May 7, 2007
OWOSSO, MI — After a long delay caused by seasonal load limit laws keeping heavy loads off the roads, partial demolition of unsafe portions of the fire-damaged Lebowsky Center is set to begin on Tuesday, May 8. The Owosso Community Players have hired a contractor to manage demolition and possible reconstruction of the theater. The OCP’s insurance company will pay for the demolition.
Expected to remain in place are the front lobby, the balcony, the auditorium floor, the dressing rooms under the stage and the stage house. The east and west walls will be partially demolished, along with the projection booth and other areas.
April 24, 2007
SIOUX FALLS, SD — Locals are banding together to save the historic State Theatre. They’re currently looking to raise funds and gather ideas for it to be profitable in the future and restore it to all its gloary.
A new nonprofit group hopes to raise $3 million to $5 million to restore the inside of the historic State Theater in downtown Sioux Falls and turn it into a first-run and classic movie house.
A few productions on its full stage aren’t out of the question, either, says Stacy Newcomb-Weiland, spokeswoman of the group that has its proposal almost ready to turn in to Main Street Sioux Falls. The agency is calling for ideas by May 1.
For more, read the Argus Leader.
April 20, 2007
VICKSBURG, MS — Just though I pass up an update on the real deal Pemberton Cinema 4. So far CBL Associates hasn’t found a new operator. But yesterday in the local paper it was mentioned under the youth page of the Vicksburg Post.
For one thing the fact it’s still closed and locals have to travel over thirty miles. Well since the Post first broke the story, the Pemberton Cinema has made other websites. I’ve been doing my part to find wherever the Pemberton Cinema is mentioned.
I’ve been telling travel sites and other cinema sites such as Box Office Mojo what really happened. The day after the story broke, the Mayor came on the local news explaining that CBL is trying to find another cinema operator. All locals are still upset with CBL Associates. Other people from here have been posting what happenned to this cinema.
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.