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posted: 3/24/2012 5:03 PM

Theatre owner Onesti plans tribute to Monkees' frontman

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  • Arcada Theatre owner Ron Onesti was friends with Monkees singer Davy Jones.

      Arcada Theatre owner Ron Onesti was friends with Monkees singer Davy Jones.
    Courtesy of Ron Onesti

 
 

The Monkees didn't grace our television screens for more than two seasons, but the music generated by the four young men mimicking the Beatles and their movies has pretty much stood the test of time.

That's the way Arcada Theatre owner Ron Onesti sees it, which is at least partly the reason he has scheduled a tribute to Monkees frontman Davy Jones on Friday night at the downtown St. Charles theater.

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The other reason is Onesti considered Jones a friend in the music industry and a guy who appreciated coming to the Arcada and spending time in St. Charles.

Onesti suggests Jones' passing of three weeks ago is a significant loss to the music business, as well as to Monkees fans. The Monkees' top hits were as big as some of rock's most recognized classics, he said.

"Everybody liked The Monkees," Onesti said. "You'd never think of 'Last Train to Clarksville' as big as 'Stairway to Heaven,' but just as many people know The Monkees hits.

"They were part of Americana, of American music, and were somewhat taken for granted."

Onesti figures fans will miss Davy Jones in a far deeper way than they may have originally thought.

"There isn't a Monkees song in the world that doesn't remind us of Davy singing, playing the tambourine," Onesti said.

The 8 p.m. show Friday will feature Onesti reflecting on his personal stories about Jones, including the time Jones spent four hours signing autographs in the Arcada lobby after a show.

The Pond Hawks will perform Monkees music as part of the memorial, followed by The Righteous Brothers and Bill Medley performing their classic hits.

As part of the event, Onesti will invite audience members to sign a photo collage of Jones' Arcada shows as a gift to his widow, Jessie.

Ticket information is available at oshows.com.

Near old theater: Anyone nostalgic about seeing movies at the old Geneva Theater can at least pretend they are going to see films there this week. That's because anyone attending the fifth annual Geneva Film Festival, which starts Thursday, will enter the screenings through a door near the former theater marquee on State Street.

The festival features more than 40 film screenings in the studios at State Street Dance on Thursday and Friday nights, and all day Saturday. Entry to the film screenings is through a door just to the left of the theater marquee and the Ale House restaurant.

"The cream of the crop (of films) gets creamier because the number of films submitted for a chance to be screened keeps growing every year," festival volunteer Chuck Wrede said.

"We have a really good variety of films this year, from 16 different countries," Wrede added.

Interested movie lovers can view an individual screening for $3, while weekend passes for viewing films at any time costs $10 for this Geneva Cultural Arts Commission event.

A schedule of films and screening times is available at the festival website at genevafilmfestival.org.

True library leader: Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke noted last Sunday that the Batavia Library Board had come "full circle" with its Library Leader honor for the late Marilyn Robinson.

"Marilyn started her career at Batavia High School in 1965 right at this location," Schielke said, referring to the former school site that was leveled to make way for the new library.

Robinson, a longtime teacher, local historian and author, was honored at a reception at the library for her contributions to the library and community. She served both well for more than 45 years before her death July 13, 2010.

I was glad to have known Marilyn well for at least 10 of those years after I hired her as a freelancer to write history columns for the newspaper. This was a short time after her previous publication, the Windmill News, folded.

Her research into local history was beyond comparison. It was no wonder young writers flocked to the writer's workshops she led at the library for more than 17 years.

She earned the honor of Batavia Citizen of the Year in 1995, but something tells me Marilyn would have enjoyed this recognition from the library as much or more than any other honor.

Lights out at free event: Batavia's Environmental Commission figures one hour isn't enough to celebrate Earth Hour next Saturday night.

The commission and Batavia Park District plan a free Earth Hour event from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Batavia Eastside Community Center.

Candlelight yoga with instructor Kathy Freedlund is offered, and that sounds quite relaxing. Several other activities are planned, including gazing through Fox Valley Astronomical Society telescopes.

The idea, of course, is to turn off the TVs, computers and lights in your home for one hour. Batavia figures it can handle two hours with no problem.

Hoopla on TV: The folks at Fresh D'Lite Grill in the Geneva Commons were excited when crews from ABC Channel 7 in Chicago recently came out to do a short news piece on the fresh, healthy food the restaurant serves.

They should be excited. This restaurant offers food that cuts way back on the fat and sodium yet still tastes great. ABC just figured out what many of us already knew.

What a setting: The St. Charles Park District is singing the praises of its recent expansion of the Delnor Woods property on the city's east side near the Fox Chase subdivision.

By acquiring 19 more acres on the east side of the property from the Dellora A. Norris Trust, the park district nearly doubles the park's size.

Even without the extra acres, one thing can be said about this property off North Fifth Avenue (Route 25): It makes for a nice, short walk. On a beautiful day, it would be difficult to find a more pleasant setting so close to downtown St. Charles.

What season is it?: Being able to cope with the crazy twists and turns in our weather is a badge of honor those of us in the Midwest wear either proudly or begrudgingly.

But the mild winter of 2012 and the quick vault into what was essentially summer with 70- and 80-degree days in mid-March has left even lifelong residents scratching their heads.

OK, so the kids got ripped off when it came to sledding and skiing this year. But the rest of us got a dose of what it would be like to live in a legitimate warm weather state.

Sorry, kids. We'll take the unusual warmth anytime.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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