The latest movie theater news and updates

  • October 18, 2016

    Ashtabula, OH – Shea’s remaster moving forward

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    From The Star Beacon: After buying Shea’s Theatre earlier this year, Dominic and Dom Apolito of DMS Recovery, have spent the past four months renovating it.

    They plan to restore the theater and turn the front part of the building into a bar and restaurant, said Dom Apolito, vice president and chief of marketing.

    “We found marble floors underneath the carpet at the main entrance,” he said. “We are going to clean it up and make it look brand new.”

    A few weeks ago, workers discovered several old newspapers well preserved inside the walls.

    “We have been working little by little,” he said. “We have the original projection camera, ticket boxes and many other historical pieces.”

    He believes the $3 million project will be done in about two years.

    Earlier this year, Dom’s father, Dominic Apolito, bought Shea’s from Ashtabula County Council on Aging for $20,000, according to the Ashtabula County Auditor’s Office.

    The Apolitos then gave a donation to the Ashtabula Senior Center, he said.

    “We are cleaning the building to ensure that it will be ready for construction,” Dom Apolito said. “In the process, we are finding and recovering historical artifacts and pieces."

    They are hoping to raise $50,000 at a GoFundMe account at www.gofundme.com/sheastheater for the renovation of the actual movie theater in the back of the building. So far, they have received $400.

    They are paying out of their own pockets to restore the front of theater, where they are going to have the restaurant and bar.

    At one time, Shea’s Theatre, 4634 Main Ave., had thick carpeting, plush seating, wall murals and a water fountain. Built in 1949 in an architectural style called Streamline Moderne, Shea’s Theatre is one of the last of its kind.

    Most recently, it served as the Ashtabula Senior Center.

    Two years ago, the Senior Center moved to a vacant bank building at 4184 Main Ave., donated by Ashtabula businessman Ken Kister.

  • Augusta, ME – Augusta developer pitches plan to expand, revitalize Colonial Theater

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    From CentralMaine.com: A plan to restore and reopen the neglected but historic Colonial Theater includes adding a 13,000-square-foot, multi-story building next to it, an ambitious timeline for the work, and a schedule of as many as 300 shows a year in the hope that it could bring culture, people and revenue to the city’s downtown.

    Organizers of nonprofit efforts to restore and preserve the vacant theater, which is between Water Street and the Kennebec River, said the region is starved for the performing arts, they already have acts and shows they could bring there, and the theater would bring people to fill the city’s downtown and area restaurants and other businesses.

  • October 14, 2016

    Conway, NH – Conway movie theater named to US historic register

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    From NH1.com: A group of storefronts in Conway has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

    The Bolduc Block with Art Deco features was designed to have four shops and a theater on the first floor and offices on the second. The theater entrance has gold-painted wooden frames designed to hold movie advertisements.

    Throughout its history, Bolduc Block’s storefronts were occupied by a variety of businesses, including a pharmacy, grocer, department store, sewing store, telephone business offices and post office.

    The building’s exterior has changed little. Despite a fire in the theater in 2005, the interior still has many features from the 1930s, including light fixtures, cast iron radiators and cushioned brocade fabric wall panels in the lobby.

  • Atlanta, GA – Fox Theatre to add Moroccan-style lounge, rooftop bars

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    From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Imagine sipping a hand-crafted cocktail with the iconic Fox marquee glimmering behind you as you overlook the hustle and bustle of Atlanta’s Peachtree Street. Come fall 2017, it won’t just be a dream.

    The Fabulous Fox Theatre’s renovation of a 10,000-square-foot event space into the new Marquee Club lounge and rooftop marks its most significant expansion and its biggest financial undertaking since the popular theater opened in 1929.

    Patrons will have access to the club’s five bars: one on the main level of the club, one on the mezzanine level and three on the rooftop.

    With a server-to-guest ratio of 10-to-one, line-busting technology and intermission pre-ordering, members will be able to enjoy their shows with ease.

    The club will also offer hors d’oeuvres, self-serve desserts and coffee. Additional amenities include private restrooms, coat check and a dedicated lobby elevator for club patrons.

    The intricate Moorish grillwork and color palette of muted gold and earth tones throughout the club were chosen with the historic building in mind, Adina Erwin, Fox Theatre’s vice president and chief operating officer, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The Fox was our muse,” she said.

    A hint of blue brings in the element of the sky and the Fox star can be found on both the carpeting and on the club’s main level ceiling.

  • Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY – Restoration of Black Lady Theatre Underway in Crown Heights

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    From DNAinfo.com: Behind new glass doors covered in thick construction paper, the Black Lady is getting a serious makeover.

    The building at 750 Nostrand Ave., once known as the Black Lady Theatre, has been closed for years, notable only for an eye-catching mural on its facade of a woman shooting laser beams from her eyes at a besuited man.

    The distinctive painting has now been removed — but temporarily, according to Omar Hardy, who is restoring the theater with his father, Clarence, the one-time partner of the building’s former owner, the late John Phillips.

  • Kingman, AZ – Zombie Fest proceeds to help renovate Beale Street Theater

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    From The Daily Miner: When Kristina Michelson walks through the dilapidated Beale Street Theater, she sees the glass as half full.

    Plaster is peeling off the walls, the ceiling shows large blotches of water damage, electrical wiring is spliced and exposed, pipes are rusted and broken, and the interior is generally in shambles.

    “It’s got potential,” insists Michelson, cofounder of Kingman Center for the Arts, a nonprofit group formed earlier this year with a mission of renovating and restoring the theater that was most recently home to Boston Antiques.

    It’s going to be a while before crowds come into Beale Street Theater to watch live dance and theater productions and classic movies.

    There’s no timetable for opening at this point, as the group must raise about $500,000 to complete construction work necessary to bring the building up to code, Michelson said. The fire sprinkler system alone is estimated to cost $80,000.

    “Our first step was to set up the 501©, and we recently got that from the IRS. Now we can move forward with materials testing on the property,” she said.

    The building has undergone several material and structural assessments in the past without any major issues, Michelson noted, and a volunteer architect with the nonprofit group is preparing a detailed report of the building and its operating systems.

    In the meantime, Kingman Center for the Arts is forging ahead with plans to develop arts-based programs here, starting with the Art in the Park fundraiser held in August.

    On Saturday, the group is holding Zombie Fest 2016 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Metcalfe Park, 315 W. Beale St. It features a live theater production of “10 Ways to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse,” a play that Michelson came across while researching for Art in the Park.

    The play has a cast of 15, including Michelson’s son, Spencer, a freshman at Lee Williams High School who will be playing the part of one of the zombie survivors.

    There’s also a preshow comedy act, flash-mob dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” photo booth, games and concessions. Cost is $10.

    Kingman Center for the Arts is putting on two children’s theater productions of “The Nutcracker” Dec. 2-3 at Lee Williams High School, and recently held auditions for “A Christmas Carole.”

    Originally from Utah, Michelson is an advocate of the arts with teaching and performance experience in music.

    She plays piano, saxophone, clarinet and oboe, and was in a professional hand bell choir in Las Vegas before moving to Kingman about three years ago.

    She hooked up with Sara and Nate Peterson, who bought the theater for $150,000 and cofounded the Kingman Center for the Arts.

    A third-generation artist and art teacher, Sara Peterson had a vision to create more opportunity for arts in Kingman and was the catalyst for Kingman Center for the Arts.

    To learn more about the organization or to volunteer, go to the organization’s web site at www.bealestreettheater.com.

    “We want live theater and there’s nothing to stop us from getting a theater program up and running in this community,” Michelson said.

    The theater opened in 1939 at Fourth and Beale streets, and was built by Harry Nace as part of the Lang movie chain. It closed in 1979, and later operated as a church and furniture store.

  • October 11, 2016

    Santa Barbara, CA – SBIFF Launches Capital Campaign (Riviera Theatre)

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    From The Santa Barbara Independent: Each winter when the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) takes over downtown, our seaside town’s movie houses hum with a whir of films, panel discussions, and celebrity events. It’s good fun and great fare, but it doesn’t end when the festival packs up –– SBIFF is a year-round experience offering educational programs, Wave mini-festivals, and weekly showcase films at their recently acquired Riviera Theatre.

    In an effort to enhance its roster of offerings, SBIFF has begun a fundraising effort, deemed the Capital Campaign, which will allow it “to expand [its] current slate of education programs, preserve an important historic landmark, enhance the communal theater experience, and create a cultural hub for all things film,” according to a recent press release. More than $2 million has been raised so far, with the goal of $5 million by March 2017.

    A face-lift for the Riviera is scheduled to begin January 2017 with a spring completion date. In addition to theater restoration, a new balcony lounge will be built that will serve as a space for SBIFF gatherings and receptions come the 2018 festival. Other planned changes include a classroom, world-class sound and projecting systems, a loop system for the hearing impaired, and improved heating and air conditioning.

    With the Riviera Theatre as its base, the SBIFF now has the opportunity to expand its already existing educational programs — such as its youth programs, AppleBox Family Films and Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies — as well as create new offerings. “Our capital campaign and expansions to the Riviera Theatre mark an important new chapter in our festival’s history,” said festival executive director Roger Durling. “These renovations and improvements will allow us to serve Santa Barbara in new and exciting ways and will bring us closer together as a community.”

    For more information and to contribute to the campaign, see sbiff.org/riviera.

  • Tupelo, MS – Something strange in your neighborhood: Tupelo’s Lyric Theatre

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    From djournal.com: There are some things in this world that go way beyond human understanding – things that cannot be explained – things some people don’t even want to know about. You hear something go bump in the night. You see something out of the corner of your eye. You feel something on the nape of your neck.

    Most unexplained events can be easily dismissed: The wind blew something over or faulty wiring made that bulb flicker, ominously. But, sometimes, you’re in a place with a history behind it. And whether those stories have been passed down over generations or are still actively discussed today, they haunt those areas as much as the ghosts in the stories.

    Over the next four Fridays, the Daily Journal will be spotlighting four separate locations in Northeast Mississippi that share a common bond: ghosts and the legends that surround them.

    The Lyric Theatre

    What is now the home of Tupelo Community Theatre has undergone many changes since its inception in 1912.

    At that time, R. F. Goodlett sought out financial backers to construct a vaudeville theater called The Comus. The structure remained a home for live theater until 1931, when it was purchased by the M.A. Lightman Company chain and turned into a movie theater. It was at that time the facility received its now iconic marquee and art deco appearance. From 1931 to 1984, lots of tales came out of the movie house, like Elvis Presley’s first kiss in the balcony during a Saturday matinee, but it was the 1936 tornado that decimated Tupelo, killing an untold number in its path, that gave credence – and still does – to the greatest story out of the Lyric Theatre.

    “‘Antoine,’” said Tupelo Community Theatre executive director Tom Booth, chuckling. “Where did that name even come from? Nobody knows. I can’t for the life of me tell you where his name came from.”

    “Antoine” is the name given to the Lyric’s local haunt, a presence that many have felt but few can put into words. Some see him as a glowing light, while others hear a childlike giggle in the darkness of the historic structure. TCT inherited the spirit, and his story, when they acquired the theater in the mid-’80s.

    There are two separate stories of Antoine that have followed the theater to this day, and many off-shoots of the main legends.

    One is that Antoine was a caretaker of the theater who worked under the stage, shoveling coal. It’s believed he may have even had an apartment in the facility he looked after.

    The more popular legend is that Antoine was a small child killed during the twister of ’36. Whether he was killed and taken to the theater – which was used as a makeshift hospital and morgue in the aftermath of the tornado – or was taken there to be treated and died later remains a mystery, much like Antoine himself.

    Still, strange things happen daily in the landmark, but Booth usually just chalks that up to it being a “big, old building.” That’s not to say he hasn’t had his own run-ins with Antoine.

  • October 10, 2016

    New York, NY – Lin-Manuel Miranda to Launch Movie Series at United Palace Theatre (Loew’s 175th St.)

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    From DNA Info: If you missed him in “Hamilton,” now’s your chance to catch the award-winning actor, playwright and Inwood native Lin-Manuel Miranda on a different stage — hosting a screening of the original “Mary Poppins” movie at the United Palace Theatre.

    The screening, which will take place Sunday, Oct. 16 in the historic theater on Broadway and 175th St., will launch Miranda’s “Reawaken Wonder at a Timeless Movie Palace” campaign to raise an additional $300,000 to upgrade the theater’s audio system.

    Miranda, who donated $100,000 for a projection system that will debut with the film screening, tweeted out the screening details Tuesday morning, causing United Palace Theatre’s site to crash.

  • Newport Beach, CA – Newport council to weigh $1 million sale of Balboa Theater for renovation

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    From The Los Angeles Times: The Balboa Theater, a longtime community fixture on the Balboa Peninsula, would be sold to a Costa Mesa developer for $1 million under a proposal the Newport Beach City Council will consider Tuesday night.

    The council voted in April to enter a nine-month exclusive negotiating agreement to work with Lab Holding LLC, the company behind The Lab and The Camp in Costa Mesa, on a proposal to rejuvenate the 88-year-old theater building, which has been vacant for years.

    The agreement was intended to give the city and Lab Holding time to finalize a plan and negotiate a sale of the city-owned property to Lab, which proposes to update the Balboa Boulevard venue and maintain it as a theater.

    Lab Holding is proposing to restore the theater’s original architecture, including the marquee, which likely would reflect the 1920s wrought-iron style. The venue is proposed to have a cafe that would open to the street, a small stage for live music and a second stage for private events. The live-music stage would have an indoor pub but no seating. The theater likely would not show films, according to preliminary plans.

    “We are excited by the opportunity to resurrect this community amenity for Balboa Village,” Lab Holding founder Shaheen Sadeghi wrote in his proposal to the city.