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The Next Grand Design 

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Things are changing at the Wheaton Grand Theater: after this month the local bands that have been rocking the old movie palace will no longer be the main attraction. Wheaton resident Ezio Magarotto, who's been booking all-ages shows at the theater over the last year, was abruptly dismissed from his volunteer job on March 1. A new open mike series for music, poetry, and improv scheduled to begin this month has been canceled, and the packed schedule Magarotto had booked from April to mid-June has been dumped. Questions surrounding the changes were to be addressed at a public meeting this week, but in an open letter to friends of the theater, Magarotto claimed he brought audiences and money to the dilapidated venue and was fired for questioning the board's plans and procedures. Programming committee chair John Loster says the concerts were attracting only 100 to 150 people in a space that can hold 885. A professional promoter will take over booking duties in April, with the goal of bringing in national touring groups along with bands from Chicago and some of the locals. Shows booked through the first week of April will go on as planned, including this weekend's slate of punk bands. The lineup for Friday, March 12 is Sons of Liberty, Happy Endings, Bonus Marchers, Zero Talent, and Let's Go Home; on Saturday, March 13, it's Close to Home, Douglass Kings, Star*Like Collision, and the Secret Unknown. Shows start at 9 both nights at the theater, 123 N. Hale in downtown Wheaton; admission is $6. Call 630-221-0667.

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