sundance on a sunday

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aaron
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Postby aaron » Mon Jul 02, 2007 12:55 pm

I can't believe most of the comments here. As a major film nut, I think Sundance is the best thing to come to this town in years and years (at least the years I've lived here). A nice, well-appointed, comfortable theatre showing first-run indie films...what more could you ask for? I've gone there several times now and haven't had a bad experience yet.

And the quibbling over an extra coupla dollars and reserved seats. Jesus H. Christ, how petty. I think the reserved seating is great...especially buying on line. No muss, no fuss, walk right into the theatre.
And as someone else said, if you end up not liking your seat, you can always move after the film starts. It's not like you're being policed to stay in your assigned seat.

And as for the $2, I also find that complaint incredibly petty. As I said before, anyone whose finances are in such a precarious state that $2.00 is going to seriously jeopardize their financial well-being probably shouldn't be going anywhere other than the budget places, if that.

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Postby TAsunder » Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:17 pm

Marvell wrote:He might have; I kinda doubt it.

But he is a filmmaker. And the phrases 'corporate control over media' and 'only cosmetic support for local and independent filmmakers' did come up.


Those labels apply to westgate and hilldale too, don't they?

Was he hoping for a workshop type place where he could take a film and have sundance help with actors and the like? If so he's in the wrong state.

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Postby Stu Levitan » Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:28 pm

bluethedog wrote:That's a nicely balanced article.


Thanks.
BTW, Bwis -- not so. There's a beautiful view -- the only one in the city, really -- of the Hoyt Park Overlook from the rooftop bar.

TAsunder
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Postby TAsunder » Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:41 pm

Good article, but I think it's being a bit apocalyptic about the orpheum. Since sundance opened, there have been a lot of cool movies playing at the orpheum. I believe this week they have poison friends, which was at the film fest. I don't think the orpheum is starving for good films. Just good popcorn (which can be had less than a block from the orpheum), good candy (1 door down), functional seats (about 1 in 10 at the orpheum are either entirely broken or getting there), and possibly quality projection & sound (sometimes it's quite good, other times not so much).

But at the orpheum, too, you can get a full date night experience. Get there for happy hour and they have free mussels and other appetizers, $4 martinis, and other daily specials. Or stay after for a decent dinner.

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Postby Marvell » Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:32 pm

TAsunder wrote:Was he hoping for a workshop type place where he could take a film and have sundance help with actors and the like? If so he's in the wrong state.


I guess so.

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Let them eat jujy fruits

Postby Marvell » Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:33 pm

aaron wrote:And as for the $2, I also find that complaint incredibly petty. As I said before, anyone whose finances are in such a precarious state that $2.00 is going to seriously jeopardize their financial well-being probably shouldn't be going anywhere other than the budget places, if that.


Now that's bourgeios.

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Postby Scotty » Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:40 pm

Or bourgeois.

Henry Vilas
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Re: Sundance-Hilldale

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:34 pm

Bwis53 wrote:Does the Barrymore show films any more? (Haven't noticed any thing but concerts.) I harken back to the Eastwood!

In its last years, the Eastwood was down to showing low-rent porn. The invention of BETA (and later, VHS) put a merciful end to that and led to the Barrymore makeover.

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Postby Bwis53 » Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:22 pm

How long did Majestic last, as an art house?

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Re: Sundance-Hilldale

Postby frozenCow » Wed Jul 04, 2007 2:30 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:
Bwis53 wrote:Does the Barrymore show films any more? (Haven't noticed any thing but concerts.) I harken back to the Eastwood!

In its last years, the Eastwood was down to showing low-rent porn. The invention of BETA (and later, VHS) put a merciful end to that and led to the Barrymore makeover.


The Eastwood was renamed the Cinema after a 1960's (1967?) remodel. Yes in its final days, the Cinema resorted to showing X-rated films.

Everybody cites this fact, but as I recall it was a brief period in that theater's long history. They still had kids Saturday matinées there in the mid-70's. I had a friend who worked there in the late '70's - early '80's (when 20th Century Theaters owned it). When he started there in 1977 they hadn't shown any X-rated films yet (or if they did it was rare as it didn't have that reputation). I recall they started with an occasional X-rated film in about 1979 or '80 and then slowly got to the point where that was most of what they showed (such was the state of the old-time movie houses in the early 1980's).

I think 20th Century actually closed it for awhile before it was purchased by the group that renamed it the Barrymore in about 1985. At the time, the new owners said they wanted to open an old time neighborhood theater and they had visions of restoring it back to its picture palace glory. That proved to be very costly, so not much was really done except to gut the old Cinema lobby (the gutted lobby and the current theater seating were part of the 1960's remodel, hence the aqua blue color scheme). They renamed the theater the Barrymore for the Barrymore family of actors. I suppose they wanted a change from the Cinema, but at the time I remember thinking they should have given it back its original name of the Eastwood (they were attempting to restore it to its original glory, after all).

I'm guessing that they can make more money selling it as a music venue than to show films. Unfortunately, the live music shows (with the beer and the concert crowds) are really hard on that theater. I was there a couple of months ago to see a live music show after not being there for years. It looked pretty rough compared to the last time I was there, and it looked much worse than it ever did in the days when it was known as the Cinema.

Bwis53 wrote:How long did Majestic last, as an art house?

The Majestic actually went to showing X-rated movies much earlier in the 1970's. I think they started a transition toward what today we would call "Art house films" in like the mid '70's. They had tapered off the X-rated stuff and were showing a mix of movies when I started seeing independent films there in the late 1970's.

I used to like the film festivals they had there (like the annual animation festival). The Majestic was where I first saw films by John Waters, Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch. I saw Roger Ebert give a lecture about film there in 1983. He mentioned the Majestic's Vaudeville house origin, noting that the Marx Brothers had played there when they passed through on the Vaudeville circuit in their pre-Hollywood days.

The animation festival stopped showing there in the early 1990's but I saw independent films there up to the late '90's.

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Postby Bwis53 » Wed Jul 04, 2007 3:58 pm

Am I the only one, who can remember seeing a movie in a particular theater?
I remember seeing Hard Day's Night, at Eastwood, on a real cold Christmas day, with my girlfriends.

I miss the Strand, Esquire, Capital, and Middleton Theaters! I spent some of the most fun hours of my life there. It used to be so easy the see a first run matinee for a pittance.

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Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Jul 04, 2007 4:21 pm

Bwis53 wrote:I miss the Strand, Esquire, Capital, and Middleton Theaters!

I too. The one in Middleton, in a huge Quonset Hut, had 99 cent specials in its last years. They showed second run films, like Market Square (is that still open?) and I can't remember if they had a/c.

Soon after we first met, (Ms Vilas and I were students without a lot of bucks), we found it made for a cheap date, especially if you brought your own snacks and soda. Popped the cans during loud moments in the movie.

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Postby MadMind » Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:51 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:
Bwis53 wrote:I miss the Strand, Esquire, Capital, and Middleton Theaters!

I too. The one in Middleton, in a huge Quonset Hut, had 99 cent specials in its last years. They showed second run films, like Market Square (is that still open?) and I can't remember if they had a/c.

Someone should enter these old theaters into Cinema Treasures http://www.cinematreasures.org/ .
The Strand and The Capital now have their own entries, but there's nothing on the Esquire or Middleton Theaters.
Looks like Sun Prairie used to have their own theater as well; http://cinematreasures.org/theater/12535/

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Postby white_rabbit » Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:58 pm

Growing up in Escanaba Michigan area our theatre choices were the Delta or Michigan theatres on Ludington Street. We usually had to wait a few months for "hot" movies to arrive. I'll never forget seeing "The Blues Brothers Movie" at the Michigan with Dan & Paula, the couple I baby-sat for, eating popcorn and sipping soda. It was a "bonus" for being a good sitter.

My next favorite memory is going with my mom and aunt Lee to see "Coal Miner's Daughter" at the Delta. Both theatres are gone now, but the memories remain.

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Postby frozenCow » Thu Jul 05, 2007 1:04 am

Henry Vilas wrote:
Bwis53 wrote:I miss the Strand, Esquire, Capital, and Middleton Theaters!

I too. The one in Middleton, in a huge Quonset Hut, had 99 cent specials in its last years. They showed second run films, like Market Square (is that still open?) and I can't remember if they had a/c.


I miss those theaters too. As a kid I saw a lot of movies at the Cinema, the Capital, the Orpheum, the Strand, and Hilldale. It’s hard to remember at which theater I saw a certain movie, but here are some that stand out:

The last movie I saw at the original Capital Theater before it closed was the animated Disney film "Robin Hood". That was in 1973. We climbed the dual staircase in the lobby and sat in the balcony. Going to the Capital usually meant a visit to Moon's Fun Shop next door. Then the Capital closed in 1974, the city bought it, the lobby was gutted, and the theater eventually became part of the Civic Center. It didn't open again (as the Oscar Mayer Theater) until 1980! I saw George Carlin there on opening night.

I saw "Towering Inferno" at the Strand. A friend's parent drove a group of us middle schoolers to that movie. On the return trip the parent was shocked to hear we saw a trailer for Dustin Hoffman's Lenny Bruce biography "Lenny" ("They showed a preview for Lenny?!?!"). I saw "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" with some high School buddies at the Orpheum.

The first multiplex theaters in Madison that I remember came in the 1970's. They were the 2 screen theaters at both West Towne Mall and East Towne Mall and the 4 screens at University Square 4. I saw "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", Steve Martin's "The Jerk", and "Oh God" at University Square 4.

During a bout of unemployment in 1987, I was living on N. Hancock St. and found a lot of time for matinees. I saw Woody Allen's "Purple Rose of Cairo" and "Radio Days" at the Strand; "Raising Arizona", "Peggy Sue Got Married", and "Broadcast News" at the Esquire that year.

I also had friends who worked at the Cinema, the Orpheum, and the Strand. So sometimes I got to see “behind the scenesâ€Â


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