March 29, 2007
QUEENS, NY — In the spirit of the upcoming film from Tarantino/Rodriguez, Lou Lumenick takes a look into New York City’s last remaining grindhouse, the Fair Theatre.
If you want to sample Times Square moviegoing in all of its raffish glory from the 1970s and early 1980s, you don’t need a time machine – just take the M60 bus out to East Elmhurst, Queens, and be prepared to watch your back.
On a shabby stretch of Astoria Boulevard near La Guardia Airport, the Fair Theatre is the city’s last grindhouse – a successor to the tradition of the crumbling, grimy showplaces that used to line both sides of 42nd Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue.
But to experience an actual grindhouse requires a trip to the 70-year-old Fair Theatre – named in anticipation of the 1939-40 World’s Fair in nearby Flushing Meadows – which sits in the middle of a blocklong two-story building between 90th and 91st streets.
Read the full story at the NY Post and you’ll also see his reference to our page for this theater as providing inspiration for this piece.
March 28, 2007
OWOSSO, MI — On Friday, March 23, a number of bricks from the partially collapsed west wall of the fire damaged Lebowsky Center fell onto the adjacent Chemical Bank building. One bank employee heard the rumbling overhead and left the area to inform others. There was no apparent damage to the bank building.
Owosso’s building inspector said an emergency abatement has been issued for the removal of the unstable sections of the west and north walls of the theater. No one is allowed inside the fire damaged theater and adjacent eastern portion of the bank building now until the unstable portions are removed. Demolition has been slowed by seasonal load limit laws keeping heavy machinery off the roads during the spring months, but a demolition company will begin work by Wednesday.
March 27, 2007
SANDY, OR — Unlike other theaters that were rescued from demolition to be used as places of worship, the Sandy Cinema is holding services for a local church just because they need the extra space. They even incorporate movie clips into the service sometimes.
There’s a dedicated group of local residents who show up at Sandy Cinema every weekend. The group — about 50 people strong — isn’t there to see Hollywood’s newest releases or even for the popcorn.
They are going to church.
On Feb. 18, Sandy’s Fellowship Bible Church moved its Sunday services from 5 p.m. at the Community Presbyterian Church to 9 a.m. at the cinema, a switch that Senior Pastor Gregg Chastain says holds a lot of promise for the 25-year-old church.
“This (new facility) puts us in a place where we can actually grow,” said Chastain. “I think lots of people are just happy to be meeting in the morning again.”
It’s definitely an interesting look at the alternative uses for a theater while still showing films. To read the full story, go to the Sandy Post.
March 26, 2007
ROANOKE, VA — Today, the Grandin Theatre celebrates 75 years of service. Operating as a nonprofit theater since reopening following a restoration five years ago, the Grandin is delighting audiences to this day.
The Grandin Theatre, which turns 75 on Monday, is a relic of Roanoke’s golden age of theaters, when movie palaces such as the American Theater on Jefferson Street were a source of city pride. Roanoke had as many as 11 downtown movie houses in the early decades of the 20th century.
All of them — the American, the Jefferson, the Park, the Rialto, the Roanoke and the rest — have since fallen under the wrecking ball. The Grandin, despite many a twist and turn in its long history, has survived.
For more along with a detailed look at some of the highlights in its 75 years, visit the Roanoke Times.
March 20, 2007
OWOSSO, MI— The Owosso Community Players, owners of the fire-damaged Lebowsky Center are in talks with architectural firms about how the theater can be rebuilt. The architects being consulted are touring the burned out theater and will consult with engineers about which parts of the building can be saved. When the OCP receive the reports listing what parts of the theater can be saved, they can then solicit bids to rebuild the theater.
Meanwhile, an Owosso building inspector has indicated that the Lebowsky Center is in no danger of collapsing so the OCP is no longer under pressure to do something about the building quickly and is giving the OCP time to determine what can be rebuilt. Park Street alongside the Lebowsky Center is now partially open with one northbound lane.
March 16, 2007
PHILADELPHIA, PA — Live Nation is still mulling over their options for the vacant Boyd Theatre. Obviously, a return to its former glory as a movie palace would be great, but other options are on the table.
The owners of the Boyd, mothballed since 2002, confirmed last week that they were weighing its conversion into a House of Blues, a pop-music venue.
“The two most likely scenarios are a House of Blues or a sale, and we’re open to other options,” said John Vlautin, a spokesman for concert promoter Live Nation, owner of House of Blues, by phone from Beverly Hills, Calif. In January, Live Nation listed the property with CB Richard Ellis. Neither would discuss the asking price.
For more, go to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
MANCHESTER, UK — I have decided to make available a free WMV version of my Essoldo Cinema Video Tour. You can even download it if you want to! The DVD version (higher quality) is still available to purchase online.
The following links will take you to the movie:–
BEACONSFIELD, UK — The Chiltern Cinema, former Picture House is up for a Grade II listing. This is after a recent scare of developers to demolish the cinema to make way for a new block of flats (haven’t we seen that all before?). The Grade II listing would ensure that the Cinema continues its life as a preserved building of architectural interest.
March 14, 2007
OWOSSO, MI — While test results are still pending, fire investigators believe the fire which destroyed the Lebowsky Center was deliberately set.
Reward posters have been placed on the theater offering up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction on arson charges.
The Owosso Community Players have 15 days to demolish the portions of the theater deemed unsafe, particularly the sagging east and west walls.
March 13, 2007
BROOKLYN, NY — Not much news on the future of the Loew’s Kings. Proposals have been received for its future but nothing more. However, the article does go in detail into the genesis of the term, “wonder theater.”
Last fall, the New York City Economic Development Corporation asked for suggestions from developers on what to do with the Kings. Andrew Brent, a spokesman for the agency, will say only that more than one proposal has been received and that the city will try to move beyond the initial stage of the project later this spring. In its solicitation, the city noted that the building had suffered “substantial damage and deterioration.” For instance, the roofs over its retail spaces have collapsed.
What distinguished the five wonder theaters from the other Loew’s picture palaces was never really clear. Indeed, a 1930 ad in The New York Times included the Loew’s Pitkin, also in Brooklyn, as one of its “Big 5 Wonder Theaters” although theater-history buffs do not include it on their lists.
To read the full article, go to the New York Times(reg rq'rd)