Lightsabers at dawn in battle for Star Wars museum
Three cities are fighting to host George Lucas’s collection of art and franchise memorabilia
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Sunday 22 June 2014
A fight to find the site for a museum containing the film-maker George Lucas’s personal collection of Star Wars memorabilia could turn intergalactic. Three US cities are now vying for the privilege of housing the planned Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, after the Star Wars creator’s preferred San Francisco location declined his proposal.
The museum would be devoted to populist American art and storytelling from the past 150 years, and based on Lucas’s collection of art and artefacts, which includes original works by the painters Norman Rockwell, NC Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish, as well as the original costumes for Darth Vader, Chewbacca et al. Lucas plans to spend $300m (£176m) building the museum, and to leave a further $400m endowment after his death. The problem, however, is where to put it.
Federal officials have denied Lucas his original wish to build in the Presidio park, close to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. He grew up in nearby Modesto and still lives at his Skywalker Ranch in neighbouring Marin County. On his museum website, he outlined why he believes San Francisco would make an ideal location.
“The Bay Area has always been home to forward-thinkers and artistic innovators – people who push to do things that haven’t been done before,” Lucas wrote. “Men like Eadweard Muybridge, Philo Farnsworth and Steve Jobs. Companies like Pixar, Adobe, Facebook. There’s a history of invention here that’s as exciting as it is infectious.”
As San Francisco city officials scramble to find an alternative site, Chicago has swept into the battle. Its mayor, Rahm Emanuel – formerly chief of staff to Barack Obama – is lobbying Lucas to bring his institution to the Windy City.
Lucas’s wife, Mellody Hobson, is from Chicago, which the film-maker has described as his second home. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has also staked its claim to the museum. Eric Garcetti, the mayor, recently wrote to Lucas personally, offering him the site of the LA Memorial Sports Arena, close to the University of Southern California, where the director studied film in the 1960s.
A final decision is expected to be made this summer.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 3 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 4 Motorists taunt suicidal woman on bridge and tell her to 'get on with it'
- 5 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
Church of Scientology allegedly sent threatening letters to film distributors and festivals showing damning documentary
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Contemporary art is a fraud, says top dealer
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture