LA City Council oks plans for George Lucas museum

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The Force was with George Lucas on Tuesday as the Los Angeles City Council moved with light-sabre speed to clear the way for a $1.5 billion Museum of Narrative Art the “Star Wars” creator plans to build down the road from his alma mater.

After hearing from Lucas himself, the council voted 14-0 to approve an environmental impact report and other requirements for the museum’s construction adjacent to the University of Southern California.

“For a very brief time I actually grew up here,” said Lucas, who earned a degree in film from USC. “That’s where I learned movies. That’s where I learned my craft. Basically where I started my career was in school here.”

Lucas said his museum won’t just focus on movies, however, but on the entire history of narrative storytelling, from the days of cave painting to digital film.

“I realized that the whole concept of narrative art has been forgotten,” he told the council.

With Tuesday’s approval, plans are to break ground in Exposition Park, south of downtown, as early as this year and open the museum to the public in 2021. The city says the project will cost taxpayers nothing because Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, are footing the bill.

“It is the largest private gift in our city, in our state or in our nation’s history,” said Councilman Curren D. Price Jr., whose district takes in the park.

It will feature all forms of narrative storytelling, said the museum’s president, Don Bacigalupi. He said its exhibits will include story boards, costumes, props and various other elements that went into making “Casablanca,” ”The Wizard of “Oz” and other classic films.

And, yes, there will be plenty of cool “Star Wars” stuff there too.

“Everything from Luke Skywalker’s first light sabre to Darth Vader’s costume and helmet,” said Bacigalupi.

The Lucas-Steven Spielberg “Indiana Jones” films also will be represented.

Numerous interactive programs for children, film students, academics and others will be offered.

Lucas said he hopes the museum will serve as inspiration to people of all ages, but especially to children, encouraging them to create a better world.

Popular art, he said, is the glue that holds people together, that teaches them that while we may have differences we have similar aspirations.

In addition to USC, the Museum of Narrative Art will be within close proximity to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the California Science Center and the California African American Museum.

Although Lucas’ affection for USC is clear — he and his foundation have given the school tens of millions of dollars over the years — it was once assumed he’d put his museum in his hometown of San Francisco. Or if not there, then his wife’s hometown of Chicago.

But when it came time to clear away all the bureaucratic hurdles, just like the upstart Rebel Alliance in “Star Wars,” it was Los Angeles that prevailed.

“I wanted to put it in my hometown. They said no. Mellody wanted to put it in her hometown. They said no. We were both basically heartbroken,” Lucas said.

“And then we said, ‘All right, let’s clear the boards and find a place that really wants it.'”””

Filmmaker George Lucas speaks at a news conference outside Los Angeles City Hall on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles City Council approved preliminary steps that will allow construction of the $1.5 billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Exposition Park in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Business

Beauregard Health System breaks ground for new expanded emergency department

Business

LC Memorial Health preparing for hurricane season

life

Mental Health Awareness: Why it’s OK to ask for help when you’re not OK

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column: Landry scores major victory

McNeese Sports

Citizen enters Cowboy corral

Local News

Two new housing developments will cater to seniors nearing or in retirement

Local News

CPSB to host job fair in June

Local News

The late Rev. Billy Graham immortalized in statue unveiled at US Capitol

Local News

One more bout of rain tonight, Saturday morning for SW La.

Local News

City Council meeting packed over effort to put tow yard in residential area

McNeese Sports

Cowboys getting weight room upgrade

Business News

Another lawsuit filed challenging Biden’s LNG ‘pause’

Local News

Meteorologist: Another round of heavy rainfall this afternoon, tonight, tomorrow morning

Local News

Anita Falcon’s relationship with her students often reaches beyond the classroom

Crime

Local attempted murder case dropped because case wasn’t brought to trial in timely manner

Local News

Severe storms kill at least 4 in Houston, cause widespread power outages

Local News

Jeff Davis releases names of parish administrator applicants

Local News

Kennedy introduces bill to help Louisiana farmers recover from crop loss

Local News

Louisiana National Guard send third rotation to Texas border

Local News

VIDEO: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Memorial Service

Local News

Speaker Johnson: Biden, Schumer must display moral courage, support Israel

Local News

Rate hikes for utilities approved in Sulphur

life

Circles on a Mission: Second-annual charity bike ride rolls this Saturday in DeRidder

Local News

WEATHER UPDATE: Another bout of severe weather awaits SW La.