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.
June 19, 2009
CORVALLIS, OR — Closed since January 2002, the Whiteside Theatre was donated by Regal Entertainment Group to the nonprofit Whiteside Theatre Foundation on May 16, 2008.
The Foundation is currently putting together a detailed budget for rehabilitating the theatre’s various systems, and pursuing an array of funding sources to implement the rehabilitation plan. The theatre was listed in the National Register of Historic places on February 25, 2009. Future plans for the theatre include diverse programming, including movies, local and touring live performances, educational workshops, and other public events.
June 15, 2009
MARIETTA, GA — After opening late last year following an extensive renovation, the Earl Smith Strand Theatre recently got some finishing touches to its lobby.
Within two weeks, the painted walls of the two-tiered lobby were enhanced by the installation of American Clay Natural Earth Plasters, which contain no volatile organic compounds and help regulate humidity.
The design work, materials and labor for the 3,500-square foot project were donated by Tuscan Impressions, an Atlanta design and plaster veneer company specializing in sustainable building materials.
“You have no idea how impressed and excited our guests are when they enter the theatre and see the transformation,” said Strand Executive Director Earl Reece.
May 26, 2009
I am currently photographing the renovation of the Capitol Theater in Cleveland and am interested in a project that would encompass photographing renovations and restorations of theaters in the region. “Region” is ill defined but, for now, a 200 mile radius from here is what I have in mind. The question is roughly how many theaters are there undergoing this kind of work and how many are under consideration in the “region” – Ohio and adjoining states.
Thanks in advance,
May 14, 2009
WICHITA, KS — Struggling to stay relevant in a competitive downtown, the Old Town Theatre undergoes some renovations.
Work has begun on a $1 million renovation of the Old Town Warren Theatre, creating what its owners believe is the first all-digital movie theater in Kansas.
When completed in late June, the Old Town Warren will be converted into a 7-auditorium digital multi-purpose facility offering everything from movies to Super Bowl showings and the latest in interactive gaming.
It’s a new, more focused business model that owner Bill Warren hopes will be profitable within two years.
Read the full story in the Wichita Eagle.
April 29, 2009
POMONA, CA —The Pomona Fox Theater reopened with a fundraiser event on April 18, 2009 along with a dinner served by onsite caterer Saffron, which will also have a retail space in the project. Film and stage actress Carol Channing was the guest of honor at the event, where she — along with members of the Tessier family which coordinated the reconstruction — cut the officlal ribbon opening the theater and later performed onstage.
Images from the opening night are available for viewing and purchase online at the website of Michael J. Elderman, a photographer from nearby Riverside, California, who has been documenting both the Pomona and Riverside Fox Theaters as they go through the process of becoming performing arts centers for their respective communities. His website is: www.mjeldermanphoto.ifp3.com
Elderman will also publish a book about the Riverside Fox, which is planning its re-opening gala for January, 2010, the 81st anniversary of the dedication of the original theater. The book will include both artistic and documentary photos of the Riverside Fox, along with a brief history of the uses of the theater, an essay about the preservation of historic buildings, and a critical commentary about Elderman’s art photography in the three projects he is currently photographing.
Elderman can be contacted through the website, or directly at
Los Angeles Times link
April 27, 2009
ARKADELPHIA, AR — After years as the Print Mania building, the Old Royal Theater is coming back.
Last week, the city of Arkadelphia closed the purchase on the Print Mania building, which was previously the Old Royal Theater. The site was originally an art deco style theater built in 1932. Plans for renovations are currently in the works, beginning with moving out the contents of the print shop and then hiring an architect to restore the building with an eye for its former style but with all the modern amenities.
“It has to be state-of-the-art sound, state-of-the-art visual and it has to be a destination,” said Jimmy Bolt, city manager and the spearhead for the project.
Read the full story in The Oracle.
April 3, 2009