Capri Art Theater

3165 Bailey Avenue,
Buffalo, NY 14215

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LouB
LouB on March 3, 2014 at 6:09 pm

link

This link deals with a grant the theater has recieved.

TivFan
TivFan on February 6, 2013 at 7:14 am

Error!! A correction to my Jan. 27/8:47 comment. In looking at the photographs again, it looks as though the “Fleishman’s” sign is on the building on the corner opposite the Bijou Dream. So the Bijou Dream is just called the Bijou Dream. When I get all the photos sorted out, I should add the Bijou Dream to the Buffalo theaters list. This (and other) photos of Buffalo can be seen at the Library of Congress site. There are over 2300 images of Buffalo here and tons of other great history.

TivFan
TivFan on January 31, 2013 at 9:56 am

The postcard/photo showing the white building which replaced the Bijou Dream building, can be seen at wnyheritagepress.org by clicking on “Iriquois Hotel” in the list. This shot also shows the Strand Theatre in the middle of the block, just down from the Iriquois Hotel. It also shows the Palace Theatre on the next block. I have seen another photo of the Bijou which also shows the Strand as the Golden Palace, but I can’t remember where…I’ll let you know.

DonLewis
DonLewis on January 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Agreeing with Joe about my postcard image of the Palace Theatre and the Capri Art, I have pulled it.

TivFan
TivFan on January 21, 2013 at 1:11 am

More research…the Garden Theatre IS beside the D. S. Morgan building…well, whatta ya know. I saw a photo on the Library of Congress website.

TivFan
TivFan on January 21, 2013 at 12:35 am

Where did the postcard picture go? It was there this morning. Does anyone have a direct link to the Don Lewis postcard showing the Palace (and the building that replaced the Bijou)? There a few other Buffalo sites that have photos of the Palace Theatre and Shelton Square. It is amazing how many theaters there were in Buffalo during the 1930’s-40’s. If you ever have the time, see Shea’s Buffalo Theatre. It is astounding! It is the grandest, most extravagent theatre I’ve ever seen. It’s been a while since I’ve been there…I saw “North By Northwest” there in 1996. Radio City Music Hall is fantastic, but for sheer opulence, see Shea’s.

TivFan
TivFan on January 21, 2013 at 12:19 am

Stumped no more. Looking at the Main Street theaters, the one north of Seneca Street is the Academy Theatre. It was formerly the Academy of Music.

TivFan
TivFan on January 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm

That’s all I’ve found on the Bijou, so far. There is no information on the Buffalo history sites I’ve seen.
I’m stumped on this one: I have a card which shows Main Street, looking north from Seneca Street. A theater can be seen on the block between Swan and Seneca Streets, just south of the Ellicott Building. The name is not visible, but there is a large sign, high on the facade, which says: VAUDEVILLE. I’ve identified my other Buffalo cards, even the Shea’s Garden Theatre entrance beside the D.S. Morgan building. (sorry about the many, short comments but my page keeps expiring, so I gotta make it fast…) Thanks.

TivFan
TivFan on January 20, 2013 at 11:47 am

Another shot is a Library of Congress photo at loc.gov/pictures (you probably have to do a search on the site). This panoramic photo of Shelton Square is dated c.1911 and shows the Bijou Dream with an added vertical sign. The sign is not shown complete, but may say: FLEISHM(an’s?). You cannot see the Bijou Dream sign on the Main Street facade, but the 5 cent sign can be seen, to the right, on the side of the building (on North Division).

TivFan
TivFan on January 20, 2013 at 11:29 am

Another photo, dated c.1915 (wrong?) shows a panoramic view of Main Street from the D.S. Morgan building. The Bijou is identical as shown in the 1910 post card. This shot is at wnyheritagepress.org.

TivFan
TivFan on January 20, 2013 at 11:22 am

There is a great c.1900 panoramic photo of Shelton Square showing the building which later housed the Bijou. The building had a cigar store on the ground floor and a museum on the upper floors. The building was altered for the Bijou Dream, except for the top floor and the roof edge detailing. This photo is at shorpy.com.

TivFan
TivFan on January 20, 2013 at 11:01 am

I am doing some research on my movie theater post cards. I have a card showing the Bijou Dream (5 cents) on Main Street at the corner of North Division. The white building in the center of the above photo/card is the building that replaced the one that housed the Bijou. It was on the same block as the Iriquois Hotel. My card showing the Bijou Dream in postmarked 1910. The above shot dates around 1915-16.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 25, 2012 at 6:11 am

The Palace Theatre in the picture DonLewis linked to is not this house, but one on Main Street in Downtown Buffalo. It isn’t listed at Cinema Treasures. As far as I’ve been able to discover, that Palace was always a burlesque house.

This house might have been called the Circle Arts Theatre, if the claim about Fred Keller, operator of the earlier Circle Arts Theatre, on this web page is correct:

“In early 1962 Fred Keller leased the theatre [the Circle] and renamed it the Circle Arts, and, as the new name implied, he specialized in European films. A year or so later he lost the lease and moved to the Varsity Theatre on Bailey and took the Circle Arts name with him.”
Here is a weblog post from early 2010 about Abraham Cisse (though they misspelled his surname as Cissie), who had recently bought the Uptown Theatre and was in the process of renovating it. I’ve been unable to find any more recent information about the project, but Mr. Cisse is apparently still the owner of the property.

Here is another recent photo of this house as the Uptown.

psmith102006
psmith102006 on February 19, 2011 at 9:15 am

The inside of the theater looks great. Too bad its in such a horrible part of town. Here is a link to some pictures:

http://www.uptowntheatrebuffalo.com/photos.html

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 16, 2009 at 10:03 pm

This was the Capri in 1982.

LouB
LouB on March 21, 2008 at 6:23 pm

View link

Here is a picture of this theatre when it was known as the Palace.

roberttoplin
roberttoplin on May 17, 2007 at 9:15 pm

The “Varsity” was designed by G. Lewis & R. Hill and opened in 1923 or 1924 with 1,000 seats.

poman
poman on March 21, 2007 at 3:11 pm

This was known as the Palace Theater during the 4 years I was attending the University of Buffalo (1988-1992). They showed porn double features on video projection, for a hefty $8 admission price. One double bill I attended was a ‘70s film (FAREWELL, SCARLET) paired with a shot-on-camcorder cheapie (OPEN HOUSE). There was no longer a marquee above the entrance, just a sign that said “Palace Theater.” Patrons had to go inside and ask what movies were playing, or call the theater and listen very carefully to the answering machine for the titles. Painted on the walls on either side of the entrance were words that basically stated “The movies shown inside this theater are for health and educational purposes only” — meaning the Palace, under whatever name, had been showing skin flicks since the early '60s. The ticket booth was right inside, with a turnstile. I don’t remember the lobby, except that it was small and there was a little bulletin board announcing the following week’s double feature. I never saw the auditorium with the lights on; it was always pitch black, to the point where it was almost impossible to find a seat. Very scary. I went a few times, always with at least 2 friends and only when old-school classics were being shown, and then swore the place off.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 8, 2007 at 3:57 pm

This is a May 26, 2006 article about the Uptown Theater.

“Uptown Theater switches owners and switches paths.

The Amherst Record
By Melanie Larsen

BUFFALO â€" Life is a stage.

At least it is becoming a stage for the inner-city youth near Buffalo’s Bailey Avenue.

What once served as an adult theater at 3165 Bailey Ave., is now owned by retired Amherst police officer Ciro LaCorte.

LaCorte is using Uptown Theater as a community stage for teenagers in order to get them off the streets and away from dangerous behavior.

“It used to be a porno theater, now it is a youth center,” he said. “We let them (neighborhood children) use it in exchange for stopping the violence and teen pregnancies.”

LaCorte intervened with the theater four years ago at the prompting of a friend.

“There was a gentleman (Carl Traina) running the movie theater doing pornography. An elderly gentleman (Gus Galasso) owned the building. He was 93 years old,” LaCorte said.

LaCorte said Traina was practicing poor business ethics among other less desirable behavior, and that is when LaCorte intervened on the behalf of Galasso.

Galasso died before realizing the theater’s new ownership and path.

Because of the person Galasso was, LaCorte said the obvious direction was to use the theater for something positive.

“Unfortunately, a lot of kids drop out of school because it is more lucrative to sell drugs,” he said. “How do you tell kids to go to school when they can make $200 to $400 a day selling drugs?”

LaCorte said while children believe the lifestyle of a drug dealer will lead them to an easier way of living, it often ends in violence.

“Just 10 days ago there was a shooting over drugs,” he said.

While the theater offers children a safe haven from the violence, LaCorte said he and theater friend Darwin Rogers make sure children abide by their rules once they step inside.

“We expect them to sing or dance and be mischievous,” LaCorte said. “It is a struggle until they realize if they want to sing and dance these are the rules.”

The rules of the theater are basically to ensure respect for those involved. He said he will not allow certain language and makes sure the children abide by a strict time schedule.

As long as the teenagers are able to play nice, LaCorte said they are welcome to the stage.

“Initially, the microphone is what draws them,” he said. “We make a subtle type of transition. If you were in a church, you automatically think of a church environment … We tell them, look you can’t learn unless you pay attention. It is a constant struggle.”

Rogers, who is also a resident of the downtown Bailey area, is heavily involved with the stage management.

Rogers leads the children in the choreography of the opening and closing acts, as well as guiding them with their artistic content.

“The hardest thing is to clean up every rap song that’s dirty. It’s tough to turn hip hop music into clean hip hop music,” he said. “I tell them, music and dance don’t have to be polluted so that others can rejoice in what you do.”

Through the bonds of performance, Rogers has lead a group of talented dancers to take their show on the road to places such as Six Flags Darien Lake.

“We want to give them another choice. It doesn’t always have to be about being in gangs and being bad,” he said. “When people don’t know the right way, they think the wrong way is right.”

Friend of the theater and Bailey Avenue resident Mike Holley believes showing children the right way is a struggle that is worth the time, as gang violence and drugs has been ruling neighborhoods like this one for years.

“He (LaCorte) is a God send,” He said. “He had a vision and he took a chance. He has offered the community something no one else wanted to do.”

Holley said the theater offers the children a place to utilize their talents and feel safe.

“A while back we didn’t have anything like this (Uptown Theater),” Holley said. “We all know the history of what this used to be, now it is a family place.”

LaCorte said while he has future plans to expand the theater’s outreach, his funds are nearing their end.

“I do everything on my own nickel,” he said.

Recently the theater experienced a gas leak that ended up costing LaCorte a couple thousand dollars. He said the financial strain was enough to shut the theater’s doors for the winter.

“We receive no grants,” he said, “and no help from the city.”

When and if LaCorte can find funding, he said he has plans to show children’s cartoons on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

While LaCorte said he is in need of money to purchase a projector for weekend cartoons, the theater is always in need of volunteers.

Uptown Theater meets from 5 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday night. For more information, call LaCorte at 510-1505 or Rogers at 578-0078".

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 8, 2007 at 2:17 pm

Don’t worry about it, I messed up too. I did a quick check on Cinematour and for a minute I was afraid that we would have to remove this theater. Cinematour has this theater listed as the Palace Theater, the Uptown Theater and the Varsity Theater. Luckily this theater isn’t on CT under any of those names. We just need two more aka names of Palace Theater and Uptown Theater.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 8, 2007 at 2:03 pm

Should I have said Capri? LM, I told you I would mix this up.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 8, 2007 at 2:01 pm

This case discusses the Circle Art:
http://tinyurl.com/yo4r7p