November 7, 2016
From Thurston Talk: There is something magical about the glow of a Marquee sign. It brings fond memories of soda fountains and the golden age of Hollywood. If you grew up in the area, you may remember when the historic Fox Theatre lit up South Tower Avenue in Centralia. Nestled in amidst the old shops, it was a hub of activity when it opened in 1930 as part of the Fox West Coast Theatre chain. At the time, it was a 1,200 seat art-deco theatre that ran as a movie theater until 1999. But then the films stopped. The marquee went out, darkening the entire street. It was a stark reminder against the skyline that the city had seen better days.
Almost a decade later, in 2008, Scott White moved back home to Centralia with one goal in mind: to do something about the darkened theater. He founded the non-profit Historic Fox Theatre Restorations and has been the President of the Board of Directors ever since. This is a 100-percent volunteer position for him.
“After spending 20 years working in the entertainment industry, I hoped to use some of the experience I gathered along the way to make the project a success,” Scott says. “Having grown up in Centralia, the Fox Theatre was a very important part of my childhood and was the beginning of a lifelong love of theater and movies.”
The group’s ultimate goal is a complete restoration of the building, inside and out, to its former 1930s glory. But, Scott, says, this doesn’t mean it won’t be able to handle today’s needs when it comes to technology.
From The Buffalo News: A historic commercial building that was once part of Shea’s Seneca Theatre in South Buffalo is now destined for reuse, with developer Jake Schneider planning a mix of apartments, a theatre and performance art space in the 88-year-old structure.
Schneider Development on Monday said it wants to spend $9 million to renovate the vacant and underused property at 2178 Seneca St., restoring its original architecture and bringing the building back to life as part of the latest adaptive reuse project in the city, and particularly along Seneca Street.
“We’re very excited about the neighborhood. It’s a well-established and proud community with great assets to build upon,” he said. “It is our hope that this project will serve as a catalyst for the revitalization of the Seneca Street commercial corridor.”
Located at the intersection of Seneca and Cazenovia streets, near Cazenovia Park, the historic two-story brick building was originally constructed in 1929 by well-known regional cinema icon Michael Shea, who built Shea’s Buffalo downtown, the North Park Theatre in North Buffalo, and several other iconic movie and entertainment houses that have since been demolished. With 2,500 seats, Shea’s Seneca was once said to be the largest community theater in the city, and grandly featured a colored marble lobby, ornamental plaster and arched windows. It also had a Wurlitzer theater organ, which was played on opening night in 1930 during the showing of The Mighty.
October 30, 2016
The state of Indiana is kicking in $50,000 to help pay for restoration of the historic Town Theatre in Highland.
The lieutenant governor’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Office of Tourism Development announced Thursday they are providing the money as part of a matching grant program that promotes quality of place improvements across the state.
“The intent of this fund is to reward creativity and resourcefulness,” said Mark Newman, state tourism director. “The impact to quality of life and ultimately tourism will be great.”
October 26, 2016
From The Chicago Tribune: An historic downtown Lockport theater could soon be getting a face-lift to help restore it to its former glory.
City officials recently discussed awarding a $10,000 grant to the owner of the Roxy Theatre building to pay for some of the renovations.
“I know we’re all excited to see it happen,” Mayor Steve Streit said during Wednesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
The grant would go toward helping with a facade improvement project costing more than $50,000. The project would include a new marquee sign with a design that had to be approved by the Heritage and Architecture Commission because the building is in the historic district.
October 14, 2016
From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Imagine sipping a hand-crafted cocktail with the iconic Fox marquee glimmering behind you as you overlook the hustle and bustle of Atlanta’s Peachtree Street. Come fall 2017, it won’t just be a dream.
The Fabulous Fox Theatre’s renovation of a 10,000-square-foot event space into the new Marquee Club lounge and rooftop marks its most significant expansion and its biggest financial undertaking since the popular theater opened in 1929.
Patrons will have access to the club’s five bars: one on the main level of the club, one on the mezzanine level and three on the rooftop.
With a server-to-guest ratio of 10-to-one, line-busting technology and intermission pre-ordering, members will be able to enjoy their shows with ease.
The club will also offer hors d’oeuvres, self-serve desserts and coffee. Additional amenities include private restrooms, coat check and a dedicated lobby elevator for club patrons.
The intricate Moorish grillwork and color palette of muted gold and earth tones throughout the club were chosen with the historic building in mind, Adina Erwin, Fox Theatre’s vice president and chief operating officer, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The Fox was our muse,” she said.
A hint of blue brings in the element of the sky and the Fox star can be found on both the carpeting and on the club’s main level ceiling.
October 11, 2016
From The Santa Barbara Independent: Each winter when the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) takes over downtown, our seaside town’s movie houses hum with a whir of films, panel discussions, and celebrity events. It’s good fun and great fare, but it doesn’t end when the festival packs up –– SBIFF is a year-round experience offering educational programs, Wave mini-festivals, and weekly showcase films at their recently acquired Riviera Theatre.
In an effort to enhance its roster of offerings, SBIFF has begun a fundraising effort, deemed the Capital Campaign, which will allow it “to expand [its] current slate of education programs, preserve an important historic landmark, enhance the communal theater experience, and create a cultural hub for all things film,” according to a recent press release. More than $2 million has been raised so far, with the goal of $5 million by March 2017.
A face-lift for the Riviera is scheduled to begin January 2017 with a spring completion date. In addition to theater restoration, a new balcony lounge will be built that will serve as a space for SBIFF gatherings and receptions come the 2018 festival. Other planned changes include a classroom, world-class sound and projecting systems, a loop system for the hearing impaired, and improved heating and air conditioning.
With the Riviera Theatre as its base, the SBIFF now has the opportunity to expand its already existing educational programs — such as its youth programs, AppleBox Family Films and Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies — as well as create new offerings. “Our capital campaign and expansions to the Riviera Theatre mark an important new chapter in our festival’s history,” said festival executive director Roger Durling. “These renovations and improvements will allow us to serve Santa Barbara in new and exciting ways and will bring us closer together as a community.”
For more information and to contribute to the campaign, see sbiff.org/riviera.
October 10, 2016
From The Los Angeles Times: The Balboa Theater, a longtime community fixture on the Balboa Peninsula, would be sold to a Costa Mesa developer for $1 million under a proposal the Newport Beach City Council will consider Tuesday night.
The council voted in April to enter a nine-month exclusive negotiating agreement to work with Lab Holding LLC, the company behind The Lab and The Camp in Costa Mesa, on a proposal to rejuvenate the 88-year-old theater building, which has been vacant for years.
The agreement was intended to give the city and Lab Holding time to finalize a plan and negotiate a sale of the city-owned property to Lab, which proposes to update the Balboa Boulevard venue and maintain it as a theater.
Lab Holding is proposing to restore the theater’s original architecture, including the marquee, which likely would reflect the 1920s wrought-iron style. The venue is proposed to have a cafe that would open to the street, a small stage for live music and a second stage for private events. The live-music stage would have an indoor pub but no seating. The theater likely would not show films, according to preliminary plans.
“We are excited by the opportunity to resurrect this community amenity for Balboa Village,” Lab Holding founder Shaheen Sadeghi wrote in his proposal to the city.
October 5, 2016
From MyTwinTiers.com: The long wait has finally come to an end for members of the Sayre community. Their local theater received its new marquee after raising nearly 200,000 dollars from the community.
“We’ve had many many different donations from lumber companies and hardware stores and all over,” Board Member of the Bradford County Regional Arts Council, Jeff Paul said. “I mean, it’s just a very big thank you to everybody to get us to where we are today.”
What began as an old opera house built during world war one, has evolved into a hot spot for movie enthusiasts.
“We see about $300,000 of revenue from the movies with the concession included,” Executive Director of the Bradford County Regional Arts Council, Elaine Poost said. “I would say around about 70,000 people see a movie each year here at the Sayre.”
“It is a hot spot,” Paul said. “It’s incredible. When I look at the numbers every month of how many people come here to the Sayre Theater and watch movies or the different shows that we have, it’s important because we are right across from the hospital and many times people will be visiting and they may come over just to watch a movie in between time.”
The Arts Council also feels that its new marquee and other future renovations could bring more people to the area.
“I’m hoping that it’ll bring more and more people in,” Paul said. “I mean, we do really well, I’m impressed at the attendance all the time but, I’m hoping that with all of this being done, that maybe we will bring in some people from other communities will show up.”
Even though the new marquee is a step in the right direction for the theater, there is still a lot of renovating work to be done.
“We had actually had it in the queue, re pointing of the building but, when this reared its little head we said ‘ok you can go first,’” Poost said. “So, now we are going to have this beautiful marquee but we still have $200,000 to raise for re pointing an old, historic building.”
The Bradford County Regional Arts Council will hold a grand lighting ceremony on Saturday, October 29th, from 6p.m. – 7:30p.m.
September 29, 2016
From Film Journal: Metropolitan Theatres announces renovation plans for the Isis Theatre located at 406 E. Hopkins Ave. in Aspen, Colorado. Named after the Egyptian goddess, the theatre was last renovated in the late 1990s, expanding the existing structure to allow for increased movie screens, state-of-the-art sound systems, soundproofing and stadium seating.
Recent renovations concentrated on the completed construction of a craft beer and wine bar now in operation. Upgraded luxury reserved seating, new flooring, digital menu displays, and an expanded menu are all components of the overall renovation plans. In celebration of the new offerings, the Isis will run a promotion for the month of October offering a free popcorn with a purchase of wine or beer. The offer is valid for one transaction per guest, per movie.
Phase one of the remodel established a new theatre bar located on the downstairs level. The bar offers a varied selection of both wine and craft beer, including two options from the local Aspen Brewing Company. Phase two includes installation of luxury seating with plush rockers and spacious recliners, as well as new carpeting and tile. Reserved seating will also roll out in phase two for all auditoriums. Completion of phase two is targeted for mid-December. The Isis remains open during the remodel as portions of the facility are converted.
Dale Davison, senior VP of operations and development, stated, “The renovations that we have completed and set in motion at Aspen’s Isis will provide a more comfortable and enhanced entertaining moviegoing experience. The theatre’s expanded menu and bar addition, along with the luxury seating forthcoming, create an ideal atmosphere for enjoying movies in a more luxurious fashion.”
The original 1892 H. Webber Building received Historic Landmark designation in 1995.
September 21, 2016
From the Press of Atlantic City: In the years since the city took over the Gateway Playhouse, work on renovating the heart of the 116-year-old Bay Avenue landmark has hit a dramatic, and extended, pause.
The building’s interior still looked Friday just about like it did since at least 2010, basically torn down to bare studs without a seat or a stage in sight.
But work is finally ready to start back up after the city, which bought the building in late 2006, awarded a contract to a Vineland company to finish the inside of the theater. Capri Construction is scheduled to start work in early October, although Somers Point’s city administrator, Wes Swain, said Friday that the company could get moving on the project as soon as this month. The target date for finishing the job is April, Swain added.
That would be a pleasant plot development to Mayor Jack Glasser, who has dealt with delays and drama at the Gateway almost since he was elected in 2007. The mayor sees a redone theater improving Somers Point’s economic life almost as much as it does the area’s cultural life.
“In the summer, we have our beach concerts right across the street, and look how many people come to those,” he said of the Friday music series that, on big nights, can fill most of a block of Bay Avenue with beach chairs and blankets full of music lovers.
The renovations are being funded largely by two state grants, including $400,000 from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and $102,000 from the New Jersey Historic Trust.
Jim Dalfonso heads the Theater Collaborative of South Jersey, a nonprofit group that’s worked for years to raise money to restore the Gateway. He said the group has research showing that even a “light season” at the 240-seat theater should bring 16,000 customers to Bay Avenue, one of the city’s business hubs.
“Those folks are going to want to go out and eat. Parents are going to want to go shopping while their kids are in (rehearsals),” Dalfonso said, plus the renovation plans include meeting rooms in the theater that will be available for use when there aren’t performances going on. The theater’s supporters expect those accommodations to be a draw, too.
“People from all over our area seem to think that Somers Point is a place that’s easy to go to. Folks will come up from Cape May, people will come over from Margate” and other places, he said. “This building’s audience base has historically drawn from a wide area.”
Dalfonso, a music major who sells ceiling materials in his day job, knows the outside of the Gateway looks much better than it did when the city bought the onetime movie theater about 10 years ago.
“The siding was put up three or four years ago,” a new Gateway marquee was added along Bay Avenue in the fall of 2013 and a new roof protects the inside, he said. “We got the exterior of the building done, and then the city applied for the grants and we had to halt construction on the rest of the building.”
And since then, he added, “Absolutely nothing has been done.”
But the city has been pursuing the money needed to do the work, and making sure it has enough to do the job right.