• The historic Portage marquee

The legendary Portage Theater—Chicago’s oldest movie palace still in operation—is in the news again. On Friday Jim DeRogatis reported at WBEZ’s website that Erineo “Eddie” Carranza, the theater’s new owner as of September 1, served a five-day eviction notice to the current management on the grounds that they owe approximately $103,000 in back rent. DeRogatis posted another report on Sunday, going into further detail on the bad blood between Carranza and Portage Park alderman John Arena. In brief, Arena claims that Carranza broke his promise to the community (made at a meeting only earlier last week) that he would not pursue an eviction. He also intends to block approval for Carranza to receive either a liquor license or a public place of amusement license at the Portage, citing “documented history of deferred maintenance, rowdy crowds, and underage drinking [that is] not welcome at Six Corners.”

News of a five-day eviction notice may sound dire, but it’s unlikely that the Portage Theater will close its doors this week. This morning I spoke with Arena’s chief of staff, Owen Brugh, who explained that Carranza and his lawyer Tom Raines merely issued a notice of intention to file an eviction—which is essentially a strong warning and not a binding threat. “It’s important to note that commercial evictions take a while,” Brugh said. “The legal proceedings can take years, especially in cases of disputed back rent.” In other words, Northwest Chicago Film Society will still screen The Great Gabbo this Wednesday at 7:30 PM. (Some movies are just too weird to suppress, apparently.)