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Birthdays: The Vic Theater

The Vic is turning 100. One-hundred years of presiding over Sheffield and Belmont. Opening as the Victoria vaudeville house, it served stints as an auto repair shop, porno theater ("The Old Vic is Back in Business ... For You. The Public. The Finest of People."), and a Spanish-language theater before turning to intensive music bookings. The renovation that accompanied that change is a master lesson in urban salvage. According to the Sun-Times' Dave Hoekstra, "the guts of the Vic are a mash-up of Chicago theater history", with components imported from Uptown Theater, the old Pump Room, and the now-razed Granada and Southtown Theaters. Oh, and excavations revealed secret catacomb passages used as escape routes by mobsters. Now we're talking! [Sun-Times, photo: Explore Chicago]