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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Free Movies At Ainslie Arts Plaza Start Wednesday In Lincoln Square

The screenings kick off with a showing of "The Karate Kid." The Davis Theatre will sell alcohol and other beverages.

Ainslie Arts Plaza.
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LINCOLN SQUARE — Ainslie Arts Plaza will host a free screening of the the original “Karate Kid” Wednesday as part of a free film series running through September. 

The film will begin about 30 minutes after sunset at the plaza, 4844 N. Lincoln Ave.

Around 7 p.m., staff from the Davis Theater‘s Carbon Arc Bar will begin selling beer, wine and other refreshments at a beer garden set up inside the plaza. Proceeds will go toward supporting the free screenings. 

The schedule:

July 28: “The Karate Kid”
Beer garden opens 7 p.m.
Approximate start time 8:45 p.m.

Aug. 18: “Shrek”
Beer garden opens 6:30 p.m.
Approximate start time 8:15 p.m.

Sept. 15: “Vertigo”
Beer garden opens 6 p.m.
Approximate start time 7:30 p.m.

Dates and times are subject to change. For the latest information, visit the chamber’s Facebook page.

While planning for the plaza, neighbors said they wanted the space to host movie screenings. The Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Davis Theater to figure out the logistics.

“We tested it out one night and the screen worked pretty well, so we came up with this event idea,” said Rudy Flores, the chamber’s executive director.

For decades, Lincoln Avenue north of Lawrence Avenue has been a fairly sleepy area in comparison to the bustling, cobblestone neighborhood center just southeast. 

Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) has sought to turn that stretch into the Lincoln Avenue North Arts corridor, with murals and housing for artists to bring vibrancy — and hopefully, commercial and community interest — to the area.

The film series is the latest attempt to bring more business, walkability and vibrancy to the northern half of Lincoln Avenue’s commercial district. Last year, artist Andrea Jablonski installed a mural at the plaza, which is on a triangle-shaped block east of the McDonald’s. Earlier this summer, the plaza also started hosting a Makers Market. On July 31, it will host a live music and poetry event.

“These events are exactly what this space was envisioned for, and the fact neighbors can see it in action is great,” Vasquez said. “I’m glad we’ve been able to work together with the chamber and neighbors to bring this to the ward.”

Anyone interested in hosting events at the plaza can contact the chamber of commerce or apply on its website for free, Flores said. The chamber will assist with confirming desired dates and securing whatever permits are necessary for a particular event.

“It just depends on what people want to do. If they’re just doing something that’s free, then there’s no special permits needed,” Flores said. “But if it’s something like selling a product or food or something like that, then we’d help people navigate the application process.”

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