Comments from Alto

Showing 1 - 25 of 159 comments

Alto commented about Fair Theatre on Jan 5, 2016 at 11:29 am

There have been rumors over the years about this place closing. A brief review of this theatre’s history (and its neighbors') reveals the struggle to stay in business.

In February 2006, when the Polk Theater in Jackson Heights closed for good, the Fair Theatre was the only remaining cinema in Queens offering XXX movies. Despite its “monopoly”, the future did not look bright for adult-oriented cinemas.

Back in April 2007, when Indian movies were being promoted and shown on its big screen, many feared the Fair was abandoning adult movies and going “Bollywood” – just like the Mayfair/Bombay Theater in Fresh Meadows and Earle/Eagle Theater in Jackson Heights had done several years earlier.

Fast forward to 2009, and the Indian movies were quietly discontinued – this may have been partially due to a major movie studio strike in Mumbai which crippled distribution of Indian films worldwide (that year, the Eagle Theater closed for good). The Fair carried on, as it had previously, with Asian martial arts movies and other “grindhouse”-type programming for awhile, then heavily curtailed that as well.

In 2011, the Fair “celebrated” its 40th anniversary as an adult venue by offering complimentary snacks, refreshments and other perks as a “thank you” to its loyal, long-time customers (for many years, the place was also known as the “Adult Fair”).

The Indian movie posters still hang all over the lobby and entrance, there is still signage touting “international films”, and the recently redesigned website still promotes movies not currently being shown, but the Fair’s primary business is still the same as it was since 1971. It remains – despite zoning laws, business regulation, legal actions, harassment from the neighboring evangelical church…not to mention a recent economic recession, adult home video and Internet sites.

Some of us are not particularly thrilled about the Fair as it currently functions and would have preferred a more desirable use for it. However, given the limited options for a theatre of this type, and the fate of its contemporaries, we should at least be happy that the building still exists (with its original features mostly intact). This place is truly a survivor!

Alto commented about Loew's Jersey Theatre on Jun 27, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Here is the latest in the unfortunate battle between Friends of the Loew’s and Mayor Fulop for control of the theater.

Now, more than ever, FOL needs public support. Despite the many obstacles placed before them, they have remained true to their mission of not only saving, renovating and maintaining this magnificent slice of history, but also operating and sustaining it as a precious and necessary cultural and community resource for the citizens of Jersey City and beyond. Now THEIR survival is at stake! Loew’s Jersey’s supporters, customers and friends must let their voices be heard if this iconic building is to remain in the hands of the people, for the people.

The Mayor and big government should not be allowed to strong-arm their way in, take over the “people’s palace” and turn it into a symbol of self-serving opportunism and greed. It must remain ACCESSIBLE to ALL – and that can only happen if FOL stays the course. We can all help by letting our public officials know how important and invaluable FOL’s role CONTINUES to be in accomplishing this, and what it means to us to preserve Loew’s Jersey Theatre as an a NON-PROFIT, COMMUNITY-BASED arts and entertainment center that ultimately serves and benefits EVERYONE!

If you’ve ever attended any movies, shows or other events there… performed there… worked there… have personal memories or reminiscences… followed its history… advocated for its preservation… or simply admire it from a distance as a “theater buff”… What does Loew’s Jersey mean to YOU?

Alto commented about Fair Theatre on May 5, 2014 at 5:03 am

I don’t know if theatre management reads these comments, but if they do…then they must have seen the remarks I made back in October 2010, when I criticized the hideous appearance of those relamped “F-A-I-R” letters atop the marquee. I am pleased to say that, recently, ALL of those ugly screw-base CFLs have been replaced by the soft amber glow of old-fashioned Edison-style incandescent S14 sign bulbs…the ORIGINAL look is back…and what a difference in appearance!

Alto commented about Loew's Jersey Theatre on Dec 18, 2010 at 11:19 pm

To those criticizing the Holiday Film Weekend choices…best to be informed BEFORE you pass judgment. “White Christmas” has, in fact, already been shown here (where were you for THOSE screenings?). Furthermore, it is refreshing to see a venue such as this taking an unconventional and unbiased approach towards programming – in particular “family-friendly” entertainment – in a time when going to the movies has become a less affordable proposition for many.

There were quite a few young ones (along with their parents) in attendance for “The Muppets Take Manhattan” (277 to be exact) – not bad for a Friday night screening (and better than some other previous Friday night shows). “Scrooge” on Saturday did even better (and musicals – no matter how famous or historically notable – simply do not do as well here as other genres).

Include “value-added” events such as Santa’s visit on Saturday afternoon and the first-ever organ/vocal concert (along with the traditional audience sing-along) before Saturday’s feature…and you have, all in all, another theatre-going experience enjoyed and appreciated by many.

Can’t wait to see what’s in store for January’s “Pre-Code Films” weekend – the original Howard Hughes' “Scarface” (1932), “Baby Face” (1933) with Barbara Stanwyck & John Wayne, and “Morocco” (1930) starring Gary Cooper & Marlene Dietrich are some titles being considered.

Alto commented about Former AMC Star Rochester gets $4.2 million makeover on Oct 26, 2010 at 10:57 am

That’s a loss of 1300 seats! My God, just HOW big ARE these new seats going to be? Is this all that American moviegoers (and exhibitors) care about – big-ass seats and expanded food service? Ridiculous.

I swear, if Americans get any fatter, soon the seats will be AS wide as the screens themselves!

Alto commented about Fair Theatre on Oct 26, 2010 at 3:23 am

One VERY noticeable change is the marquee â€" it could be used as a landing marker for nearby LaGuardia Airport. The old “Edison-style” (incandescent) tinted bulbs that spelled “FAIR” have been replaced with incredibly bright screw-base CFLs in a ghastly yellow-ochre color. You could spot it from a plane, not to mention the far depths of Astoria Boulevard!

Upon close inspection, the bulbs don’t even look suitable for outdoor use (they are the unprotected “cone-shaped” type commonly used indoors and in enclosed outdoor fixtures). They were installed this summer – how they will operate or survive in extreme cold or harsh winter weather conditions is anyone’s guess. This isn’t the first time that the owners have made questionable (i.e. tacky) choices that are supposed to pass as “upgrades”.

I applaud management’s initiative for trying to save energy AND at the same time brighten up the old marquee, but to me it’s extreme overkill. Couldn’t they have used lower-wattage bulbs in a more subdued color? (To my eyes, it loses its authenticity) In comparison, the older bulbs, with their soft orange-amber glow, made the marquee look somewhat dull and tired, yet at the same time warm and inviting – that was part of its vintage charm.

Speaking of excess…they should remove the numerous oversized Indian movie posters that are randomly hanging above the marquee. They are covering up the facade’s decorative brickwork – and the movies aren’t even playing there anymore.

If you want to “dress up” the place, start by cleaning the brickwork, then install some decorative (yet tasteful) architectural accent lighting.

Alto commented about Loew's Jersey Theatre on Oct 26, 2010 at 1:21 am

Still awaiting attendance figures from Saturday’s screening of “Nosferatu”, but it MAY have been a record-breaking turnout for a classic film screening (surpassing “Frankenstein” and even “Phantom of the Opera”) – amazingly, some of the biggest FOL movie shows have been SILENT films. For certain, Loew’s Jersey customers surely love horror films. Box office sales figures for this show estimated at around 10 grand! No one could have imagined such success.

Initial crowd expectations were 500-600, but actual turnout appeared to be well over 1000. Even with a short-handed (for a large event) “skeleton crew”, the capable, tireless volunteer staff took just under an hour to get an enormous queue (which stretched down the side and past the rear of the theatre) through the doors and seated. An unbelievable team effort!

All of this just two days after The Village Voice’s “Best of NYC 2010” issue (Oct. 20-26, 2010 / p.67) proclaims Loew’s Jersey as “Best Movie Theater”. Remarkable, considering that it’s in New Jersey!

Alto commented about The Space at Westbury on Oct 25, 2010 at 11:07 pm

[Reported by: T.C. McCarthy – Newsday, 22 October 2010]

Westbury village officials broke ground Friday on the renovation of the Westbury Theater on Post Avenue as part of an effort to revitalize the strip.

The project has been in the planning stages for the past six years since Lowe Properties bought the deteriorating theater building at auction for about $1.7 million. The Tudor-style theater built in 1927 will be remodeled into a performing arts theater.

“I saw many a movie here,” said Louis Corte, who was born in 1927, the year the theater was built. He is a lifelong resident of Westbury. “We have been waiting for the past 10 years, believe me it’s about time.”

Jim Mollitor also grew up in Westbury. He said he had seen some of his first movies at the old theater, including “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” Mollitor, who just purchased a business on Post Avenue, said “I’m very excited for the avenue, I think it could be a very positive thing.”

Village Mayor Peter Cavallaro said part of the reason it took so long to break ground on the old theater was because of a concern that the village lacked adequate parking on Post Avenue.
“We took a creative approach,” he said, explaining that the village has two large parking lots that are little used at night. He said the village will lease the lots to the theater’s owner at night when shows are being put on.

Cavallaro expects the work to take about a year, and he sees a grand opening ceremony about this time next year.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Bridget Zaino, another lifelong resident of Westbury.


Hopefully, we’ll be seeing similar reports in the VERY near future for other Long Island theatre projects, such as the Paramount in Huntington.

Alto commented about Radio City Music Hall on Oct 8, 2010 at 9:43 pm


It is not a world premiere, or an exclusive invite-only screening, but it is a RARE opportunity for the general public to experience a full-length feature film presentation at Radio City Music Hall, on a HUGE 60-foot screen. As if that’s not enough for any cinemaphile, here’s the finishing touch: it comes with LIVE musical accompaniment provided by a world-class orchestra.

Following up on last year’s performance of “The Fellowship of the Ring”, this spectacular Art Deco palace of stage and screen will present “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” Live to Film on Friday & Saturday, 8 & 9 October 2010 at 7:30 p.m. In these special performances, Peter Jackson’s award-winning motion picture will be shown, while on stage Howard Shore’s entire original score is performed live in careful synchronization with the picture. Musical maestro Ludwig Wicki will lead Switzerland’s 21st Century Orchestra, the Collegiate Chorale, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

Ticket prices range from $59.00 to $150.00. This elaborate movie presentation will use digital projection and include an intermission.

Doug Adams, author of “The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films: A Comprehensive Account of Howard Shore’s Scores” (released 5 October 2010), provides the program notes, available here.

The above information, along with artist profiles, venue information and a link to Ticketmaster is all available on the official website:

Alto commented about Cameo Twin Cinema XXX on Oct 6, 2010 at 10:11 am

I passed by recently – the place is still shuttered. I also telephoned (973-621-7622) – an automated recording answered “you have reached a number that is disconnected or no longer in service”.

Alto commented about Loew's Jersey Theatre on Oct 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm

SPECIAL SCREENING this Saturday – FOL and GSTOS present…

October 2nd Academy Theater:30 PM: The Mark of Zorro (1920) (silent film with LIVE “Wonder Morton” organ). Doors and box office open Academy Theater PM.

CLASSIC FILM SERIES – upcoming weekends…

October: annual “classic horror weekend” (a week before Halloween) –Brides of Dracula (1960) , Son of Frankenstein (1939) and Nosferatu (1922) (silent film with LIVE “Wonder Morton” organ).

November sneak peek: a tribute to a famous former Hoboken resident (and past Loew’s customer)… a “Sinatra weekend” is being finalized! – On the Town (1949) , From Here to Eternity (1953) , Ocean’s Eleven (1960) and Von Ryan’s Express (1965) are the prime candidates, of which THREE will be chosen and screened (titles subject to change, TBA at Friends of the Loew’s – schedule forthcoming).

Alto commented about Cameo Twin Cinema XXX on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:37 am

According to second-hand information posted in mid-September on a leading “cruising” website, the City of Newark has refused to renew their operating license – and given the recent happenings here, it should come as no surprise. The theatre has been closed since the end of August, and there is no indication that it will ever reopen.

This would make the Little Theatre the last [and only] remaining full-fledged porn theatre in Newark (and with the previous demise of the Montauk in Passaic, all of Northern New Jersey).

It looks like this place is finished. Yet another adult theatre with the status “closed”.

Alto commented about Paramount on Sep 3, 2010 at 6:51 am

Although parking remains a issue with some, it appears that a majority of merchants and residents of Huntington village [and neighboring communities] believe that it will benefit the Town. The Zoning Board of Appeals seems to agree…

[Reported by: Alessandra Malito – The Long-Islander, 2 September 2010 (v.171, issue 33)]

The Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals has approved plans to move forward with Paramount Theatre, a live entertainment venue planned at the site of the former IMAC.

The ZBA on Aug. 27 accepted a proposal submitted by Paramount Theatre LLC to resurrect live entertainment in Huntington village so long as several of their conditions regarding traffic and safety are agreed upon.

Paramount requested a special use permit to renovate the New York Avenue theater and use municipal parking to account for increased occupancy from 700 to 1,665 seats. Parking plans include the use of valet service to and from the upper Elm Street lot and incentives to park in Town Hall and in a lot at the train station, from which shuttle service will be provided. They also asked for permission to erect a marquee on the front of the building, where a two-story glass wall will overlook the busy road.

The complete article appears in The Long-Islander.

Alto commented about United Palace of Cultural Arts on Aug 20, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I’m not surprised about this move, considering…in January 2010, the Allman Brothers Band, which held a 40-year relationship with the Beacon Theatre, was forced to move its legendary annual NYC concerts from that venue to the United Palace (breaking a 20-year, 190-show string) because – you guessed it – Beacon management booked a Cirque du Soleil production on an extended run!

It’s great that a Loew’s “Wonder Theatre” gets such an honor bestowed upon it, and that Broadway is actually celebrated ON Broadway…but 175th Street? Is it impossible today in NYC to find a theatre that’s both on Broadway AND boasts comparable capacity, quality, aesthetics or amenities, either in or closer to Midtown Manhattan?

What about the Upper West Side? The recently restored 2894-seat Beacon Theatre is magnificent! Want even more “spread-out” space for red carpet, crowds, traffic and parking? Go a few blocks down to the newly renovated Lincoln Center and its 3800-seat Metropolitan Opera House – it may not represent the authentic “classic” theatrical setting that we desire, but it’s classy, prestigious and celeb-friendly (for those of you with short memories, the MTV Video Music Awards ceremony was held there in September of 1999 and 2001).

Alto commented about Cameo Twin Cinema XXX on Aug 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I am amazed that I am the first to comment about what occurred here recently. A customer, well-known to Cameo Twin “regulars”, was brutally murdered inside this theatre. From what I’ve read online (NJ Star-Ledger news reports and blogs), this was nothing short of a bloodbath.

The incident occurred on Friday, 23 July 2010 around 6:45 PM, in the “TV viewing area” (the lobby). First-hand accounts of the situation tell of a freaked-out perpetrator, butcher knife in hand, standing over a near-lifeless body, ranting “The dude touched me…y’all don’t understand, the dude touched me.” No one was able to get near the victim to assist as he lay there bleeding to death. There were “…gallons of blood everywhere.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, “20-30 cops came rushing in, guns drawn”, taking shocked theatre customers “by paddy wagon” to City Hall police station, where they detained and “grilled” them long afterward (“until 11 PM” ) hoping to extract “the truth”, using aggressive questioning techniques (going so far as to implicate and accuse witnesses of involvement)!

Many witnesses knew the 40-y-o victim, Garrick Farmer (who went by the name “Tyreke”), and it was alleged that the victim was initially the aggressor, harassing and following the perp everywhere, demanding sexual favors â€" this caused the perp to “snap.”

One witness described the 29-y-o perp, Michael Handy (a.k.a. “Michael Antonio”), as “seriously beautiful” (!), where “…everyone would go after him”. It was also reported that the victim was much larger in stature (6’-4” vs. 5’- 4”) – amazingly, that didn’t seem to stop Handy from attacking him.

Handy was being held at Essex County Jail on various murder and weapons charges.

You would think that an indoor, “controlled" environment (such as a theatre) vs. an outdoor spot (Branch Brook Park anyone?) would be the safest place in Newark. Furthermore, one would expect that an incident of this magnitude would be enough to shut down this type of place permanently.

Unbelievably, after only a very brief closure, it has reopened for business!

Alto commented about Paramount on Aug 20, 2010 at 12:46 am

The former IMAC may be getting a new lease on life, as the “Paramount Theatre” – once again a live performance venue – much to the delight of local merchants…

Business owners: theater would grow foot traffic, revitalize economy."
[Reported by: Alessandra Malito – The Long-Islander, 19 August 2010 (v.171, issue 31)]

Read the complete article in this week’s issue of The Long-Islander.

The project’s investors revealed the plans for this renovated and expanded version of the IMAC at a July 29th hearing of the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. [“Paramount Reveals Plans” – The Long-Islander, 5 August 2010 (v.171, issue 29)]

Alto commented about Fair Theatre on May 10, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Based on signage throughout the theatre (and using simple math and deduction), one can conclude that management has reduced the cost of a regular single admission by one third – from 15 to 10 dollars. Discount booklets of 10 tickets are priced at 50 dollars each (or five dollars per ticket), with the signs stating “save 50% off regular admission”.

Given the current economic climate, and a steady downturn in business over the past few years, this is a more reasonable pricing policy that should at least maintain the current customer base, and perhaps bring back those put off by the perceived poor value for the money. Consider the reduction in amenities provided – they no longer offer free coffee and cookies, and have abandoned the concessions counter (with its inexpensive popcorn and candy offerings) in favor of over-priced vending machine snacks and beverages.

Observations made during this past Sunday’s visit (my most recent after an absence of many months) indicate that this pricing strategy may be working â€" business was steady (and perhaps slightly better) compared to other visits in the past.

Also, despite the posters and banners on display, they seem to have abandoned Indian movies and are screening Asian/martial arts flicks (and an occasional older Hollywood release) in the main auditorium. Adult movies continue to show throughout the other areas of the building.

Alto commented about Loew's Jersey Theatre on May 20, 2009 at 5:34 pm

It is the dubbed English version – Lauren Holly, Michael Chiklis, Suzanne Pleshette, Jason Marsden, Daveigh Chase, John Ratzenberger and David Ogden Stiers are among the large cast providing voices.

Since this is intended to be a “family-friendly” show (and not a foreign film festival), I doubt that the audience FOL is trying to attract would want to suffer through over two hours of Japanese-language dialogue with English subtitles (sorry to those “purists” out there). There have been exceptions, where only original, foreign-language versions of family films were available (such as “White Mane").

Alto commented about Loew's Jersey Theatre on May 18, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Announced this past weekend: the film season will conclude with great family entertainment â€" animated classics! (Exact times TBA soon)

5 June – Friday

Evening feature: “Spirited Away” (2001, 2:05)

6 June â€" Saturday

Late afternoon: classic animated shorts (Looney Tunes, Betty Boop, etc.)

Evening feature: “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” (1988, 1:44)

Alto commented about Loew's Jersey Theatre on May 10, 2009 at 2:23 pm

More “spring chills” – Saturday evening, May 30th – “bonus” May films:

6:00 PM: The Uninvited (1944, 1:39) – starred Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp.
(“make-up” screening for March 27th – yes, it will be the correct print!)

8:15 PM: Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940, 2:10) – starred Sir Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders.

Alto commented about Fair Theatre on Apr 30, 2009 at 6:24 pm

It has been awhile since anyone discussed how to get here via public transport.

For several months now, the # Q19B bus route that runs to-and-from Jackson Heights has ceased to exist, replaced by/renamed the “Q49”.

It essentially follows the same route between Roosevelt Avenue/Broadway-74th Street and Astoria Boulevard, stopping directly in front of the theatre, just as before.

Also, theatre admission is still $15, but there is an ongoing “sale” where discount ticket books can be had, for $100 (10 visits @$10 each), thereby “saving” $50.

Alto commented about Gem Theatre on Mar 19, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Gem Theatre featured on “NBC Nightly News” Telecast

The “Making a Difference” segment on March 19th’s “NBC Nightly News” featured Kannapolis, North Carolina’s historic Gem Theatre. Its “Recession Buster” movie screenings, which made headlines in the Cabarrus County area, are now national news.

The shows, scheduled on Wednesday evenings, routinely sell out the theatre’s 900 seats with free admission and sharply-discounted concessions prices. According to the feature story, textile mills closed several years ago, resulting in a local unemployment rate as high as 10%. The Gem’s General Manager, Steve Morris, says it’s his way of giving back to a community that has supported the historic theatre for many years, through good times and bad.

The Depression-era, Art Deco showplace dates back to 1936, when movie entertainment routinely served as an inexpensive means of “escapism” during troubled economic times.

See mention of the telecast in the local print media:
View link

See video of the telecast:

Alto commented about Loew's Jersey Theatre on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:18 pm

While Puerto Rican pop singer Don Omar is the credited star of the music video “Canción de Amor”, it is the theatre that truly shines here. The following footage offers some fantastic interior views of the theatre, including backstage, stage, auditorium and grand lobby areas.

Here is a brief, behind-the-scenes, “making of” mini-documentary (narrated in Spanish):

Here is television coverage on Univision Network’s entertainment and celebrity gossip news program “Primer Impacto” (the Spanish-language equivalent of “Extra”):

And here is the final product (filmed on location in October 2007):

Alto commented about Loew's Jersey Theatre on Feb 16, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Chaplin’s “City Lights” made for a memorable Valentine’s Day show on Feb. 14th – presentation was tops, with a quality print and the “Wonder Morton” in the always-capable hands of house organist Ralph Ringstad Jr.

Audience turnout was beyond expectations, with an impressive 608 in attendance – I suppose that those lovers of romantic films would wish that Valentine’s Day occurred on a Saturday more often! (That won’t happen again until the year 2015.)

And in less than two weeks, another great…


27 Feb. (Fri.)
8:00 PM: “Chinatown” (1974)

28 Feb. (Sat.)
3:00 PM: “Night and the City” (1950)
7:00 PM â€" special double feature: “The Killing” (1956) â€"– “Niagara” (1953)

PLUS: Noted author, film historian and professor Foster Hirsch makes yet another guest appearance, introducing each movie and hosting audience Q&A sessions afterwards. Dr. Hirsch will also sign copies of his latest book, an updated edition of “The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir.”

Alto commented about Beacon Theatre on Jan 15, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Post-renovation grand reopening…
(news item condensed from the Beacon Theatre NYC Offical Web Site)


Paul Simon will “reopen” Manhattan’s historic Beacon Theatre with two concerts next month.

The February 13-14th performances follow a seven-month, $15 million restoration.

The 2,800-seat landmark theater was built in 1928 in the art deco style. Then Warner Bros. purchased the venue and gave it Moroccan and Greek influences.

MSG Entertainment acquired it in November 2006.

Simon first performed at the Beacon in 1990 alongside Paul McCartney and returned for a three-night run in December 2000. He also appeared there in 2003 for Willie Nelson’s nationally televised 70th birthday celebration.

Event URL: View link