Shh! Chicago's secret festival plan | Bleader

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Shh! Chicago's secret festival plan

Posted By on 03.13.13 at 01:11 PM

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I finally understand why Mayor Emanuel agreed to let Northwestern University tear down Prentice Hospital.

But if I tell you, you'll have to promise to keep it under your hat. Because it's part of a still-secret plan the mayor's people are working on, for a great big something that's going to put Chicago on the global map.

And not as the place where you'll get gunned down in the street.

Ready? It's going to be a festival!

(Or, as it appeared under Recommendation 27 in the city's new cultural plan: "A large-scale major cultural festival that attracts global attention and highlights Chicago's renowned cultural assets and heritage.")

What kind of festival?

As best I know, an architecture festival!

Which would be brilliant, because the one thing we have that no other city has is our trove of significant modern architecture, from the late 19th through the 20th century.

Of course, they're going to need a boffo opening event, and that's where I suspect Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice comes in.

What better launch for an international celebration of architecture than the implosion of a unique twentieth century building designed by one of the city's own? Add lights, music, celebrities, crowds, and streaming video, and you've got spectacle on a gigantic scale!

Ka-boom!

Like the sacrificial ceremonies of the ancients.

Guaranteed to grab the world's attention.

But if that's the plan, the city better put dibs on the wrecking date in a hurry. Otherwise they'll just be touring festival guests past the rubble.

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