Wednesday, July 18, 2012

18 July 2012, Day 43

After years of laziness and inertia, i finally managed to get to the Portage Theatre tonight for a showing of Sam Fuller's House of Bamboo (1955). What a great experience to sit in that gorgeous auditorium, built in 1920, and see the movie the way it was meant to be seen! Now that i've figured out where Portage Park is, i hope to be able to see many more films at the Portage. Unfortunately, that may not be possible as the theater is in grave danger of being not only closed, but "renovated" into a church that would destroy the wonderful details of the theater interior. The local alderman, John Arena, has been trying to work with the church to help them find a more suitable location in the community so this historical theater can remain intact; unfortunately, so far his efforts have not been successful. I'm going to copy and paste a letter from Alderman Arena urging people to come to the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing this Friday, 20 July, to support the Portage Theater. I've also included links to the Portage website and Save the Portage Theater Facebook page. I hope you'll take the time to get involved.

Come Support the Portage Theater at the ZBA Again

The Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals will hold its hearing Friday, July 20, on the future of the Portage Theater and the Six Corners Business District. Currently, a church has applied for a special use permit to use the building for worship services. We continue to work with the church to find an equitable solution that preserves the Portage Theater as a cultural treasure and historic landmark.

If the zoning board of appeals were to grant the request, it would be nearly impossible to open a new restaurant, bar, or performing arts space near the building. If you can, come support the Portage by appearing at this hearing. We don't need you to speak, but we do need you to show board members that the community supports the continued operation of the Portage as a theater.

The Portage is on board's afternoon agenda, which starts at 2 pm. The hearing will be at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle, in City Council Chambers on the 2nd floor.

Hope to see you there.

***UPDATE 07/19***
Great news! According to the Portage Theater's Facebook page, the Chicago Tabernacle has officially withdrawn its application for a zoning change and is not going to buy the Portage Theater. So there's no need to run down to the Zoning Board tomorrow -- the Portage is safe for now!

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