Comments from Cinecitta

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Cinecitta commented about Do you remember seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater in '83? on Apr 1, 2007 at 4:59 pm

I remember going to see ROTJ at the UA 150 in Seattle. It was a few weeks before I graduated and I drove myself and a couple friends the 1 ½ hours + ferry ride to Seattle to see it. We bought our tickets that morning around 11 a.m. and waited in line that hot, spring afternoon for about four hours.

It was my first time in that theatre. Huge, domed theatre with gigantic curved screen. In fact, that was the closest thing to a movie palace I had ever been in up to that time. I remember being swept away by the size of the picture and the sound. Our home-town theatre had a decent sized screen but was just getting stereo around that time.

At the time I noticed two flaws with the film and although I’ve forgotten what one was, the other is painfully obvious to this day… When there are closeups of the emperor’s face, I noticed they were using a thin beam of light to highlight his eyes. I guess the beam of light spilled inside his hood as well. It looks like someone took a magic marker and blacked out the spill inside his hood in every frame to the left of his left eye. I just remember thinking that with all those special effects they couldn’t hide that?

My only other memorable experience at that theatre was seeing Octopussy in the smaller theatre (known as the UA70) next door. The newspaper ad said “Octopus”. The best moment of that show was when Bond was asked the question, “who are you?” the entire theatre (myself included) erupted with “Bond, James Bond”.

Cinecitta commented about Rose Theatre on Dec 9, 2006 at 12:02 pm

The Rose Theatre’s website has been revised. Now there are many pictures of the beutiful interior, history and more.

Cinecitta commented about Aptos Twin Cinema on Dec 9, 2006 at 12:00 pm

The operators of the Santa Cruz based Nickelodeon & Del Mar cinemas will soon be re-opening the Aptos Twin.

Cinecitta commented about Cinema owner protests new films by shutting down theater on Oct 2, 2006 at 8:31 pm

THANKYOU! I had to read the damn thing five times to see that. But did he pay ALL his employees? HUH?

Cinecitta commented about Cinema owner protests new films by shutting down theater on Oct 2, 2006 at 8:03 pm

So do you think he gave his employees a two week paid vacation or were they just SOL?

Cinecitta commented about Park Theatre on Apr 21, 2006 at 5:08 pm

Listed for sale at $3,500,000 on Loopnet.

Cinecitta commented about Jean Cocteau Cinema on Apr 18, 2006 at 3:42 am

CLOSED! – For Now… Last day of operation Sunday April 16, 2006.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Film Museum Takes Up Jean Cocteau Lease

By Polly Summar
Journal Staff Writer
It may be good news that the New Mexico Film Museum has finally found a permanent screenâ€" at the Jean Cocteau Cinemaâ€" but the more immediate concern for locals is this: The Jean Cocteau is closing.
“Effective mid-April,” said Thomas Becker, co-director of operations for Trans-Lux Southwest Corp., which owns the Jean Cocteau on Montezuma Street and some 10 other theaters in the Southwest. “As Santa Feans know it, it will no longer be a conventional theater, but I don’t know the long-term plans."
At this point, the state doesn’t know the long-term plans, either. "The legislation (which transfers the film museum from the Department of Tourism to the Department of Cultural Affairs) doesn’t take effect until July 1,” said Stuart Ashman, cultural affairs director. But officially the state begins leasing the theater on May 1.
“We saw the opportunity,” Ashman said. “The people from Trans-Lux were going to close down the theater and we thought it was our opportunity to do something."
The board of the film museum will be reconvened, Ashman said, and they will decide what to do with the theater. "But now we have an official place to meet, a facility that has everything you need— a screen and every kind of project equipment,“ said Ashman, citing 35 millimeter, 16 millimeter and DVD. "It could also run dailies when they (film companies) are actually shooting films in town."
Ashman said definite plans would be up to the board and the newly named temporary executive director, India Hatch, who was interim director of the state Gaming Control Board, according to an Associated Press report. Prior to that, she ran the New Mexico Racing Commission.
But as an example of what the theater could be used for, Ashman said the American Film Institute offers packaged programs on specific educational themes. "Comedy in the silent era, for example,” Ashman said. “You could do two or three weeks of films and a series of lectures.
Ashman and Becker commended Tesuque resident Richard Brandt, former chairman of Trans-Lux and former president of the American Film Institute, for his support of the leasing of the Jean Cocteau to the state.
Becker said he couldn’t comment on the financial terms, but Ashman said the state will be paying $7,000 a month for the theater.
"What I can comment on,” said Becker, “is that it’s increasingly more and more difficult to book a single-screen art house commercial theater,” adding that there may be theaters going into the nearby Railyard space and that Regal Cinema was building on Cerrillos Road.
“You’ll have 22 to 24 screens within the next two years in Santa Fe,” said Becker. “Years ago, art product/alternative programming was strictly shown in venues like the Cocteau, but with more screens, they tend to play product like that in larger multiplexes. This agreement we have is a way to keep the Jean Cocteau alive."
Becker said Trans-Lux wanted to keep the theater going as an artistic outlet. "Too many theaters close and turn into commercial space,” he said.
Trans-Lux Southwest is part of Trans-Lux, whose larger business, Becker said, is the design and manufacture of LED electronic display systems.

Cinecitta commented about Lompoc Theater on Apr 5, 2006 at 4:53 pm

Story on the restoration and interior pic can be found here:
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Big plans in store for Lompoc Theatre to include restoration and expansion
By Mark Abramson/Staff Writer

Now that the funding is in place to purchase the Lompoc Theatre, the buyer is eager to make the building a centerpiece of downtown again – with some new twists that could include even showing films outdoors on summer nights.

The vision of the buyer, the Lompoc Housing and Community Development Corporation (LHCDC), includes restoring the theater to its original look, including the neon marquee that was installed in 1954, and possibly reopening the orchestra pit. Movies and live shows are planned for the theater, which was built by the Calvert family in 1927, according to Sue Ehrlich, head of LHCDC.

But other changes must be made to make the theater economically viable, she said.

Those include adding a balcony, possibly with access via an elevator; expanding the concession area; increasing the seating capacity from 450 to 600; adding an ice cream shop on the ground floor, in a now-empty storage space; creating a VIP lounge and night club upstairs, geared for the 20- and 30-something crowds; and additional office space to lease.

“Having something like a night club done in a themed way is a really good way to go,” Ehrlich said. “We want to create something for every age range in the community and every cultural group in the community.”

A well-rounded slate of events would include first-run Spanish language films among the offerings.

It also would include “summer movie nights” – with movies projected onto an outside wall of the building that would face an outdoor courtyard of a retail building that the LHCDC plans to build next door at Ocean Avenue and H Street.

Films would be projected on a mural depicting the theater’s stage. People would be able to eat at a restaurant in the retail building and watch the movie, Ehrlich said.

The ideas already are beginning to generate some excitement.

“I think it will bring people downtown for sure and it will provide a venue for being able to have entertainment we don’t currently have, like viewing old movies,” said Alice Milligan, the chairwoman of the chamber of commerce’s downtown revitalization committee.

Having a working theater with all the new downtown buildings and other changes in the old town area will have a great impact, Milligan said.

Ehrlich’s nonprofit group last week received approval of $475,000 in loans from the city toward the $850,000 purchase price. The building was appraised at $875,000. It is assessed at $218,958, according to records in the county assessor’s office.

The exact cost of renovating the theater with the additions, while expected to be well over $1 million, has not been determined, but Ehrlich said she believes the funding will come from grants, government and possibly other sources. She said LHCDC hopes to break ground on the project in early 2007. The timetable for opening the theater has not been determined.

The LHCDC also has plans to safeguard the building by getting it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Being on that list could help the theater earn tax credits to help pay for the renovations and improvements. Being listed would also preserve the building for people’s enjoyment and make it make it difficult for anyone in the future to tear the theater down, Ehrlich said.

“We want this theater to belong to the community and provide all kinds of entertainment,” she said.

Mark Abramson can be reached at 737-1057, or mabramson@

March 27, 2006

Cinecitta commented about Lakewood Theatre on Apr 3, 2006 at 7:53 pm

Found a photo from 1937 here:
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Cinecitta commented about Whiteside Theatre on Mar 23, 2006 at 11:38 pm

Any updates on this theatre? I notice it’s no longer listed on Loopnet.

Cinecitta on Mar 20, 2006 at 6:08 pm

Judging by those pictures I doubt this was ever a cinema.

Cinecitta commented about Fox Performing Arts Center on Mar 18, 2006 at 7:04 am

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RIVERSIDE â€" A project design for the long-stalled refurbishment of the historic Fox Theater was approved Tuesday by the Riverside City Council, acting in its capacity as the Redevelopment Agency.
“It’s a wonderful treasure that will unfold itself,” said Councilman Dom Betro. “We are trying to create a modern performing arts center but maintain its historic heritage.”

The unanimous vote followed a discussion with project architect Richard McCann, who has restored about 30 historic theaters, including the Wilshire Theater in Los Angeles and the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle.

McCann and his staff displayed photos and concrete examples of their pre-design work, in which they painstakingly uncovered decorative tiles under stucco, stenciled patterns under layers of paint on kiosk beams and yet more patterns hidden away in closets or behind stage additions.

It’s the first time in decades that much of original interior artwork of the theater, which was built in 1929 in a Mission Revival design, has been exposed.

Some observers sitting in the audience in the Council Chamber gasped with each revelation.

“This must be a labor of love for you,” Councilwoman Nancy Hart told McCann before she voted to approve the design plans.

Mayor Ron Loveridge pushed for a timetable from City Manager Bradley J. Hudson, who said the project could begin as early as this fall with completion by about April 2008.

The 1,600-seat venue is envisioned as Riverside’s premier performing arts center, which would host Broadway-style shows, concert performances and ballets, according to the city’s project manager, Robert Wise.

“The theater will be rehabilitated to its original design but will be enlarged in some areas and have other modifications,” he said.

The city’s downtown area has struggled to develop an historic area with the restored Mission Inn as its centerpiece, despite the city’s investment of more than $122 million in the redevelopment project.

The missing element has been the Fox Theater, which in its heyday was the site of a sneak preview screening of the 1939 Civil War epic “Gone with the Wind.”

By the 1980s, the theater had fallen into disrepair and was showing only Spanish-language films.

The building went through a succession of owners, who promised to return it to its original condition and show first-run movies.

City officials saw a glimmer of hope when Joe Zivnak purchased the theater in 2001 for $1.4 million with an eye toward restoration that never occurred.

The city began eminent domain proceedings to take possession in 2004. Last December, the city settled with Zivnak, purchasing the theater for $2.9 million.

Plans call for keeping the exterior of the theater virtually intact but enlarge the stage area and upgrade the upstairs offices, according to a city report.

“The auditorium will pretty much remain as it is, and the ceiling will remain original with a little touch-up,” Wise said. “But the lobby has been repainted three or four times over. We have had paint experts come and look at the original colors and matched them.”

Theater offices and retail shops that line the theater at Market Street and Mission Inn Avenue would also be restored, Wise said.

The theater is expected to complement the Fox Plaza, a nearby proposed project of 900 condominiums, 200 lofts, a hotel and 800,000 square feet of commercial space.

Cinecitta commented about SIFF Cinema Uptown on Feb 28, 2006 at 4:20 pm

I’ve read elsewhere that the theatre was not divided. The original remains and a neighboring restaurant has been converted into two additional screens.

Cinecitta commented about Fairfax Theatre on Feb 9, 2006 at 6:46 pm

There is a more recent photo of the Fairfax halfway down the page at this website:

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Cinecitta commented about Fairfax Theatre on Feb 9, 2006 at 6:37 pm

There’s a 1935 photo of the Fairfax here:

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Cinecitta commented about Portable Stage For Sale on Mar 8, 2005 at 3:34 pm

That’s a pretty vague description, but I may have use for such a thing in my theater. Could you please e-mail me with a more complete description? (dimensions, structure, how it was used etc.)


Cinecitta commented about Golden State Theatre on Feb 25, 2005 at 7:42 pm

We’re now on the web at