran until September when it moved to New York. Since the formation of Broadway In Chicago in 2000, the rich history of exceptional entertainment has continued with the Pre-Broadway World Premieres of Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp’s MOVIN’ OUT and MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT. The final production before renovation was Monty Python's Spamalot which began its pre-Broadway run in December 2004. The production was directed by Tony and Academy Award-winner Mike Nichols and starred David Hyde Pierce, Tim Curry and Hank Azaria.

Between January 2005 and May 2006, the theater underwent restoration and a name change to the LaSalle Bank Theatre and floors 4-21 of the adjoining office building were converted to the Hampton Inn Majestic Hotel. The hotel & theatre share the building, with the theatre on floors 1-6 & the hotel on floors 4-21. The hotel has a small entrance west of the theatre entrance with its own address of 22 West Monroe Street. During this time, elevators were finally installed within the theater. Previously, patrons had to exit the theater and use the elevators in the office building to reach the balcony. As part of the general revamp of the theater, paint chips were analyzed and the theater was repainted in what is believed to be the original color scheme. Most of the original fixtures, as well as the mosaic floor installed in the lobby when the theater opened in 1906, remain. Restorers also discovered a hidden archway in the lobby concession space during their work. This elaborately decorated arch had been walled-over years ago and was forgotten until construction began. The theater now holds 1,800 seats. Michael Crawford played a one-night benefit concert for the newly restored theater's opening night May 24, 2006. Later Martin Short performed in his sketch comedy satire Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me for two weeks in July 2006. High School Musical premiered in July 2007 and Jersey Boys began a 28-month run at the theater in October 2007. In May 2008, the theater was renamed the Bank of America Theatre when that company acquired LaSalle Bank in 2007.

Other notable productions included the pre-Broadway premiere of Cyndi Lauper's Kinky Boots in October and November 2012. The theater hosted a sit-down production of The Book of Mormon which officially opened on December 19, 2012, and played through October 6, 2013. In December 2015, it began the premiere engagement of a new musical Gotta Dance directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell and starring Georgia Engel, Stefanie Powers, Lillias White and Andre DeShields. The production played through January 17, 2016.

In 2017, it became CIBC Theater when that company bought the then current naming rights holder, PrivateBank.

The theater is currently hosting a resident production of Broadway in Chicago’s Hamilton that opened September 27, 2016. In May 2019, the B.I.C. producers announced that the production will close January 5, 2020.

CIBC Theatre

12 x 16"  Photography on Canvas

© Howard Heath

$160

 

 

DAVIS THEATRE, 4614 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL Orig

Originally known as the Pershing Theatre. The Pershing Theatre was built in 1918 and was named after First World War General of the Armies, John J. Pershing. The building was designed by architect Walter W. Ahlschlager, who was also responsible for the design of other famous buildings such as the Uptown Broadway Building in Chicago and the Roxy Theatre in New York City.

The Pershing opened showing vaudeville and silent films; it’s first being The Forbidden City. In the 1930s, the Pershing was converted to show talkies and was renamed the Davis Theater.

Starting in the 1952, the theater attempted to appeal to the cultural influences in the neighborhood by showing German-language films in addition to American films. The theater then transitioned to showing a variety of entertainment including puppet shows, second run films, and revivals through the 1970s.

It saw a few closings and re-openings in the next couple of decades until it was bought out in the late 90’s where it has remained a first run movie theatre ever since. In January 2016, the theater was closed for renovation for a short time and reopened to its current state as a historical landmark and community center for cinema and the arts.

The Davis Theater is the longest continually operated theatre in Chicago. In 2018, it was awarded the Award for Rehabilitation by Landmarks Illinois.

The Davis Theatre

12 x 16"  Photography on Canvas

© Howard Heath

$160

 

The Admiral Theatre

12 x 16"  Photography on Canvas

© Howard Heath

$160

 

Admiral Theatre, 3940 W. Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, IL


The Admiral opened in 1927 as a combined vaudeville and movie house. Designed by Harold Gallup and S. Scott Joy in 1942, it was bought by Balaban and Katz Theater Corporation.  The Admiral closed sometime in the late 1950’s, and remained shuttered for many years until opening in 1969 as an all-cartoon venue. Unable to draw the crowds necessary to remain open, the Admiral closed again. In the early 1970s, the Admiral was re-opened as an adult movie and entertainment house. It was remodeled in the 1980’s, but the exterior façade remained unchanged. Over the front doors is a quote from Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt that says, “The greatest right a nation can afford its people is the right to be left alone.” The quote comes from a documentary that Flynt made in 2007, but is paraphrased from an article Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote in 1890 with a classmate titled “The Right to
Privacy.”

 

 

Rialto Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet, IL

Built in 1926 by Architects C. W. and George L. Rapp (Rapp & Rapp Architects), the Rialto features magnificent plaster work by the late Eugene Romeo, a Sicilian immigrant who settled in Park Ridge, IL and worked for the McNulty Brothers Company of Chicago, one of the largest plastering firms in the country. He also worked on Chicago's Board of Trade, Chicago Daily News Building, Soldier Field, Merchandise Mart, Blackstone Theatre, and Wrigley Building.

Once home to many important vaudeville performers, it also contained the "golden voiced" Barton Grande Theatre Pipe Organ which accompanied silent movies and vaudeville performers with its variety of sounds and sound effects. Today the Pipe Organ continues to be a popular attraction as well as a historic treasure. The Joliet Area Theatre Organ Enthusiasts have provided its care and maintenance as a labor of love since 1972.

The Rialto Square Theatre continued live performances until it was sold in 1968 and subsequently turned into a movie house. The building continued to serve as a movie house into the late 70's, but as the downtown area of Joliet grew tired and "out of style" when the “mall” craze began, the building was soon on the "chopping block".

In 1978, a campaign to "Save the Rialto" for future generations as a performing arts center was initiated by local piano instructor and then president of the Rialto Square Arts Association - now the Cultural Arts Council of the Joliet Area, Dorothy Mavrich, (who passed in 2015 at the age of 94). "Save the Rialto" involved the entire community. With the assistance of local businessman, Christo Dragatsis, support was sought from city, state and federal officials. Former State Representative, LeRoy Van Duyne, was instrumental in obtaining the necessary funds for purchase of the properties. Restoration began in 1980 by Conrad Schmitt Studios of New Berlin, Wisconsin and a gala reopening was held on Nov. 27, 1981.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Rialto is a not-for-profit organization under the direction of the Rialto Square Theatre Corporation. The Will County Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority heads the Rialto Square properties.


Sculptor Eugene Romeo

 

 

 

 

Rialto Ushers circa 1926.

 

 

 

During the 20's , the "golden voiced" Barton Grande Theatre Pipe Organ accompanied silent movies and vaudeville with its variety of sounds and sound effects.   Today, it continues to be a popular attraction as well as a historic treasure.   The Joliet Area Theatre Organ Enthusiasts have provided its care and maintenance as a labor of love since 1972.

 

"These three theatre pieces were done during the year of the Illinois Bicentennial, 2018, when I had three exhibits paying tribute to our Statehood and its beginnings. During my travels through Illinois, I became aware of how important Community is, how it is the core of every village, every town or city. It is pride, it is togetherness, it is caring, and for many, it is the extension of family. Furthermore, I believe that people who laugh or cry together, entertained in theatres together, also bond together. It is important to include these show houses, many of which began as 'Vaudeville Palaces.'  Today they reflect the changing times in their communities."

Chicago born artist Sandra Holubow describes herself as an "Urban Imagist," drawn to the dynamic energy of the urban landscape. As a child, in classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, she experimented with many materials, an attitude she continues to this day. Recognizing the value of an academic education, she studied science, philosophy, history, and literature at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and worked in many art media, including art metal, design and ceramics. She graduated with honors. While teaching in the Chicago Public Schools, she attended graduate school at the University of Chicago, studying mixed media graphics, specializing in serigraphy. At a studio in the Pilsen art district of Chicago, Holubow created prints for exhibits and commissions. But when toxins of oil base inks became apparent, she switched to watercolors and acrylics, later combining them with collage. She has been awarded three grants from the city of Chicago, State of Illinois, and was chosen to be a panelist on the committee which choses grant recipients. Her last project was for further experimentation of collage materials and processes such as digital images and printouts, mesh, paper, acrylic transfers, and acrylic paints on various surfaces, including different types of wood. It is this attitude toward research that Holubow feels continually revitalizes her interest in her subject matter, encourages her to seek diversified presentations, fresh palettes, new perspectives, and thematic changes in each piece. Holubow has exhibited, curated, organized, juried, and participated in innumerable exhibits and won many awards. She is a board member of the Chicago Society of Artists, a long time member of the Gallery Committee of the Leslie Wolff Gallery of Old Town, and for six years helped organize and curate the annual Caffeine Exhibit of the Chicago based Artists' Breakfast Group. Her most recent two-person shows were with Judith Roth at the North Shore Coutnry Day School and the Koehnline Museum of Oakton Community College, Des Plaines, Illinois, and at the Chicago Cultural Center with Julia Oehmke, an exhibit celebrating the Illinois Bicentennial. Her recent one-person exhibits have been at the MLG Gallery in the Fulton Market District of Chicago, the Lincolnwood Village Hall, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Illinois Academy of Math and Science in Aurora, Illinois.

 

Rialto Theatre, Joliet, IL

Mixed Media/Collage    12 x 12"

©  Sandra Holubow

$200

 

 

 

 Paramount Theater, 23 East Galena Boulevard, Aurora, IL

Built in 1931 and designed by Architects Cornelius and George Rapp (Rapp & Rapp Architects), this Venetian style theatre was commissioned by theatre owner J.J. Rubens who, before construction, sold the company to the Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation. When Paramount Pictures owned the design, they decided to build movie palaces all over the country, using this theatre as a prototype.
 

The first movie that played at the Paramount was "Secrets of a Secretary" starring Claudette Colbert. The first live appearance was Groucho Marx. For more than 40 years, the Paramount offered the public a variety of entertainment, including "talking pictures", vaudeville, concerts and circus performances.

In 1976, Aurora Civic Center Authority purchased the Paramount and closed the theatre for restoration. The $1.5 million project restored the Paramount to its original grandeur. On April 29, 1978, the Paramount Arts Center opened, offering a variety of theatrical, musical, comedy, dance and family programming. In 2006, a 12,000 square foot lobby was added. The Grand Gallery houses a state-of-the-art box office, a cafe, a gift shop and an art gallery. The renovation of 28 Downer has provided a home for the Paramount School of Performing Arts bringing professional acting classes to the western suburbs.

Today, the Paramount Theatre and Arts Center is thriving. With an annual audience of 150,000 patrons, it was named one of the Top 10 theatres in Chicago by the League of Chicago Theatres. The theatre continues to be an anchor in the city bringing in approximately $3.3 million in ancillary revenue as well as hosting many free community events including the Midwest Literary Festival, the Air Force Band Concert, the Aurora Idol Competition and staging the annual Fox Valley Park District children’s production.

Paramount Theatre, Aurora, IL

Mixed Media/Collage    12 x 12"

©  Sandra Holubow

$200

 See Bio for Rialto Theater painting

 

GENEVA THEATRE, 319 W. State Street, Geneva, IL 60134

Opened in 1924 as the Fargo Theatre, the name was changed to Geneva Theatre in 1940 and it became part of the Valos Circuit. It was separated into a multi-plex in 1987 and closed in 2000. The Boose family trust remodeled the theatre in the early 2000’s and created a multi-use office building.


Its façade, with a restored marquee, was shown in “Road to Perdition,” a 2002 Depression-era gangster movie starring Tom Hanks. The Theatre received a Historic Preservation Award for Excellence in Exterior Renovation from the city of Geneva. In 2014, the building was sold for nearly $3.7 million to a group of investors. The building was repurposed and is now home to several restaurants, a bar, a shoe repair shop and a bank.

Geneva Theatre, Geneva, IL

Mixed Media/Collage    12 x 12"

© Sandra Holubow

$200

See Bio for Rialto Theater painting

 

 

GOODMAN THEATRE, 170 N. DEARBORN ST., CHICAGO, IL

Chicago's oldest currently active nonprofit theater organization, the Goodman Theatre occupies part of the landmark Harris and Selwyn Theaters’ property. The Goodman was founded in 1925 as a tribute to the Chicago playwright Kenneth Sawyer Goodman, who died in the Great Influenza Pandemic in 1918.

The theater was funded by Goodman's parents, Mr. and Mrs. William O. Goodman, who donated $250,000 to the Art Institute of Chicago to establish a professional repertory company and a school of drama at the Institute. The first theater was designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw (in the location now occupied by the museum's Modern Wing).

The opening ceremony on October 20, 1925 featured three of Kenneth Sawyer Goodman's plays: Back of the Yards, The Green Scarf, and The Game of Chess. Two nights later the theater presented its first public performance, John Galsworthy's The Forest. In 1978, Goodman School of Drama was taken over by DePaul University.

In the mid-1980s, concerned about the adequacy of its aging theater behind the Art Institute, the Goodman began to explore the possibility of a new facility. The City of Chicago, in the process of revitalizing the North Loop, urged the Goodman to consider the site of two old commercial theaters, the Selwyn and the Harris theaters, on North Dearborn Street.

In the early 1990s, the Goodman committed to building on the new site and fundraising efforts began led by Chairs of the Board Sondra Healy, Jim Annable, Irving J. Markin and honorary president Lewis Manilow. A major gift was received from Albert Ivar Goodman, a distant cousin of Kenneth Sawyer Goodman, and from his mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, which ensured that the theater would keep the Goodman name. Construction then began under the supervision of the theater planning committee headed by Peter C.B. Bynoe. The 171,000 square feet project was designed by KPMB Architects, DLK Architecture Inc., McClier Corporation, associated architects. It has two fully modern auditoriums, named the Albert and the Owen, after two members of the Goodman family who continue to be major donors.

The Theatre moved into its new building at 170 N. Dearborn in Chicago's theater district (where it now resides) in December, 2000, and opened with August Wilson's play, King Hedley II. When Associate Artistic Director Michael Maggio passed away several years later, they renamed the Michael Merritt Award for young designers the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award in his honor.

In 1992, the theatre company received the Regional Theatre Tony Award. The Goodman has also won many Joseph Jefferson awards.

Goodman Theatre Nocturne

Digital Photograph (limited edition of 50)

12 x 18"  ©  Robert Kameczura

$275

 

 

Robert is an artist of enormous range and versatility, adept in many media: acrylic, watercolor, drawing, silkscreen, black and white photography, gicleé work and calligraphy. He has a long history as a designer for several notable modern dance companies, including the Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble and The National Ballet of Ireland. In addition Kameczura is a noted scholar, arts writer and critic as well as published poet. Many people are familiar with a portion of his graphic work through his cover artwork for the late WNIB Program Guide. Indeed, it is not a surprise that he has been called "one of Chicago's Renaissance men" for his numerous activities in so many fields. With a degree in literature and poetry, Robert is a published poet and author, whose work includes several short poetic tales for children. Several of his poems have been set to music by noted classical composers, most notably Dan Tucker and Claudia Howard Queen. Kameczura is the founder of the Mythopian Artists' Group (www.artmyth.org), a group of seven highly respected Midwestern artists with an interest in narrative painting in a contemporary context. He has exhibited widely and internationally, in Japan, Poland, Ireland and Canada as well as across the U.S.    His photos were recently part of Anatomically Correct Art's 5,6,7,8 dance exhibition at Devonshire Cultural Arts Center.

 

PATIO THEATER

6008 W. IRVING PARK RD, CHICAGO, IL

The theater originally opened in 1927 with a capacity of 1,500 people. Its atmospheric auditorium was designed in the Neo-Pompeiien fashion, with various Spanish and Italian architectural influences present as well. One of the theater's most prominent design features is the auditorium ceiling. The ceiling replicates a night sky by use of dark blue paint, blinking lights, and clouds that are displayed on the ceiling via projector. The original horizontal theater marquee is still in place. The vertical section was removed in the 1970s. Still in place within the auditorium is the theater's original Barton pipe organ. Once used to accompany silent films, the organ fell into disrepair and was restored in the 1960’s.

After its restoration, it provided music for various shows and sing-alongs. The theater was shuttered in 2001 due to failure of its air conditioning and issues regarding a then new license instated by the City of Chicago.

Renovations began on the theater in 2010, and were finished in 2011. The theater officially reopened on June 3, 2011. The first film to touch the screen in over 10 years was Thor. A 2k digital cinema projector was installed in late 2012 from funds raised through a Kickstarter campaign.

It retains dual 35mm film projectors. After a period of showing "intermediate run" new releases, the theater transitioned to a rental-based business model in June 2013.

The nonprofit Chicago Film Society was in residence there until the theater closed again in April 2014, as owner Demetri Kouvalis reported problems with heating and cooling equipment. The theater re-opened again on December 4, 2014.

There was another period of closure, and the theater re-opened May 7, 2016 under new owners with a screening of Jaws. The Kouvanis family sold the theater to Eddie Caranza, who owns the Congress Theater as well.

In 2016, Dennis Wolkowicz—president of the Silent Film Society of Chicago and, under the pseudonym Jay Warren, its resident organ accompanist— became the new general manager of the Theater.

 

Patio Theatre, Time Travel Festival

Digital Photograph (limited edition of 50)

12 x 15" © Robert Kameczura

$200

 

 

 

Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport, Chicago, IL

Built in 1929 and designed by Architect Louis I. Simon, the Music Box is considered tiny (seating capacity 700) compared to its much larger, more palatial neighbors and features a dark blue ceiling, with “twinkling stars” and moving cloud formations suggesting a night sky. Walls and towers suggest an Italian courtyard as patrons are made to feel as if they are watching a film in an open-air Tuscan palazzo. The Music Box has no stage and, therefore, could only be a film presentation house.

When the theatre was built, sound films were a new technology, and the plans included both an orchestra pit and organ chambers in case sound films failed and silent film accompaniment was needed.

Between 1977 and 1983, the Music Box was used sporadically for foreign films.

In 1983, management reopened the theater with a format of double feature revival and repertory films. Eventually, foreign films were reinstated, and independent and cult films were added to the roster.

The Music Box Theatre now presents a yearly average of 300 films. Part of the re-birth included adding a theatre organ, which is played for weekend intermissions, monthly silent films, holiday sing alongs and special presentations. A large custom electronic organ was installed with the speakers placed in the chambers originally designed for pipes. The irony is that the Music Box is the only theatre in the Chicago area presenting silent films with organ accompaniment on a regular basis, and it began in 1929 playing only sound films.

In 1991, the Music Box added a small 100 person auditorium. Rather than split the main theater in two, a small theater was built in an existing storefront adjacent to the lobby. The ambiance of the theatre was designed to echo the architecture of the main auditorium.

Old theaters have ghosts and The Music Box is no exception. “Whitey”, as was his neighborhood nick-name, was the manager of The Music Box from opening night 1929 to November 24, 1977. His wife was the cashier and they raised their family two blocks away from the theater. According to one of Whitey’s daughters and his daughter-in-law, he spent most of his time at the theater. Young people who grew up in the neighborhood tell tales of working for Whitey, being tossed out by Whitey and accidentally-on-purpose skinning their knee to get a free piece of candy from Whitey. Parents speak of the embarrassment of having their child’s instamatic photo in the cashier’s station “rogues gallery” of children not allowed back in the theater for any of a myriad of offenses. On Thanksgiving eve, 1977, Whitey returned to close the theater. He fell asleep on the couch in the lobby and never woke up. Whitey is a tireless protector of The Music Box Theatre. He helps solve problems and has been known to express his opinion of a bad organist by causing the drapery to drop in both organ chambers simultaneously. He is a positive contributor to the audience’s comfort and enjoyment of his theater. He is sometimes felt to be pacing Aisle 4 (protecting the alley doors where kids used to sneak in). If you see him, be sure to say hello and thank him for his 48 years of care and operation of The Music Box and his continued service to the patrons. He is the Manager Emeritus.

 

The Music Box Theatre is independently owned and operated by the Southport Music Box Corporation. SMBC, through its Music Box Films division, also distributes foreign and independent films in the theatrical, DVD and television markets throughout the United States.

Music Box Theatre Neon Nocturne

Digital Photograph (limited edition of 50)

17 x 18"  © Robert Kameczura

$150

 

CIVIC OPERA HOUSE/LYRIC OPERA, 20 NORTH WACKER, CHICAGO, IL

Opening November 4, 1929 as The Civic Opera House (six days after the stock market crash), it features an Art Deco interior with additional art deco details on the exterior. It is a majestic limestone skyscraper with a 45-story office tower and two 22-story wings. With 3,563 seats, it became the second-largest opera auditorium in North America. Businessman Samuel Insull envisioned and hired the design team for building a new opera house to serve as the home for the Chicago Civic Opera. The building has been seen as being shaped like a huge chair and is sometimes referred to as "Insull's Throne." Insull selected the architecture firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White who were responsible for numerous buildings in the downtown Chicago Loop (including the art deco Merchandise Mart and the former Morton Salt headquarters building next door to the Civic Opera House at 110 N Wacker, constructed in the 1950s). As they did on other occasions, the architects commissioned Henry Hering to produce architectural sculpture for the building. The inaugural season was marked by the première of Camille, a modern opera by 28-year-old Chicago-composer Hamilton Forrest July 15, 1929. It was commissioned by the Civic Opera's prime star and manager, Mary Garden. The opera received mixed reviews and parts of it were broadcast in the Boston area. The Civic Opera is the only house in which the work has ever been performed.

Lyric Opera purchased the Civic Opera House (renamed it The Lyric Opera House) and adjacent backstage spaces from the building’s owner in 1993. This was the first time in the history of the opera house that the resident opera company actually owned the space. Lyric simultaneously launched a $100-million capital campaign: Building on Greatness...An Opera House for the 21st Century, to finance the purchase and renovation of the art-deco house and began a major renovation in 1993, completing it in 1996.


In early 1994, the entry hall was named the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer in honor of major benefactors. An imposing grand double staircase leads to the mezzanine foyer, where there are thirty-one boxes. Above this box level are two more balconies, each with 800 seats.
In 1996, the Civic Opera House auditorium was named the Ardis Krainik Theatre after Lyric’s second general director. The Lyric Opera of Chicago annually employs about 1,100 seasonal, part-time and full-time staff, including orchestra musicians, chorus members, stagehands, production and technical staff, stage management, ushers, etc. There are approximately 120 full-time year-round administration staff.

 

Civic

 

 

 

Civic Opera House/Lyric Opera Nocturne

Digital Photograph (limited edition of 50)

16 x 6.5"

© Robert Kameczura

$150

 

                     

Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL

A postcard of the building circa 1900

 


The Auditorium officially opened in 1889, using the most modern technology at the time to include electric lighting and air conditioning. Architects Dankmar Adler & Louis H. Sullivan, designed the structure to include a hotel, office spaces and a performance venue (and had their own offices on the 16th and 17th floors.


At the time of its construction, the theatre was the largest in the country with 4,237 seats. Originally intended for operatic performances, its superb acoustics are internationally recognized. The infamous Fred Sosman was often heard played the large pipe organ.


In July, 1889, the Chicago Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Art, becoming its first tenant. In 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra made the Auditorium its home. (The CSO stayed until 1904 when it moved to Orchestra Hall). In 1910, The Chicago Opera Association, later renamed the Chicago Civic Opera Company took up residency and stayed until 1929. In 1933, amid the Great Depression, Chicago raised $125,000 to refurbish the Auditorium Theatre in time for the Century of Progress World’s Fair. However, at the onset of World War II, the Auditorium Theatre slipped into decay. In the early 1930s, estimates were taken to demolish the building, but the cost of the demolition was building was taken over by the City of Chicago and used as a World War II servicemen's center. The stage and front rows of the theatre were converted to a bowling alley and much of the stenciling, plasterwork and art glass was painted over. More than 22 million servicemen were housed, fed, and entertained between 1941 and 1945. In 1946, Roosevelt University (then in its second year) acquired the building. The Hotel dining room became the library and the hotel rooms and offices became classrooms, but the theatre was not restored. For many years the theatre remained neglected and abandoned.


In 1960, through the valiant efforts of one audacious woman, Mrs. Beatrice T. Spachner, and a group of dedicated civic leaders, the Auditorium Theatre Council was formed to raise funds to restore the theatre. Thanks to their effort and the help of Legendary Chicago architect Harry Weese, the theatre reopened in October 1967 with a New York City Ballet’s performance of George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


From 1968 through 1975, the theatre served as Chicago’s premier music house, with performances by Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Miles Davis, The Grateful Dead, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company and many others. The theatre obtained National Historic Landmark status in 1975. In 1998, the Joffrey Ballet begins its residency and in 2000, the state of Illinois provided a $13 million grant for the theatre’s second major renovation. The restoration project included restoring the proscenium, seating area, and remarkable ceiling arches of the theatre to the original paint colors and finishes. It also added a new trap system, a new orchestra pit, three separate stage lifts and removable seating, updated dressing rooms, and modern patron amenities.


Today, the building is the home for Roosevelt University (renamed the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University) and The Joffrey Ballet. The building continues to host a variety of events, from dance to music to musical theatre productions to concerts.

 

 

Auditorium Theatre Entrance Nocturne

Digital Photograph (limited edition of 50)

7.5 x 14"   © Robert Kameczura

$150

 

 

MERLE RESKIN THEATRE, 60 East Balbo Dr., Chicago, IL

(formerly the Blackstone Theatre)

Merle Reskin Theatre was designed by architects Benjamin Marshall and Charles Fox of the firm Marshall and Fox 1910, who also designed the adjacent Blackstone Hotel a year earlier. As with the hotel, the theatre took its name from Timothy Blackstone, whose mansion had previously occupied the site. Constructed only seven years after the Iroquois Theater Fire, the Blackstone Theater was required to be fireproof and the management claimed the auditorium could be cleared in three minutes. Seating capacity was 1,400 people until 1988, when renovations to reinstate the orchestra pit and to create seating for handicapped persons reduced the seat count to 1,325.

During the first decade of operation, the theatre featured a number of unique productions. Among them were the performances of the Stratford-upon-Avon Players. Also noteworthy was a presentation of George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" in 1914. The Boston Opera Company held performances at the Blackstone and it also rented its space to organizations such as the Elks, Chicago's University Club and Big Sisters. The Blackstone was also the home to a large women's suffrage rally and conference in 1916; in attendance were 1,200 suffragists from all over the United States. And keeping up with the times, some of the performances from the stage of the Blackstone were heard on Chicago-area radio station WTAS, thanks to station owner Charles Erbstein, who began using the theatre for live broadcasts in 1925.

Because the Blackstone Theatre was a touring theatre, many actors appeared there who would not have otherwise had that opportunity if the venue had specialized in new productions. Some of the actors who graced the stage of the Blackstone include William Gillette, Ethel Barrymore, John Barrymore, Helen Hayes, Ruth Gordon, Katharine Cornell, Cornelia Otis Skinner, and Spencer Tracy. During the 1920s the Blackstone presented 60 plays by playwrights such as George Bernard Shaw, Eugene O'Neill, Seán O'Casey, Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, Richard Sheridan, Ben Jonson, Oliver Goldsmith, Frank Craven, Ring Lardner, and George M. Cohan. At the end of 1930 and during the Great Depression, the producing company the Blackstone Theatre Company terminated its lease and the theatre became a full time rental facility. In 1940, the theater was rented by Oscar Sertin, who staged "Life with Father" starring Lillian Gish and ran for more than a year. The following year, Buddy Ebsen starred in "Good Night Ladies!" which ran for 100 weeks. From 1942 through 1945, the theatre was run by Slavin Amusement Company. In 1945, a reformed Blackstone Theatre Company managed the hall until 1948 when the Shubert Brothers bought the theatre.

With the rise of other forms of entertainment, such as television, attendance at live theaters declined and the Shubert Organization scaled back the Blackstone's season. Shubert continued to bring outstanding work from New York to Chicago, including Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun." in 1959.

However, the Blackstone went dark from 1986 until August 1988, when it reopened with Lily Tomlin's one woman show "The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe." At this time, the Shubert Organization decided it was time to divest itself of all Chicago theatres except for the Shubert Theatre on Monroe Street, at which time the building was offered to DePaul University. The Theatre School began officially performing in the Blackstone on March 21, 1989, with a production of The Misanthrope by Molière.

In 1992, Harold and Merle Reskin made a sizable donation to the Theatre School, and on November 20, the theatre was renamed the Merle Reskin Theatre. (Merle Reskin had spent five years as a professional actress, portraying Ensign Janet MacGregor in South Pacific on Broadway and appearing with Etta Moten.) She gave up her career upon marrying Reskin in 1955; however, she spent thirty years as the Midwest Regional Auditioner for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

In addition to The Theatre School which presents the Chicago Playworks series for young audiences as well as The Theatre School Showcase, the building is also used by other arts organizations.

    Merle Reskin Theatre (in the style of Piranesi)

    Digital Photograph (limited edition of 50)

    11 x 17"

    © Robert Kameczura

    $250

 

 

The Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL

Built in 1914 by architect Samuel N. Crowen, the Biograph Theater is one of Chicago's oldest remaining theatres. The movie house was known for its historical connection to the infamous gangster John Dillinger. John Dillinger was shot and killed in 1934 after attending a screening of "Manhattan Melodrama" starring Clark Gable (allegedly the ghost of Dillinger has haunted the theater ever since).

During the 70s, the balcony was converted into two small additional screens. The original decor mostly lost, the historic Biograph continued to show movies until 2001, when it was designated a Chicago Historical Landmark.

The theater reopened in 2002 under the Village Theatres chain, which operated it until September 2004, when it again closed.

The Biograph was purchased by Victory Gardens Theater in 2004. The interior has been entirely rebuilt, from a venue which could originally seat over 900 to 299 today. The facade was repaired and cleaned and the marquee was rebuilt to resemble the original. (The words "Victory Gardens" have replaced the word "Essaness" over the neon-lit Biograph name. Essaness was the chain that operated the movie house during the 1930’s. The original marquee is housed in the Chicago History Museum.

The Victory Gardens Theater opened in the Biograph on September 28, 2006, with Charles Smith's drama, "Denmark". Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theater work and cultivating an inclusive theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population. On June 3, 2001, Victory Gardens received the Tony Award® for Outstanding Regional Theatre at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Address:  

Goodbye John D.      16 x 20"       Silver Gelatin Print    © Herb Nolan

$600

 

Herb Nolan is a photographer and writer living in Chicago whose photographic work includes not only jazz and blues subjects but images jumping from city life in Chicago to rural America and Mexico.   Over the last 50 years, his photos have been seen on record album covers, displayed at the Illinois State Museum, and published in newspapers books and magazines including Down Beat, Playboy, Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, and Chicago Reader and been exhibited in numerous galleries across the country.    Herb's photos are featured in a recent Public Television documentary series:  "American Masters:  Muddy Waters - Can't Be Satisfied". 

 

Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine Ave., Chicago, IL

The Riviera Theatre was completed in 1917 by architects George and C.W. Rapp (Rapp & Rapp) with a French Renaissance Revival architecture. Initially the Riviera Theatre was to have been operated by the Jones, Linick & Schaefer chain, which operated several downtown Chicago movie houses in the 1910’s and 1920’s such as the Orpheum Theatre, the Rialto Theatre, and the McVickers Theatre.

However, the Riviera Theatre ended up becoming the second major theatre of the Balaban & Katz circuit, which at the time also included the Central Park Theatre. It was operated by A. J. Balaban, his brother Barney Balaban and their partner and brother-in-law, Sam Katz. It is an example of. Built at a cost of over half a million dollars, it originally seated 2,600 featured eight storefronts and over 30 apartments. It opened on October 2, 1918 (delayed by almost two years due to World War I) with Lina Cavalieri in “A Woman of Impulse”. Featuring movies accompanied by the S. Leopold Kohl Orchestra, the Riviera Theatre also featured musical acts on stage.

It was initially equipped with a Barton theatre organ which was later replaced by a Wurlitzer organ. After closing as a movie theatre in 1983, it became a nightclub in 1986, and a few years later, after the nightclub closed, one of Chicago’s most popular concert venues, as it remains today. In the year 2000, the concert halls was made part of Chicago’s Uptown Square National Historic District.

Since 2006, it has been owned by Chicago-based Jam Productions (Jerry Mickelson and Arny Granat). The Riviera Theater continues to serve as a venue for many popular acts and up and coming bands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Riviera Rocks

Digital Archival Print

22" x 18 1/2"

©  Lisa Zane

$400

 

Lisa Zane is a performing artist best known for her work in film and television (L.A. Law, ER, Law and Order, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare). She found success as an international nightclub singer in Los Angles, New York, Paris and London, has recorded two albums of original material, and is currently working on her third here in her hometown of Chicago. Most recently Zane has begun to show her decades long collection of 35 mm photography, a solo show is currently running at the Health in the Arts Gallery in the South Loop. She is delighted to have been included in this group show on the subject of Chicago theatres.

 

Granada Theatre, 6427 N. Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL

Built in 1926 by Architect Edward Eichenbaum, the Granada (originally owned by the Marks Brothers) was of the Spanish baroque style and was considered the sister theatre to the Marbro Theatre (also owned by the Marks Brothers).

The theatre was known for its giant Wurlitzer Organ, 3,447 seats, and live theatrical productions.

Balaban and Katz purchased the theatre in 1929 and later sold to United Paramount ABC and then Plitt Theatres where it became a second-run movie house. T

he theatre closed in 1975; however a promotional company rented it out for rock performances for a few more years. It also played the Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight for several years.

Following complaints from the neighborhood residents, the building was boarded up and sat vacant for many years. The property was sold for close to $1 million to the Senior Life Styles Corporation and torn down in 1989-1990. A new 16 story apartment tower and shopping center was built on the land in the early 1990’s and named the "Granada Center".

Granada Center was eventually purchased by Loyola University and transitioned into 12 floors of student apartments over a base of retail and university offices. Archival materials, including photographs taken by the "Save Granada Theatre Committee" can be viewed at the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries in the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Old Granada    

Digital Archival Print  23 1/2" x 27 1/2"  

© Lisa Zane

$400

 

LOGAN THEATRE, 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL

The Logan Theatre (then named the Paramount Theatre) opened in 1915 as a single-screen cinema for the Lubliner & Trinz circuit. It had seating for 988 in orchestra and balcony levels. In 1929 it was taken over by Essaness and renamed Logan Theatre.

In 1922, it was purchased by the Vaselopolis family. It remained a family-owned business committed to serving the diverse families of the community as Chris Vaselopolis, who was born in the building and dedicated his life to preserving his family’s theatre legacy. In 2006, film Stranger than Fiction starring Will Ferrell used the Logan Theatre as a shooting location.

In 2010, M. Fishman & Co., purchased the theatre and spent approximately $1.5 million to bring it back to its original Art Deco grandeur, restoring the original stained glass arch over the entrance and refurbishing the its marble walls, while upgrading the concessions and installing a bar with a decorative relief panel dating back to the 1915 interior. Fishman also gave patrons more leg room by decreasing the number of seats to 585 from 906. The rehab also included an enhanced sound system, new screens and digital projectors. The theater shows mid-run movies, independent films and local film festivals. The theatre features mid-run movies, independent films, and local film festivals.

 

 

 

 

Logan Station

Digital Archival Print  18 x1/2" x 23"

©  Lisa Zane

$195

 

 

The Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, IL

The historic Portage Park Theater, located on the northwest side of Chicago, was the home for The Silent Film Society of Chicago. Designed by architect Henry Newhouse, the theatre opened on December 11, 1920 with 1,938 seats as part of the Ascher Brothers theatre chain. Pre-dating the advent of America's movie palaces, the Portage Theatre's megaphone-shaped auditorium features a formal beaux-arts opera house design.

When the theatre was taken over by Balaban and Katz in 1940, its marquee, entrance lobby and foyer were redecorated in a sleek, streamlined art deco style to complement its new art deco neighbors -- the monolithic Sears department store and the five-story Klee Brothers building.

In the 1980s, the theatre underwent a dramatic change when a wall was constructed down the middle of the existing auditorium, resulting in two oddly-shaped cinemas. After a five-year period of darkness, the theatre has reopened to its original shape, and has been refurbished and restored to its 1920's splendor.

It was shuttered in 2001 after operating sporadically for the previous couple years. The theatre was restored and renovated, and reopened in the spring of 2006 as a single-screen, 1,300-plus seat theatre featuring both silent and sound classic motion pictures and other events, both on-screen and live.

After receiving its landmark status, it closed on May 25, 2013, and reopened in June 2014. It closed again in February 2018.

It was purchased in May 2018 by Portage Theater LLC with plans to remodel and reopen but no date has yet been set.

Portage Theatre    10 x 12"  

Oil on Canvas  © Jill Zylke

$300

 

Jill Zylke is a fine artist with a degree from the American Academy of Art in Chicago. She is a member of the Edgewater Artists in Motion and the Plein Air Painters of Chicago.  Her work has been shown in numerous solo exhibitions, as well as many group shows in such prestigious galleries as Addington Gallery, Ann Nathan, ARC Gallery, Elmurst Art Museum, Eyeporium, Koehnline Museum, Mars Gallery, 33 Contemporary, Jackson Junge, and the Chicago Cultural Center. She has been a featured artist in the Chicago Art News and Chicago Sun-Times newspapers, interviewed on the television show Is It Art? and in online publications Outdoor Painter and Reverse-R-Salon.

Jill works in oils and watercolors, exploring nature, time, and the creative process.   Jill's artwork was also recently exhibited in Anatomically Correct Art's  5,6,7,8 Dance Exhibition at the Devonshire Cultural Arts Center.    

 

Memory Lane    

Mural created by the Silent Film Society of Chicago

Color Photography

16 x 20"

$400

©  Debra Nichols

 

 


RIP's:    Tivoli (Chicago) - 1963;  Marbro - 1964; Regal Theatre - 1968;  Century (Diversey) 1973 -  McVickers - 1985;  Sheridan Theatre - 1989;  United Artists Theatre (formerly Apollo, now Chicago's "Block 37") - 1989; Commodore Theatre - 1990;    Granada Theatre - 1990;  Rhodes Theatre - 1990; Belmont Theatre - 1991;  Southtown Theatre - 1991;  Devon Theatre - 1996;  Coronet Theatre (Evanston) - 2000; Adelphi Theatre (later North Shore Cinema) - Feb. 2006;  Esquire - 2006; Three Penny - 2007; Village Theatre - 2007;  Nortown - 2007; DuPage Theatre (Lombard, IL) - 2007.

SAVE THE THEATRE INDIVIDUALS:

Joe DuciBella - June 29, 2007 - Theatre historian and founder of Theatre Historical Society of America.    He led the renovations of two of Classic Cinemas' most historic theatres, the Tivoli Theatre, in Downers Grove, IL, and the Lake Theatre, Oak Park, IL.    Joe worked for B&K in many of its theatres, including the Marbro and Uptown theatres.   The Chicago Theatre was saved with his help and he was active as a volunteer in the continuing "Friends of the Uptown" effort since 1979 – even before the theatre closed to the public.

Dorothy Mavrich - In 1978, a campaign to "Save the Rialto" for future generations as a performing arts center was initiated by local piano instructor and then president of the Rialto Square Arts Association - now the Cultural Arts Council of the Joliet Area, Dorothy Mavrich, (who passed in 2015 at the age of 94).   "Save the Rialto" involved the entire community.  With the assistance of local businessman, Christo Dragatsis, support was sought from city, state and federal officials. Former State Representative, LeRoy Van Duyne, was instrumental in obtaining the necessary funds for purchase of the properties.

Resources:   Please Note;   Anatomically Correct Arts does not endorse sites behind external links.     

www.broadwayinchicago.com

www.paramountarts.com

www.auditoriumtheatre.org

www.chicagotheatre.com

www.rialtosquare.com

www.uptowntheatre.com

www.cinematreasures.org

www.classiccinemas.com

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki

www.compassrose.org

www.historictheatres.org  (Theatre Historical Society of America)

A Theatre of Our Own: A History and a Memoir of 1,001 Nights in Chicago, Richard Christiansen © 2004, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL

The Chicago Movie Palaces of Balaban and Katz, David Balaban © 2006 Arcadia Publishing, Chicago, IL

www.balabanandkatz.com

www.balabanandkatzfoundation.com
 

© 2019   Anatomically Correct.   No text or photograph contained in the pages of this website may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of the artist and/or Anatomically Correct.  

Founded in 1991, Anatomically Correct is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to showcasing works by artists in alternative spaces in a combined effort to educate, diversify, and promote community awareness of the visual and performing arts.     This project is sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency and the Skokie Park District.

               


For more information or to purchase artwork, please contact:

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