February 27, 2007
OWOSSO, MI — While the Owosso Community Players stage “Beauty and the Beast” at Owosso Middle School, they hope to at least salvage part of the burned out Lebowsky Center as an in-depth joint investigation of the fire by federal, state and local officials takes place after the OCP’s insurance company gave the green light and will hire their own investigator to assist in the effort.
Engineers and building inspectors will determine the theater’s fate, but there is a good possibility that the undamaged front facade will be preserved. More details from theOwosso Argus-Press.
TORONTO, CANADA — Toronto’s 94-year-old Revue Cinema lost its marquee early Sunday morning (Feb. 18) when it collapsed and fell onto the sidewalk.
It is believed that the weight of recent snowfall was the final straw and that the marquee had become rotten at its core. Luckily it fell at 3 AM so no one was injured.
The Revue was most recently part of the Festival Cinema chain. It closed its doors last June 30 after the owners decided to sell the chain. A local group was trying to save the cinema for local theatre and cultural events plus the occasional movie. So this comes as a big blow to them.
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 20, 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.