Friday, May 6, 2016

Gary? Waukegan? No idea too crazy for that Lucas museum in search of a home

I couldn’t help but chuckle Wednesday night while in Gary, Ind., where I was covering a vicious, meandering and often confusing debate related to federal immigration policy and corrections when a member of the city’s Common Council suggested the Hoosier city as the perfect place for that museum filmmaker George Lucas is so desperate to build.
Maybe I just have to be different, ...

Seriously, Councilwoman LaVetta Sparks-Wade said that seeking projects such as the Lucas museum (which is supposed to feature pop culture and media arts) is what her home city ought to be trying to attract, rather than seeking a detention center project that already has been rejected by Joliet and so many other south suburban communities.

NOW I DON’T seriously expect anybody from Gary will try to get into the Lucas mix, now that it appears Chicago blew its chance (as did San Francisco previously) to be the location for the museum that would have potential to attract so many visitors ONCE.

Although if you think about it, Gary also is on Lake Michigan and could offer up a lakefront site. Which supposedly was the reason Lucas was eager to come to Chicago to begin with.

It actually is the same line of logic being used by people in Waukegan – where municipal officials seriously are trying to urge Lucas and his wife, a Chicago native, to locate to that lakefront city to the north.

The one-time home of comedian Jack Benny would, in their eyes, also become the home of Darth Vader. Would the Sith lord suddenly start telling gags about being perpetually 39 years old?

NOW I DON’T expect the Lucas museum to come to either of those communities on the fringes of metro Chicago; places whose best days are in the past.

But it does make me wonder about what kind of community would feel compelled to get into the Lucas mix, now that his museum is once again a free-agent in search of a home.

How desperate does one have to be in order to want to make a bid for the project by now? Let’s consider that Lucas has already managed to spurn both Chicago and San Francisco.
... but i always preferred these Lucas films
You’d think he’d be developing a reputation as some sort of character; a crackpot of sorts who is difficult to deal with.

PARTICULARLY SINCE IN Chicago, it seems Lucas had his heart set on a lakefront site. People who suggested that perhaps it would be best for the city to locate such a museum in a different part of the city so as to boost attention there were viewed as malcontents.

As for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, he still seems with his rhetoric like he wants us to believe he’s holding out hope. Almost as though he’s in a foxhole with the enemy (Imperial stormtroopers, perhaps?) rapidly charging his way – and he’s down to a single round of ammunition with which to fight them off.

The “Blame Emanuel” people likely will never forgive him for this loss. Even those people who, deep down, didn’t want the museum here. They just like being able to say that everything is Rahm’s fault!

I suspect this project will wind up in some third-rate town willing to kow-tow to the cinematic set, where it will eventually be lost in a sea of mediocrity.

PERSONALLY, I HAVE always been skeptical of this particular project – the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. It sounds like such a high-handed concept, whereas I think the kind of people who would want to visit are definitely low-brow.

Show them a real-life piece of Norman Rockwell’s art, and they’ll be complaining, “Where’s the Wookie costume?” Viewing scene sets and props from the Star Wars films, many will expect – as they think in Yoda-speak.

It reminds me of a museum exhibit that passed through Chicago a few years ago devoted to the sinking of the H.M.S. Titanic back in 1912. All those artifacts that divers brought up from the ship’s wreckage – and the item that caught the public fancy was the movie set of a staircase where Leonardo DiCaprio romanced Kate Winslet in that 1997 film.
Does anyone envision the Lucas museum in the city of  "The Music Man?"
Somehow, I think we will wind up dodging a bullet (or perhaps a shot from a stormtrooper’s blaster) if this project winds up elsewhere.


No comments: