October 2, 2009
BERKELEY, CA — As reported on August 18 plans to convert the UC Theater in Berkeley are moving along. Although the theater was never a “palace,” the new owners are preserving many architectural details according to this article from the San Francisco Chronicle, which includes some pre-renovation pictures.
Gone will be the dusty blue velvet seats, but the rest of the UC’s mish-mash decor will likely be preserved, Mayeri said. That includes the Egyptian Art Deco trim, the tulip murals and the ornate grillwork encasing the organ loft.
The 1917 building has already been seismically retrofit and outfitted with sprinklers, so most of the renovation work will be soundproofing and cosmetic, Mayeri said.
In the case of the UC, “cosmetic” is a broad term. Unlike other historic single-screen movie palaces around the Bay Area, the UC lacks many gleaming adornments and gilded flourishes. The theater was gutted in a fire in the 1940s and rebuilt with a decidedly spartan motif.
September 22, 2009
SIOUX FALLS, SD — Now used for live performances, the Sioux Falls Orpheum Theatre has replaced the former cinema’s 70s-era plastic-backed seats with new seats more reminiscent in design of those that were in place when the theater originally opened as a vaudeville house in 1913. Other improvements have been funded over the last five years. Restoration of the mural above the auditorium is also in the works. The 1926 State Theater has undergone roof repairs, tuck pointing and asbestos removal, and other upgrades, and the hope is that it will return as a cinema.
The latest upgrades to the Orpheum Theater will be unveiled today when it re-opens in downtown Sioux Falls, and the enhancements should give visitors a sense of what the venue looked like when it opened in 1913.
New seats in the historic theater are styled from the era, and improvements also include Vaudeville-like designed carpet and different shades of fresh paint accenting the turn-of-the-century architecture inside.
The theater’s rebirth reflects a five-year trend in downtown Sioux Falls as several other historic building restoration projects continue, including improvements at the State Theatre and the Coliseum.
There are pictures of the Orpheum and more details of the ongoing work at both theaters in this article from the ArgusLeader.
August 19, 2009
WEST BOUNTIFUL, UT — Despite a recent ownership change, new renovations are coming to the temporarily shuttered Gateway 8 Cinemas.
However, movie goers do not have to fear traveling to Salt Lake City for too long or worry about whether the theater will stay in its current location. Spencer Marsden, a former Bountiful resident and graduate of Bountiful High School, said the theater will remain intact.
“We’re renovating the whole thing,” he said.“"We want to create an environment in which customers have a memorable and fun experience at the movies.
“This theater is an integral part of the community, and we want it to be a place where families, couples, and people of all ages can go and have a great time from the moment they enter the theater to the moment they leave.”
Read the full story in the Davis County Clipper.
August 18, 2009
EAST GREENVILLE, PA — Here’s a very nice story promoting the 2004 – 2005 restoration of this independently owned theatre that was saved from demolition. Hopefully the residents appreciate and know how lucky they are to have a saved theater showing movies!
The theater, originally built in 1924, was once termed the most modern and beautiful theater in the area; however, a victim of time, age and weather, the theater was forced to close its doors in March 2004.
That summer, the building itself was saved from demolition by its new owners, who decided to embark on a massive restoration effort to restore the theater to its original charm and splendor. After an extensive 11-month restoration process, the Grand Theater was reintroduced to the public on July 29, 2005.
This story appears in the June 12 edition ofThe Mercury Newspaper.
See their website.
August 6, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, CA — Metropolitan Theaters Corp. has announced it will be performing auditorium renovations at its Plaza de Oro location, the theater will remain open during the renovation period, but will have one of its two auditoriums closed for renovation at any given time. At the time of this post, the renovation work is 50% complete, and work has just begun on the final auditorium.
July 30, 2009
Despite the multitude of technological advances — from fiber-optic lighting and air-conditioning vents along the floor in the theater to the state-of-the-art marquee — the structure and feel of the theater are that of 1928 and even further back in time.
Visitors who walk through the rotunda, with its original multicolored tiled floor, are ushered into a theater that has the feel of a medieval Mediterranean castle. A courtyard-like auditorium adds to the fantasy of being entertained in a long-ago era.
At the Carpenter Theatre, being restored as part of the new Richmond CenterStage performing-arts center, crews went to “great lengths to bring it back to its original form … with all the amenities and comforts of the 21st century,” said Jay Smith, spokesman for Richmond CenterStage.
July 27, 2009
We are renovating our theater to show movies as well as put on plays and have various live entertainment. We contacted a company in Salt Lake City who quoted us $88K for a digital installation including sound and $32K for 35mm + sound. We are a little confused about which technology to pursue. Purists say 35mm while others push for digital. Either way, I am afraid we would not make a profit in our small valley spending that kind of money. Is there a way to get a hold of a complete 35mm projection system without breaking the piggy bank?
July 21, 2009
SALT LAKE CITY, UT — The centerpiece of a new downtown, the Utah Theater is coming back.
The Utah Theater is on the cusp of a renaissance. Salt Lake City’s Redevelopment Agency has agreed to terms to buy the show house and adjacent storefronts for $7 million. The sale could be finalized this fall after the agency completes a building inspection and lines up financing. Then the one-time vaudeville stage could return as a first-of-its-kind-in-Utah film center.
Read more in the Salt Lake Tribune and check out some cool current pictures too.
NEW ORLEANS, LA — This article, from WWL-TV in New Orleans, discusses the current status of four former movie palaces in the Big Easy. The Saenger’s restoration is apparently on track, but the State-Palace and Joy remain closed and for sale, and the Orpheum restoration appears to have been postponed and the building has further deteriorated.
The $40 million renovation to bring the Saenger back from its current Hurricane Katrina-damaged condition is still in its very early stages.
“We are working with architects now and expect the Saenger, if all goes well, open in September 2011,” said David Skinner, General Manager for the private company that manages both the Saenger and Mahalia Jackson theaters.
Read more at WWL.
July 2, 2009
HOLLYWOOD, CA — The movies have ended at the 1937 theater originally known as the Admiral, later the Vine. Yet there are several screens set up in the theater just off the world-famous corner of Hollywood & Vine.
Laserium, which enjoyed a nearly 30-year run at the Griffith Observatory, has taken over the Hollywood movie house, which for years had played second-run double features to audiences that often numbered in the single digits. Will Pink Floyd, the Beatles, and Led Zep set to lasers be enough to lure a serious tourist crowd and not just nostalgic L.A. stoners? I wrote about the rebirth of Laserium, and the theater’s unusual adaptive reuse, in this L.A. Times story.
Walk into the Vine Theatre’s auditorium and you may be shocked at how much it still looks like the second-run movie house it was until late 2007. About 200 seats were removed to make way for a stage area and control panels in the rear — but the 424 that remain are the same funky orange seats that moviegoers of a few years ago will recall. They don’t recline like the Observatory’s chairs, but they don’t need to: Producers insist the days of chiropractor-friendly neck-craning have come to an end, because all the action is at panoramic eye level. Each show starts with animations projected on the former movie screen, then expands the action to three semi-transparent scrims closer to the audience, two additional screens on the side walls, mirrors, and — new to the Laserium experience, surprisingly enough — real mid-air effects.
“We weren’t allowed to put haze in the planetarium to light up laser beams,” explains Dryer, “so we really couldn’t do beam effects very well there, which always frustrated us”
Read the full post at the Los Angeles Times.