Civic Center Bounces Bicoastal Ballet
The Joffrey Ballet has gotten the boot at the Civic Center for Performing Arts. The New York- and Los Angeles-based ballet company, one of the nation's most prominent, has been a mainstay on the city's dance scene for more than 30 years, but it won't be part of the Civic Center's 1990 Spring Festival of Dance. Instead arrangements have just been made for the company to return to its old Chicago home, the Auditorium Theatre, March 13-18. Sources say Civic Center executive director Randall Green was no longer willing to underwrite the Joffrey's annual engagement here, which had dwindled from two weeks to one in recent years. The Civic's spring dance festival, plagued by spotty attendance and high expenses, seems to be determined to put a lid on financial losses.
Gault-Millau's Faux Pas
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel was the site of a seemingly festive reception to unveil Gault-Millau's The Best of Chicago, a $15.95 travel guide that should be arriving shortly in bookstores. But behind the scenes some tempers were flaring.
The American versions of Gault-Millau (pronounced "Go Me-oh") guides, which also include books for Los Angeles, New York, New England, and San Francisco, are based on a long-standing, acerbic, well-respected Paris restaurant guide produced by noted French food critics Henri Gault and Christian Millau. But the American guidebook division, under the direction of suave Andre Gayot, is an altogether different operation, with Messieurs Gault and Millau apparently having little or no input.
Though the party to announce the Chicago guide was lavish, it did nothing to calm the anger of some of the eight local writers who compiled the book. Some had begun referring to it mockingly as the "Go-Away Guide."
Most galling, according to one contributor, was the appearance of undue penny-pinching in the Gault-Millau organization. A single copy of the completed guide was sent to each writer along with a note that said additional copies would happily be supplied at a discounted price. Lag time between submission of copy and publication of the book was almost a year, which resulted in some glaring faux pas. The Bakery has closed, for instance, and Le Prince in the Swiss Grand Hotel, one of the guide's highest rated restaurants, also is long gone.
Bridge for Sale?
Nightclub mogul Steve Edelson may be looking to cash in on his hot riverfront night spot the Bridge, the first club to draw the in-crowd as far west as Elston Ave. Sources say Edelson is mulling an offer to sell his substantial share in the club for three or four times his original investment. It's not yet clear whether other investors would sell their shares as well. The Bridge, which consists mostly of outdoor decks along the river, was one of the hottest spots on the city's club scene last summer, and observers say it will probably do well again next year. Edelson could not be reached for comment because he was in Saint Thomas, where he was believed to be huddling with ex-Traffic guitarist Dave Mason about plans to open a nightclub on that Caribbean isle.
The Wages of AIDS
Art dealer Alan Kass is riding the wave of hysteria surrounding the work of New York-based artist Keith Haring. The madness began in August when Rolling Stone published an article in which Haring, a protege of the late Andy Warhol, talked about his battle with AIDS. Suddenly the rush was on among investors and art collectors to snap up Haring's work.
Kass, whose Kass/Meridian gallery represents Haring in Chicago, has seen the price of Haring prints skyrocket since the news appeared. Limited-edition prints that Kass could barely sell at auction last spring for $350 are now going--when they can be had--for $1,500 and more. Haring is holding back a lot of his work, Kass says, devising an overall strategy for it in light of his uncertain future.
Phantom of Milwaukee
Musical-theater magnate Andrew Lloyd Webber made Chicago his home while overseeing the production of "The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber in Concert," starring his wife Sarah Brightman. Lloyd Webber was no doubt happy to be here after trying out the show in Milwaukee. There, sources say, audiences appeared not to recognize the composer when he showed up onstage to take a bow with his wife.
Lloyd Webber's concert, which had a top ticket price of $47.50, cleaned up at the Auditorium box office, thanks in part to a last-minute promise that ticket buyers would receive priority seating for the upcoming run of his Phantom of the Opera. Don't be surprised, by the way, if the top-priced Phantom ticket hits $50, a new high for Chicago. The top Broadway ticket has jumped to $60 from $50, and that usually means road-show prices are in for a boost.
CSO Board Takes a Flier
United Airlines CEO Stephen Wolf may be having problems at the office--he was set to make millions on the buyout of UAL, and now the deal's failure is being blamed in part for the stock market's recent dive--but he still gets some respect around Orchestra Hall. At last week's annual meeting of the Orchestral Association, Wolf was elected to that organization's board of trustees, the governing body of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Looking relatively relaxed, he even showed up at the swank Casino Club affair for his induction into the august group. Wolf's presence on the CSO's board makes political sense, at least as long as he runs an airline; United has been a major supporter of the orchestra, providing transportation for many of its international and domestic tours.
The Last Supper Club
Chalk up another failed effort to revive the old-fashioned supper-club format in Chicago. The Fairmont Hotel will shutter its ritzy Moulin Rouge after its New Year's Eve dinner-show featuring the Platters. Doomsayers have been predicting the room's demise almost from the day its doors opened. The hotel was finding it increasingly difficult to book the Tony Bennett-type talent it wanted for the kind of fees it could afford. And given stiff tabs for food, drink, and entertainment, customers were discouraged from sampling anything but the big names. As of January 1, the Moulin Rouge will be available for receptions, weddings, etc. Don't expect to see its like in Chicago anytime soon, if ever.