February 4, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Filming of Gus Van Sant’s upcoming biopic, Milk, has recently begun on location around San Francisco, including in the Castro neighborhood, which the film’s production team has transformed parts of to appear as they did in the early 70s. The film is about the first openly gay elected official in America, Harvey Milk, called “The Mayor of Castro Street”, who was assasinated along with Mayor George Moscone by Dan White in 1978. Van Sant has shot at locations connected to Milk including his camera shop on Castro Street (now a gift shop), City Hall, and the historic Castro Theatre.
The production, partnering with a local business association and the Castro Theatre’s owners, gathered funds to repair the neon on the marquee and also repaint the facade of the theater. Location manager Jonathan Shedd said, “There’s very few chances in our business where we can have a chance to make a postive change. But it’s nice to know that when we leave here, we’re going to leave something that’s had a lasting impact”.
The film stars Sean Penn as Harvey Milk and Josh Brolin as Dan White. Also starring in Milk are Emile Hirsch, James Franco, and Victor Garber.
For more information, see the article in the Hollywood Reporter.
January 31, 2008
KEW GARDENS, NY — The Kew Gardens Cinemas added a new cinema where a dry cleaners used to operate in the same building, but not in the theatre space. It feels like it’s always been there. It has dolby digital, stadium seating, and is one of the nicest in the complex.
It’s on the first floor. They also changed the outside facade to close in the old storefront with new neon and vintage poster cases from the old Metro theatre on the Upper west side. The cases are from the early 1930’s. The theatre just keeps getting better.
January 29, 2008
Howard Haas is reporting that “as anticipated” Live Nation has confirmed the sale of theaters, leases, and their “Broadway Across America” project to Key Brand Entertainment, a company controlled by theater producer John Gore of London.
The eight theaters included in the transaction are located in Minneapolis, Boston (except for the Boston Opera House), Baltimore, and Toronto. Live Nation has retained the Warner Theatre in Washington DC, New York City’s Hilton Theatre, and its ownership of the closed Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia.
January 28, 2008
LOS ANGELES, CA — The Majestic Crest Theatre was the subject of a discussion at the Westwood Holmby Homeowners Association meeting last week.
Apparently, the Association sent a letter to the City Cultural Heritage Association inquiring on the landmark status of the building. The owner of the theatre, Robert Bucksbaum, is very opposed to pursuing the landmark route because it would eliminate the possibility of him ever being able to sell it and force him to close it in a matter of the months.
As reported here last year, the owner was looking for a new owner to sell the theatre to under the condition that it would be leased back to him for cinema usage. That never materialized because no prospective buyer was on board 100% in maintaining it as a neighborhood theater with all that goes along with it.
Ever since Bucksbaum purchased the theatre five years ago, he’s poured millions of dollars into it to make it an absolute palace in addition to being one of the last independently owned and operated first run single screen theaters in all of Los Angeles. Take a look at the great page on it on Cinema Sightlines to see what I mean if you haven’t had the pleasure of taking in a film there.
January 25, 2008
ST. ALBANS, WV — To revitalize the town, the city has purchased the former Alban Theater.
St. Albans took a large step toward revitalizing the former Olde Main Plaza Tuesday night when it approved the purchase of a former movie theater by the St. Albans Regional Development Authority.
The building, currently the home of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, was known as the Alban Theater as recently as the 1980s. The authority will purchase the building for $180,000 in a deal scheduled to close by the end of the month.
Plans for the facility include restoring the facade to its original appearance and turning it into both a working theater and meeting space, to be called the St. Albans Arts and Conference Center.
For more, go to the Charleston Gazette.
January 18, 2008
The El Portal Theatre has staged thousands of comedies, dramas and musicals – but the story behind the playhouse could make for its own interesting script.
From vaudeville to punk rock, the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood has seen a lot in the past 81 years – including an earthquake that nearly toppled the historic building and the revival of its surrounding arts district.
January 16, 2008
MIAMI, FL — After almost two years of inactivity, the Board of the Coconut Grove Playhouse is considering how it can reopen.
Working with Miami-Dade County’s Department of Cultural Affairs and consultants at Connecticut-based AMS Planning and Research, board leaders have a draft plan that they will take to theater ‘'stakeholders’‘ — former subscribers and patrons, business and government leaders, members of the theater community, Coconut Grove activists, historic preservationists and the public — in a series of meetings aimed at getting reaction and sharpening the proposal.
The rebuilding plan would bring together three partners: the playhouse, a local college or university and a commercial developer. They would work together to create, manage and finance an institution that would cost an estimated $6.5 million a year to run.
The plan could lead to a standard-setting institution that would help develop new works and new talent, provide technical or design support to smaller area companies and become a magnet for top-level actors, playwrights and directors, including many who have left Miami to pursue their careers in New York or in cities with established regional theaters.
Read more in the Miami Herald.
January 15, 2008
SANTA MONICA, CA — The NuWilshire Theatre is currently a sitting duck…with the lights still on. As of today, January 14, 2008 the theatre has not changed status except that the lights on the marque remain lit. As I am only a few blocks away the theatre, I have noticed they have remained on since the last day of working there. You would think that no light would be on at all, so as not to confuse a passersby or someone hoping to catch a movie and only to discover that it’s closed. No matter the time of day, the lights have been on. This is a mystery. Another reason why this puzzles me, is the fact that Santa Monica claims to be a green city. If this is the case, wouldn’t the lights be left off until actual construction and remodeling begins?
I will keep you posted.
January 10, 2008
I’m hoping someone in the Camden, South Carolina area can help me. I was driving through Camden on my way home from Texas over the holidays and came accross a really nice old theater on rt. 20 right in town. It’s still open-showing “National Treasure” and “Alvin And The Chipmunks.” I stopped and took photos of it, but there was no name on the theater, except a small sign on top reading “Little’s” I believe. I went to Cinema Treasures, they list two theaters for Camden-the Camden, the Hagler and the Majestic-all listed as closed.
Does anyone know the name of this theater?
January 8, 2008
The Fulton is one of a number of historic – and fully operating – theaters in south-central Pennsylvania that offer backstage tours where one can step right into theatrical history. All within a few hours' drive from Philadelphia, they can provide an easy weekend getaway for theater history lovers.
Some theaters charge for tours (at the Fulton it is $7); others (like the Majestic in Gettysburg) offer tours free, while placing show bills into the hands of visitors who are encouraged to come back that evening as theatergoers.
For theater buffs (and for a former drama club president like myself), it is a heady experience to peek into stars' dressing rooms in gilded palaces that radiate theatrical magic in a way that modern performance spaces lack. And to pick up a few tricks of the trade.