Patio Theatre

6008 West Irving Park Road,
Chicago, IL 60634

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Showing 251 - 268 of 268 comments

chgotim
chgotim on March 25, 2004 at 7:26 am

Just one note regarding the Music Box. I think that the dynamic of the neighborhood itself is completely different as far as it’s makeup, entertainment environment, and acceptance of walkability than is the neighborhood surrounding the Patio as it presently stands and it’s very location compared to where it would likely be seeking to draw patrons from.

Believe me, I would love to see that theater reopened by some creative innovator who could find a way. But if you are going to succeed in meeting the challenges, you have to properly identify those challenges so that they can be responded to well. Ignoring them and trying to just think positively won’t help resolve any problems that could make it a better and more attractive draw.

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on March 25, 2004 at 6:46 am

Let’s see, no parking. How about the Music Box on Southport, an artsy little theater? The Music Box arranges for parking at a local school. Patrons take cabs, hustle for street parking, even ride the bus. Where there’s a will, etc. It’s easy to point out all the disincentives, including the major one of people staying home and watching DVD’s and movies on cable.

You know, as the operator of a tourist attraction, I’m in the entertainment business, so I’m always looking for that hook, that reason to get people to come and have some fun. That’s what we need to do here. I had a guy working for me, that whenever I asked him to do something, he would give me 10 reasons why it couldn’t be done. (we’re too far away, too far from other venues,etc.) I would then ask him to give me one reason why it could be done. He couldn’t, it was more fun being a naysayer, I suppose. Guess what, he doesn’t work here any more.

By doing research marketing and targeted promotion and advertising, and scheduling special events, we have increased our visitor count annually, even in these uncertain economic times.

OK, Tim, this is my final post on this subject. Remember, getting in the last word doesn’t mean you win. Nobody wins a p….ng contest.

Peace.

chgotim
chgotim on March 24, 2004 at 1:36 pm

Yes, not everybody has to drive. And there is pretty good bus service there (though most people who come on it may have to transfer from another route and travel a distance due to it’s location. Also, the Austin bus stops running by 10. Irving Pk .only goes up till around maybe 11:30 or so, so you couldn’t necessarily rely upon that for a late showing). But a venue will need a fair amount of parking for those who just won’t come any other way than by car. So without a decent sized available lot in close proximity, any venue will have some real problems drawing a crowd.

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on March 24, 2004 at 1:27 pm

You know, not everyone has to drive. With the price of gas pushing through the roof, public transportation to the door of this wonderful theater is readily available. Yes, there are restaurants and bars nearby, actually a very vibrant neighborhood. Secondary screening rooms could be established in the upstairs apartments/business spaces which flank the theater.

All you need is a vision. (And money)

chgotim
chgotim on March 24, 2004 at 10:53 am

One major problem which the Patio has is a lack of readily available parking in the area. I am also not sure if there is very much in the way of complimentary entertainment possibilities (restaurants/bars and such) close by. Consider, too, that there is ony the one auditorium (no secondary screening rooms to help boost income). It’s a beautiful house that had some sort of regulatory problem with the city, I believe, that they couldn’t afford to fix or whatever (asbestos?). I hope it doesn’t just sit there forever and rot away but can be reopened one day and enhanced.

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on March 18, 2004 at 11:38 am

Gary’s last post was excellent. I would like to elaborate more with the Hong Kong film situation. I was planning to open (with a business partner) a theater dedicated to showing Hong Kong films several years ago in the San Jose, CA area. The biggest problem I found out was the very short window between theatrical and video in Hong Kong. Many Hong Kong films wind up (legally) on video within about a month of their theatrical opening. This does not allow a theater owner to make much of a profit, since a theater makes more profit on longer runs of films versus showing a film for 1-2 weeks. And once a film hits video, it kills any theatrical business that that film might bring your theater. I feel that this has hurt the Four Star(which currently is the only San Francisco area theater that does show Hong Kong films—At one point the Towne in San Jose showed Hong Kong films on Monday and Tuesday nights and the UC Theater in Berkeley showed Hong Kong films on Thursdays. By the time the would play the Towne or UC, they were out on video and that killed their HK nights.)

GaryMeyer
GaryMeyer on March 18, 2004 at 6:57 am

You are right…I shouldn’t maker knee-jerk responses. But, as a founder of Landmark Theatre back in 1975 (I left left a few years ago to do other things), we learned a lot about audiences and locations for foreign and independent films. People “tell” you one thing but their actions are what keep theaters alive.

The Gateway/Copernicus is a special situation. Being a Polish Cultural Center it is supported by a wide range of community related events including films. Some outside groups also rent it for programs like the Silent Film Festival which are destination events.
Being a beautiful palace helps in the appeal.

But obtaining the rights to show foreign films that don;t have US distribution isn’t easy. Copernicus hooks up with other Polish cultural groups and they share the costs of bringing the prints in. They have a minimal cost way of letting the core audience know what is showing. They may also be screening films on video/DVD below the radar of the actual rights owners. This happens a lot but a more public facility can’t do it.

But even ethnic communities can be hard to bring out. I operate a 1926 neighborhood theater in San Francisco, the Balboa. We are in the heart of the Russian and Chinese communities. Attempts to show films to these audiences, with help from within the community, have been mixed at best. We have been trying to arrange something with Russian contacts to show Soviet films but they can;t get a committment from the suppliers to give them a steady flow of product. Another neighborhood theater, the 4 Star, is owned by a Chinese American whose family has been showing Chinese and Hong Kong films for decades. But the theater now survives by playing a mix of first run commercial movies and second runs with some Asian special series and fests. There aren’t enough films to fill it year around and the audiences will appear for the high profile titles and highly publicized festivals but not as a steady diet.

The Balboa wins “Best of” awards and people are talking about how we have turned it around in the past 3 years but people constantly tell me, “I love what you are doing but I just don;t want to drive the 20 minutes to get there.” Those megaplexes are closer and usually have parking, a tight commodity in neighborhoods.
Meanwhile San Francisco is losing some of its oldest theaters as Regal sells them off. The Alexandria just closed and the Coronet goes next. Both the Voge and Metro are for sale and the asking prices can’t be justified for running them as theaters. More housing and retail to come, leaving neighborhoods with fewer (if any. Our Neighborhood Theatre Foundation keeps close tabs and we try to figure out ways to save or reuse old theaters. I have done several feasibility studies on creative reuse not unlike the Gateway.

Now I hope I am proved wrong. I haven’t paid close attention to the Chicago art market in years. I know Landmark and Century have built new art complexes and the heroic Music Box and Facets do their things. Someone closer to the marketplace knows better than me. Contact the Music Box team.

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on March 18, 2004 at 5:05 am

I find your comment to be rather snobbish. If you would notice in my posting that there are foreign-born people living in the neighborhood, so perhaps they might like to see foreign language films. At one time, the Patio showed East Indian and Polish films, or maybe you would prefer French and Italian.

Also, people have cars and can drive to the theater or take public transportation right to the door. Perhaps you would like to check out the former Gateway Theater (now Copernicus Center), just 20 minutes from the Patio. Literally every weekend there are foreign language films, classics, etc., being shown there to a packed house. And the parking lot is filled. Mostly with the cars of middle and working class folks.

Remember what happens when you make assumptions.

Peace.

GaryMeyer
GaryMeyer on March 17, 2004 at 6:02 pm

Why do you think art and foreign films would work. Middle and working class families are not traditionally the right audience.

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on March 17, 2004 at 11:46 am

I lived in the area for nearly 10 years until recently. It is actually, a great middle and working class neighborhood, safe and clean. Neat, tidy brick homes, a lot of Eastern European immigrant families. Closest theater is far away in the burbs. It would be a good venue for art and foreign language films.

GaryMeyer
GaryMeyer on March 17, 2004 at 8:43 am

What kind of neighborhood is this in?

gooseswan
gooseswan on January 21, 2004 at 12:40 pm

Dan,

If you need a volunteer or help of any kind, I am interested in helping get the Patio open.

Andy

richardg
richardg on January 19, 2004 at 4:31 pm

Dan, I wish I could be of more help but the phone number I have for the Patio has been disconnected. It was 773 545-2006. If you’re out of the Chicago area, I’d bet the owners of the Music Box or maybe even the group trying to re-open the Portage Theatre (check in cinema treasures, theatres in need) might be of some help. If this is of no help, add another comment and I’ll see if I can get a friend or relative in Chicago to get you the information you need.

sigmania
sigmania on January 19, 2004 at 10:20 am

Does anyone know how to contact the owner/lease-holder? There is no information anywhere else that I know about.

richardg
richardg on November 25, 2003 at 3:37 pm

During my last visit to Chicago I talked to one of the tennants at the Patio Theatre Building who informed me that the building’s owner is hoping to lease out the theatre. Hope someone’s interested.

josephshapel
josephshapel on July 11, 2002 at 9:25 am

This place still comes up as sometimes open in the paper called the Reader in Chicago-problem is it is never open.Massive building both outside and in.Smells old when it is open.In the area of Chicago of old bungalows(one of which where I reside).Very Cool building -would love to see it open on a permanent basis.Large twinkling ceiling-I have seen the movies Goldfinger there when it first came out in the sixties and Patton,PT 109,etc,etc. What a shame for it not to reopen-it would have lots of business for sure!!!!!!

nmanjarrez
nmanjarrez on March 30, 2001 at 6:59 am

It’s a great place! Especially for families with more than two or three kids, it helps a great deal.

oobleckboy
oobleckboy on February 7, 2001 at 1:18 pm

I love this big, airy wonder! Gigantic and lovingly restored. Serves it’s neighborhood well, showing second run hits at an amazingly low $2 a seat. I’d pay that just to look around. The best bargain in Chicago.