You don’t say

“There is a ‘Rock Star Suite’ at my hotel in Wichita. Needless to say, I will be staying in the ‘Small Indie Label Closet.’ #Wichita”

– Comedian Mike Birbiglia tweeting about his upcoming stay at the Ambassador Hotel for his May 16 performance at the Orpheum

Haysville leaders and residents are weary of being ‘portrayed as illiterate bumpkins’

The Gridiron cast usually makes Haysville jokes as an aside, not a full skit. Still, the city is not amused by them.

The Gridiron cast usually makes Haysville jokes as an aside, not a full skit. Still, the city is not amused by them.

UPDATED — The joke’s on them, and Haysville leaders and residents are not amused.

“We request that you remove all jokes about Haysville and other area communities from Gridiron,” said Haysville Mayor Bruce Armstrong in a Thursday e-mail to several people involved with the show.

Gridiron is an annual satirical production put on by the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to spoof the news and raise scholarship money for journalism students.

Armstrong said “compromising the well being of the citizens and businesses of Haysville with snide, hurtful and untrue remarks is not an acceptable means to securing the funds for those scholarships.”

Armstrong’s wife, Susan Armstrong of Armstrong Chamberlin Strategic Marketing, also wrote to “respectfully request that you reconsider any skits that portray an entire city–any city–as ignorant or toothless, or cheap. It’s the equivalent of bullying, and it shouldn’t be done.”

She said that “Haysville is growing weary of having our whole community portrayed as illiterate bumpkins. We are working hard to improve the awareness of all the wonderful qualities our city has to offer. Every time you mention Haysville at Gridiron, you hurt our efforts.”

John Burke, superintendent of schools for Haysville USD 261, wrote, “I find this counterproductive to our image campaign and am respectively requesting that you stop making fun of Haysville as part of your production.”

One resident wrote to invite those involved with Gridiron to visit Haysville for a tour – along with coming up with new material and giving Haysville a break.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton, who regularly attends Gridiron and spars with the cast, says enough probably is enough.

“Well, I’ve always been a very, very good sport with the sarcasm, the innuendo, the poking and everything,” he says. Norton says, though, the joke is wearing thin.

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You don’t say: Our favorites from 2013

Some were newsy, some were shocking, but most were simply fun or funny. Here are some of our favorite “You don’t say” quotes from 2013.

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“I said, ‘You must know a lot of angry people.’ (They) said, ‘I work at Spirit.’”

Best of Times owner Nancy Robinson on a person who bought 10 Dammit Dolls, the soft dolls angry people can safely slam on any surface to blow off steam on bad days

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“My first place that I am not going to get married at is the Grand Chapel.”

– Sedgwick County Chairman Jim Skelton, whose upcoming marriage to Stacy Luke won’t take place at the facility he sued over his daughter’s wedding

“That’s correct, he’s not.”

– Grand Chapel owner Dennis Wilkie, who says Skelton is “a troublemaker, and I just don’t want to deal with troublemakers.”

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“Women pilots don’t land at the wrong airport. We ask for directions!”

– A tweet from Seattle-based pilot Karlene Petitt (‏@KarlenePetitt) about the Dreamlifter incident at Colonel James Jabara Airport

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“Be aware, Boeing, ‘this route has tolls.’ Bring some change.”

– An NPR story that acknowledged a stranded Dreamlifter likely couldn’t be towed from Colonel James Jabara Airport to McConnell Air Force Base but offered a Google map and driving directions anyway

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“I thought I’d get in line right behind him.”

– Outgoing Chamber chairwoman Debbie Gann, who “about choked” at the group’s annual dinner Tuesday when possible mayoral candidate Jeff Turner suggested she would make a great mayor

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“I’m going to drop off a baked bean can and a string tomorrow … so we can chat later in the day.”

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers co-owner Scott Redler teasing City Council member Pete Meitzner about his antiquated BlackBerry

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“With all the crying and whining in Washington, I’m feeling ready to be a new father come November.”

– Expectant father U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder speaking Friday at the 2013 Congressional Summit at the Hotel at Old Town

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“We know you’re a Democrat.”

– Park City administrator Jack Whitson, teasing the city’s chamber president, registered Republican Dean Frankenbery, about a misprint that said Rep. Mike Pompom, not Pompeo, would be the group’s next speaker

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“I know you are all wondering if that beautiful new red car parked over there is a door prize. It’s not. It’s the speaker’s gift.”

Delta Dental of Kansas vice president of human resources Kara Hunt, speaking at the Chamber’s Sunrise Scrambler about a car that Davis-Moore had at the event

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“I thought that Davis-Moore . . . has been hurting so bad that they needed a sale, so I thought I’d help them out.”

– Car dealer Brandon Steven, joking about why he bought a Viper at his competitor’s dealership

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“I think it’s awesome that he bought himself a nice car.”

– Davis-Moore’s Dawson Grimsley, retorting with a teasing implication that Steven couldn’t find a nice car at his own lot

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“The @WichitaOrpheum could use a little Jesus after @RealTracyMorgan’s performance there. #itwaspurefilth”

— A tweet from comedian Ron Shively, aka @FunnyMrBiggs, after hearing City Life Church is going to rent the Orpheum Theatre every Sunday morning for services

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“Puppies and people all over town are sad today.”

—Accountant David Jabara on the death of Doggy Day Care owner Marilyn Walk

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Barney Byard returns to Orpheum Theatre

WICHITA — Barney Byard has taken what he calls “the proverbial offer that couldn’t be refused.”

When Byard got a call about interviewing to be the new theater director at the Orpheum Theatre, he figured he’d go as a professional courtesy. He wasn’t interested in the job because he already had a similar job at Century II.

“I was really happy at C II,” he says.

Byard says, though, that he immediately realized what the Orpheum’s new partnership with SMG could mean.

“I’m really excited about the prospects here, and particularly the role that SMG can play,” he says.

Byard previously was the Orpheum’s promotions and theater manager from 2000 to 2003.

“I was kind of just a lone wolf trying to figure it out as I went along,” he says.

The SMG connection is “invaluable,” he says.

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Hartman Arena has a new general manager

UPDATED – James Snodgrass is out as the third general manager of the 5-year-old Hartman Arena, but he’s reluctant to discuss it.

“They still haven’t given me a reason why I was let go.”

Snodgrass, who was hired in spring 2011, won’t say more.

“I would like to take the high road on this one.”

Arena owner Wink Hartman Sr. says he didn’t make the decision alone.

“It was a group decision with VenuWorks, his employer, having the final decision,” Hartman says.

“It’s been our view all along that we were going to take a look and evaluate and … see if a change was necessary,” says John Siehl, regional vice president for VenuWorks.

He says the company decided “to bring in a person that we had picked so that we could improve the program and the operation.”

Aran Rush is the new general manager for Hartman Arena. Rush most recently was executive director for the Sioux City, Iowa, events facilities department, which included the convention and visitors bureau and the Tyson Events Center. Siehl says Rush is new to VenuWorks.

Hartman says if there are leadership issues at the arena, “I take full responsibility.”

He says he doesn’t think there have been problems with leadership, but he says the arena isn’t where it should be financially.

“The production of events at the arena can significantly increase, and hopefully it will,” Hartman says.

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You don’t say

“The @WichitaOrpheum could use a little Jesus after @RealTracyMorgan’s performance there. #itwaspurefilth”

— A tweet from comedian Ron Shively, aka @FunnyMrBiggs, after hearing City Life Church is going to rent the Orpheum Theatre every Sunday morning for services

Orpheum Theatre to become City Life Church’s new home on Sundays

WICHITA — City Life Church is living up to its name and moving to the heart of where a lot of Wichita city life happens.

The Southern Baptist church is moving to a new home at the Orpheum Theatre at First and Broadway.

“It’s just very unusual for a church to make a move like this,” says Joey Fink, a pastor at the church.

The almost 2-year-old City Life has been meeting at Abode Venue, but Fink says the congregation has outgrown the space.

He says there are about 400 people who attend the church weekly and as many as 700 for some services.

Fink says there are several reasons for locating at the Orpheum.

“People from all over the city can be downtown in 10 minutes,” he says. “We also believe in the downtown.”

Fink says the church considered several possible sites but felt the Orpheum would offer the maximum impact for its congregation and the city. He says the Orpheum rental allows the church to open with little overhead “versus tying ourselves to debt.”

He says that will allow City Life to concentrate on its various ministries throughout the city.

The church will lease space on the Orpheum’s second floor for offices and youth ministry areas. Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal for almost 3,700 square feet on the second floor.

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Orpheum Theatre creates OPAC Real Estate to buy space at Orpheum Office Building

WICHITA — The Orpheum Theatre is now going to own a piece of the adjacent Orpheum Office Building in addition to the theater at First and Broadway.

“It’s very exciting news for the Orpheum,” says president Jennifer Wright.

The Orpheum created a separate entity, OPAC Real Estate LLC, to make the purchase. OPAC stands for Orpheum Performing Arts Center.

The group bought the approximately 6,000-square-foot third floor of the office building from a bank, which acquired it out of foreclosure.

Wright says the Orpheum leadership decided to create the LLC to protect the theater.

“We’re kind of just taking caution,” she says.

Theater staff members currently occupy a couple of suites on the first floor of the center and will move to the third floor on May 1.

“Now we’ll finally all be all together,” Wright says.

“It will also enable the theater to save money long term. It is no longer going to be paying rent every month,” she says. “We really feel like this will benefit the theater in the long run.”

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You don’t say

“My mom really knew how to handle every situation with grace. After all, she lived with Willard for 57 years.”

Julie Sheppard speaking about her mother, the late Jean Garvey, at the celebration of her life at the Orpheum Theatre on Jan. 5

Longtime Models and Images owners sell to Alleigh Allen

Maryann Van Sickle

WICHITA — Sunday was a big night for Models and Images co-owner Maryann Van Sickle, and not only because she was throwing her annual model showcase at the Orpheum Theatre.

She also announced that she and Howard Sherwood are selling the company they started in 1985.

“We chose that time because the parents were there, (and) the international scouts were there,” Van Sickle says.

Alleigh Allen, who started working for Van Sickle 18 years ago when she was 17, will be the new owner of the company as of Nov. 1.

“I know I have very big shoes to fill,” Allen says.

“Everyone — everyone — knows Maryann,” she says. “If you’re part of the modeling industry, you know her name. You know Models and Images. Maryann has a reputation of having an amazing eye.”

It never was Van Sickle’s intention to have an internationally known modeling agency.

“It started quite by accident,” she says. “Our mission was basically to train young people to … have confidence and feel good about themselves.”

As a former model, though, she knew the industry and had contacts. When a scout passed through Wichita and wanted to know if Van Sickle could show her any models, it gave her an idea.

“We thought, wait a minute. This is what we should be doing.”

Until then, she says, Wichitans who wanted to be models “had to get on a plane and go to New York.”

“We just started inviting these scouts to come in. The word kind of got out in the industry. … It happened little by little.”

She says, “I felt that if the person has the right look, they might as well be working in New York, Paris and Milan and earning a lot of money.”

A couple of what Van Sickle calls her “superstar status” models who have gone on to international fame are Lindsey Wixson and Maria Bradley.

“She’s hot right now,” Van Sickle says of Bradley. “She’s one of the hottest new properties in New York.”

Alleigh Allen

Now, she says Allen is poised to take the company to another level.

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