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updated: 2/8/2014 5:42 PM

Memories are made at St. Charles' Arcada

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  • Arcada Theatre owner Ron Onesti has been able to consistently bring top acts to the venue.

      Arcada Theatre owner Ron Onesti has been able to consistently bring top acts to the venue.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer


Going to the Arcada Theatre is like entering a time warp. Anyone who has been in the theater, which first opened in 1926 in St. Charles, knows this.

But owner Ron Onesti also brings shows to the venue that support the notion of time travel.

This winter has made it tough to think about getting out to attend shows, but Onesti continues to keep the old stage at his theater buzzing with bands that take us down memory lane.

At 4:30 p.m. Sunday, everyone in attendance bolts back 50 years to the night the Beatles first appeared on the "Ed Sullivan Show." And Onesti is pulling this off with the help of Louise Harrison, the sister of the Beatles' lead guitarist, the late George Harrison.

But that's just part of the nostalgia that unfolds at this Main Street theater.

Whether it's the Buckinghams, Herman's Hermits, tributes to the Beatles, Wings, Led Zeppelin or others, those who attend are likely to associate the music with past memories. Some shows take attendees even farther back when the likes of the Glenn Miller Orchestra plays.

But the Arcada also brings us what one might call the interesting shows, whether it is Shirley MacLaine sitting alone onstage talking to fans, or a movie star like Kevin Costner bringing his band to town.

That one, in particular, would be fun to see. Costner, who brings his band Modern West to the Arcada in April, is one of my favorite movie stars. That's partly because of his baseball movies, but mostly because of his Westerns.

We know "Dances With Wolves" was his masterpiece, but who can find a better Western than "Open Range" or a better period piece than his "Hatfields and McCoys" miniseries?

It makes it all the more fun to see how he fares on guitar and vocals when he comes to town.

A magical night: The promo said "Magic Man" was coming, and my first thought was what in the world is bringing Earvin "Magic" Johnson to the area? He's the only "Magic Man" I have ever known, other than, maybe, Terry Evanswood of St. Charles fame.

But this magic man is legit. Dennis Watkins is tabbed as Chicago's "Official Magic Man," because of his show "The Magic Parlour" at The Palmer House in Chicago.

Watkins will perform at 7 p.m. March 1 at Waubonsee Community College. Check out the details at

Even more magic: We have magicians busting out all over. Can any of them magically turn this stupid winter into spring?

Not sure about that, but what they can do is help raise money for the organizations and causes the St. Charles Rotary Club supports.

Scott Piner, a former Rotary president and current club member, will display his magic skills along with magician Arman Sangalang in three shows over the Valentine's Day weekend at the Steel Beam Theatre in downtown St. Charles.

Sangalang, a sophomore at St. Charles East High School, is considered an up-and-coming magician who we'll certainly be hearing more about in the future.

Shows are held at 3 p.m. Saturday and 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Ticket information is available by calling (847) 280-1601.

Come on, spring: Heard another good reason to wish for the warmer weather. Owners of several Dairy Queen locations will take over the Moo La-La ice cream stand at 1134 W. Wilson St. in Batavia and convert it to another DQ.

It will mean that perfect location for dairy treats on a warm spring or summer day will continue to please us.

Looking for tenants: A commercial real estate agent in the area sent a note to say she was hoping to get some good ideas from readers who expressed opinions in this column about what could go into the various empty locations.

I shared those ideas last week, but we didn't get a ton of ideas about new restaurants.

She mentioned she is working closely with communities to find tenants for empty restaurant locations, particularly in the Fox Island Square spot in St. Charles that housed Erik and Me and others over the past three decades.

She also said there is a lot of interest in Geneva's Third Street retail area near the new State Street Jewelers spot, located in what was formerly Merra-Lee Shops.

It's just crazy: Have I done anything this winter other than shovel and toss snow around? Not much, it turns out.

So, how much snow have I tossed?

When my wife and I are both shoveling, my personal shovel-and-toss tally comes up somewhere around 120 tosses to clear the driveway and sidewalks. When I do it solo, it's likely double that.

I've lost count of how many times I have had to shovel this year, but let's say it's probably around 12 times (as of last Wednesday), with only about four being solo. Granted, there are varying degrees of difficulty, depending on how much snow has fallen, but it still is a staggering total.

That was 1,920 tosses of snow. And there's plenty more where that came from, I fear.

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