Club Tycoon Ready to Strike Again?

Can Steve Edelson create a “Superior Club”? Though his competitors doubt he can make it happen, the proprietor of Union and the Bridge is eyeing a new nightclub site in a loft office complex on Halsted Street between Superior and Chicago. The three-story, 20,000-square-foot space has railroad tracks running through it and would have an “eclectic” feeling, according to Edelson, with an additional 7,000 square feet outside that would become a stage in summer and an ice rink in winter. Competitors believe Edelson’s chances of opening another club are slim. “He’s got too many enemies in town,” maintains one club manager. But Edelson says the money to construct the club, which he’s thinking of calling the Superior Club, already is in escrow with his attorney, and if all goes according to plan the club could be open in three months.

Meanwhile Shelter, still one of the city’s hottest nightspots, is finding it tougher than expected to add Wednesday night to its business week. Last week the club closed early on Wednesday due to a lack of bodies. “We’re committed to making Wednesday work,” says Shelter manager Michael Blatter. But Blatter is up against a formidable foe–the midwestern work ethic. “People do have to get up and go to work the next day,” he admits.

Excalibur’s Galerie: None Like It Haute

Snuggery honcho Fred Hoffman has tossed in the towel on his Galerie restaurant, the noble experiment in fine dining at Excalibur. When Hoffman opened the under-one-roof nightclub/restaurant last fall, he expected to attract a business clientele to the Galerie for lunch and serious diners in the evening. But it wasn’t to be. Now Hoffman is picking up on the omnipresent strategy of the moment–good food at reasonable prices. His version will open in Excalibur this fall with an all-Chicago theme. Hoffman believes the new spot will be “a perfect marriage with the entire complex.” Certainly more so than the stab at haute cuisine.

How to Make Money From a Film Without Taking Chances

If your French is up to snuff, youll have no trouble figuring out the coy censorship game surrounding the new film called–in plain English–How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired, scheduled to open today at the Fine Arts. The title of the film, which is based on a novel by Dany Laferriere, hasn’t slipped by the city’s prim and proper daily newspaper censors, but anyone with half a brain should be able to figure out what’s going on. In the newspaper ads, beneath a photo of a white woman atop a black man, is the clipped English version of the title: How to Make Love…Without Getting Tired. Then in much smaller print boxed at the bottom of the ad is the uncut original title under which the Canadian-French coproduction was made (for the record, Comment faire l’amour avec un negre sans se fatiguer). Eva Saleh, a spokeswoman for New York-based Angelika Films, which is distributing the film in the U.S., said the Sun-Times initially wanted to run ads with the title only in French, but went with the censored-English/full-French version when it appeared the Tribune would do likewise. Saleh says all the concern about the film’s title is, as you might expect, a particularly American phenomenon. “The distributors didn’t have any of these problems in Europe,” she says.

The Ump’s a Homosexual!

Talk to Chicago-based journalist Alan Steinberg and he’s liable to tell you he’s amazed that Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball wound up on the New York Times best-seller list. The autobiography of the gay former major-league umpire Dave Pallone, which Steinberg cowrote, debuted last week in the number 15 spot on the Times list, and will move to number 9 this Sunday. Steinberg says the market for the book is proving much more diverse than expected. “I’m getting calls from mothers who have a child that is gay and have read the book,” says Steinberg. “The book is getting a big baseball readership as well.” For Steinberg and Pallone, the book was an attempt to lay bare what they believe is the truth about baseball. “It’s time someone pulled the mask off baseball and shined the light on its real face,” they write. “Baseball doesn’t accept gays . . . and until there are drastic changes, they will stay in the closet.”

For-Profits Get More Say in Theater League

With League of Chicago Theaters executive Diane “From Russia With Love” Olmen under pressure from her constituency, now comes word that commercial theater producers who are League members have insisted on and won more substantial representation on the League’s 15-member board of directors, increasing their number of seats from three to six. Commercial producers generate between 60 and 80 percent of the city’s theater ticket revenue, they say, and pay the heftiest League membership dues; therefore, they argued, they deserve a larger say in League affairs. The change might be a bad sign for Olmen, who is said to be more closely aligned with some of the not-for-profit theater companies that have benefited from the League’s activities, such as they are.

Theater Fest in the Black

Jane Sahlins’s third International Theatre Festival will wind up in the black. Just how much in the black, though, will depend on the outcome of negotiations between festival attorneys and Lloyd’s of London. Sahlins took out an insurance policy with Lloyd’s to cover potential cancellations by the Renaissance Theatre Company of Great Britain and the State Theatre of Lithuania. The Lithuanians wound up missing two performances because of a visa snafu, thereby enabling Sahlins to make a claim on the policy. Looking toward future festivals, Sahlins intends to continue offering big events. An English-speaking company, preferably one with prehyped appeal like the Renaissance company, is a must. And Sahlins has discovered that epic presentations, such as this year’s six-hour The Dragon’s Trilogy, sell much more readily in Chicago than do many of the other offerings.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jon Randolph.