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Logan Square Is Throwing A Party For That Super Old 'Aloha' Billboard

By Kirsten Onsgard in Arts & Entertainment on May 2, 2016 4:18PM

The Logan Square "Aloha" Billboard, via Kirsten Onsgard/Chicagoist.

It’s been nearly a year since Logan Square residents said “aloha” to a billboard plastered with the giant face of Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone. But because it does not seem like they will be saying aloha—ahem, goodbye—anytime soon, residents are throwing the sign a one-year anniversary bash.

On May 29 fans of the Aloha movie billboard are invited to gather at noon near the Logan Square Centennial Monument and celebrate with tropical garb and refreshments.

“Bring a covert tiki drink or two, wear a tropical-print lQQk (sic) (and) eat snacks (to) honor the anniversary of the longest movie marketing campaign ever,” reads the Facebook event.

Logan Square tiki bar Lost Lake—which is only a few months older than the coincidentally on-theme Aloha billboard—also confirmed to Chicagoist that they will be selling walking “mocktails” to enjoy at the celebration and hosting an after party, which will include cheekily-named drinks.

The event was spawned after creators Brian Solem and Cornell Bar were walking past the billboard and realized it was nearing the one year anniversary of the film’s release. Why not have a party to celebrate?

“We, as many Logan Square residents, have been perplexed as to why this billboard is still up,” Bar told Chicagoist. They invited a few friends, and it spiraled into something much bigger.

Even with the more than 350 people who have RSVP’d, they hope to keep it loose and community-focused.

“This very tiny, 20 person hangout has evolved into something that feels very ‘Logan Square’ right now. People just want to hang out and appreciate the beauty of Logan Square and have an ironic friend gathering,” Solem said. “It has surprised me every step of the way, but it feels right, in a way.”

2016_aloha2.jpg The Logan Square "Aloha" Billboard, via Kirsten Onsgard/Chicagoist.

The billboard and its mysterious longevity has gathered a cult fan following over the past year. A Tumblr page created last fall, appropriately titled, provides periodic updates on the question, “Is the poster for the movie ‘Aloha’ still on that billboard in Logan Square?” Of course, the only answer is “yes.”

One person on Facebook suggested that it has been a part of the Logan Square tapestry long enough to be considered a historical landmark.

That idea is presumably a tongue-in-cheek nod to the long legal battle between the billboard’s company, VisualCast, and Logan Square Preservation about two separate billboards on the building below the Aloha sign. According to DNAInfo, because the historic boulevards and square were designated as a historic district, Logan Square Preservation argued it would compromise the historic look of the neighborhood. However, the Aloha billboard existed prior to its historical designation.

But even the billboard is arguably more beloved than the love-triangle romantic comedy dud that premiered last spring. Besides being hated by critics (one called it Cameron Crowe’s worst film) Aloha was also criticized for being racially incentive toward Asian-Americans and Hawaiians due in part to its very white cast.

“We still have this billboard up that has this movie that has been critically panned and has these problematic elements in it, and it’s just kind of funny that’s over all of Logan Square, which is exploring its own uncomfortable moments, in terms of racial changes,” Solem said.

Still, at least it’s inspired a little tropical fun. Let’s just hope they don’t decide to take it down quite yet.

“We want people to come out into the square and enjoy each other’s company,” Bar said. “If this silly billboard is the thing that gets people out into the world to experience each other together, that’s great.”