Uptown Theater

4816 North Broadway,
Chicago, IL 60640

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Showing 51 - 75 of 443 comments

jwballer on April 22, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Even if the have to re-open it as a (gulp) megaplex. I know they would never do that though and there are no plans to so i don’t have to worry about that.
By the way i HATE most megaplex’s.
P.s Sorry about yankee stadium. But i will ALWAYS hate the yankees.

jwballer on April 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Thank you panzer. And i know your trying to save the ridgewood right now. Good luck, i support the re-opening at what ever it takes.

Panzer65 on April 22, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I’m form New York ,where our treasured landmark buildings are destroyed mindlessly. Just recently the historic Yankee Stadium was demolished without a trace of a memorial to remember it by, let alone countless movie palaces. My best wishes to save your beautiful Uptown Theater.

jwballer on April 22, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Here is a BEAUTIFUL set of the exterior and interior of the uptown.
View link

DavidZornig on April 20, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Just came across a Reader from Nov. 20, 1981.
It list’s “FRANK ZAPPA BAND. Next Friday, Nov. 27, 8 and 11:30 pm, Uptown Theatre 561-4110.”

So it made it through to at least the end of `81.

Can anyone imagine 2 Zappa sets in one night? Or asking any artist of his stature today to do 2 shows?

DavidZornig on March 29, 2010 at 4:52 am

I stand corrected, and I signed the petition. Thanks for setting me straight.
Ironically I have always been an advocate for preservation and restoration of the Uptown. As evidenced in all of my previous posts to Cinema Treasures.
I also did freelance work for the city for 10 years. So I’ve experienced a bit of bureaucracy first hand.

Some may also want to search a Tribune series from a few years back. About the city and the preservation of various buildings within Chicago. At the time, all of the ones that had been lost needlessly were listed by address. My previous point was made with that particular series in mind.

I guess I was concerned that any project requiring the city’s help for preservation, would likely receive low priority if any, given current economic conditions and the city’s budget woes.

I believe in JAM, and that they will step up to the plate as things evolve. I believe I read that they were the only buyer to show up at the sale.

uptownadviser on March 28, 2010 at 9:04 pm

To correct David Zornig’s comment above, the City has invested heavily in the stabilization of the Uptown. All of the major work that you can see from the street in the past five years has been done on the City’s dime under the direction of a court-appointed receiver and a licensed structural engineer. Each related City department and official has been incredibly supportive over the years.

Please recall that the building remains privately owned. The impetus to renovate and reuse the Uptown must come from the private owner and what he or she sees the Uptown’s role being in the entertainment market. It will not be saved simply by the city, state or federal government throwing money at it. The Uptown will only come back with a sensible renovation and reuse plan that is funded largely by private enterprise. There will be civic backed support and incentives, no doubt. But the solution will have to come from within.

More recent stabilization and monitoring work continues under the direction of U.T.A. II, LLC, which is related to Jam Productions. They are the most interested owners in some time. They are both responsive and supportive and have retained an architect to investigate options and directions.

To support our efforts and to stay in touch about the Uptown Theatre, Chicago, please go to the Friends of the Uptown web site, www.uptowntheatre.com and do three simple things:

  1. Sign the online petition.
  2. Sign up for our email newsletter on Yahoo Groups, Uptown Adviser.
  3. Friend us on Facebook.

Links for all three things are on our homepage. Thanks for your continuing interest, support and detailed observation.

DavidZornig on March 11, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I am quite certain that JAM’s intentions for the Uptown are and always have been all good. What “evidence suggests otherwise”?

Who in their right mind would spend 3 million or whatever it was, just to prevent competition from spending another 30-40 million, renovating a building with such huge problems that’s been empty for 30 years?
JAM could have NOT bought it and still gotten that result.

My understanding is that JAM owns the Riviera, and only manages the Aragon.
And the simple competition in the music biz, is to book who is most popular for the least amount of money, in the biggest place you have available.
And yes, that would be the Uptown. But there are so many insanely expensive variables to undertake before that could even remotely have been a threat.

Hypothetically, if the Uptown WAS bought and fully renovated/opened by JAM’s competition, it would still come down to who could book the bigger name acts consistently. 3-40 million is a pretty big gamble upfront to prevent competition.

JAM openly claimed it had wanted to buy and renovate the Uptown for years. But the roadblocks and various players invloved were always insurmountable. (Some of which is stated in links in posts above, from around the time they finally purchased it.)

I agree the City of Chicago seems shamefully indifferent to what happens to the Uptown. Or most landmark worthy buildings for that matter. Unless they can get their piece of the action. The City is claiming it’s treading water itself. So incentives are going to be flying out of City Hall any time soon.

paulsp on March 10, 2010 at 5:45 pm

It’s a scandal to say the least that the restoration of the Uptown seems always to be in doubt. As good as Loew’s Kings might be (and it’s great that it looks like being restored) it is not in my opinion in quite the same league as the Uptown, one of the top 4 or 5 movie palaces ever built!! The City of Chicago does not seem to understand what a special place this is.

LuisV on March 10, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I have much more faith in NY City’s government than Chicago’s. The city has been working for years to find the right buyer and has backed it with lots of tax breaks and grants, I don’t think that Chicago has done the same, so I am very confident that the Kings will come to fruition.

LuisV on February 15, 2010 at 2:44 pm

The Loew’s Kings Theatre in Brooklyn has finally been saved! This 3,000+ seat palace has been sitting abandoned for over 30 years, just like the Uptown. It is one of the country’s most ornate, but unrenovated theaters, just like the Uptown, and it is located in a non central city location, again like the Uptown. The renovation will cost about $70MM largely paid for with with city grants and tax breaks. The project will take four years, employ 500 people during restoration and 50 permanent after opening. It is expected to host over 200 events a year, though it is not clear movies will be among them. A new marquee (styled after the original) will be installed in addition to a brand new blade, as it originally had! This is incredible news for all theater lovers across the country and hopeful news for fans of The Uptown. IT CAN BE DONE!

jwballer on January 29, 2010 at 1:13 am

A 4/28 Wurlitzer was installed in the theatre in 1925

123james on October 30, 2009 at 1:54 am

thanks for posting the pictures—-to me it still looks great——even after all the neglict and abuse——thru the years

chspringer on October 30, 2009 at 1:41 am

I’d love to see more interior shots in color. Most I’ve found are B&W. The one above is nice.

tarantex on October 30, 2009 at 12:34 am

Those Pictures Panzer65 are so nice thankx for posting them!!

jwballer on October 29, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Thank you for you confidence panzer65

Panzer65 on October 13, 2009 at 1:06 am

I have an interior photo of the Uptown, viewing the ornate architecture it is some what peculiar to movie palaces in America. The photographer is standing in the mezzanine, an Italian term that loosely translates into mid way or middle. This section is sandwiched in between the balcony and the orchestra level. Another peculiar design element is that the seats along the side , which are known as Opera Boxes , or Box Seats, usually are independent of the other seats. This design gracefully sweeps into the side walls of the theater.
View link
View link

Panzer65 on October 13, 2009 at 12:53 am

I’m from New York City and we are facing the same predicament as you are, we are trying to save a 1916 Thomas Lamb designed theater building named Ridgewood. Although this theater is name an ornate palace like your Uptown, we share the same love for the memories and historic value that these buildings hold. I signed the petition without hesitation and wish you the best of luck saving the Uptown. Please do visit us in New York City, and check out the CT Ridgewood page.

jwballer on September 12, 2009 at 12:03 am

Please just pay the 80 mil its a great place even bigger than the Chicago. The Uptown is possibly the greatest landmark ever to be built in Uptown

uptownjen on August 14, 2009 at 4:58 am

I hope it’s not simply to eliminate possible competition, should Live Nation or someone else get a hold on it. I’ve heard that the hold-up is that some people want the seats to be ripped out on the floor and others want it completely restored.

This recent article doesn’t make the whole thing sound very positive.

View link

Jean on July 20, 2009 at 11:53 am

My late mother used to go there as a kid with her cousin and to ALL the B&K theatres for FREE. I am thus related to the KATZ side of B&K. I wish I could one day see the inside. I have been offered but since mom passed away last year, I don’t have much desire to go back to Chicago. :(

123james on July 16, 2009 at 9:57 pm

i keep checking for news of the uptown’s rescue everyday——when will the compass rose website be updated with if anything is happening———is it possible that the city or state could get stimulas fund’s for a restoration project—-this could create some jobs——what about using it for a olympic games in 2016 if chicago is selected as host city——it might be a cool and comfotable place to watch various events if you can’t get a ticket(s)?

wurl240 on July 16, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Does the Uptown have a concrete roof? I would guess it would. Seems to be those wood and tar paper theatre roofs that allow water in to destroy interiors. I would hope Uptown would be “land-banked”. Keep a
roof on it with adequate down spouts and try to heat in the winter.
I greatly admire those who are/have been working to keep this outstanding B&K house from total destruction.

paullewis on April 11, 2009 at 10:31 pm

I find it very distressing that the future of the Uptown still remains in doubt despite the wonderful efforts of the “friends” to keep it in the public eye.
Having looked extensively in many publications relating to the great movie palaces of the past (I have a first edition of “Best Remaining Seats” plus many other later books) I have concluded that not only is the Uptown the finest survivor in the world of this genre but was without doubt one of the top 3 or 4 movie palaces ever built. To my mind only the New York Roxy and Capitol were better and some would argue the Fox San Francisco, although for me it was a bit too over the top.
Because of its unique status today its demise would rank with the demolition of Penn Station New York in 1963 as one of the greatest acts of public vandalism in American history.