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There has been a recent effort (during the month of December 2006) to re-light the marquee of this wonderful cinema. The underside and front surfaces of the lower section looks sooo much better and the whole street seems brighter. This is a major improvement and I thank the Landmark people for making this beginning. More is to be done but this is very gratifying and beautiful. Now, to restore the Rainbow Cafe down a few doors down the block. <chuckle>
The most wonderful visit to the Cedar Theater was an early afternoon first date with “Trina the French Teacher.” It was the beginning of a 4 or 5 or 6 year love affair at a showing of “Jonas Que Aura 25 Ans L'an 2000.” (1976) It was in June of 1977. The quality and fun and variety of films shown there was wonderful. It is a huge loss to “Snoose Boulevard” and the West Bank when it closed. The films matched the mood of the block. The Cedar-Riverside neighborhood was a center of 60s and 70s Left Politics. The “Dump Lyndon Johnson” movement may have started there in either Dania Hall or the old Mixers bar. The 400 Club still keeps that era alive.. but, the neighborhood has never recovered its charm for me without the Cedar Theater or the French teacher.
The Cedar Theater was a sweet venue in the “good years” between the Porn years and the Dancers.
I took my little daughters there to see the original version of “KING KONG” and later to “POLYESTER.” That was a great night. It was a full “scratch and sniff” performance… complete with a heckler who stepped out of line to attack us “suburbanites” for going to a movie like this. Tides of laughter would break out as the number appeared on the screen and everyone scratched the appropriate spot on the card…. What a night. My little daughters were never the same… They became very strong. I also saw “PUTNEY SWOPE” there in the wonderful years before Political Correctness.
I wish the current owners would put in an effort to restore the lights and street appearance of the Uptown. They did such a great job on the Edina Theater. It sometimes seems as if it is a kind of neglect that precedes closing and demolition. I think that they should even restore the beacon that once topped the mast. The anti “light polution' crowd would go nuts I am sure. There seems to have been a minor attempt to light some of the bulbs recently. We passed it by assuming it was closed. Darkness comes on fast here in the Great White North and we need lights to welcome us in. The same people who admire the French and Paris sometimes hate lights in their own neighborhood and, I thought that some radical element may have burrowed in to influence the run down look the Uptown was beginning to take on.
So many dates with my wife ended up there. She nearly papered a closet with the wonderful weekly handbills of the wide ranging film program there. I especially loved the Italian fims there…from “Bread and Chocolate” to “Salo” to “Down and Dirty” to all of those Samurai Nights… Mifune and Kurosawa every night.. fun. This place along with the Suburban World down the block was the art house Vatican of Minneapolis. I saw all of the Astaire/Rogers films there…. a wonderful mix. The Rainbow cafe was always nearly next door for Onion Rings after 9:00 PM. You NEVER went down the block withouth reaching into the wooden box to pull out the playbill showing the dozens of films to be shown that month…marking the ones you intended to see. I miss that. ahhhh senile rapture.