• April 4, 2007

    Lebowsky Center plans still being worked on

    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 owner for Bank Street Theater

    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

    Fire At Historic Haltom Theater

    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

    Schlock around the clock

    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.

  • March 28, 2007

    Bricks fall from unstable Lebowsky Center

    OWOSSO, MI — On Friday, March 23, a number of bricks from the partially collapsed west wall of the fire damaged Lebowsky Center fell onto the adjacent Chemical Bank building. One bank employee heard the rumbling overhead and left the area to inform others. There was no apparent damage to the bank building.

    Owosso’s building inspector said an emergency abatement has been issued for the removal of the unstable sections of the west and north walls of the theater. No one is allowed inside the fire damaged theater and adjacent eastern portion of the bank building now until the unstable portions are removed. Demolition has been slowed by seasonal load limit laws keeping heavy machinery off the roads during the spring months, but a demolition company will begin work by Wednesday.

  • March 27, 2007

    Theater doubles as a church on weekends

    SANDY, OR — Unlike other theaters that were rescued from demolition to be used as places of worship, the Sandy Cinema is holding services for a local church just because they need the extra space. They even incorporate movie clips into the service sometimes.

    There’s a dedicated group of local residents who show up at Sandy Cinema every weekend. The group — about 50 people strong — isn’t there to see Hollywood’s newest releases or even for the popcorn.

    They are going to church.

    On Feb. 18, Sandy’s Fellowship Bible Church moved its Sunday services from 5 p.m. at the Community Presbyterian Church to 9 a.m. at the cinema, a switch that Senior Pastor Gregg Chastain says holds a lot of promise for the 25-year-old church.

    “This (new facility) puts us in a place where we can actually grow,” said Chastain. “I think lots of people are just happy to be meeting in the morning again.”

    It’s definitely an interesting look at the alternative uses for a theater while still showing films. To read the full story, go to the Sandy Post.

  • March 26, 2007

    Happy 75th, Grandin Theatre

    ROANOKE, VA — Today, the Grandin Theatre celebrates 75 years of service. Operating as a nonprofit theater since reopening following a restoration five years ago, the Grandin is delighting audiences to this day.

    The Grandin Theatre, which turns 75 on Monday, is a relic of Roanoke’s golden age of theaters, when movie palaces such as the American Theater on Jefferson Street were a source of city pride. Roanoke had as many as 11 downtown movie houses in the early decades of the 20th century.

    All of them — the American, the Jefferson, the Park, the Rialto, the Roanoke and the rest — have since fallen under the wrecking ball. The Grandin, despite many a twist and turn in its long history, has survived.

    For more along with a detailed look at some of the highlights in its 75 years, visit the Roanoke Times.

  • March 20, 2007

    Lebowsky Center owner in talks with architectural firms

    OWOSSO, MI— The Owosso Community Players, owners of the fire-damaged Lebowsky Center are in talks with architectural firms about how the theater can be rebuilt. The architects being consulted are touring the burned out theater and will consult with engineers about which parts of the building can be saved. When the OCP receive the reports listing what parts of the theater can be saved, they can then solicit bids to rebuild the theater.

    Meanwhile, an Owosso building inspector has indicated that the Lebowsky Center is in no danger of collapsing so the OCP is no longer under pressure to do something about the building quickly and is giving the OCP time to determine what can be rebuilt. Park Street alongside the Lebowsky Center is now partially open with one northbound lane.

    For more, read the full story from The Argus-Press and if you want to tour the fire damaged Lebowsky Center yourself, there is a YouTube video.

  • March 16, 2007

    Future still uncertain for Boyd

    PHILADELPHIA, PA — Live Nation is still mulling over their options for the vacant Boyd Theatre. Obviously, a return to its former glory as a movie palace would be great, but other options are on the table.

    The owners of the Boyd, mothballed since 2002, confirmed last week that they were weighing its conversion into a House of Blues, a pop-music venue.

    “The two most likely scenarios are a House of Blues or a sale, and we’re open to other options,” said John Vlautin, a spokesman for concert promoter Live Nation, owner of House of Blues, by phone from Beverly Hills, Calif. In January, Live Nation listed the property with CB Richard Ellis. Neither would discuss the asking price.

    For more, go to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

  • Free Essoldo Cinema video tour

    MANCHESTER, UK — I have decided to make available a free WMV version of my Essoldo Cinema Video Tour. You can even download it if you want to! The DVD version (higher quality) is still available to purchase online.

    The following links will take you to the movie:–

    Essoldo Video


    Essoldo Site


    John Ryan