Gemini Giant statue moved from its post of nearly 60 years in Wilmington, Illinois


From CBS News: WILMINGTON, Ill. — Dozens of people across Wilmington, Illinois bid farewell to the iconic Gemini Giant Wednesday, as it heads for a new home.

Crews were seen Wednesday afternoon lifting the giant off its pedestal outside the old Launching Pad Drive-In restaurant and Americana gift shop in Wilmington. The statue was put up there in 1965.

The restaurant has been shuttered since 2022.

After a bidding war, the Gemini Giant was purchased by the Joliet Area Historical Museum for $275,000.

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It’s Not Too Late to Save Local Flavor!


From the National Trust for Historic Preservation: Now in its fourth year, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are doubling the number of Backing Historic Small Restaurants grant awardees to 50 small or independently owned restaurants across the country. Each restaurant—all places that contribute to their neighborhood’s unique history and identity—will receive $50,000 in funding to help them improve their businesses and positively impact their communities.

Grant applications and public nominations will be accepted until 11:59 PM ET on March 25, 2024.

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s only theater has fallen into disrepair


Kalita Humphreys Theater sits in disrepair, tucked between large elm trees. Cloi Bryan

From The Daily Campus: Large elm trees shield a white plaster building from the public, allowing only those with a good eye to catch it as they walk by on the Katy Trail or drive by on Blackburn Street. Black grime from years of water damage covers the building.

The historic monument is slowly deteriorating and becoming one with the park surrounding her. What used to be shiny and new is now dull and dim.

The historic Kalita Humphreys Theater is the only freestanding theater that Frank Lloyd Wright built in his entire career, and it has fallen into disrepair. As the years go by, the glory days of the Kalita are long behind her.

Many Dallas locals have fond memories of performances held in the theater when they were children. As a child, Dallas-based architect Norman Alston can recall attending the holiday performance of “Peter Pan” at the Kalita, he said.

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The Neon Paradox: Is it Low Brow or High Art?


By the mid-1930s, neon signs could were a popular form of advertising in major cities around the world, particularly in major tourist centers like New York’s Time Square and the Las Vegas Strip. Pictured above is Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas in the 1940s. Photo by Camerique/Getty Images

From dwell: The radiant glow of neon signage often signifies the worst of Americana kitsch. It’s consumerism, literally and figuratively, flashing in our faces. Sometimes it’s the beer and liquor ads flickering in the window of an otherwise dim bar; other times, it’s a mass-produced LED sign declaring Good Vibes Only on the wall of a sorority house or coworking space. On the flip side, neon and its LED counterparts are just as at home in fine art galleries; see Dan Flavin’s fluorescent tube installations, and MoMA Design Store, whose inventory includes the HAY Neon Tube Light and neon versions of works by Basquiat and Warhol. TikTok’s beloved LED light stripsdominate dorms and apartments, and even Kendall Jenner has a cheeky Tracey Emin neon sculpture in her $8.6 million Beverly Hills home. A medium that garners both awe and groans, neon signage exists in an intriguing high brow/low brow paradox.

The reality is that neon signs sit at the crossroads of technology and art. “We can put lightning in a bottle and take this cosmic material and use it to sell hot dogs, or say something confessional, or make some sort of artwork,” says Corrie Siegel, executive director of the Museum of Neon Art. “There’s just something really cool about how this material can mean so much.”

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Capitol Hill’s Esquire Theatre is closing this summer, four years short of 100


The Landmark Esquire on Downing Street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

From Denverite: Capitol Hill’s Esquire Theatre at 590 Downing Street is closing its doors for good this summer, just four years short of its 100th birthday.

The movie theater’s owners plan to repurpose the existing building for upscale office, restaurant and retail use.

“We’ve received great support from the Esquire Theatre ownership team, however, as we evaluate this market and our long-term business strategy, we have decided to close the Landmark Esquire Theatre,” said Kevin Holloway, President of Landmark Theatres in a news release.

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Bellows Falls diner plans come into focus


An architect’s rendering of the renovated and expanded Miss Bellows Falls Diner

From The Commons, Vermont Independent Media: Plans are falling into place to make sure that a restored and reopened historic diner installed downtown 80 years ago heads into its next 80 years on a strong and sustainable foundation. Literally.

Over a year ago, the citizen’s group Rockingham for Progress Inc. signed a purchase-and-sale agreement with former owner Brian McAllister, for the Miss Bellows Falls Diner, on Rockingham Street. The 1941 Worcester Lunch Car has been closed for over three years.

Rockingham For Progress, a civic organization formed in 2016, had been mostly inactive the last few years until it decided that restoring and renovating the diner would be a worthy next project. Board members include Bonnie North, Jeff Dunbar, Kristen Fehrenbach, Doug Anarino, and Charlie Hunter.

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12 classic neon signs that are still aglow each night on Long Island


Brian Harmon/GLI file photo

From Long Island towns and villages have enacted stringent commercial signage rules over the decades — often compelling business owners to hang board signs and gooseneck lighting. Yet there are a few island establishments that still sport the exceptionally cool and classic neon sign.

Unlike with LED, which is manufactured and acrylic, neon letters and designs are hand-crafted through the art of glass blowing, then filled with neon gases — all powered by transformers.

And they can last virtually forever, just think of the Pepsi-Cola neon sign in Long Island City that’s been visible from Manhattan since 1940. Many neon signs have lasted the test of time here on Long Island, too. From classic burger joints to historic coastal motels, scroll down for 12 classic neons we absolutely cherish.

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