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Village Theatres has re-uped its lease for another year. It appears that there might be renovations to the theatre after that depending on how talks between the Village and the theatre owner goes.
The theatre is being re-opened by Village Theatres. They are currently looking for staff.
Village Theatres are taking over the North Riverside. The theatre is currently open and running films. There will be no shutdown during the transition.
I was one of the managers of the Fine Arts Theatre before its demise in 2003. I really loved this theatre and was probably the only one on the staff that did.
I tried to get the company (Loews Cineplex) to put money into the theatre but the best I could do was get them to agree to letting employees collect overtime to help rip down the awful orange carpeting that covered the lobby walls and paint the place.
Unfortunately it was like the proverbial â€œrearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.â€ The problems were way too numerous.
The 1000 seat main theatre had beautiful crystal florets that lit up all around the proscenium. Unfortunately the electrical system was from the 1930s and would constantly blow out the lighting.
The plasterwork on the ceiling, which was done in lovely baroque swirls, would come down in chunks every day. Fortunately there was never any more than one person in the 1000 seater so the law of averages was with us.
The fire doors to the theatre were the old metal doors from the 1920â€™s and homeless people could easily get in and would fall asleep, have sex etc. in the theatre balcony. Not to mention that they all knew how to get into the theatre through the intricate tunnels and passageways that ran underneath the building. The pickpockets knew these ways as well and crime in the theatre got to be unmanageable.
Lastly were THE RATS. I swear to you, the rats actually mugged a patron and stole their popcorn. We tried everything and knew the exterminator by his first name, how many kids he had and what his dreams and aspirations were and nothing helped.
When the place closed I was invited to a last shebang at the theatre. I managed to get away with the actual number sign for the theatre that caused me the most problems.
Right now it sits dark and it will need a LOT of work to reopen.
The place was a fleapit but I loved it. Oh well.