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Both Joliet and Aurora already have theaters on the scale proposed by the Omnia group for the area near the downtown Naperville train station. A spokesman for the Joliet's Rialto said another theater would seriously affect his venue's revenue base. But officials with Aurora's Paramount say they think there's room for more arts options in an area that houses more than 300,000 people. However, they also say working together to create "synergy" between the two would be most important to make sure both would be profitable.

What do you think? Is Naperville's art community alive and well? With the recently constructed Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center at North Central College, would a 950-seat venue be overkill? Would you see second-run Broadway shows in downtown Naperville at a venue here? How about the promise that the theater would be self-sustaining? How would owners be able to generate enough revenue to keep it from becoming a drain on the local economy?

The first day of Naperville's annual Ribfest came with a few changes to help manage the crowds. Electric scanners and barcoded tickets, and bike racks were a few of the changes to help control the hoards of people who will make their way to Knoch Park this holiday weekend.

In years past, complaints about overflowing crowds, closed gates and too many people for local residents to catch the fireworks have plagued the Fourth of July weekend festival. Organizers hope to alleviate some of those problems.

We're curious to know if these measures are making a difference this year. How was crowd control? Did the new ticketing system make a difference. Then, of course, we'd also like to hear your opinions about the ribs and other food, the rides, the musical acts, the spectators and whatever else you'd like to tell us about this year's fest -- good and bad.

And remember: Have fun!

In his 14 years as Naperville's mayor and liquor commissioner, George Pradel has never revoked a local bar or restaurant's liquor license.
Which begs the questions: is that because city officials and police tend to go easy on nightclub and restaurant owners because of the copious tax revenue their businesses generate? Or is it because the downtown nightlife district -- despite its rowdy reputation in some quarters -- is comparatively trouble-free?
Articles from the Naperville Sun library and anecdotal evidence suggest that out of the thousands of people visiting the downtown area on a typical Friday or Saturday, 1 percent or fewer are arrested for assault, battery, property damage or other crimes related to alcohol consumption there.
Still, the city's 32 liquor-licensed establishments and their employees can be held legally liable for indulging their patrons by "over-serving" them and, in some instances, conjuring their darker sides.
"We're constantly telling them we don't want them to over-serve," Pradel said of local tavern and restaurant operators. "Our police check all the time to see that people aren't being over-served. The owners could be in deep trouble" for that if, for example, a patron should become involved in a drunken-driving crash, he said.
"I think our city is very fortunate that we have such responsible owners of the bars and restaurants that serve liquor," Pradel said. "I know it's hard times, but we really put the clamp on people, and if they're over-serving, we're going to be taking them to court."
What do you think? Do you think Naperville bartenders to a good job at monitoring patrons' alcohol intake? Do you think that downtown Naperville's nightlife promotes fun, safe socializing - or is it becoming an area that draws more debauchery out of people than other areas?
And furthermore - do you think bartenders should be held liable if a patron drinks too much - or should that be something that simply falls under the category of "personal responsibility?"
Voice your thoughts - they might be published in The Sun this week!

Today, North Central College dedicates its fine arts center, the first major performing arts venue to open in town since, well, North Central opened Pfeiffer Hall in 1926.

The centerpiece of the multi-theater facility is the Wentz Concert Hall, a beautiful-looking and absolutely spectacular-sounding space for jazz, orchestral and other musical performances. Finally, Naperville has in its downtown a venue comparable to the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet or the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, in terms of architectural beauty and significance.

The best thing about North Central's latest contribution to the downtown Naperville scene is that it didn't cost taxpayers one dime. It was funded entirely by donations and gifts--no tax breaks, not even a land swap, or break on infrastructure improvements. How do you like that?

Let's find out how culturally refined the participants in this forum are. How interested are you in NCC's new fine arts center? Do you plan to hear or see a musical or theatrical performance there? Are you more likely to plan to go to a concert at North Central because of the new center? Or are you more likely to stick to the type of entertainment offered at Quigley's, Frankie's Blue Room and the other watering holes in town?

The results of The Sun's second-annual Most Famous Person from Naperville poll are in, and author Susan Elizabeth Phillips picks up this year's crown. We offered 12 nominees, but there were more names we could have included. Who did we leave out?

Remember how when Gina Glocksen finished in the top 10 on "American Idol," how there was much fanfare here with the mayor and a plaque, etc. We wonder, what are the chances of there being a "Jes Ricklef Day" in Naperville to honor the local who won VH1's hit reality show, "Rock of Love?"

Organizers are planning the first Naperville Independent Film Festival for September 2008. Do you think it will fly?

Guest columnist Mohammed Sagha writes in Sunday's Sun that downtown Naperville nightlife is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success.

By Ted Slowik

In little more than a week, Naperville will throw the Midwest's biggest Harry Potter party to coincide with the release of the series' final book. "The Party That Shall Not Be Named" is expected to draw 60,000 to 80,000 people downtown, as dozens of merchants dress up in costumes and temporarily change the names of their stores to cash in on the wizard wonderland craze.

By Ted Slowik

OK, maybe the Pure Prairie League reference is too obscure, but it's appropriate. In a stunner, Amy Jacobson lost her job Tuesday as a TV reporter in Chicago because she was caught on tape, wearing a bathing suit, at the home of Craig Stebic.

Naperville Potluck

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