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BusINess » Entertainment

Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment’

Tina St. Aubin

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Last year, in recognition of the city’s efforts to revitalize itself without raising taxes, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce named Valparaiso “Community of the Year.” Tina St. Aubin had something to do with that honor, the first for a Northwest Indiana town: As executive director of Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events, Inc. (VCFE) since 2008, St. Aubin has played a central role in ensuring that her city’s downtown remains attractive to families and businesses alike.

“Our goal is to continue to bring events to the community that everyone can support,” says St. Aubin, 37. “That’s what we do. If we can help businesses to succeed, that’s even better.”

As a lifelong resident of Valparaiso and member of a family of small business owners, St. Aubin would seem to offer the perfect blend of community passion and practical knowledge. “We do events that can help business be successful,” says St. Aubin, who has worked as operations manager at Duffy’s Place, the Valparaiso bar and restaurant her husband owns. “I understand their challenges; I understand the risks that they’ve taken.”

Formed in 1999, VCFE is dedicated to improving Valparaiso’s retail environment, initiating cooperative efforts and providing family-oriented recreational events. In practice, that means St. Aubin spends much of her time working closely with city officials and VCFE’s board of directors to plan and oversee a variety of annual events, many of which are familiar to Valparaiso residents. These include the long-running Popcorn Festival (Orville Redenbacher resided in Valparaiso), this year’s inaugural Valpo Brewfest, the Fall Harvest Festival and the VCFE Concert Series, which is a fundraiser for the organization. (VCFE is partly funded by the city, but it is an independent nonprofit.)
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Marc Nelson

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Music makes Marc Nelson’s world go ‘round, and this 28-year old Valparaiso resident works to nurture that love of the creative arts in others in Northwest Indiana.

His journey has taken Nelson far from the Porter County city where he grew up, and brought him back again. “I lived in Chicago and in Los Angeles,” says Nelson, recording engineer and a partner in The Alley Recording Co. in Valparaiso. “I had two mentors during that time who had a tremendous impact on me.”

Dennis Tousana was the chief engineer at the Chicago Recording Company and took on Nelson, a self-proclaimed 19-year old “hot head”, as an audio engineer. With Tousana’s tutelage, Nelson says he matured quickly as a professional and as a person.

“By the time I was 21, I was actually 26,” he says. “Dennis was a big, big influence in my life.” The move to L.A. brought Nelson in contact with Bill Schnee, a legendary producer and audio engineer. “He’s in the top three or four in the world,” Nelson says. “He trained me how to work in a multi-tasking environment and to never lose track of what I was doing.”
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Rebranding a ‘Star’

An iconic part of Northwest Indiana’s entertainment and convention scene for 40 years, the White Lodging facilities at U.S. 30 and I-65 are being rebranded and marketed as a unique, multidimensional destination to be known collectively, and simply, as the Star Plaza.

The new marketing campaign, “It’s All Here,” focuses on highlighting everything from the theater to the Radisson hotel and convention center with the Star Plaza logo. New signs, photos and a user-friendly website are uniting the brand.

“We believe this repositioning and our marketing efforts will bring Star Plaza back to the forefront of people’s awareness—and possibly even reintroduce them to our versatile property,” said Bruce White, chairman and CEO of White Lodging Services Corp., and son of founder Dean White.
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Star Plaza launches new website, new look

Star Plaza, which includes the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza and the Star Plaza Theatre, on Thursday officially launched new website.

The website, StarPlaza.com, will reveal the company’s new look and features direct links to the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza and the Star Plaza Theatre booking engines. Links are also available to all Star Plaza entertainment and dining venues

Marti Alexander, director of sales and marketing for Star Plaza, said though the company is proud of its heritage, it also understands the importance of growing a guest experience that is relevant to today’s traveler.
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Study to lay foundation

A view of the land north of Indiana University Northwest where a proposed Jackson Family Center is planned. (Photograph by The Times.)

A view of the land north of Indiana University Northwest where a proposed Jackson Family Center is planned. (Photograph by The Times.)

Pomp and circumstance were aplenty during the June 2 announcement for a Jackson Family Center mixed-use development in the city of Gary.

But now it’s down to business. Project coordinator Simon Sahouri is up against an eight-month deadline to complete a feasibility study, which he calls “the No. 1 priority in helping move the development forward.”

The study, which is under way, is the key to unlocking the city’s commitment to transfer more than 300 acres near the Borman Expressway to the project. And the report will determine what amenities will be featured at the proposed Michael Jackson-themed entertainment complex.
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Wolf Lake readies for fest

Wolf Lake Memorial Park's stage and concert area is being constructed and is expected to be completed by Hammond's Festival of The Lakes in July. (Photograph by Jessica A. Woolf/The Times.)

Wolf Lake Memorial Park's stage and concert area is being constructed and is expected to be completed by Hammond's Festival of The Lakes in July.
(Photograph by Jessica A. Woolf/The Times.)

Four months ago, it was difficult to imagine that a pavilion under construction at Wolf Lake Memorial Park would be functional by mid-July, but with its 60-foot-tall roof now in place and dozens of crews working nearly nonstop, officials say bands will take its stage for July’s Festival of the Lakes.

“We haven’t had any show-stopper yet,” Hammond Port Authority Administrative Director Rick Szany said. “We’re still on for Festival of the Lakes.”

The amphitheater is one of two signature pieces of the $54 million revamp of the Hammond Lakes area, a project infused with a $31.4 million grant from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.
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AMC completes purchase of Kerasotes theaters

AMC Entertainment Inc. said it completed a deal May 25 to acquire nearly all of the assets of Kerasotes ShowPlace Theatres LLC.

The deal helps AMC retain its position as the country’s second-largest movie theater chain and gives the company a total of 380 theaters with 5,325 screens.

Chicago-based Kerasotes will retain ownership of continue to own and operate ICON concept theaters in Chicago’s South Loop and Minneapolis, as well as one theater in Secaucus, N.J. Kerasotes owned 95 theaters and 972 screens.
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Lakeshore Public Television receives awards

Lakeshore Public Television recently won a bronze Telly Awards for two of its original productions.

The Udderly Amazing Cow was recognized in the Children’s Television category. Filmed in northwest Indiana at Fair Oaks Farms, the program follows a group of region children as they learn about dairy farming through fun and factual adventures.

Greetings from Cedar Lake, an original documentary chronicling the historical high-society resort destination of Cedar Lake, was recognized in the Television Documentary category. This program reveals the town’s history as it changes from frontier community to resort town to post-war suburb.

The Telly Awards honors local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest film and video productions, and groundbreaking web commercials, videos and films.

For more information, contact Lakeshore PTV at 219.756.5656 or visit LakeshorePTV.com.


Kerasotes plans sale of theaters to AMC

The nation’s sixth-largest movie house chain, Kerasotes Showplace Theatres, says it has reached agreement to sell most of its 96 theaters to AMC Entertainment Inc. of Kansas City.

The companies indicated Tuesday they expect to complete the sale this summer.

Kerasotes, which began with a single nickelodeon in Springfield, Ill., in 1909, now has theaters in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, Colorado, California, and New Jersey for a total of 973 screens. Northwest Indiana Kerasotes theaters are in Schererville, Merrillville, Hobart and Michigan City. AMC operates theaters in Chicago and its south suburbs, but none in Northwest Indiana.
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Mayor Clay is hopeful for Gary in 2010

Gary Mayor Rudy Clay, backed up by Gary Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chuck Hughes, presents his 2010 vision and plans for the city and Northwest Indiana during a Gary Chamber of Commerce meeting Monday. (Photograph by John J. Watkins/The Times.)

Gary Mayor Rudy Clay, backed up by Gary Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chuck Hughes, presents his 2010 vision and plans for the city and Northwest Indiana during a Gary Chamber of Commerce meeting Monday. (Photograph by John J. Watkins/The Times.)

Mayor Rudy Clay said Monday any detractors who oppose opening Michael Jackson-themed venues in the city should not knock the projects, they should “Just Beat It.”

Aside from borrowing lyrics from the deceased Gary-born entertainment icon, Clay said there are brighter days for the city in 2010 with upcoming projects in a speech at the Gary Chamber of Commerce’s first meeting of the year.

Clay said there’s no better time than the present to be Gary’s mayor, despite challenges including shrinking gaming and property tax revenues.

He said Gary “will be one of the best cities in the country.”

That’s not to say the future will be easy to cope with especially if there’s a cap in the state constitution on property tax collection levels. Clay is confident the move will happen, and he hopes the state’s Distressed Unit Appeals Board will continue to understand its plea of how the city will be affected by such a move.
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