Strand 100th Birthday Party!

posted by Karen Colizzi Noonan on October 1, 2008 at 7:41 am

BROCKPORT, NY — Brockport is celebrating the centennial of the second oldest motion picture venue in America. The Strand Theater and its predecessor, the Lyric, in downtown Brockport’s Winslow Block have been projecting movies continuously since August 15, 1908.

To celebrate this event, the Greater Brockport Development Corp. has organized a two-day vintage movie festival, Friday and Saturday, October 17-18. Films from 1910-1916 and 1946 will be projected with leading experts as hosts and commentators. A Champagne Gala will conclude the festivities Saturday evening. All activities will take place in the Strand, 89 Main Street.

Patrick Loughney, head motion picture curator at the George Eastman House, will host the Friday session, 7-9 pm, showing selected films and discussing the early movie industry. The 10-12 am session Saturday will be devoted to the history of movie theaters in upstate New York. Norman O. Keim, co-author of “Our Movie Houses: A History of Film and Cinematic Innovation in Central New York”, will host the first hour and Karen Colizzi Noonan, President of the Theater Historical Society of America, the second half.

Dr. George J. Grella, Professor of Film History at the University of Rochester and film critic for City Magazine, will host the 2-4 session Saturday afternoon, presenting and commenting on selected early films.

The Champagne Gala is scheduled for 5-10 pm, Saturday, and will feature two films closely associated with the history of the Strand. Mary Pickford’s “Cinderella" was the first movie shown when the Strand replaced the Lyric in 1916 and Maureen O'Hara’s "Do You Love Me?" inaugurated the greatly-enlarged Strand in 1946. Hosts for the Gala will be Dr. Kenneth O'Brien, specialist on film history in Brockport’s History Department, and Dr. Sidney Rosenzweig, lecturer on film criticism in its English Department. The other commentators will join them in discussing the films and their contexts.

Admission to the Friday evening and Saturday daytime sessions will be $5, payable at the door. Participation in the Gala will cost $25. Tickets are available at the Strand, Express Mart in Brockport, the Lift Bridge Book Shop, the Red Bird Tea Shoppe, State Farm Insurance at 59 Main Street, Ryan’s Big M, and at the door. A substantial portion of the proceeds will be used to subsidize repair and restoration of the marquee and facade of the Strand.

Sponsors for the Gala are the Brockport Downtown Merchants Assn., Express Mart, Lift Bridge Book Shop, Mahan Discount Liquor, Northside Service Center, Red Bird Tea Shoppe, Ryan’s Big M, State Farm Insurance, and Brockport Wegman’s.

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