April 19, 2007
OAKLAND, CA — To combat competition and slowness before the summer rush, the Grand Lake Theatre is offering free popcorn with admission during the week.
Owner Allen Michaan came up with the idea to offer a bucket of fresh popcorn — plus seconds — as a way to battle the mega-movie complexes, such as the UA Emerybay 10 in Emeryville.
“It’s getting harder and harder for the old theaters to compete with the megaplexes. They won’t survive unless they are supported by the movie-going community,” Michaan said.
Michaan launched the popcorn experiment last week at the Grand Lake and the Orinda Theater in Orinda.
For all the details, go to the Oakland Tribune.
April 16, 2007
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art that opened earlier this year in Brisbane contains two purpose-built theatres (Cinematheque) for the showing of cinema as an art form.
On 29 March the restored Wurlitzer organ built in 1929 for Brisbane’s Regent Theatre was inaugurated with a short concert by organist Tony Fenelon followed by the screening of the restored and enhanced surviving segments (17 minutes) of the 1906 feature-length (60 minutes) film “The Story of the Kelly Gang”.
The organ had been removed from the Regent in 1964 to spend the next forty years in a residence in New South Wales, before being purchased by the Gallery as an original and complete example of a Wurlitzer Unit Orchestra designed for the accompaniment of silent films (although the Regent opened as a “talkie” house in November, 1929).
April 14, 2007
CHICAGO, IL — Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater has announced the 2007 season of live theater at its new home at the historic Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park, including a return engagement of the seasonal hit, “The Snow Queen”, according toan article in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune.
Victory Gardens is also beginning to screen movies at the Biograph on a limited basis which will tie in with plays being presented at the theater at the time. The first film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, will be shown on April 22nd.
April 13, 2007
PITTSBURGH, PA — Local leaders on Pittsburgh’s North Side are taking suggestions on how the Garden Theatre should be used (and what the now blank marquee should read.)
I am hoping to see the Garden turn into a concert hall (which Pittsburgh has been lacking since the Syria Mosque closed in 1991).
Here is the link to the Post Gazette news story.
April 9, 2007
LINCOLN, NE — Providing more of a dinner theatre experience, the State Theatre is being renovated so it can be re-opened as a second-run movie house.
When David McNeil moved from his hometown of Portland, Ore., to the San Francisco area a few years ago, he was surprised not to find second-run “theater pubs” like those that were so successful in Portland.
One of the first theaters they came across was the vacant State Theater in downtown Lincoln.
McNeil said getting the building in working order, repairing the signs and marquee, and installing seating and theater equipment will be the main work done before opening.
For more, go to the Lincoln Journal Star.
April 5, 2007
PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Ritz Theatres in Philadelphia ( the Ritz Five, Ritz at the Bourse and Ritz East) were purchased by the Landmark Theatre chain.
According to Carrie Rickey’s article in the March 31st Philadelphia Inquirer, there will be changes. But those changes will be for the good.
The major changes that patrons will see is that two of the 12 screens in Philadelphia will be fitted for digital projection. That will enable Center City Philadelphia movie-goers to enjoy the Met Opera series currently running as well as other digital presentations. The article can be found here at
April 4, 2007
OWOSSO, MI — Despite recent news reports about rebuilding plans for the Lebowsky Center, The Owosso Community Players have not yet made concrete decisions about rebuilding the burned out theater. Right now, the immediate plans are to remove the top six feet of the west wall above the Chemical Bank building on whose roof loose bricks from the theater’s west wall fell onto last week.
It would take millions of dollars to rebuild the theater and the Shiawassee County area alone can’t raise that much money. The OCP is hoping that part of the rebuilding funds will come from grants from state and national agencies.
April 3, 2007
NEW MILFORD, CT — With plans to invest more funds into renovations, this sale of the Bank Street Theater should be for the better.
The Bank Street Theater, the village center attraction whose history dates back to the silent movie era, will soon have a new owner.
Mayor Patricia Murphy confirmed Monday that the quiet sale of the theater to a Sherman entrepreneur for about $1 million is all but complete, though the deed has yet to be recorded in the town clerk’s office.
In her talks with Goldring, Murphy said, she was delighted to hear his plans to fix the marquee, rejuvenate the lobby and concession area, upgrade the screening rooms and even open the now-closed balcony.
For the full story, go to the News-Times.
April 2, 2007
HALTOM CITY, TX — Around 9:00 PM on Wednesday, March 28th a fire started at Haltom Theater. By 9:30, the Haltom City Fire Department had put the fire out. Arson is suspected and most likely the cause of the fire due to a broken glass door at the side of the theater and papers (that were in boxes earlier that day) piled up and tossed around the second floor office space of the theater, directly above the Birdville Historical Museum.
Due to the fast-acting and careful efforts of the Haltom City Fire Department, only minor water damage was sustained by a handful of items. “It could have been a lot worse,” said many members of the Birdville Historical Society & Haltom Theater Arts Committee. Concerned citizens showed up during the evening on Wednesday and some, including the fire department, stayed into the early hours of the morning moving and securing the museum items and gathering up the Haltom City Photo Contest entries that are now scheduled to be displayed at the Haltom City Library from April 2 – 17.
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.