The sun is shining, but Chicagoans’ hearts are gray as a billboard for the movie Aloha that was up long enough to become sort of a local mascot was unceremoniously removed from its vantage point high above the Logan Square neighborhood earlier this morning. The Tumblr devoted to the phenomenon—sort of the Midwestern answer to that Abe Vigoda blog—has been updated, a planned birthday party for the billboard with nearly 800 Facebook RSVPs has been updated to a wake, and all across Chicago smartass so-and-sos are sadly sipping tiki drinks in honor of their fallen idol.
Let’s back up for a second: Aloha, as you may recall, is the Cameron Crowe movie where Emma Stone plays a character named Allison Ng. It was released in American theaters on May 29, 2015, a little less than a year ago. But a billboard advertising the film in Logan Square—a rapidly developing neighborhood that has been at the center of city-wide debates about gentrification and affordable housing—remained up.
For a few months, no one really noticed. Then sometime around November, perhaps because of the growing chill in the air, residents of the area began looking to Stone, Rachel McAdams, and Bradley Cooper’s smiling tropical visages as beacons of hope, as well as fodder for Twitter jokes. By the time the snow banks had melted enough to expose the discarded Flamin’ Hot Cheetos bags contained within like babies in filthy curbside king cakes, the phenomenon had spread not only outside of the neighborhood, but outside the city entirely.
Today, however, the organizer of a planned party celebrating the billboard’s first anniversary on May 29 made an ironically upsetting discovery:
Matt Byrne, a local comedy promoter—who, full disclosure, has worked with The A.V. Club on our comedy festival—who maintained the Tumblr page “Is The Poster For That Movie Aloha Still On That Billboard In Logan Square?,” had this to say when we contacted him:
While it was never the place of the Tumblr to weigh in on whether or not the billboard’s presence was good or bad, I think it goes without saying that today is an emotional day for all of us.
Indeed. Aloha, Aloha billboard above the abandoned furniture store. We dread whatever overpriced bullshit craft cocktail “speakeasy” (Logan Square has a lot of those) takes your place now that the complex legal tangle that left you in place for nearly a year has apparently been solved. At press time, whether paradise will be paved and a parking lot put in its place remains unknown.