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Rhett and Bill:
Thank you for your comments – it’s gratifying to know that people are enjoying our work up there.
See you this Saturday for THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD!
Director of Film Programming
Big Screen Classics at the Lafayette Theatre
Bill is correct – the Bellevue’s presentation of Altered States was incredible. The process was called “MegaSound” and was also used on Outland (which was very nice at the Cinema 46).
The booth I was referring to as removed was the original booth at the top of the upper balcony: there are new walls and passageways up there where the booth used to be, but no room for projection equipment. I even climbed the iron ladder to go over the area in the hopes that maybe they had just put up a false ceiling, but there’s only a catwalk-type area above these little rooms. To put a booth back up there would require the new walls and ceiling to come down. The tenant who started the renovations had no plans to show movies there, he thought he could turn the place into a boxing hall (hence the light coffer in the ceiling) or some sort of concert venue. His problem was that he spent his money on the theatre and not on renovating the storefronts attached to it first – the rents from those stores were going to help pay for the project. Since he never fixed up those stores, he couldn’t keep them rented or get good money for them.
I was in the Paradise last year – we had a meeting with the landlord about the potential of taking on the property (I work for the Galaxy Theatre Corp. as the Director of Film Programming for the Lafayette Theatre’s Big Screen Classics series and other special film events). That “six months” that the security guard mentioned has been the mantra for the past several years, virtually no work has taken place since the last tenant (the guy who was beginning the renovations) defaulted last year. The place is in need of tons of work to get ready for any kind of show. The restoration of the lobby area is magnificent – about the best I’ve ever seen. Equal to it is the work on the underside of the balcony – spectacular hand-craftsmanship. But, and it’s a big but, there are no seats (I understand that they are at Irwin seating awaiting payment!), the projection booth has been removed and replaced by what are either very small private boxes or technical areas, the entire stage rigging is gone, there is no air conditioning (heat is there, however, whether it’s working or not wasn’t answered to our satisfaction), and the walls are only renovated up to a certain point – the rest is still only stabilized and not repaired. The ceiling, however, was repaired and painted a gorgeous azure blue and then, amazingly, a giant coffer for lights was cut right into the center of it, so it’s now useless as an atmospheric element! The owner of the place wants whoever is the next tenant to pay for all the remaining renovations (our best guess: $5 million minimum) and pay a huge rent on top of it. Sadly, I don’t think it will ever open again as a theatre. I believe that only the facade and lobby have been landmarked.