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A Rough Week for Chicago's Movie Houses

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A foreclosure auction was held at noon today for the ornate New Regal Theater (formerly the Avalon) on 79th Street. The building was given Landmark designation in 1992, but it hasn't functioned as a movie theater since the '70s. We don't know the fate of the New Regal yet, but Sun-Times reporter David Roeder predicts that the FDIC will be stuck with the historic property. Meanwhile, in Bronzeville, the Pickford Theater, one of the first theaters in the country to show African American-directed films, is likely to be demolished. A recent fire department inspection showed a sagging roof and crumbling walls, and a department spokesperson described it as a "shooting gallery" for drug users and squatters. And today, Time Out Chicago reports with a shrug that the Piper's Alley movie theater in Old Town will be shutting down tonight. Yep, these are tough times for movie houses. But with death comes rebirth, as the Patio Theater in Portage Park is set to reopen next week.
· Ravenswood retail deal plans derailed [Sun-Times]
· Historic site must go, Dowell says [Lake Front Outlook]
· Piper's Alley movie theater to close tonight [TOC]