Wheaton Grand Theater

123 N. Hale Street,
Wheaton, IL 60187

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Showing 276 - 300 of 369 comments

rroberts on August 13, 2005 at 4:02 am

Many of us in Wheaton know Benny G. He is a good man with a great heart for music and for people of all kinds. He has been a friend of the Wheaton Grand for years — long before GVI became involved. So with his local roots and passion, is this the proper way to treat him? Ben is one of many who have been “turned away” by the GTC board. He is only the tip of the iceberg. Why didn’t Loster or others on the board start a dialogue with him about providing additional security for his event? No harm would have come to anyone in the theatre. Music is a connecting bond between people; this board does not understand hip hop or “alternative music.” The GTC board is clueless and leaderless and worse: It does NOT have the best interest of Wheaton residents in mind when it fails to present many different types of entertainment. (What happened to theatre for children or kids camps? Now we do murder mysteries elsewhere!) It takes professionals to do the job not part time volunteers who come and go with little regard for professionals in the theatre business. I repeat the observation and request made my many: The GTC board has failed to restore the theatre and it has had many years to do it. Resign and let others step in to finish the work. I look forward to the Tuesday night OPEN meeting. I encourage ALL local people to attend. In response to Loster’s outrageous charge above that GVI wants to take over the theatre: it is partially true but NOT for personal gain. We see inertia and will create a new not-for-profit to operate the theatre with a board that is well balanced, trained and actively engaged in community affairs. Those folks interested in serving on a new Wheaton Grand board should send resumes or letters of interest to our office. (See website www.grandevenues.com))

TheNeighbor on August 11, 2005 at 7:45 pm

Thank you all for the information contributed.

First, let me say that I was aware of the reasons given for the cancellation of Mr. Garvey’s August 6th performance. I have to say that I was relieved that the Wheaton Grand Theater Board had enough consideration for the safety of its neighbors and community to cancel the event. Yes, it might have been unnecessary. Yes, it might have been an over-reaction. But it was an action that was advised by the Wheaton Police Department, and that in and of itself is reason enough for me. I have no ill-will toward the “hip-hop community” and do hope that the event can be rescheduled. It may not be my “cup of tea”, but that doesn’t mean I’m against it. However, as a woman in business who is frequently alone in her store, one of the things I find the most attractive about downtown Wheaton is my complete sense of safety. I do hope it can be maintained.

I have indeed noticed the intent put forth by Mr. Novelli and Mr. Warshauer. Although I don’t find for-profit organizations to be necessarily evil…I am after all, running one myself…I have gotten no intelligent response to my many questions as to his particular plans for the future of the Wheaton Grand. I had hoped that he would be able to share his information, to let me know exactly why his plan was so much better than the current plan being followed. He does seem to truly believe in it. I have been trying to listen to all sides of this discussion, to be able to make a fair and reasonable decision as far as who to believe. But since there has been no productive conversation there, I have turned my attention to those on the board who will have an intelligent discussion about the future of the theater.

I was quite pleased to see volunteers out and about working on the building tonight. All in all, they were quite pleasant. I also had a lovely conversation with one of the board members when they came into my store. Thank you for letting me know when the meeting will be. I will try to make arrangements to stay in the area after we close so that I may attend. I am extremely interested to see what is planned for the future, and where I might be able to help. Even if its as simple as putting flyers up in my store, I would be more than happy to assist.

I do look forward to the meeting, and to meeting many more of the volunteers and board members.

Thank you again for the information,

The Neighbor

nvisibleman on August 11, 2005 at 2:41 pm

It has been a long and winding road to achieve the small notariety in the music business that I have obtained. I find it sad that unsubstantiated rumors about gang related activity cancelled a celebration of the five elements of hip hop: graffitti, breakdance, dj, mc and the beatbox.

I would also like to note that the Wheaton community did not cancel a KKK rally a few years ago at the DuPage County Fairgrounds. How could this event be any less threatening? The last time I checked breakdance, rhyme, paint, rhythm and music have never murdered minorities, and have never oppressed citizens of this great nation.

The Third Annual Suburban Hip Hop Extravaganza will be rescheduled, and I am currently in precarious dialogues with The Wheaton Grand Theatre Corporation considering the Wheaton Grand Theatre for the event. The stakes are now higher, and so the cause of the event will be elevated. This event is now being built to support CeaseFire, a charitable organization designed to eliminate gang violence in the Chicagoland area, a mission I support and believe in to the bottom of my heart.


Make no mistake. I believe that what happened with the event on Saturday August 6 was wrong. I believe that it happened because of a fear of the hip hop community. But since I am a man of integrity, principle and Faith I will do what I can to right the situation. Though people are now afraid of what it means to celebrate hip hop, through education we will educate the Wheaton community to understand that there is nothing to be afraid of, and that there is nothing that can be done to stop the rhythm. After all, You Can’t Stop The Juice.

Peace Out.

-Benny G

shout outs to The Renegade squad, All City, STick-n-Move, the Draw crew, the Piece Keepers, AG, THe Funk Bombers, N Visible Spotlite, The La Spiaza Crew, Fo Sho Records, Velvet Pineapple, GTC, GVI, and my main man Chali. hit me up on the low.

JLoster on August 11, 2005 at 9:54 am

Dear Neighbor,

First, a general comment- the best way to get involved with the theater restoration is to attend our monthly informational meetings. This month, our meeting happens to be next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Next month and thereafter, our meetings are the second Tuesday of every month. This has been our schedule for 4+ years and you are more that welcome to attend.

Second, the Wheaton Theater rehabilitation process has been going on for years. Our organization has gone through dramatic changes to position ourselves to become a fundraising group. Our all volunteer board, from Wheaton and surrounding communities, has met with many community organizations, businesses, fundraising consultants and politicians and based on that input, we have created out a plan to raise the millions of dollars needed to rehabilitate the theater. The GTC held over a dozen workshops last Spring to get the word out to the community. We understand the critical connection between the GTC and the business community. In fact, our Board Chairman also serves as a theater representative on the Downtown Wheaton Association Board of Directors and two other GTC board members are downtown Wheaton business owners. The Wheaton theater will become and economic engine for the Downtown Wheaton revitalization effort.

There have been numerous comments and debates on this Web site and we
would like to refocus everyone’s (that truly cares about the theater)
efforts to help us rehabilitate the theater. Here is our Mission

“To rehabilitate and revitalize the historic Wheaton Grand Theatre as a performing arts and entertainment center for enriching the lives of the residents of Wheaton and surrounding communities for
the present and future generations.”

We would also like to suggest that the public put Mike Novelli, a local Wheaton resident, and Paul Warshauer’s comments into perspective. Both Mike Novelli and Paul Warshauer are co-founders of Grand Venues, Inc., a for-profit corporation. Their goal, as a for-profit entity, is to take the theater over. Period. They made that clear in the Warren Moulds Chicago Tribune article. The Board of Directors for the Grand Theater Corporation has no financial stake in the rehabilitation of the theater. We will continue to make our decisions based on the best interest of the theater and not based on our own personal gain. From our perspective, it is clear a for-profit group is trying to damage both our reputation and efforts to
rehabilitate the theater, which is a sad situation. We, the board,
volunteers and community, want to focus 100% of our efforts on
revitalizing the theater and not be distracted by the efforts of GVI to discredit our years of work. If there is anything you can do to help us mitigate these distractions, we would be grateful.

Hope to see you at next week’s meeting.

Grand Theater Corporation

JLoster on August 11, 2005 at 6:56 am

Mr. Garvey’s show (singular) was canceled due to legitimate concerns. The following is an article from the Daily Herald:

Reports of gang activity canceled Wheaton show
By James Fuller
Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Concerns about possible gang-related violence bounced a hip-hop concert scheduled for Saturday in Wheaton to a later date after local police tipped off the venue.

Wheaton police said Monday that they received information from officers in Maywood that gang members there were recently found in possession of fliers promoting the concert at the Wheaton Grand Theater.

Wheaton police Cmdr. Terry Mee said speculation coming from Maywood was that the concert could be a site for possible retaliation from a recent gang-related shooting there.

Wheaton police relayed that information to the operators of the theater, who then decided to cancel the concert.

Maywood Community Officer Percy Allen said he was aware of the cancellation, but had no knowledge of any Maywood connection or officers giving information to Wheaton police.

However, theater board member John Loster confirmed Mee’s description of the events leading up to the cancellation. He said the decision was based on several discussions with Wheaton police during the week leading up to the event.

The information on the possible gang activity came on the heels of accusations from the concert’s promoter, Ben Garvey, that the theater nixed the concert because of general fear of “the hip-hop community.”

The theater board disputes that notion.

“The reason the event was not held last Saturday had nothing to do with it being a hip-hop concert,” said Loster in a written statement. “We made the decision to cancel the show in the best interest of our audience and the community. That would have been the case whether the event was a hip-hop concert or a classical music performance.”

Garvey could not be reached Monday.

rroberts on August 10, 2005 at 5:29 pm

Thank you, as usual, Mr. Kreft and the many others who wonder about the truth regarding GVi and GTC. We will eventually have our day in court where people will hear that we really do love restoring old theatres! But don’t take my word for it. Now former volunteer and promoter Ben Garvey will join in the fight. His shows were cancelled by John Loster. It is sad at the Wheaton Grand.

TheNeighbor on August 10, 2005 at 9:03 am

Mr. Krefft:

Thank you for posting this article. It definitely helps to clear up some of the questions I have had regarding the theater which haven’t yet been answered by others on this board. Of course, it does seem like there are always more questions than answers, but at least I have an idea of what has transpired to this point.

Thanks again,

The Neighbor

TheNeighbor on August 6, 2005 at 3:12 am

Thank you for your support.

I believe that Mr. Warshauer is assuming that since I am not completely on his side, I must be some sort of plant from the Theater Group. I assure you this is not the case.

I was also confused by the theory of three theaters. Not just by the number of walls, but by the types of entertainment he proposed would be beneficial somehow, and that the theater would be somehow useless if it was restored back to its original one theater format. Unfortunately, Mr. Warshauer has taken my questions in regards to his proposition as some sort of demand that he prove himself. I was simply looking for information that would have helped me to see his point of view on this topic. I do have to admit that due to completely subjective considerations, I have more-or-less discounted his point of view altogether.

I do hope that other people begin to become more active in this list so that we can have productive discussions about the theater. Are there any other ways to raise money besides the currently running shows? Would it be useful for me to put a donation jar in my shop? Flyers? Is there any way to have posters printed up for downtown businesses? A garage sale like the one Wheaton Drama just had? I don’t know…whatever other charities do for fundraising. I’m game for just about anything that helps, if I have the room as my store is rather small and filled almost to capacity as we “speak”!

Thank you for joining in, WGTLuver

The Neighbor

Wheatongrandluver on August 5, 2005 at 7:53 pm

Ummmmm…..I’m really confused. Mr. Warshauer, could you please explain to me how more theaters = more people. Walls take space that seats could be. I dont see why you on taking revenue away from the WTG. I also wanted to thank The Neighboor for their tireless effort to support the WTG and its glory. How can an adult act so much like a 10 year old?

TheNeighbor on August 4, 2005 at 6:30 am

Mr. Warshauer:

I’m sorry if I inadvertantly misspelled your name. It was not intentional, I assure you.

I’ve never made any accusations about whether or not you did an excellent job at the Wheaton Grand when you were handling the bookings. In my mind, it is a completely irrelevant topic as that is obviously the past. If you would like to persue that avenue of discussion, please feel free, but consider me to be uninterested. My interests lie solely with the future of the theater, not the past. I was interested in your proposition in regards to whether or not to have one theater only because it was an option that I consider still potentially viable and an interesting question. However, your contract (whether legally or not) has been severed, and the current board has no interest at all in reinstating you. In my mind, this makes your current stand futile at best.

I have never stated that I was involved with the theater financially. I know nothing at all about it, and have stated that from the beginning of these conversations. But I am a downtown business ownere, and have an interest in bringing more business into the downtown area to the benefit of all. In that light, I would like to contribute any way that I can. In the manner of assisting you with your apparently endless quest to point fingers, I have no interst. I have no need to gain credibility with the public. I am not involved at all in the running of operations at the theater.

I am disappointed, Mr. Warshauer, but perhaps less than I was at the beginning. It has become apparent that the discussions that I had looked forward to when I first started to post will never come to pass as you have no interest in creating a future for the theater if it does not involve your management. If you will not contribute to productive discussion, I will no longer direct any comments to you, and would request that you not further address any accusations, insults or derogatory statements towards those of us who would like to carry on intelligent conversations. Your virulent outbursts are discouraging many people from engaging in more productive debate.

Therefore, I reiterate my questions from my last post to LZOGAS and others involved with the theater who would care to respond. What is there that downtown business can do in order to assist with the restoration of the theater?

As Always,
The Neighbor

rroberts on August 4, 2005 at 5:00 am

Please spell my name correctly. So I dissapoint you? Who cares! I don’t have to answer to you. I know about the good work I do; so do many others. We had many sold out shows at the Wheaton Grande, too but our sell outs were to many different groups. Stop trying to show off. You are all deluded and have little talent. Where are the funds to restore the theatre? When do you start fixing up the unsafe building? Where are the financials that justify keeping the Wheaton open as ONE theatre? Answer those questions so that YOU gain credibility with the public. You dissapoint me and everyone else in Wheaton by your silly charades.

TheNeighbor on August 3, 2005 at 6:54 am

Mr. Warhsauer:

Again, I can’t help but express my disappointment in your response. I am trying to maintain an objective and rational debate on the issues at hand without the over emotionalizing which clouds the facts. I have been cordial to both yourself and LZOGAS, neither of whom I know personally. I hope you are not offended that I’m being considerate towards someone that you have such an obvious disregard for; I try to be polite to anyone until I am given a reason to be otherwise.

I have also noted that you have not answered any of my questions. Perhaps you don’t take them seriously? Do you find my questions intimidating? Or perhaps, if I give you the benefit of the doubt, you simply read the most recent posts. I would ask you to consider my questions, and if you have any answers, to please respond.

In addition, I would like to know if there are any steps above and beyond the forementioned events to secure funds? Any other fundraising projects? Anything to generate word of mouth? I know I can not drive through Lombard without encountering signs to support the DuPage Theater. Has anything been attempted in this regard? Is anything planned? Mr. Warshauer has expressed remorse at there not being more downtown businesses active in this discussion…is there anything at all that can be done to bring the others aboard?

As always,
The Neighbor

TheNeighbor on August 3, 2005 at 6:45 am

Mr. Warhsauer:

Again, I can’t help but express my disappointment in your response. I am trying to maintain an objective and rational debate on the issues at hand without the over emotionalizing which clouds the facts. I have been cordial to both yourself and LZOGAS, neither of whom I know personally. I hope you are not offended that I’m being considerate towards someone that you have such an obvious disregard for; I try to be polite to anyone until I am given a reason to be otherwise.

I have also noted that you have not answered any of my questions. Perhaps you don’t take them seriously? Do you find my questions intimidating? Or perhaps, if I give you the benefit of the doubt, you simply read the most recent posts. I would ask you to consider my questions, and if you have any answers, to please respond.

In addition, I would like to know if there are any steps above and beyond the forementioned events to secure funds? Any other fundraising projects? Anything to generate word of mouth? I know I can not drive through Lombard without encountering signs to support the DuPage Theater. Has anything been attempted in this regard? Is anything planned? Mr. Warshauer has expressed remorse at there not being more downtown businesses active in this discussion…is there anything at all that can be done to bring the others aboard?

As always,
The Neighbor

zogasl on August 3, 2005 at 4:03 am

Mr. Warshauer,

You are the one that needs to move aside.

My congratulations and comments were to the WGT for its SOLD OUT show (which you failed to acknowledge), not to you. Did you EVER have a sold out show when you were employed by the WGT? I thought not. So stay out of it.

Go find a theatre that needs you (the WGT does not) and work on that.

rroberts on August 2, 2005 at 5:27 pm

Puhleese. LZogas and the Neighbor?? It getting pretty deep in here. Where is the rest of the public on this site? They are asleep in Wheaton and expect someone else to do the work. There is no good work until the theatre is restored. The current board had four years and has done nothing. FEW dollars went into any maintenance or restoration. Move over and let someone else do it. Anyone…anyone?

TheNeighbor on August 2, 2005 at 2:54 pm

Thank you, LZOGAS, for being so complimentary! I have to say, I’m intrigued about the entire situation. In the long run, I want what’s best for the entire city, although what’s best for the theater itself certainly factors in.

Its just unfortunate that there are so many obviously emotional issues beneath the surface of this argument. Getting through the various layers of anger is difficult to say the least.

I do look forward to getting to the bottom of things and finding an answer in there, somewhere!

The Neighbor

zogasl on August 1, 2005 at 7:24 am

I am sorry to post this note so late but I was away for a while and did not get the chance to visit this site until now. Congratulations to the Wheaton Grand Theatre for its SOLD OUT show on July 17, 2005. It was a great evening without incident and an overwhelming success where everyone involved should be congratulated.

On another issue, it is refreshing to hear from “The Neighbor”. A calm and reasoned voice with intelligent questions and responses. I believe the theatre should be returned to its original glory. (I worked there in the 70’s and remember the granduer of one large theatre.) I also have attended some of the WGT Board Meetings and have not found any reluctance to answer questions on the part of the Board, in fact, they have gone out of their way to answer whatever is asked of them.

Again, Congratulations and keep up the good work John, et al, the WGT is a treasure that you do proud.

TheNeighbor on July 30, 2005 at 3:48 pm

Mr. Warshauer:

You have seriously disappointed me with your answer.

First, on a personal note you have disapointed me with your assumption that I am a business man. I am a business woman. I will try not to sound feministic about this, and simply assume that you are of an older generation and unused to strong, independently minded business women.

Also, I am disappointed because I did not seek an apology from you to the Wheaton Grand Theater Board in general, but in regard to the specific issue of the office space having been rented. In this situation you were indeed wrong, and I take it as a mark of character when a person is able to own up to their mistakes. You apparently are not of such character. But I will try again, and hope you simply overlooked this point amidst the many other points of my rather large post. So if you will post an apology, I will look upon it as a mark of a good character and it may weigh in against the other opinions that I am beginning to develop in light of this pending litigation.

I am glad you have found suitable offices. However, I do believe that your statement regarding your eviction from that office as illegal is incorrect. Your contract with the theater board was terminated whether you were fired or the contract was broken. The property belongs to the theater, and no rent was being collected from you for the property. I am also sorry for you that you believe they withheld your property without proper notice, however I believe that if you had a reasonable discussion with them they would have willingly returned it to you. Indeed, I believe you still came out ahead of the bargain marginally as the property was in severe need of repair after your office vacated. I am sure the repair of the space as well as the removal of your possessions actually cost more than the approximate value of them.

As a downtown business woman, I do not necessarily embrace either your plan nor theirs as of yet. I do not believe that you in any way have a better plan, or that the current plan is as bad as you have painted it to be.

Are you aware of what is currently being produced at the theater? You seem somewhat removed from the actual schedule. The theater has three nights a week more or less consistently booked. And these are not all “punk” or “heavy metal” shows. In fact, many of them are what is known as “indy” in the trades, more of a offshoot…like folk music with a hard edge to it. Yes, they have had some heavy metal shows, but I understand that these will be phased out as they are not condusive to the downtown business environment. There have indeed been other productions; last week there was a library sponsored showing of the original Star Wars movie, which was completely sold out. The prior week there was a matinee movie showing as well. I would encourage you to check your facts, or at least update the information you are gathering. Its apparently outdated. I believe there was a bit of a recovery after the abrupt separation of your company from theirs; as Mr. Loster has himself said on this very board, there were numerous problems contacting people who were already booked to play, and no copies of contracts were forwarded to the board. In this situation, I would assume a period of adjustment would be necessary before the Theater would be able to locate appropriate talent.

As far as the training of the theater volunteers/employees, I have no way to judge your opinions as being true or false at least insofar as their training and/or lack of knowledge. However, if they arrived with no training, they must have received excellent training somewhere because I have absolutely no complaints about the way they conduct themselves.

I have never felt the need for them to ask me what my opinion is, or to wait until there is some mystical board meeting to put in my opinion. Mr. Loster has email at which he can be reached, there is the website for the Theater, and if I truly wished to, I am sure that I could knock on the door or walk in on a night when there was a production and speak to any of the volunteers. I am not worried at all about the Theater knowing my opinion. In fact, I plan on doing said same at my next convenience so that I might hear from Mr. Loster as well; your voice seems to have silenced his on this board, and I would like to get input from both sides of this debate.

In regard to the lawsuit, and your apparent noble efforts to somehow punish the non-profit theater board for safety issues you’ve perceived; where will this $100,000 go? Will you be hiring a contractor to fix these problems? Will the money be put into a trust fund for the medical bills of children who are injured in the mosh pits? I don’t believe your motives to be that philanthropic, and I must again say that I cannot look with a kind eye at someone who files suit against a non-profit entity, no matter how much they say it is “evil”. Has the fire department fined the theater at all? Have the building inspectors been through and issues citations? These are the facts that I would like to know before I decide whether or not the Theater is as bad as you would like to suggest it is.

Also, I sense in this we are confusing two separate issues. Whether or not you were legally terminated is one issue. Whether or not the current Board is doing a “good job” and “know the theater business” is a separate issue altogether. It would do well if we could separate those two issues in any future discussions. Does your pending litigation have anything at all to do with the way the Theater is currently run, or is it just a claim for damages due to the termination (legal or not) of the contract?

You may think that I’ve taken your business plan out of context, but I maintain that even given three stages, boy scouts, YMCA and Senior Center activities really do NOT bring in a great deal of revenue to the downtown area, whereas these local bands appear to and if they were able to contract larger entertainers, they would bring in more people with a higher amount of available income for shopping. That is my bottom line. Please don’t misunderstand me, community is a wonderful thing and should be considered. But there are plenty of venues for these other non-profits. I’m sure that even if the theater were to become one instead of three theater areas, when the theater was being rented out on the weekends for these larger performances, it would still be available for other things in off-hours. That, I believe, is the normal way these things work.

You’ve also not given me an answer as far as:

Your figures on the number of people the City of Wheaton can support in regard to parking.

Who, besides yourself, supports the three theaters concept. Are there any other Wheaton businesses backing your plan?

I have no real interest in taking this discussion off the list, and less interest in handing out my personal information. I would much prefer that all debate be in this public forum where others may be able to join in the discussion.

Thank you for your prompt reply. I look forward to a hearty debate on the issues at hand.

The Neighbor

rroberts on July 30, 2005 at 4:13 am

Dear Neighbor:
I am grateful for your calm and logical questions. I, too will be brief although our lawsuit speaks for itself. If you would like a copy, go to the Clerk of Court at the DuPage Courthouse or call our office and I will mail you one. I offer no apology as we have been wronged. The truth will come out soon enough

When we chose to file an action against the board of the Grand Theatre Corporation, (GTC) we weighed our options carefully. Many discussions and negotiations occurred prior to the final action. A not for profit can be guilty of all kinds of bad business decisions and negligence. If they are volunteers, let them quit so that others who KNOW theatre and business can come onto the board. If a board allows a building to remain open if it is unsafe, there is the potential for personal liability as well. We demanded that the GTC fix falling plaster, bad fire exit signs, etc. They did not. We did what we thought was right. They tossed us out illegally and rented our office. We rented a larger and much nicer office down the street. That is OK but let a court or a jury of our peers decide how much they cost our company by dishonoring all of our programming contracts, potential earnings, and our signficant commission income.

There is so much misinformation I would like to hold a forum to answer all questions by the public regarding our plan for the Grand but until the court case clears, we must do it from this forum. As always I am happy to meet with a group of people at any time to openly discuss our love of the Wheaton Grand and our $4.1 million restoration plan. We welcome a debate or open forum with the Board of GTC but they refuse to meet. Why?

Your comments take our business plan out of context. The YMCA, Girl Scouts, Senior Center, and many other shows are NOT the sole part of our business plan for a three venue renovation. They are REASONS that a three venue plan should be considered. Multiple sources of revenue = success. Movies, live concerts, public forums, lectures, plays, murder mysteries, magic, dinner theatre, fund raisers, business meetings and conferences, children’s programs and much more all occur in our formal five year pro forma. A strong revenue stream that allows for modest donations from the public and not massive support that the GTC’s plan advocates.

As a downtown businessman you should embrace our plan as people will be downtown watching more events on more days of the week that the GTC plan to have one big theatre used infrequently. If GTC has their way, a giant mausoleum will occupy the downtown with concerts or performances once a week or less. Look at the Rialto, Genessee or Paramount where little or NO local programming occurs. How do you build a base of support if local people are not on stage? How can you hope for a theatre to survive if you don’t have a vibrant children’s theatre program? THEY are the future of any theatre community.

For the record, not one board member has any theatre training or experience. During our six months of programming we brought in so many new audience members and programs that it is staggering. No one can dispute our programming skills. We made money for all concerned. We hired many teenagers and cleaned the theatre. I hear that it is a pig sty now with no air conditioning.

John Loster is not a good manager. He quit twice before walking off of the job. Ask the board and they must confirm this fact. I will continue to demand the best for that theatre and if it means “publicly assaulting the board,” I will do it and so should you all! It is OUR theatre NOT the board’s. Their reprehensible behavior is NOT what a 501c3 (not for profit) is supposed to do!

When was the last time they asked YOU, the public, for your opinion? The GTC board cancels public meetings and open forums out of fear. Call them and ask to attend one of their “open board meetings.” Ask questions. Learn about the theatre and its great potential for Wheaton. Get involved.

Now, there is virtually NO programming in the theatre other than rock and punk band concerts. NO movies, NO children’s programming. Dangerous conditions still occur within the theatre. Moshing, slam dancing and other teen misbehaviors occur because of infrequent patrols in the concert venue. We hear this from many teenagers and their parents. (Documents and testimony available on request.)

OK, naturally there is lots more to say…e-mail me if you wish. Happy to reply to any and all comments. Thank you.

TheNeighbor on July 29, 2005 at 7:27 am

Well, aside from having mis-numbered my post, it doesn’t look to bad, does it?

Silly me.

The Neighbor

TheNeighbor on July 29, 2005 at 7:24 am

Mr. Warshauer:

To get this out front, I am a current business owner downtown Wheaton, in close proximity to the Grand. I do not have any experience renovating movie theaters or any other historical buildings. I am not revealing my name or business because of the open hostility demonstrated on this board. I will not have myself abused verbally or physically by either side of this argument.

I do have several questions as well as a few statements, but I will try to keep this brief so as not to be lost in the many, many posts.

First, I do not feel that one needs to be an expert in order to have an opinion on a subject. You have evidence to prove your point of view, JLOSTER has evidence to support himself as well. Being a business person downtown Wheaton, my success or failure will be impacted by the success or failure of the Grand. This is where my point of view stands.

First, I would like to know exactly who the “we” are that you are speaking of in regards to wanting 3 theaters. I am not one of them, and no of no one who is. If the right people are on the “three theaters side”, it might affect my opinions.

Second, I would like to know where you are getting the idea that people are somehow upset at the fact that you are not running events out of the front of the theater. I’ve never observed such a thing myself.

Third, I don’t understand your math. I believe the theater currently has a fire code maximum limit of 722 occupants in the larger theater (which I do not believe includes the smaller area). How is it that the City of Wheaton can support 722 persons in one theater, but not 800 were the theater to be renovated? I’m a bit confused there.

Fourth, exactly how to you expect that your plans would be of more benefit to me? I don’t particularly see non-profit organizations like the boy scouts or YMCA bringing in a lot of extraneous income for shopping. Being non-profit, I would imagine that they would not be able to pay premium for the use of the Grand theater, either.

Fifth, I must say it distresses me horribly that anyone would take it upon themselves to file a lawsuit against a non-profit organization. This is an all volunteer organization, maintained solely for the purpose of renovating the theater. You claim over and over to want the best for the theater, and yet you would take money from that same project to line your own pockets. This does make it very difficult for me to side with you in this current situation.

Sixth, I have seen absolutely no apology for the fact that you made assumptions and verbally assaulted the board of the theater for forcing you to leave your office when that space had not been rented. It was indeed rented, JLOSTER contradicted you, and the signs were visible for the world to see (or at least all of downtown Wheaton) well before the first of June. There is currently a business there. I would feel better about you as a person as well as a businessman if I knew you could admit when you are wrong, and utter some sort of apology for the assumption you made about the property.

No, I do not know you, Mike Novelli or your staff, but your reaction to my message will be what I will base any opionions upon, so I would hope you will make your comments wisely.

Thank you for your time, I look foward to reading your comments.

rroberts on July 28, 2005 at 4:56 am

Life’s Too Short: Thank you for your comments about our three venue idea. We have blueprints, pro formas and other documents that strongly support our suggestion to go ahead with the GVI plan. We made a formal presentation to the GTC board with a professional architect, engineer, and they pretended to be interested. They have NEVER given the three venue idea a serious moment of deliberation. They retained Shepardson, a “charletan and a con man” (these are the Mayor of Waukegan’s words) as a consultant and now are hypnotized by his grand scheme to raise $8-11 million dollars! Come on! When we called them on it, they shut us down and cut off our programming income. Our renovation/restoration plan comes in under the $4.1 million budget and we are ready to go! THAT is why we sued. Ask the public, too. Do they want ONE big barn that will be empty or do they want the public engaged and involved inside the theatre with children’s programming, classic movies, magic, murder mysteries and a host of fundraisers, parties and concerts? I agree with previous comments made here by others. You are mean spirited and not constructive. When you say “we” do you mean you are on the board or a volunteer at the Wheaton Grand Theatre? If you are get a clue and get a life. Let the rest of us who are in the theatre business try and save old theatres. You have no idea about our lawsuit, about my murder mysteries, our other theatre projects or our desire to save old theatres like the Wheaton Grand. You do not know me, Mike Novelli our staff or our work so stop pretending you do. Give it a rest.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 27, 2005 at 8:47 pm

That’s a cute move, Paul. Trying to bolster our terrible public image by filing a lawsuit and telling the media about it, are we? If you were so worried about falling plaster and faulty systems, why were you booking concerts and allowing crowds of teenagers to enter the building? The day we met, you didn’t have a problem with giving me a tour of the entire theatre building (and then asking for an on-the-spot donation). There’s no way you would have taken on that potential liability if you were truly worried. You think you are owed $100,000? I certainly don’t have statements of cash flow, but I can’t believe your community rock concerts and little murder mystery presentations were generating that kind of money. This is not illuminating. It gives the impression that your company, on top of apparently having no assets and no references, wants to waste the time of a busy court system for it’s own petty designs. I will be very interested in seeing how long the judge allows this to go on.

For the record, I think your ideas on how to reuse the building were good ones. I had no issue with your tri-auditorium concept. But, unless a global conspiracy exists against GVI, I see far too many accusations out there (dating back to the 70’s) for me to believe in the validity of your firm. I am sorry the gentleman from Canada finds my comments distasteful. But, at the same time, I think he has wandered in here mid-stream. Finding productive uses for old theatres is a difficult task. I see no evidence that GVI contributes to that cause in a meaningful, long-term manner.

rroberts on July 24, 2005 at 5:27 am

Please read this article: View link Grande Venues will finally have its day in court. Our lawsuit is now public record and we strongly encourage member of the public to read it. For those who like to save old theatres this will be illuminating. Boards of directors may NOT impose their vision on a community—their mandate is to involve members of the community not to live in an Ivory Tower.

Wheatongrandluver on July 23, 2005 at 10:13 am

I think we all care about saving these theatres