June 7, 2016
From WQAD.com: An abandoned yet historic Peoria theater has been damaged after a fire broke out inside and investigator say they believe it was arson.
The Peoria Journal Star reports the fire ignited late Saturday inside the Madison Theater in downtown Peoria. Brad Pierson is a fire investigator with the Peoria Fire Department and told the Journal Star the fire appeared to have been started in several parts of the old building.
Streets and a nearby bar were closed as firefighters worked to put out flames.
Peoria fire officials gave a preliminary estimate of $100,000 in damage done to the theater.
June 6, 2016
From the Daily Journal: There are generations of movie fans who don’t get the drive-in theater concept. They would ask: Why would you want to sit in your car and watch a movie through your windshield? Don’t you have your phone or iPad?
And there’s an older generation of people who don’t know that today’s drive-in theaters have kept up with technology. These throwback theaters use digital projection and a modern sound system. You hear the soundtrack through your car’s stereo system: Those low-fidelity speaker boxes, the kind you used to hang on your car window, are gone.
Movie lovers of all generations still can find common ground these days, on the parking lot of the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In in Gibson City. This throwback from the “Happy Days” era is not only showing contemporary movies, it’s been named third among the nation’s Top 10 outdoor theaters by popular vote in a USA Today poll.
From the Star Tribune: One of Minnesota’s finest art museums provides an ever-changing global repertoire of avant-garde work and cherished classics. For generations, the Art Deco Uptown Theatre has been the hottest ticket and coolest movie marathon in town. To celebrate the beginning of its second century the Uptown throws its 100th anniversary party this week.
Since World War I, it has appealed to moving-picture fans even when the heating and cooling fans became museum pieces of their own. Before admissions were sold online, visitors stood outside the box office in the kinds of long queues that ticket scalpers hope for. Even with a 1939 conflagration that closed it for repair, and later grousing about parking shortages and worn seating, it drew devotees decade after decade.
June 3, 2016
From the Alaska Dispatch News: A tax break that was part of a proposal to redevelop the historical but unused 4th Avenue Theatre downtown has been denied by the city’s chief fiscal officer, according to documents submitted to the Anchorage Assembly this week.
The owner of the theater and adjacent properties, Peach Investments, had proposed a complex costing roughly $278 million that would include pedestrian shopping, a parking garage and tower. The Assembly declared the property “deteriorated” last May, and in September, Peach Investments applied for partial tax exemptions amounting to about $38 million over 10 years.
Without a tax break, the owners argued, the project most likely couldn’t happen. But in a memo to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and the Assembly, Anchorage chief fiscal officer Robert Harris said the application didn’t demonstrate that the tax break was in fact necessary — or that the project even qualified for one under current city law.
In an interview Wednesday, Harris said the proposal detailed a project that was just in its early stages and lacked specifics. He said the owners didn’t pin down key details, like whether a hotel or a condominium would be built.
June 1, 2016
Cleveland, OH – Vintage Playhouse Square gallery chronicles rise, decline and rebirth of iconic district
From Cleveland.com: When Playhouse Square was built, shortly after World War I, it was the largest performing arts center in the United States outside of New York City, according to the Cleveland Memory Project. With 11 stages and 10,000 seats, it retains that title in 2016.
The project began when a partnership — spearheaded by developer Joseph Laronge — built a row of theaters on Euclid Avenue in 1921. Native Clevelanders will recognize the names of the five theaters they opened that year: Allen, Ohio, State, Palace and Hanna. All five still stand today.
Cleveland theatergoers have seen some of the most famous stage plays and musicals in theater history at Playhouse Square through the years, including “Hello Dolly,” “My Fair Lady” and the controversial “Hair.”
But it’s been a bumpy ride for the historic block in downtown Cleveland. Four of the theaters shut their doors — seemingly for good — in the late 1960s, but were eventually rescued by the grass-roots efforts of civic-minded Clevelanders.
May 19, 2016
From southwestjournal.com: The Uptown Theatre’s landmark sign originally required approval from the civil aviation authority — it was the first three-sided vertical tower sign in the country, said Assistant Manager Joseph Larsen.
The theater is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a party and a run of classic films in June.
Originally called the Lagoon, the Uptown Theatre opened in 1916 as part of a dance hall and storefront block, according to research by Larsen.
May 18, 2016
April 14, 2016
The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, which gained cultural significance when it appeared in the 1958 Steve McQueen movie The Blob, started a new chapter in its storied history last week, when the Association for the Colonial Theatre (ACT), a non-profit organization that operates the local landmark, held the groundbreaking ceremony for their ‘Bank on the Arts’ project.
April 5, 2016
The Watts Theatre is a recognizable feature on Osage, Iowa’s Main Street. The neon lights with the chrome, pink and teal facade stick out among the more subdued buildings on the street.
March 28, 2016
From the Avalon to the Uptown, Chicago Magazine explored the city’s historic theatres. Enjoy the article and great photos along with notes like these about the Uptown Theatre: