September 20, 2002
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Sprenger-Lang Foundation, which had previously put $450,000 down of the necessary $1.2 million to purchase the shuttered Atlas Theater, has now pledged another $2 million dollars to help bring the Atlas back to life, according to a report by WJLA-TV.
The planned restoration and renovation project will turn the John Zink-designed movie house into the Atlas Performing Arts Center and will “contain four theaters for both movies and live performances, as well as offices and restaurants.” $12 million more is needed to begin the project.
The 1000-seat Art Moderne Atlas opened in 1938 and has been closed since 1976. Theater organizers hope to bring the Atlas back to life in 2004.
In other Washington, D.C.-area news, Jennifer Kaplan of the Avalon Theater Project reports that a new Northwest Current article has been published entitled “Jemal Says Avalon To Reopen by Christmas.”
The ATP has been working tirelessly to bring the old twin movie house back to life which now seems scheduled to reopen by the end of 2002. The Avalon was previously closed by Loews Cineplex as part of their bankruptcy reorganization in April 2001.
The festival is an all-day celebration of poetry [which] will bring together several generations of world-class, eclectic poets from all across the country to read in a festival atmosphere from Noon until Midnight.
Readings will be interspersed with screenings of experimental films inspired by poetry, and with rare sound recordings of poets. Presses and literary magazines will feature works by the participants, and food and alcohol will be available.
Closed for the last 25 years, the 2,800-seat St. George is being brought back to life by the not-for-profit organization, The St. George Theatre Inc. and its volunteers.
(Thanks to Jean for the update.)
In other New York news, the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which has been battered by a number of movie theater closings over the past decade including the 68th Street Playhouse, the Baronet and Coronet, the Crown Gotham, and the Manhattan 1 & 2, has managed to retain its most recent loss, the New York Twin on 66th & 2nd.
The New York Twin, which has been closed since this past Spring, is reportedly being reopened by Crown Theatres on October 4th. This will be Crown’s first New York theater since the Crown Gotham was shuttered in 2001.
September 19, 2002
TORRINGTON, CT — The $7 million restoration of the Warner Theatre is nearly complete with theater officials announcing that the Art Deco movie palace will have its official reopening on November 23rd.
According to the Register-Citizen, when the Warner reopens in November, “surrounded by shiny black marble, blinding gold leafing and elegant, larger-than-life size murals, theatergoers will feel as if a door to the past has been permanently reopened.”
The official reopening ceremonies on November 23rd will be a formal, black tie gala complete with live big band music with guests arriving in vintage cars from the 1920’s and 30’s.
The theater attracted almost 75,000 guests during the 2001-2002 seasons while organizers were completing the year-long restoration. They expect even larger numbers to come.
Opened in 1931, the theater was rescued from demolition in 1980 and reopened as a performing arts center in 1983.
MIAMI, FL — In other restoration news, the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts will reopen on October 12th following a $1.8 million restoration to re-enhance the theater’s atmospheric interior and ceiling, remold the theater’s decorative ornaments, and install a new air conditioning unit in the auditorium.
According to the Miami Herald, more restoration work will follow next summer when new seating, end panels, and carpeting will be installed to match the theater’s original appearance. “New theatrical rigging and audio systems” will also be installed at that time.
September 17, 2002
GUTTENBERG, NJ — The Galaxy Theatre has announced its upcoming schedule for its “Big Screen Classics” series, beginning this Thursday, September 19th, featuring a wide array of classic films including everything from “The Godfather” to “Saturday Night Fever.”
The films will be presented in 35mm on the Galaxy’s 45-foot screen and highlights include:
September 19 – “West Side Story”
September 26 – “Saturday Night Fever"
October 3 – "13 Ghosts” PRESENTED IN ILLUSION-O!
October 31 – “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925) with live organ accompaniment by Jeff Barker on the Galaxy Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ!
November 4 – “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”
November 21 – “The Godfather"
December 5 – "From Here to Eternity”
(Thanks to Peter Apruzzese for the news.)
CHICAGO, IL — Rumors of the McClurg Court’s demise may have been premature as the aging Loews Cineplex movie house prepares to square off against a new 21-screen AMC megaplex opening nearby, according to a report in today’s Chicago Tribune.
A previously announced plan by another group to spend $5 million to convert the McClurg Court into a performing arts center seems to have fallen apart due to a lack of financing, and for the time being, the McClurg Court has remained open and still showing first-run movies.
According to the Tribune, Loews Cineplex currently has no immediate plans to shutter the 1970s theater which houses three auditoria including its popular 800-seat main screen.
AMC’s new complex has taken four years to bring to fruition, but the successful exhibitor, which weathered the exhibition collapse without filing for bankruptcy, has finally announced that November 1st will be the opening day of the new 21-screen AMC River East.
Let the games begin…
(Thanks to Bryan Krefft for the news!)
September 16, 2002
Another newly remastered version of David Lean’s epic film, “Lawrence of Arabia,” will debut at New York’s Ziegfeld Theatre and at the Cinerama Dome at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood on September 25th, and even earlier at Chicago’s Music Box on September 20th.
According to the New York Daily News, the film is being revamped again by Bob Harris, who originally restored the film in 1989 to great fanfare. The enormously succesful theatrical run of the remastered film in 1989 helped to fuel the burgeoning film preservation movement which continues in earnest today.
The new print, which will be shown next week, is a “digitally remastered and color-corrected version of the director’s 1962 masterpiece with 70 digital audio, rather than analog, with a magnetic stripe running down the edge of the film.”
According to Harris, “It’s state-of-the-art audio” with “each new 70-mm print of "Lawrence of Arabia” [weighing] about 1,000 pounds and [costing] $30,000."
The new theatrical run is in honor of the film’s 40th anniversary and will be shown for two weeks at the Music Box and 10 days each at both the Ziegfeld in midtown Manhattan and at the newly restored and reopened Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. If you can make it, this is an event not to be missed!
SALT LAKE CITY, UT — The Salt Lake Film Society, which currently operates the historic Tower Theatre, has signed a lease to begin operating the Tower’s main rival, the six-screen Broadway Film Centre beginning November 8, 2002.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the 3 ½ year-lease will enable the Tower’s operators to expand their operations, something the group had been looking to do for some time. The additional screens will expand the quantity and quality of independent and foreign films currently available in SLC under the film society’s guidance.
The new arrangement will follow the end of the one year lease signed last October by Starship Consolidated Theatres which took over the Broadway Film Centre following its closure by Loews Cineplex as part of that company’s bankruptcy reorganization.
Following a tepid attempt at showing commercial fare, the Broadway switched its schedule in June and is now being operated as an art house cinema by the Rocky Mountain Film Society. That group will now look for another venue to program.
What this means for the future of the Tower Theatre is now anyone’s guess and certainly depends on whether the Salt Lake Film Society re-signs their lease. Built in 1926, the Tower is the oldest operating movie theater in the city.
(Thanks to Grant Smith for the update.)
September 13, 2002
JERSEY CITY, NJ — If you missed the first film screenings at the reopened Loews Jersey Theatre in early 2002 (the first films showed since the theater closed in 1986), we have good news for you. The Loews Jersey has just announced a small part of its new fall schedule!
On Sunday, September 22nd at 3 p.m., “Danny Columbo” will be on stage with a 17 Piece Swing Orchestra, 6 Playboy Bunnies, Mike Gall, Steve Ames, and radio host and emcee Danny Stiles. Tickets will go on sale the day of the show.
To celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the palatial Loews Jersey, the theater will bring back the movies with “The Wizard of Oz” on Friday September 27th, at 7 p.m. and “North by Northwest” on Saturday September 28th, at 7 p.m. And coming soon, will be a Halloween film series!
Editors note: I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” on the theater’s new giant screen back in May, and it was a terrific experience. The Loews Jersey is still in need of a lot of work, but it is a beautiful movie palace and the efforts of the group and its volunteers are evident everywhere you turn.
In addition, the opportunity to see great films in a true movie palace are few and far between in the New York area. Please come and show your support for this theater which was the winner of the first annual Theodore Conrad Preservation Award in 2001.
CHICAGO, IL — The Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts is working tirelessly in its efforts to secure enough financing to purchase and begin restoring the palatial Uptown Theatre.
To promote the theater and continue bringing in much needed revenue, the group has announced the advanced sale of its 2003 Uptown Theatre calendar which will be in full color and available to be shipped in mid-October:
You marveled at, even framed, the beautiful B&W photos from the 2002 Uptown Theatre calendar. Our newest gem features 12 new equally beautiful photographs by Chicago photographer Loren Robare. It is our second and final calendar to showcase photos of the theatre in its current deteriorated state, and is sure to become a collector’s item.
To purchase copies of the calendar, log on to the group’s website and place an advanced order.
In other Uptown Theatre news, the UTCA has also won a political endorsement from Alderman Mary Ann Smith who writes in a letter dated September 5, 2002:
I am delighted to offer my full support for the plans currently being proposed for the Uptown Theatre with the development team you are putting in place. This building is a treasure which I, along with dozens of other neighborhood people and preservationists nationwide have fought for decades to protect.
It is imperative that this first best chance to restore the theatre to an active and vibrant life be the best it can possibly be … My support for the plan is based on the caliber of the firms and individuals you have brought on board, whose knowledge and experience will maximize the prospects for the success of this huge undertaking …
I, along with the rest of the 48th Ward community, look forward to working with you hand in hand to bring back the brilliance of the Uptown Theatre.
For more information on the Uptown Theatre read the recent UR Chicago article.
(Thanks to Michael Beyer for his tireless contributions on behalf of the Uptown.)