February 22, 2008
SYRACUSE, NY — The historic Landmark Theatre is having its 80th anniversary this month, as strong as ever.
Gladly, much has changed for the glitzy, golden-plastered showplace at 362 S. Salina St., but not without a lot of struggle, negotiations, volunteer hours and last-gasp efforts to save the movie palace that was built in 1928. Once surrounded by at least seven similarly ornate moviehouses, the former Loew’s State Theatre is the remaining Syracuse vestige of a bygone era. Few today would argue for its demolition. But three decades ago, a wrecking ball sat on the stage, its operator anticipating the order to get smashing.
Now the Landmark’s future looks bright with the recent purchase of vacant Clinton Street buildings that surround the venue. Once the stage is expanded outward, the theater can stake its claim as the premier traveling Broadway venue in Central New York. Think of seeing Spamalot, The Lion King and Wicked without the passport hassles of traveling to Toronto.
Read more at the Syracuse News Times.
February 21, 2008
COSTA MESA, CA — After an exciting first year, plans are still up in the air for the return of the Star-Vu Drive-In.
Orange County’s drive-in renaissance is going through a bit of a dark age.
It’s been two months since the Star-Vu Drive-In at the county fairgrounds closed down, and it’ll be at least a couple more months until the outdoor movie theater reopens.
Find out more at the OC Register.
DAVIS, CA — The historic Varsity Theatre is recognized as the city’s best.
During Davis' chilly winter, what could be better than leaving your worries at the ticket booth and cozying up in a dark auditorium with a bag of popcorn? Varsity Theater has been named the best movie theater by this year’s Best of Davis voters.
“We are the only place [in Davis] to see independent films,” said Rhiannon Healy, a 24-year-old Davis resident and Varsity Theater employee. “The subjects of our movies are enriching.”
Varsity Theater features one movie per week in their single auditorium, which is currently There Will Be Blood, and opening this evening will be Persepolis. The Varsity’s show times Monday through Thursday take place at 4:10 and 7:20 p.m., with three showings Friday and Saturday at 1, 4:10 and 7:20 p.m. Sunday showings are 2:20 and 5:30 p.m.
Read more at the California Aggie.
February 19, 2008
PORT ORCHARD, WA — After years of struggling, the Orchard Theater has been the buzz of town lately by showing more independently-minded first-run flicks.
It isn’t the kind of place you’d expect to find a specialty movie theater.
It’s a small town with a population of around 8,000. Its a bit off the beaten track on the eastern shore of central Kitsap County. And it’s decidedly blue-collar. Median income is listed at $38,500 according to the city-data.com Web site.
Yet right there on Port Orchard’s busy main drag, Bay Street, the newly renamed twin-screen theater, The Orchard, has since mid-December been showing such films as “Into the Wild,” “The Savages,” “Lars and the Real Girl,” “The Kite Runner” and “There Will Be Blood.”
Read more in the News Tribune.
February 18, 2008
In conjunction with the project to restore downtown Los Angeles theaters on Broadway, the Los Angeles Conservancy has put together an online photo gallery.
February 15, 2008
OWOSSO, MI — The Owosso Community Players, owners of the Joseph H. Lebowsky Center, held a “flashlight” vigil Wednesday night to note the 1st anniversary of the fire which destroyed their home. Because of that, the members decided that a candlelight vigil would be inappropriate. So members of the OCP and the general public brought flashlights to shine beams of light on the surviving walls of the scarred theater.
Construction to enclose the theater again is expected to begin in April or May and it’s believed that the OCP can stage shows again at the old Capitol Theatre in five years.
News stories about the anniversary and vigil can be found in the:
February 14, 2008
LOS ANGELES, CA — The bronze statue of a miner located across the street from the former Carthay Circle Theatre has been stolen, possibly for scrap. This was one of the last remnants of the once glorious square where the movie palace stood.
When neighbors in the Carthay Circle community heard the news, they feared it had been stolen for scrap, like so much copper wire and plumbing around the region, as prices for metal have soared.
“I think someone stole him to have him melted down,” said Judy Moore, president of the Carthay Circle Neighborhood Assn. “I don’t want to see him as rain gutters. It just breaks my heart. He was part of neighborhood history.”
Los Angeles police are investigating the theft and others, and they suspect the miner was indeed taken for scrap. Nationwide, bronze, brass and copper artworks are vanishing into scrap yards, destined for the foundry furnace.
Read more in the L.A. Times.
February 8, 2008
OAKMONT, PA — This story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review highlights some Pennsylvania theater success stories along with some history of moviegoing in the area.
When an opportunity to buy the movie theater she used to frequent as a child came up six years ago, Meg Burkardt and two friends jumped at the chance.
Burkardt, Cyndi Yount and Marc Serrao, all of Penn Hills, bought the Oaks Theater in Oakmont with one goal in mind: preserving a dying breed.
“This is definitely a labor of love,” Burkardt said.
February 7, 2008
TRIBUNE, KS — The Tribune Family Theatre in Greeley County, Kansas, was recently awarded a Small Communities Improvement Program grant, and the theater itself is no longer for sale to individual parties. They are now working on plans to make some renovations and decide on a community-owned theater model. They have been researching other community-owned theaters in nearby communities.
If you would like to participate in these new changes, please contact the Greeley County Community Development Office at 620-376-2548. Thank you!
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.