The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Entertainment & Events

May 30, 2014

George Lucas museum Chicago's next big attraction?

CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is using everything but Jedi mind tricks to persuade "Star Wars" creator George Lucas to put his planned museum of art and movie memorabilia in Chicago.

Lucas has been talking to San Francisco about a location. At first blush, the West Coast bid seems obvious. It's Lucas' hometown. It's a premier center of technology and innovation, and it's closer to the nation's movie-making heartland. San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee on Thursday sent Lucas a letter offering the museum a spot on the city's scenic waterfront.

Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff, is known for going after big amenities that can burnish Chicago's global reputation (he's currently pushing for President Barack Obama's presidential library), and he sees himself as the city's salesman-in-chief.

But what can Chicago offer in the war for the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum? Here are five things to know about Chicago's bid:

HEY, CHEWIE. MEET DA BEARS

The city is offering up a slice of real estate along the Lake Michigan shorefront and near other big attractions such as the Shedd Aquarium. The site is currently a parking lot south of Soldier Field, meaning fans dressed up as Chewbacca and Darth Vader might have to cross paths with rowdy Bears tailgaters.

IS EMANUEL BEING PLAYED?

All good negotiators know you need to play one side against another. And assertions by local news outlets that Chicago is or was a front-runner may have helped wrest a better deal out of San Francisco, which rejected Lucas' first choice of a location near the Golden Gate Bridge. Lee has acknowledged his city was not a shoo-in but said he wouldn't easily give up the fight.

Either way, Emanuel stands to gain, if only from the publicity that comes with contending for big-time attractions and events.

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