Up and Down the Avenue

THE WAGE TAX CREDIT BILL (HB 5180) is en route to a five-year extension, having passed the Illinois house and is now under consideration by the state senate. Originally a sunset bill, it was due to end Dec. 31.

NOBLE BBDS’ new EVP/CD is Allyson Hunter, who left Leo Burnett after 17 years where she worked on McDonald’s, P&G, Kraft et al.

VP STRIPES for DDB’s Mike Schif, CD on Home Depot.

THE TRIBUNE’S search for a new agency is down to Burnett, DDB, Draft and Y&R. Marc USA, its long-time agency, declined to participate when the Trib announced it wanted a review.

Draft’s Jonathan Sackett

DRAFT HIRED Jonathon Sackett the new post of VP/director of digital strategy. The award-winning strategist, with more than a decade of interactive experience, comes from the Townsend Agency where he founded their interactive division.

THE NEW IFP executive director will be named April 15, whittled down from four finalists. The new exec replaces Rebecca Cowling who will step down also on April 15.

LOCATION ACTION: MGM sent scouts to Chicago check out possible locations for “Amity Horror,” and Revolution did the same for “Defiance, Ohio.”

A DIVERSITY VISUAL MEDIA FAIR May 1 at the new Hard Rock Hotel at 230 N. Michigan is an effort to attract more racial minorities to the film industry. For details, call IFO diversity officer Joyce Davis at 814- 3600.

BACK AT FCB after a stint at their own boutique agency are CDs Eric Moncaleano and Julio Desir. New: senior copywriter James Fletcher from Burrell, working on KFC.

ACTRESS IRMA P. HALL, recovering from an automobile accident, couldn’t make the Hollywood premiere of “Ladykillers” so Hall’s manager Harrise Davidson went in her stead. Directors Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Tom Hanks and Marlon Waylans paid their mending co-star a get-well-soon visit while they were in town promoting the movie.

THE CONGRESS THEATER, an historical landmark at 2135 N. Milwaukee, has been beautifully refurbished by its new owner and reopens April 16 with a musical extravaganza. It features swing to jazz to Motown to recording artist Shawn Christopher, and bands Sway Chicago and Speakeasy Sway. Tickets are $20 online at www.congresstheater.com or $30 at the door.