February 22, 2007
February 21, 2007
PITTSBURGH, PA — After years of legal battles the former venue for adult films, the Garden Theater, has been sold to the city. Following some cleanup, the Urban Redevelopment Authority will start showing it to developers so it can be the centerpiece of a revived neighborhood.
With 10 years of legal battle now behind them, the Urban Redevelopment Authority expects to take possession of the X-rated Garden Theatre as soon as Wednesday.
URA building manager Marino Marangoni said this morning he expects at least three months of cleaning and clearing out debris will be needed before developers can be shown the space.
Owner George Androtsakis inked a $1.1 million agreement yesterday to turn over the venue that the city first tried to take by eminent domain during Mayor Tom Murphy’s administration.
To read more on this, go to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
February 19, 2007
LOMBARD, IL — Village officials in Lombard have listed the DuPage Theatre as its top priority in a ranking of 41 projects related to the future of the downtown area. Trustee Greg Gron said a new theatre would be a “strong draw” and pointed out the impact that the arts have made in other communities including Chicago, Aurora, Elgin, and Joliet. Gron went on to say, “It’s a big puzzle. It’s going to take a lot of pieces to put together.”
The largest piece of that puzzle would be the construction of a new building with condominiums, retail and a community theatre on the site of the partly-demolished DuPage Theatre.
Other projects include possible additions to/new construction at the Helen Plum Library, expanding the Praga restaurant, and a directory kiosk downtown. Village President William Mueller noted, “We can’t just depend on people from other communities to come in, we have to support our downtown.”
For more details, see the article in the Daily Herald.
February 18, 2007
OWOSSO, MI — On Saturday, February 17, I took pictures of the fire damaged Joseph H. Lebowsky Center to view the extent of the damage myself. The fire began on stage and quickly spread to the theater itself, causing the roofs of the stage and the theater to cave in. The front part of the theater building escaped major damage. The walls of the stage seem intact, but the west wall of the theater facing Park Street shows the reason why the temporary wall was erected.
Park Street was still closed alongside the theater. A web site devoted to Shiawassee County, Michigan history has an updated page about the Capitol Theatre/Lebowsky Center which has an aerial photo showing the extent of the theater’s damage.
It is interesting to note that the Capitol Theatre was renamed to honor the Owosso businessman who built it. His legal surname was “Lebowsky” and he was Jewish. His Yahrzeit (Memorial) plaque is at Temple Beth El in Flint, MI where he was a member. But in Owosso, he spelled his name “Lebowski” apparently to make him seem more Polish than Jewish. If you look at the “Joseph H. Lebowsky Center” letters on the facade, you may notice that the “Y” is a different shade of gold. That’s because it replaced the “I”.
February 17, 2007
BALTIMORE, MD — As reported yesterday, the Senator Theatre is just days away from going up for auction. Its lender is now making them provide $109K by this Wednesday, February 21st at 1:30PM. As of 6:32 EST, today, $68.4K has been collected.
Please donate via paypal on their website and pass this message along to others.
We’ll update you with the latest on the fight to keep this movie palace alive.
KANSAS CITY, MO — The Waldo Astoria Theater, which opened in 1924 as the Westmoreland Theater, was destroyed by fire Friday, February 16. It is a complete loss.
Five firefighters were injured and hospitalized fighting the two-alarm blaze during freezing temperatures and inclement weather. Five remain hospitalized; three with burns. Their efforts could not prevent loss of the building, but adjoining retail structures were spared.
The historic building burned for several hours and the roof collapsed. Problems with water pressure from hydrants hampered efforts.
Local media have reported that the fire appears to have started in the French bistro Cafe Apanaire. The cause of the fire is undetermined and is under investigation.
February 16, 2007
OWOSSO , MI — Fire investigators sift through the rubble of the destroyed Lebowsky Center to determine the cause of the fire. Considered “suspicious, it may take a week to determine the cause of the blaze. The unstable west wall of the theater has been braced and an outside wall was built barricading it.
Meanwhile, the Owosso Players have found a temporary home and will perform the musical “Beauty and the Beast” at the Owosso Middle School auditorium as scheduled.
The official web site has finally been updated and include photos of the fire damage, both interior and exterior.
February 15, 2007
TRAVERSE CITY, MI — Recent news on the State Theater is the Board of Directors of the Traverse City Film Festival, Michael Moore, John Robert Williams, and Doug Statton are in meeting with the Traverse City Rotary Charities (who owns the State) about the possibility of the Historic State Theater becoming the permanent home of the TC Film Festival and reopening the long closed movie house on a year round basis.
This would be a huge event should it happen; a boost not only to Downtown Traverse City, but to movie lovers both far and wide. The word on the street is that Carmike Cinemas has a contract against showing first and second run movies there for 25 years from when it was sold back in the late eighties. We’ve got are fingers crossed here in Traverse City hoping and praying Carmike will do the right thing and void the contract.
(The Letter Guy)
BEACH, ND — On the recommendation of an astrologer, a couple moved to North Dakota and bought the closed Bijou Theatre.
The Bijou Theater in Beach will reopen next month and the new owners, with roots in England and the Chicago area, have dramatic plans for the vintage venue.
Emanuel Culman and his wife, Cheryl Planert, purchased the retro ‘40s movie hall, still decked in maroon and gold, from Margaret Walz, who lowered the curtain on the family enterprise in June due to lack of business.
Culman said the astrologer who told him the 48th parallel was a good zone for him narrowed the best opportunity for success and literary artistry to somewhere between Fort Peck, Mont., and Velva. There, roughly in the middle, is Beach, and their inquiries into the community were based on the chance purchase of a newspaper with a story of the Bijou Theater being for sale.
To read more, go to the Bismarck Tribune.