March 10, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY, UT — The following email was sent out by Kirk Huffaker of the Utah Heritage Foundation:
Over the last 2 weeks, we have heard not only the continuing concerns of Villa-philes from everywhere, but also some great ideas to continue the use of the Villa as a theater venue and for adaptive use of the building. Utah Heritage Foundation would like to serve as the clearinghouse for all ideas for the continued use of the Villa Theatre and requests your assistance in this endeavor.
We would like to continue collecting these ideas through the next week (March 14). Please forward your thoughts on continuing the use of the Villa as a theater (business planning, management, rehabilitation, variation of use, integration into community events, partnerships, fundraising, etc.) or the adaptive use of the theater (ideas for other uses, feasibility of those uses in the building, rehabilitation and costs, funding/financing of a project, etc.) to me.
Thank you for your continued interest in saving the Villa!
Utah Heritage Foundation
Memorial House in Memory Grove Park
P.O. Box 28
Salt Lake City, UT 84110-0028
Thanks to Grant Smith and Kirk Huffaker for their work on behalf of the Villa!
MILWAUKEE, WI — This was sent in from contributor Jim Rankin:
The former WARNER (now THE GRAND) in Milwaukee that was supposed to be converted by the Milwaukee Symphony into a secondary concert hall (the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts is their prime venue) … will not now come to be. [See below Journal Sentinel for more information.]
The new addition to our Art Center has received national acclaim for its innovative – if not revolutionary – design, but in the process they went so far over budget (280%!) that all the local charitable dollars have been soaked up, and with about $50 million said to be needeed in adapting the former GRAND and adding a parking structure of some sort, there just are not enough dollars out there for the foreseeable future for the Symphony to do the GRAND.
The present owner of the land under the theatre says that Marcus Entertainment still has 20 years to go on its lease, and that he fully intends to keep them at maintaining the long dark theatre so that it does not deteriorate. He seems sincere in that. Since there will, of course, be no formal announcement of the Symphony’s change in plans for the GRAND, the story [below] will have to suffice.
If you would like to advertise this as an opportunity for someone to place themselves in the Mid-West in the finest of Rapp & Rapp’s medium scale works, please use this to do so! I don’t forsee anyone else locally stepping forward to take on this 2700-seat movie house which now has been ‘un-divided’ so that it is again a single auditorium, in contrast to its last years since 1973 as a so-called “Twin.”
Thanks to Jim Rankin for the update! Any takers?
March 6, 2003
This has been sent in from Gina Zamparelli:
Our long-awaited court date is THIS Friday, March 7th.
We hope those of you who have a few free hours on Friday morning, will consider attending our court date to show your support. Judge Dizintra I. Janavs will be making a decision on the fate of the Raymond Theatre on this date.
We really hope to see our supporters there! This case will be important, not only to our 15 year effort to preserve the Raymond Theatre, but also for preservation cases to come. For those who cannot attend, I will send out a newsletter on the outcome as soon as possible.
Case: Friends of the Raymond Theatre and Sage Council vs. City of Pasadena
When: March 7, 2002
Where: Los Angeles County Courthouse, 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, Dept. 85
Time: 9:30 am.
Parking: There is ample parking surrounding the Courthouse
March 4, 2003
This was sent to us by Arclight Cinemas; Event open to the public:
Cinerama Dome and Architecture Aficionados Invited to WELTON BECKET Tribute, March 4 at the Dome
ArcLight members are invited to join the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Modern Committee on the evening of March 4, 2003 for a centennial tribute to legendary Los Angeles architect Welton Becket and the firm of Welton Becket & Associates.
The Becket office produced many of the space-age icons of mid-century Los Angeles including the Capitol Records building, the Music Center, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and the Beverly Hilton, as well as master plans for UCLA and Century City.
This once-in-a-lifetime event, to be held in Becket’s landmark 1963 Cinerama Dome includes a reunion of designers, a screening of rare historical footage, and an exhibition of archival materials. Alan Hess will lead a discussion on the architect’s work and Leo Marmol will moderate a panel of designers from the Becket office.
Included in the ticket price is a commemorative booklet with a self-guided tour of Becket buildings and a docent-led tour on Saturday, March 8.
For more information please contact the Los Angeles Conservancy at 213-623-2489 or go to www.laconservancy.org. Tickets are $20 for Conservancy and ArcLight members and $25 for non-members.
February 28, 2003
SEATTLE, WA — Lucky Seattle-area residents can be the first to see a newly restored print of the last 3-strip Cinerama film, “How The West Was Won” at the Seattle Cinerama Theatre. In addition to HTWWW, the festival, which is being sponsored by Paul Allen’s Vulcan, Inc., will also be showing the following Cinerama films:
- Fri, 2/28: How The West Was Won – 7:00pm
- Sat, 3/1: How The West Was Won – 10:00am, 2:00pm, 7:30pm
- Sun, 3/2: Search For Paradise – 11:00am, 2:00pm, 7:30pm
- Mon, 3/3: Windjammer – 11:00am, 2:00pm, 7:30pm
- Tue, ¾: This is Cinerama – 11:00am, 2:00pm, 7:30pm
- Wed, 3/5: This is Cinerama – 11:00am, 2:00pm, 7:30pm
- Thu, 3/6: How The West Was Won – 2:00pm, 7:30pm
“Search For Paradise” and the Cinemiracle film, “Windjammer” are “historic” prints which have not yet been preserved.
This is a festival not to be missed!
February 27, 2003
PASADENA, CA — This has been sent in from Gina Zamparelli of the Friends of the Raymond:
Our benefit for the Raymond Theatre is tonight at the Ice House in Pasadena. We hope to see all our supporters there! It will be a great opportunity for all of us to get together and raise funds to help continue our work to preserve The Raymond Theatre.
Comedian and show producer Julie Sandoval is kindly donating all door receipts to Friends of the Raymond Theatre. Julie will be performing, along with a host of great comedians!
We will also be holding a 50/50 raffle. Raffle tickets will be $1. You can purchase them before you enter the Annex showroom or from people wearing yellow “Save the Raymond Theatre” buttons. Winners will be drawn tomorrow night. Someone will win half the money we raise from raffle.
We want to see everybody at the Ice House tonight!
Where: The Ice House
The Annex Room
24 Mentor Avenue, Pasadena, California
When: This Thursday, February 27, 2003
Time: 8:00 pm
Admission: $10 (+ $2 drink minimum)
Parking: Parking is available on the street or in the lighted garage across from the Ice House for $3.
Entrance: Enter in the main entrance to the Ice House, which is in the alley. Once inside the Ice House, follow the signs that say “Saving Raymond” to the Annex showroom.
Thanks to Gina Zamparelli for the update!
February 25, 2003
WEST HAZELTON, PA — Sybil Hillman, the new owner of the former Key Theater in West Hazelton, PA, has sent in the following update, which corrects earlier information we received which identified local competition as the reason for the movie house’s closure:
The reason for the theater’s [earlier] closing was my purchase of the building. I have since renovated the entire building and will be reopening the theater as the Cinema & Drafthouse [on] March 21, 2003.
The entire Hazleton community is extremely excited about our Grand Opening and has shown support for both my project and the revitalization of such an historical theater.
To see the progress of the renovations, please visit our website.
Thanks to Sybil Hillman for setting the record straight. We wish her and the Cinema and Drafthouse the best of luck!
February 20, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY, UT — We’ve received a number of emails over the past 24 hours about the Villa and we are very excited to bring you some good news:
This came in from Grant Smith last night:
According to a news story on Fox 13 on 19 February 2003, Harmons, a local grocery store chain, bought the Villa Theatre in order to block a possible purchase by Wal-Mart, which may have wanted to demolish the theater and build a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.
Harmons currently operates a grocery store at the Brickyard Plaza, very near the Villa property, and has expressed a desire to work with the Utah Heritage Foundation on possible reuse plans for the theater. Apparently Harmons offered to let Carmike Cinemas continue to operate the Villa, but Carmike declined and closed the theater.
Reid Sondrup adds that KSL also ran that story and adds:
… the Harmon group purchased it as an investment and is open to discussion of future use of the property. Kirk Huffaker of the Utah Heritage Foundation will discuss any part the Villa might play in future development. It was stated that demolition is not imminent.
Sean Means, who has been covering the developments for the Salt Lake Tribune published this story today:
Salt Lake Tribune article
And finally, Kirk Huffaker, Assistant Director of the Utah Heritage Foundation, released this statement via email yesterday:
I am pleased to report the following information obtained and confirmed today. You may see it in various news reports also.
The new owner of the property, which we believe was recorded today, is the corporation that owns Harmon’s grocery stores. They bought the property as an investment property. The new owner offered Carmike Cinemas the opportunity to continue to operate the theater but they declined.
The theater is not in immediate danger of being demolished by the new owner. In our conversation today, they have expressed willingness to discuss possibilities for the theater with Utah Heritage Foundation.
Thank you to all our supporters near and far for their lobbying and rallying efforts.
We’d like to thank everyone who contributed to this effort in getting the word out about the Villa and its closure. Special thanks go to Grant Smith, Reid Sondrup, Howard Haas, Bryan Krefft, Sean Means, and everyone else who notified us about these developments.
Of course, a special thanks goes to the Utah Heritage Foundation and, of course, Harmon’s Grocery Stores. Let’s hope this has a happy ending.
(See below for more of today’s news and events.)
Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts to Hold Benefit Gala
CHICAGO, IL — This just in from the UTCA:
The Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts (UTCA) is pleased to announce “Bring Back the Brilliance,” a gala benefit, Friday, March 21, at 7 pm at Thorne Auditorium. Proceeds from the event will support programming and operational expenses during the year.
For more information, visit the UTCA website and go to ‘events’.
See “Glory” at the Lafayette Theatre This Weekend!
SUFFERN, NY — “Glory” (1989), the civil war epic starring Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, and Denzel Washington, will be shown this Saturday, February 22nd, at 12 noon at the Lafayette Theatre as part of the Big Screen Classics series. Tickets are $6.00.
Doors open at 11:30 with Jeff Barker playing the Ben Hall Memorial Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ before the film starts!
For more information, visit the Big Screen Classics website.
Thanks to Pete Apruzzese of Galaxy Theatres for the update!
Help Wanted at the St. George Theatre
STATEN ISLAND, NY — With renovations continuing at the St. George Theatre, Stephanie Gilmore, who is helping to restore the 75-year-old, 2,800 seat movie palace, is looking for photos and blueprints. Gilmore is looking for interior and exterior images to enable workers to more accurately and quickly restore the St. George.
More information on the theater
Email Stephanie Gilmore at
Thanks to Jean Siegel for the continued St. George Theatre updates!