255 Franklin Avenue,
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Art Cinema (Official)
Previously operated by: Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.
Architects: Edward T. Wiley
Functions: Movies (Adult)
Previous Names: Rialto Theatre, Art Theatre
The Rialto Theatre was built in 1919 and is Hartford’s last operating classic movie house. By 1933 the Rialto Theatre was operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. It was also part of a chain that included the Colonial Theatre, Lenox Theatre and Lyric Theatre in Hartford, and the Central Theatre in West Hartford. When business waned, it started showing art films from December 28, 1951 and was renamed Art Theatre.
Nowadays, however, it is the last remaining adult cinema in town and has been showing X-Rated features for decades. The theatre seats 601 (350 on the main level, 251 on the balcony) and still has a 35mm projector, but it is not used at all because the adult films are on video.
The Art Cinema is now run by Ernest Grecula Jr., having previously been run by his father, and has been in the family for 40 years. It was closed in January 2019 “for upgrades to be done” and has a fundraising to complete the upgrade. It was fully refurbished and reopened on December 19, 2020.
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Recent comments (view all 24 comments)
Why or how my friend did not know about the type of films shown here is not the point. My question is about security measures taken. There are sexual predators who go to this theater and people who plan to go there should be aware of that. So I will ask again: isn’t there security here??
No, there isn’t security. It is a small theatre run only by the owner. People go to this type of business precisely to have encounters with strangers.
https://vimeo.com/78397616 I made a short documentary on the theater. shows the inside and the history of the theater.
The new website for The Art Cinema is now online at www.theartcinema.com . Complete with new photos of The Art, plus upcoming events at the theater.
Ah, the good old Art Cinema – shades of my misspent youth. In the early sixties a group of us Trinity students would go there, drunk as lords (well, dissolute preppies, anyway) to savor the, uhh…art. In those days skin flick owners (sorry: Art Purveyors) had to dissemble what the Supreme Court called redeeming social value. Couldn’t just run “Sex Kitten in Lust”; had to be something Aristotle would have condoned. Consequently, there was usually a double feature: 1. the one we came to see, and 2. some murky Bergman or Fellini flick we’d have to snore through until it came on. Actually, it wasn' t so bad. I was introduced to some quite good British cinema, and I recall seeing Elvira Madigan there; humming Mozart for days, I was.
Sometimes they’d try to avoid the obligatory “socially uplifting” picture by inserting the RSV in the porn. I recall one of the titles, “A Thousand Ways to Love,” throughout which the only dialogue was Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I love thee?; let me count the ways.” A sheer ripoff. I could count only seventeen.
This opened on December 28th, 1951 as Art. Grand opening ad in the photo section.
The Art Cinema closed this past January for “upgrades” and has not reopened yet, nor is reopening imminent. There is currently a GoFundMe campaign attempting to raise over $1,000,000 to cover the renovations.
I wonder what the odds are that someone could raise a million bucks on GoFundMe? I can’t imagine they’d be very good.
Actually, I stand corrected as their immediate goal on there is $35,000. But the renovations will cost over $1 million total.
The Art Cinema is OPEN again. The Art Cinema is excited to welcome everyone back to the nation’s premier classic adult theater!
The Art Cinema will re-open on Saturday 12/19/2020 at noon The new hours will be: Sunday – Thursday: Noon to 9PM (Closed Tuesday until April) Friday and Saturday: Noon to 10PM
Admission will be: Single Men and T-gurls: $20 M/F Couples: $20 Single Women: $10 Monday Madness: M/F Couples free all day Trans Thursday: Trans Girls free all day Diamond Rewards: Pay the full admission 4 times and your 5th admission is free.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are precautions which will need to be followed to ensure we comply with the CDC, Department of Health, and the Governor’s guidelines and regulations. These guidelines will be posted in both English and Spanish at the ticket counter and throughout the theater. You will be required to read and acknowledge them prior to purchasing your ticket; your paid admission acknowledges that you have read the customer guidelines sheet, either online or at the theater, and agree to adhere to the rules. These include but are not limited to:
Face masks required for entry into the Art Cinema and must be properly worn throughout your visit. No exceptions. BYOM – Bring Your Own Mask Upon arrival, your temperature will be taken at the front counter with a touchless thermometer Capacity will be capped at 100 people or fewer at all times Social Distancing protocols will be in effect In the downstairs general seating area of the theater, every 4th seat will be open and available; all others will be blocked off In the designated couples’ areas, including the VIP Couples Balcony, 2 seats together will be available but the next 3 seats will be blocked off As always, single men will not be permitted in any of the designated couples’ seating areas including the VIP Couples Balcony. This rule will be closely monitored and enforced This information can also be found on the Art Cinema official website, www.theartcinema.com The entire Art Cinema team looks forward to safely welcoming you back!