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A Movie Palace Is In Danger...


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30 replies to this topic

#1 of 31 OFFLINE   Andrew_Sch

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Posted February 08 2007 - 12:27 PM

Hey everyone, it's been quite a while since I've posted here, but my favorite movie theater is in danger. The Senator Theater, a true art deco palace and the only classic single-screen theater remaining in Baltimore, will be auctioned off on Feb. 21 unless the owner, Tom Kiefaber, can pay off $91,000 he owes on a loan by that date. The Senator (which I believe is still in my sig) is a true treasure that any movie lover should have an interest in saving. If any of you would like to make donations or make your voices heard, the Senator's site is www.senator.com.

Thanks for listening and Save Our Senator!
"Old theatres are irreplaceable. They could never be duplicated at today's costs - but more importantly, their spirit could not be duplicated because they remind us of a day when going to the show was a more glorious and escapist experience. I think a town's old theatres are the sanctuary of...

#2 of 31 OFFLINE   Matt Fig

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Posted February 08 2007 - 01:14 PM

You would think that something like this would be a Historical Monument. Is there a way he can claim that and keep the theater? I am sure he has exhausted and explored all avenues, just curious.

#3 of 31 OFFLINE   Andrew_Sch

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Posted February 08 2007 - 01:53 PM

It's on the national register of historic places, but that only gives it tax breaks, no protection or anything. I stopped by today and picked $40 worth of gift certificates. I figure I'll pay in advance for my next five viewings and let them have the money for now. I was gonna just donate money, but I read about a guy buying $1000 worth of gift certificates and that made better sense to me. Kind of hedging my bet I guess.
"Old theatres are irreplaceable. They could never be duplicated at today's costs - but more importantly, their spirit could not be duplicated because they remind us of a day when going to the show was a more glorious and escapist experience. I think a town's old theatres are the sanctuary of...

#4 of 31 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted February 08 2007 - 02:59 PM

And another theater possibly bites the dust. Hey, maybe they'll build a Barnes & Noble... Or a Starbuck's

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#5 of 31 OFFLINE   Andrew_Sch

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Posted February 08 2007 - 03:09 PM

Funny you'd say that, there's already a Starbuck's in a shopping center across the street. A shopping center that has experienced a major revitalization over the last few years due in large part to the Senator's presence. Sigh...it's times like these when being a billionaire would really come in handy.
"Old theatres are irreplaceable. They could never be duplicated at today's costs - but more importantly, their spirit could not be duplicated because they remind us of a day when going to the show was a more glorious and escapist experience. I think a town's old theatres are the sanctuary of...

#6 of 31 OFFLINE   Chris Dugger

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Posted February 09 2007 - 12:01 AM

The purchase of gift cert's is at best a 50/50% split.... Because it is used for tickets, the money is shared..... So, the 40 bucks equals 20 for the Senator...
 

 


#7 of 31 OFFLINE   SteveJKo

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Posted February 09 2007 - 04:02 AM

I've heard wonderful things about The Senator. This is very sad. In my area, The Academy Of Music in Northampton, Massachusetts was the last classic single screen movie house to still show films. It was the last place around that still had and used the red velvet curtains covering the screen. The Academy went dark last month. It will probably continue on as a live events venue, but it looks like films are over for good there.
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#8 of 31 OFFLINE   Hayes Preston

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Posted February 10 2007 - 10:46 AM

The loss of the Senator would truely be a loss to the filmgoing community, not just in Baltimore. The Senator is one of the few theaters left that have the ability to project 70mm Film. Add to that a kick ass sound system, and huge screen, it is truley one of the best theaters I have ever seen (and heard)

#9 of 31 OFFLINE   Chris Dugger

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Posted February 11 2007 - 04:36 AM

It's simple.... Need 9 people to give 10 grand each or Need 90 people to give 1 grand each or need 900 people to give 100 bucks or need 9000 people to give 10 bucks Saving this landmark, shouldn't be that difficult. I wonder how much money he has raised. Dugger
 

 


#10 of 31 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted February 11 2007 - 04:48 AM

According to this list, and noting that a good number of the entries are now closed, there are still more than a few left. I happen to live within 5 minutes of 2 such theaters, and watched a 70mm print Lawrence of Arabia in one of them a couple of years ago.

--
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#11 of 31 OFFLINE   Hayes Preston

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Posted February 11 2007 - 09:39 AM

Taking a look at that list (at least for my region) it seems to be highly inaccurate, most of the theaters listed are closed, even ones that don't have a comment stating such. Glad you can enjoy 70mm films near you, does that fact combined with the linked list make the Senator not worth saving?

#12 of 31 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted February 12 2007 - 02:59 AM

No, just stating how fortunate he is. (The two theaters in question are The Uptown and the AFI Silver, which is where Laurence was being shown.) I can't do much living in NVA, but I'll definitely put it on my blog. Jason

#13 of 31 OFFLINE   Brian D H

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Posted February 12 2007 - 03:23 AM


Funny. We have a theater here in Golden, Colorado: Historic building, was built as a theater way back in 1911. It operated as a movie theater until 1976. It has been a clothing store for the last 25 years or so, but no damage to the building - they still had the old projector on display in the front lobby. An art-deco facade was added in the 1940s, but the old brick walls were still intact underneath.

http://gardnerhistor...n/downtown4.htm (scroll 3/4 down the page)

Anyway, the clothing store closed and the city wanted to restore the building. What do you think they did?

.....That's right, they cut holes in the brick walls for windows so they could put in offices upstairs, painted the art-deco tiles brown, and put in a Starbucks on the ground floor. Yay. At least they didn't tear it down.
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#14 of 31 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted February 12 2007 - 05:19 AM

I don't live near any 70mm venues (unless you count IMAX, and I don't) and have never seen a film projected in 70mm, subject to the same exclusion. That being said, I would love the opportunity to do so, and did work as a projectionist at a 14 screen megaplex. All of the projectors at that complex were Cinemeccanica Victoria 8s, which were capable of both 35 and 70mm projection. the projectors I worked with were all outfitted solely for 35, but we had a 15th "parts" projector which had the 35/70 gate system. What I would have given to be able to use those parts to set up one of the screens for 70mm; alas, it was not to be. Here's hoping I can still plan a trip to Baltimore @ some point and the Senator will still be open.
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#15 of 31 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted February 12 2007 - 08:44 AM

Yes. -- H

#16 of 31 OFFLINE   Hayes Preston

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Posted February 12 2007 - 09:32 AM

So far, he's got about 33K.

#17 of 31 OFFLINE   Andrew_Sch

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Posted February 13 2007 - 01:28 PM

I saw Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm at the Senator a few years ago. It was without a doubt the best movie-going experience of my life. That film put me to sleep the first time I tried it to watch at home on DVD, but I gave it a second chance mostly because of my love for the Senator, and it's now one of my favorite movies. I couldn't believe how incredible the presentation was, but I shouldn't have been surprised given the Senator's track record. Please don't die, Senator. Posted Image
"Old theatres are irreplaceable. They could never be duplicated at today's costs - but more importantly, their spirit could not be duplicated because they remind us of a day when going to the show was a more glorious and escapist experience. I think a town's old theatres are the sanctuary of...

#18 of 31 OFFLINE   Micah Cohen

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Posted February 14 2007 - 02:03 AM

The Senator Theater here in Baltimore is a great thing. It's one of the last of its kind. A real film palace. One of the greatest places to see a great film on the whole east coast. Huge screen. Great sound system. Lush surroundings. And now it's about to get auctioned off by the bank.

The message board at the Senator website is filled with people who can't seem to forget the last time they saw STAR WARS or one of the lame sequels at the theater, and they are all weeping for the demise of the great movie house. They use phrases like "join the resistance!" and "keep the force strong," and goofy fan-speak like that. Like kids or Renn Fest enthusiasts.

And I have seen a million amazing films at The Senator, from the original KING KONG (wherein Kong is "life size" on the 40ft screen!) to 2001, and everything in between. Keifaber used to show great films all the time, usually between the showings of the Hollywood stinkers he banked on.

And now the bank is calling in the loan, it seems.

And I'm sad. Except for the idea that the place has maybe been so mismanaged, so micromanaged (and I hate to say anything bad about Tom, since I know he's obviously completely DEDICATED), so reliant upon Hollywood dreck (as opposed to films that make the theater-going experience great)... That maybe they lost sight of what would make the theater-goers happy. I can't remember the last time I saw something on the marquee that made me think, "I need to go to The Senator and see that!" It could have been YEARS.

And so my sadness is tinged with a sort of low-grade anger and head-shaking "oh well"-ishness. If you showed movies that made my friends and I want to go to the movies... Not STAR WARS sequels, not SHREK sequels, not DRECK sequels... But great films in revival like we used to see there every month back in college... Stuff we have to go to Silver Spring now to see at the AFI, and who wants to travel so far?... We would have supported the Senator much more over the last few years.

Oh well. The Senator Theater. Just another little chip off the stone. Posted Image

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#19 of 31 OFFLINE   Harpozep

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Posted February 14 2007 - 02:27 AM

I'd have loved to have sen a film or two at that theater. Living in the Boston area does not allow mw that option. Now I'm in CT and multiplexes abound. No style, no substance.

Let's not forget that many of us here have also forgone th theater experience in favor of our own controlled viewing at home. The studios put out their recent offerings so quick that if anyone wants to see newer films, one simply waits a few months and the films come to them.

The large group experience has bee supplanted by the infinite niche' market of thousands of autonomous home theaters. Not necessarily good or bad, just a change that leads to the loss of the old infrastructure leading to the deaths of theaters like the Senator.

RIP old movie houses. VOD is here to crack your foundations.........Posted Image
Best,
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#20 of 31 OFFLINE   ChristopherDAC

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Posted February 14 2007 - 04:32 AM

Well, the obvious course would be for the various enthusiasts to get together, pool their resources, and try to buy the silly thing. If you could get a hundred or two hundred people together, you would have enough money to at least make an earnest on the thing, and could then form an association or corporation to operate it on a co-operative basis. If even a few of the people who talk about how great it was are willing to put their money where their mouths are, a "reorganization" is not impossible. At worst, the effort will fail, and the situation will be no worse than it is now. Even if it turns out to be commercially unviable you could keep it open for two or three years easily.




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