August 3, 2007
OAKLAND, CA — With the reopening of the the long closed Fox Theatre next year, many eyes are turned toward the future of the aging Paramount Theatre. In a controversy sure to be envied by many of us, what’s a city to do with two refurbished, large-scale movie palaces?
Still, the Paramount’s future may not be so secure. The aging building is in dire need of a new roof, an exterior paint job, and hazardous materials removal — repairs estimated around $1 million. And there’s discussion about increasing the depth of the stage to accommodate more Broadway-type shows, plays, and musicals. “Our bottom line being near the break-even level, only a few things have to happen and we could see losses again,” says board president Tom Hart.
One thing sure to happen is the opening of the Fox Theater in late 2008. The $58 million renovation of the long-slumbering venue, also a city-owned facility, is raising concerns about competition between the two facilities. The Fox’s maximum capacity of more than 3,000 people will be on par with the Paramount’s 3,040. The non-union Fox will be operated by a successful concert promoter, Another Planet Entertainment.
Read the full story at the East Bay Express.
August 1, 2007
BRISTOL, TN — Thanks to whoever asked about this. I’m House Organist on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ at the Paramount Center for the Arts—over 2,000 pipes plus 27 real instruments, drums, percussions, harps, bells, etc mounted in the chambers — all played from the console. I play concerts, accompany silent comedy films, do sing-alongs, plus private dinners, celebrations, and most anything requested.
You can see the organ and Paramount by searching “House Organist Rex Ward” to bring it all up. We’re in the city of the Bristol International Speedway and the “Birthplace of Country Music” -may God help us all. Theatre Bristol is next door—local performing troupes who do great performances — often in the Paramount Center.
I saw a post asking “what about” the place, so I thought I’d explain things. We do an annual Christmas pilgrimage with it ending at the Paramount for a rousing Christmas community show with the organ and others. A few times a year we normally get in some concerts, silent movies, sing alongs, “star look-a-like contest”, under the seat prizes and a few “water throwing” skits, etc etc. Yeah…corny but great fun with good turn out.
July 30, 2007
CHARLESTON, SC — The Terrace Theater at 1956 Maybank Highway was sold last week to Michael Furlinger. Mr. Furlinger started in the movie business in 1982 as an usher for Century Theaters and later went on to become district manager for Cineplex Odeon. For the past 17 years he has owned a chain of gourmet food shops called The Sweet Gourmet.
The Terrace Theater is Charleston’s premier art house and has been in operation for 10 years.
FAIRFIELD, CT — Just checked, and the Community Theater is back in business quite soon after their close call! Thankfully, hard-working people have done what they could so that the Community did not go the way of the Rialto, Lyric, Globe, Poli, Majestic, Strand, Warner, Rivoli, Beverly, and many, many others who have become just faded memories!
Thankfully, there are people that care that have banded together to continue to preserve an area landmark!
July 25, 2007
FAIRFIELD, CT — Our local paper related the sad news that the Community Theater, a local fixture since it first opened in 1920, and currently run by a volunteer group, suffered an electrical problem this Saturday (7/23/07). A fire alarm sounded, and the article stated that sparks from an electrical panel forced the evacuation of all patrons. The article went on to say that it was not known when the theater would re-open.
July 23, 2007
CAMDEN, NJ — Rumor’s been going around stating that Camden, NJ will be getting a new movie house with IMAX this coming 2009 summer season.
Hope this is true. Camden has been without a movie house for years now. It will be great if it finally happens.
July 12, 2007
ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, NJ — Here’s a link to a story that I read in the Daily Record about the tough movie theater competition between two chains in Morris County, AMC Entertainment and Clearview. It’s a well written article by a young 30-ish guy, Matt Manochio, and I told him why I chose AMC over Clearview due to its close proximity to my hometown in Rockaway, where the chain returned to its roots after a five year absence.
He included some of the people’s opinion about Clearview (which owns most of the theaters in the coutny) and AMC (which owns only two, one of which used to be a Loews/Sony) and put it into today’s article, which is on the front page.
July 11, 2007
WINTER GARDEN, FL — The Garden Theatre proudly welcomes
Jester Theater as a programming partner for the 2008 season and into the future. The critically acclaimed professional theatre company will produce all of its shows to Garden Theatre audiences, and is set to perform two shows in the inaugural season and three to four shows each year in the following seasons.
Founded in August 2004, by husband and wife team Jay and Diana Hopkins, Jester Theater Company is an all-comedy group that has been producing full-length family-friendly comedies to sold-out crowds in downtown Orlando and, most recently, Germany. Their top quality original works and world premieres make this an ideal match for the Garden Theatre to open its inaugural programming schedule. The Garden Theatre is proud to announce its first live theatrical run, “The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!" playing February 1-17, 2008.
WINDSOR, ONTARIO, CANADA — The city of Windsor, embroiled in a dispute with bankruptcy trustee Stephen Funtig, is seeking his removal as trustee of the closed Capitol Theatre. The city also wishes to remove former city clerk Tom Lynd as one of the creditors directing Funtig claiming conflict of interest.
The theatre closed last March and the city is accusing Funtig of failing to negotiate an agreement on the theatre’s fate in a timely fashion.
It is the latest salvo fired in the ongoing saga of the bankrupt theatre which has has remained closed since March, mired in a dispute over its debts and its fate.
City authorities maintain $1.8 million loaned to the theatre in the mid-1990s gives the city rights to the building following the recent bankruptcy.
More details are available from the Windsor Star.
July 10, 2007
The changing face of moviegoing in Los Angeles is profiled in this L.A. Times article including how difficult it is for single screen Crest in Westwood to continue to book movies and how appreciated the new Landmark is.
Some guys daydream about playing center field for the Dodgers. Others wish they had as much luck with women as Antonio Villaraigosa. But when I’m in my car, trapped in the Westside’s endless rush hour traffic, all I can fantasize about is how good life would be if there were more great movie theaters on my side of town.
There have been many nights when I could fly and see a movie in San Francisco faster than plowing through the Westside’s snarled traffic to where the ArcLight sits in the distant reaches of Hollywood.
Luckily, I now have two beloved neighborhood theaters: the sleek new 12-screen Landmark complex alongside the Westside Pavilion and the handsome old Westwood Crest Theater, a 1940-era movie house on Westwood Boulevard. As different as they may appear on the surface, they are fascinating examples of the brave new world of high-quality movie exhibition, a world full of movies aimed at — gasp — people who aren’t dying to see “Transformers.”