Observing from beyond the solar system, a cultural outsider looks in.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Most Elegant Theatre I've Seen

In the past 3 months, I have spent a lot of time blogging about, or in the past month actually volunteering at The Senator Theatre, which is the historic movie theatre down the street from me. I've written a lot about the political situation surrounding The Senator, where the Baltimore City government is attempting to force a change in management, because of a grudge certain city officials apparently hold against the current owner.

What I haven't written about much is just why this is important to me, so it's high time I write a bit about why The Senator is so unique. I just love this place. I bought my house in part because The Senator was in my neighborhood and I just fell in love with it the first time I saw it. The Senator is an incredibly beautiful art deco movie theatre, first opened in 1939. It's got a spectacular facade with neon, and a beautiful circular outer lobby. Every line in the place is all curves.

It's perfectly proportioned and has a giant screen with a moderately sized auditorium, so that every seat in the house is a great seat. I can't overemphasize the importance of this, as many historic theatres I've been in have screens that are too small for the number of seats. The sound system and technical presentation has been consistently updated, so it's the best place to see a movie I've ever encountered. In short, the underlying structure is just amazing, and makes it the most elegant theatre I've ever seen. Someone just looking at the surface might not notice this, because there's some restoration that needs to occur. You have to really look at the structure to see how perfect this place is.

When I found out the theatre was having financial troubles, I eventually got in touch with the owner. I found out a lot about the reality of running a historic movie theatre, which is nearly impossible in today's economy. Then I found out that the owner and his staff have been making this heroic effort to keep the place in operation for many years, but the city of Baltimore has not only not been helping, they've been actively trying to drive him out of business, and as far as I can tell it's because they'd like to seize the property themselves and turn it over to a developer. My sense of injustice was engaged at that point, and I just can't stand by while Tom Kiefaber (the theatre owner) possibly loses his home and he and his staff lose everything they've worked for after trying so hard to keep The Senator available to future generations. There might be nothing I can do about it, which is frustrating, but at least I can provide some form of support.

I'm worried that the city government, which is trying so hard to take the place over, really doesn't get why it's special. People don't get the importance of saving The Senator unless they get that some things are about beauty and art and not just about money. It speaks to me that there's this incredible place that needs to be defended against the destructive, greedy focus on money for money's sake that's so prevalent.

Well, anyway, I always wanted to work in a movie theatre, so now I'm volunteering there. There are worse things in life than hanging out and eating popcorn, selling tickets and memorabilia, and watching movies. I just hope we can save this beautiful place, because it needs to exist simply because it's one of the good things in life.

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More Terror at The Senator Theatre!

Zombies and vampires and politicians, OH MY!

This weekend is the FANEX Horror weekend at The Senator. Here's the schedule:

-------------FRIDAY, MAY 1st-------------
Alien Factor
(1978 - Family Friendly)

Friday, May 1st - 7:00pm

"Alien Factor" was one of the first independent horror film done in Baltimore.
A spaceship carrying dangerous aliens crashes into the woods and mayhem ensues. A good alien arrives to save the day. The film stars locals including Dick Dyszel, Don Leifert and George Stover. The film has just been chosen to receive the Mystery Science Theatre treatment.

Two Front Teeth
Friday, May 1st - 9:00pm

"Two Front Teeth" was written and directed by Baltimore's Jamie Nash, who pays a warped homage to everything from Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" to "Gremlins" to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

It's the night before Christmas and Gabe Snow, a tabloid writer haunted by the Ghosts of Christmas past, is investigating a Yule Tide conspiracy. Gabe knows that Flight 1225 was brought down one foggy Christmas Eve, by a flying creature with a "glowing nose". Now, a blood-sucking Vampire - Santa Claus - has put Gabe on his list and unleashed the demonic fury of the North Pole. An army of zombie elves, who have no interest in Toys or pointy hats or dentistry, are about to turn Gabe's white Christmas blood red. Will Gabe find the true meaning of Christmas? Can he stake a heart that's two sizes too small? What will he find under his tree?

Dario Argento's

(R - 98min)
Friday & Saturday (5/1 - 5/2) - 10:30pm

A newcomer to a fancy ballet academy gradually comes to realize that the staff of the school are actually a coven of witches bent on chaos and destruction.

-------------SATURDAY, MAY 2nd -------------
The Invisible Ghost
(1941 - Family Friendly)

Saturday, May 2nd - 10:30am

Stars Bela Lugosi in one of his best poverty row productions.

Theatrical Premiere
FANEX Files: Samuel Z. Arkoff

(2008 - Family Friendly)
Saturday, May 2nd - 11:45am

Is the first in a series of documentaries from Midnight Marquee. For 19 years the FANEX classic film conventions were held in Baltimore. MidMar in conjunction with Longthrow Productions is taking those rare guest interviews and doing a series on the history of horror films. Samuel Z. Arkoff looks at the impact of Arkoff and AIP Studios.

Basket Case

Saturday, May 2nd - 1:00pm

"Basket Case" is the tale of two brothers and the jealousy that occurs when one gets a girlfriend. Oh yea, one of the brothers was an amputated undeveloped Siamese twin the other carries around in a basket. Ultra low-budget camp fun.

World Premiere
FANEX Files: Hammer Films
(2009 - Family Friendly)

Saturday, May 2nd - 3:00pm

Continuing the FANEX series, this installment focuses on Hammer Films and includes interviews with Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt, Veronica Carlson, Val Guest, Freddie Francis, Jimmy Sangster, James Bernard, Yutte Stensgaard, Caroline Munroe and more.

Horror of Dracula
Saturday, May 2nd - 5:00pm

Please Note: "The Horror of Dracula" will be presented with a rare original I.B. Technicolor [dye-transfer] 35mm print.

Starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing is considered by many to be one of the best of the Dracula films. Lee is memorizing as the seductive Count and Cushing, as always, commands the screen as Van Helsing. Tame by today's standards, at the time the film was considered excessively violent and received the X rating in Britain.

Theatrical Premiere
Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb

(2007 - Family Friendly)
Saturday, May 2nd - 7:00pm

"Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb" is Midnight Marquee's homage to 1930s horror films. Filmed in B&W, local actors share scenes with Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Peter Lorre, Lionel Atwill, George Zucco and even Barbara Stanwyck. An archeologist is missing and his fiesty fiancee travels to London, Scotland and Egypt before meeting a mummy and the evil queen that controls him.

Grave Mistakes
Saturday, May 2nd - 9:00pm

"Grave Mistakes" is a return to the horror anthology by local writer/director Chris LaMartina, who tells four stories filled with vampires, and zombies and ghouls, oh my. LaMartina's other films include Book of Lore and Dead Teenagers.

Dario Argento's

Friday & Saturday (5/1 - 5/2) - 10:30pm
A newcomer to a fancy ballet academy gradually comes to realize that the staff of the school are actually a coven of witches bent on chaos and destruction.

-------------SUNDAY, MAY 3rd -------------
Please stay tuned to www.senator.com or
www.midmar.com for added Sunday attractions TBA.

A Gary Ugarek Film
Deadlands 2: Trapped
(2008 - NR - 85min)

Sunday, May 3rd - 5:00pm

When the US gov't tests a highly secret nerve gas on the residents of Hagerstown, MD the side effects bring down a world of horrors for 6 strangers trapped inside a movie theatre.

WARNING! Snarky commentary: Hmmmm...politicians rain down horror on people trapped inside a movie theatre in Maryland...familiar plot.

World Premiere
Corpus Kristi

Sunday, May 3rd - 7:00pm

"Corpus Kristi" is described as a black comedy - Arsenic and Old Lace as redone by the Coen Brothers. The film was written by local C. Patrick Storck and directed by Shawn Jones. Stars include John Stonebraker, Mike Storck, Zeb Drinkwater, Gabby Demczuk and Tiffanny James.

World Premiere
The Good Sisters

Sunday, May 3rd - 9:00pm

"The Good Sisters" is the new film from the Chainsaw Sally gang, written and directed by Jimmy O. Debbie Rochon and April Monique Burril are witchy sisters whose way of life is in danger from a mysteroius neighbor. The sisters will have to draw on all their power as they engage in a battle of good vs. evil. But the question is, are they really the good sisters?

Plus a special sneak peak of "The Chainsaw Sally Show".

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

See The Horror of Baltimore City Officials on the Big Screen!

Zombies! We're talking zombies! OK, so it may be a bit of poetic license for me to draw a parallel between Baltimore City Officials and George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead," but just a tiny bit.

Here's the new schedule of films at The Senator...

Now Playing @ The Senator through Thursday, April 30th

Fate raised her to fame - and killed the man she loved!

A William A. Wellman Film

A Star Is Born (1937)

Starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March

Thursday, April 23rd showtime at 7:15pm

Friday, April 24th showtimes are: 5:15 & 7:15pm

Saturday, April 25th & Sunday, April 26th
showtimes are: 1:30, 3:30 & 7:15pm.

Monday, April 27th through Thursday, April 30th
showtimes are: 7:15pm.

"Recession Buster" Admission is $5

Friday, April 24th and Saturday, April 25th @ The Senator Theatre

Santana: Supernatural Live

Eric Clapton, Cee Lo, Lauryn Hill, Dave Matthews, Rob Thomas, Everlast, The Product G&B, & Eagle Eye Cherry

Friday and Saturday only at 9:15pm.

"Recession Buster" Admission is $5
Stay over for "Night of the Living Dead" at no additional charge.

Friday, April 24th and Saturday, April 25th @ The Senator Theatre

They (Baltimore City Officials) keep coming back in a bloodthirsty Lust for HUMAN FLESH!

George A. Romero's
Night of the Living Dead


Friday and Saturday only at 10:45pm.

"Recession Buster" Admission is $5

A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a historic 1939 movie theatre, whoops! I mean farmhouse.

Saturday, April 25th & Sunday, April 26th
Back By Popular Demand For an Encore Presentation @ The Senator Theatre

Stop worrying! HELP! is on the way!

A Richard Lester Film
The Beatles

The Beatles

Saturday & Sunday only at 5:30pm

"Recession Buster" Admission is $5
Stay over for "A Star is Born" at no additional charge.

Ringo finds himself the human sacrifice target of a cult of scary politicians (I just made that last part up) and the band must try to protect him from it.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

They're Lying!

Even while encased in carbonite, Han Solo sees right through Baltimore City officials...

Meanwhile, the memorabilia sale goes on, including two props from John Waters' Cecil B. Demented, which was filmed in part at The Senator (one of these props is a fake sidewalk block):

There are also some vintage promotional materials...

STATUS: Today's bank auction of the theatre has been cancelled. The city will most likely foreclose on the theatre and then buy it at their own rigged auction, probably sometime in May, but they haven't given a date. Word on the street is that they will then use a bid process to turn it over to their favorite developer. The pseudo-government, semi-private Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) has apparently taken over the city government in a coup and Andy Frank is the real mayor (or at least the power behind Sheila Dixon's throne). The family that built the theatre and has preserved and protected it for 70 years is being forced out and getting screwed in the process.

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Baltimore City Councilman explains Senator Theatre land grab!

A Baltimore City Councilman explains the city's notorious Senator Theatre land grab in this shocking video confession!

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

We only need 2 Mil of the found $40 Mil

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Baltimore City Finds $40 Million They "Lost"

Associated Press reported yesterday that Baltimore City government has found $40 MILLION dollars it "lost." Given the way this city seems to work, was it "lost" in some city official's private account gathering interest? One can only speculate on how people lose $40 MILLION.

This money will reportedly be used to renovate schools, THEATERS, and libraries. Well, hey! Why not help The Senator with some of that money before it's too late and the theatre closes to be gambled away to an uncertain future? They only need $2 million, ideally. Even $1 million would keep the theatre open.

Please note that the folks that "lost" $40 MILLION are the same people that keep smearing Tom Kiefaber in the press for being a "bad businessman." I'm pretty sure Tom has never misplaced even, say, $1 million. I'd also like to note that the Baltimore Sun, which has been complicit in the smear job that has attempted to make Tom the "bad guy" for having debts, is currently in Chapter 11 itself.

Oh, the irony!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Schedule of Films at The Senator starting Friday!

The Last Season - The Life and Demolition of Memorial Stadium
(2002 - 50min)

Starts Friday, April 17th Through Thursday, April 23rd at 6pm @ The Senator Theatre

The Silencing of the World's Largest Outdoors Insane Asylum.

A Charles Cohen & Joseph Matthew Film

"Recession Buster" Admission is $5
Stay over for "Divine Trash" at no extra cost.

The documentary captures the almost ritualistic reaction to the demise of Memorial Stadium. The Film captures a steady stream of onlookers during the year and half that the wrecking ball swung, creating a time lapse view of a city wrestling with its blue collar past.

* * *
Divine Trash
Starts Friday, April 17th Through Thursday, April 23rd at 7:15pm @ The Senator Theatre

Filmmakers Trophy ~ Best Documentary at The 1998 Sundance Film Festival

A Steve Yeager Film

An In-Depth Look at The Early Career of John Waters

"Recession Buster" Admission is $5

The life and times of Baltimore film maker and midnight movie pioneer, John Waters, Intercut with a 1972 interview of Waters are clips from his first films and recent interviews with his parents, his brother, Divine's mom, actors and crew, other directors and more. Also included is footage of Waters making his early movies. In sweet ways, this documentary is also a celebration of Divine(1945-1988).

* * *

Last weekend "Stop Making Sense" rocked The Senator!

It's The Same as it Ever Was!

This Friday, April 17th & Saturday, April 18th it's Back By Popular Demand For Encore Presentations Friday & Saturday only at 9:00pm.

Relive The Senator's legendary 1984 engagement on the big screen, cranked up with state-of-the-art sound!

A Jonathan Demme Film

"One of the greatest rock movies ever made."
Leonard Maltin

"Recession Buster" Admission is $5
Stay over for "Secret World Live" at no extra cost.

An innovative concert movie for the rock group The Talking Heads.

* * *

Starts Friday, April 17th @ The Senator
Friday & Saturday 10:30pm

A Francois Girard Film
Peter Gabriel
Secret World Live

Come Talk to Me | Steam | Across the River | Slow Marimbas
Shaking the Tree | Blood of Eden | San Jacinto | Red Raid
Kiss That Frog | Washing of the Water | Solsbury Hill
Digging in the Dirt | Sledgehammer | Big Time
Secret World | Don't Give Up | In Your Eyes

"Recession Buster" Admission is $5

* * *

Saturday, April 18th & Sunday, April 19th @ The Senator Theatre

The Senator Theatre & The Belvedere Improvement Association Present The 14th Annual Belvedere SpringFest
An Earth Day Celebration

Featuring BARAKA

BARAKA (an ancient Sufi word for the essence of life) took filmmakers to 24 countries on a worldwide 14 month odyssey capturing breathtaking images to tell the story of earth's evolution, human culture diversity, and humankind's ecological impact on the earth. BARAKA is a stunning visual and auditory masterpiece when presented on the big screen at "Baltimore's Premiere Showplace."

Admission is FREE
(Donations appreciated)

12:00 - 1:00pm (SATURDAY ONLY) :
We're "Drumming up Support" for The Senator with a one-hour drum jam.
(Bring your own drums and shakers, or use ours!)

1:00 - 2:45pm (SATURDAY & SUNDAY):
BARAKA showtime for Saturday & Sunday is 1:00pm.

* * *
Monterey Pop
Saturday & Sunday only at 2:45pm

Filmed at the Monterey International Pop Festival

A D.A. Pennebaker Film

Performances by:
Scott McKenzie, The Mamas & The Papas, Canned Heat, Simon & Garfunkel, Hugh Masekela, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Country Joe & The Fish, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Ravi Shankar & Janis Joplin

"Recession Buster" Admission is $5
Stay over to see "HELP!" at no extra cost

A documentary of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, focusing on the audience as well as performances by such artists as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin & The Who.

* * *
Stop worrying! HELP! is on the way!

Saturday & Sunday only at 4:15pm

A Richard Lester Film

Featuring: The Beatles

"Recession Buster" Admission is $5

Ringo finds himself the human sacrifice target of a cult and the band must try to protect him from it.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Senator Auction Canceled - CHAP Hearing Rescheduled

Here's the latest I'm hearing on the situation with The Senator. The auction is canceled. That's because Baltimore City is going to buy the place and/or possibly hold their own auction.

Contrary to the popular reaction that I've heard, the city buying The Senator is not good news, in my opinion. The city has a lousy track record with historic preservation, and often lets property they own sit vacant for a long time. However, the auction being canceled is good news, because it possibly gives us a few more weeks to hang out, eat too much popcorn, and celebrate The Senator's wonderful history and exquisite presence.

I know the folks at The Senator are working on schedules of events for upcoming weeks, so please keep checking www.senator.com regularly for updates. Currently and through Thursday, they're playing Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. It's wonderful thriller with a great, funny script. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Also, the memorabilia sale is still going on, so please stop in and see what's out there. The latest big item they brought out is Han Solo encased in carbonite! Very cool reproduction of the original movie prop. I've got to take my camera and get a photo today. There are now more of the red plastic marquee letters, and a lot more movie posters came out over the last few days.

The other piece of news is that the city's CHAP hearing on The Senator is rescheduled for May 12th. I know because I was in the theatre yesterday when the guy came to post the new notice. Mr. X still hard at work, I see.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

New Movie Schedule Starts Friday at The Senator

A Stanley Donen Film
Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn,
Walter Matthau & James Coburn
Daily showtimes for "Charade" through Thursday,
April 16th are: 3:00, 5:15 & 7:30pm.

A Dave Fleischer Film
"Mr. Bug Goes to Town"
Saturday & Sunday only at 12 noon & 1:30pm.
"Recession Buster" Admission is $5
The happy tranquility of Buggsville is shattered when
the populace learns that a colossal skyscraper
is to be built over their tiny town.

A Jonathan Demme Film
"Stop Making Sense"
Friday & Saturday only at 9:30pm.
"Recession Buster" Admission is $5
An innovative concert movie for the
rock group The Talking Heads.

A Jerry Garcia & Leon Gast Film
"The Grateful Dead Movie"
Friday & Saturday only at 11:00pm.
"Recession Buster" Admission is $5
The Grateful Dead performs live at
Winterland in San Francisco in October 1974.

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Too Many Movie Posters, Not Enough Wall Space

Once I have some time to actually do something about framing, The Senator's memorabilia sale will have done wonders for my home decor. I just don't know if I have enough wall space.

In the past week, I've just about moved into The Senator. I've been there every day for the past week, usually from before it opens until after closing. Well, I've always kind of wanted to work in a movie theatre. I'm having fun with this. I've sold memorabilia, tickets, popcorn, and I'm helping to go through the massive quantities of posters and other items that still have not been sorted and priced.

In the process, I'm adding some very cool stuff to my collection. Yesterday's finds include a Star Wars Episode II poster, a Fifth Element poster, a roll of trailer film for War, Inc., which I reviewed a while ago on this blog (and since John Cusack posted my review on his blog, that movie is kind of special to me now) and...drumroll please...we busted out a box of foil-embossed tickets from The Senator's gala 50th anniversary celebration in 1989, when they showed the 50th anniversary version of The Wizard of Oz and the theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One of these awesome keepsakes of Senator history can be yours for a mere $10, and it comes in a foil-embossed Senator envelope.

There are more Star Wars Episode II posters and Fifth Element posters, and more trailers for other films, too. We also busted out a roll of Lord of the Rings posters with individual characters on them: Frodo, Gandalf, Gollum, Arwen. A lot of new posters were put out yesterday --- too many to list, so come by to check it out. I know there are some very beautiful Wizard of Oz 50th anniversary posters too, and also some E.T. 20th anniversary posters. I'm into the geeky fantasy and sci-fi movies, so they tend to be the ones I notice, but there's a lot of movie posters of all kinds, and we're getting into some of the older stuff now. (The older stuff was put away first and is harder to get to, so it's taken a while to get to that.)

I also want to give a shout out to Thomas at the Star Toys Museum. He called the other day about the giant Millenium Falcon Extraordinaire that's on silent auction at The Senator. He gave me some more information about the item, which he said was one of the rare of the rare Star Wars items. It was originally displayed in a toy store (this one was in a toy store in New Jersey). There were only maybe 800 or so of them made. Each one has a serial number on a plate. The serial number of the one at The Senator is #246. These sell for up to $1500 or so --- at the current bid price of $300, this one may end up being a bargain, but there's still about a week to go on the auction. There are some other parts to it that Tom Kiefaber says he has, but they're not being displayed on it right now. Hopefully by this weekend it'll be hung from the ceiling and displayed better with the removable parts put back on it.

Well, I wish I had room for this myself, but at about 6 feet long, that would be a challenge. Thomas pointed out that we all have a lot more room over our heads than we realize, and this item can be easily hung from a ceiling.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

More Movie Memorabilia at The Senator

Last night I helped with photographing some of the larger items in The Senator's memorabilia sale. Some of the large vinyl banners, plexiglass marquee signs, standees, and other large items will be sold in a silent auction. There will be sign-up sheets out where you can put your contact information and your bid. Not all of the auction sheets are out yet, but if you come by the sale, feel free to let someone there know of your interest in specific items and the price you're willing to offer. The photos of the memorabilia sale items that I have uploaded so far are here (this will be updated as new photos are uploaded).

Here are just a few of them:

Plexiglass marquee sign from Barry Levinson's Avalon premiere at The Senator

Plexiglass marquee sign from Indiana Jones

Ladder 49 vinyl banner

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban vinyl banner

Plexiglass marquee sign from The Senator's 50th anniversary in 1989

Sin City vinyl banner with Rosario Dawson (1 out of set of 4 banners with different stars)

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Movie Fans: Don't Miss The Senator's Memorabilia Sale!

I confess. I'm guilty of failing to update my blog in a few days. In my own defense, I must say I've spent about 40 of the last 72 hours at The Senator Theatre. I've been volunteering at The Senator, because they've got back rooms full of massive quantities of movie memorabilia from years of operation, and we've been going through it bit by bit and putting it out in the lobby for sale. What's gone out so far is only the tip of the iceberg, and the sale will go on for the next two weeks as the auction approaches.

Trust me, there are rooms and rooms of posters, standees, old film reels, promotional materials, banners, and tons of other cool stuff. The folks at The Senator have shown me just a portion of it, and my jaw dropped. If you're a movie fan, you've got to get in here in the next few weeks and check this out.

There will be a silent auction for the bigger stuff, and you can sign up to bid from now until just before the theatre goes to auction. Here are a few examples of some of the bigger items available:

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King banner

Custom made Star Wars Episode 1 promotional art for showing at The Senator

Giant plastic Millenium Falcon

Plexiglass Marquee Sign from premiere of John Waters' Cry Baby at The Senator

Hand-painted sign from John Waters' A Dirty Shame premiere at The Senator

That's just a sample. Come on in to see more.

While I was helping with sales the other day, a reporter asked me what The Senator means to me. They didn't put me on the news, probably because I said nice things about the community-oriented way The Senator is run by owner Tom Kiefaber. Millions raised for charity over the years. Hundreds of local charities helped every year. But the local media has their agenda on this issue and doesn't want to put out the positive story from me and hundreds of other local people who have come in to get their piece of Senator history, many of whom have expressed their support and gratitude to Tom Kiefaber personally.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

City's Steering Committee Needs Designated Driver

As Tom Harris has pointed out at the Friends of The Senator Theatre blog, Baltimore City's secretive steering committee has made their recommendation, and they say The Senator can't be run as a non-profit. This is nonsensical, because historic theatres all over the country are being successfully run as non-profits. It looks like the steering committee needs a designated driver, because whatever they're drinking is impairing their judgement.

The only reason that Baltimore can't do the same as other cities have done is because Baltimore City is not willing to buy the time to figure out a feasible plan by stopping the foreclosure auction on The Senator.

By the way, did anyone else listening to Dan Rodricks' show on WYPR just now catch the fact that Rodricks and Deputy Mayor Andy Frank sprang the steering committee's recommendation on Tom Kiefaber while he was on the air and had not had a chance to read the recommendation?!!! Does that seem unfair to anyone else?! Smalltimore: The Home of Dirty Pool.

UPDATE: Also please note that this recommendation by the steering committee gives the city its long-anticipated excuse to back out of the "deal" with Tom Kiefaber, since one of the many conditions the "offer" was based on was the steering committee's recommendation that The Senator could be run as a non-profit.

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At The Senator This Week: Classic Films, A Wedding, and a Movie Memorabilia Sale!

The Senator Theatre is BACK IN ACTION! Woohooo! I'm thrilled to report that the beautiful art deco theatre with the kick a** technical presentation and ground-shaking sound system is going to be opening its doors to the public once more, starting TONIGHT and then this weekend!

A Wedding

Tonight, the public is invited to a wedding at The Senator! From the Baltimore Sun:

Artist Dan Keplinger, subject of the Oscar-winning 1999 documentary King Gimp, will be married Wednesday at the Senator Theatre in a ceremony he and his wife-to-be hope raises awareness of the fight to preserve the 70-year-old North Baltimore landmark.

Keplinger, a Towson native whose struggles with cerebral palsy and triumphs as a painter were chronicled by filmmakers Susan Hannah Hadary and William Whiteford, will marry Dena Huggler, a former nanny who has lived in Baltimore for 20 years. The ceremony is set for 6 p.m., and the public is invited."We wanted to have media attention to help save the Senator," says Huggler, 38. "It is a special place for Danny because his film, King Gimp, premiered there and a [sidewalk block] was made to honor this time."

In addition to the nuptials, Keplinger, 36, will auction one of his paintings. Proceeds will go toward maintaining operations at the Senator.

Classic Films

Then, this weekend, movies return to The Senator with two classic films presented with rare original I.B. Technicolor 35mm prints.

The weekend of classic movies gets started with Bob Fosse's 1972 Cabaret, starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York, and Marisa Berenson. I'm very excited about seeing this one on the big screen at The Senator. Cabaret is a fantastic musical with sinister undertones as dancers and theatre people try to make sure that the show will go on, even while the world around them in Weimar Republic Berlin is being corrupted by the evil forces of Nazism.

Cabaret plays at 2:00, 4:30, and 7:00 on Friday and Saturday and 2:00 and 4:30 on Sunday. Admission is $5 (cash only)

The late shows this weekend bring classic horror to the screen with Terence Fisher's 1958 Horror of Dracula, starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. I haven't seen this one, so it'll be a new experience.

Horror of Dracula plays at 9:30 PM on Friday and Saturday and 7:00 PM on Sunday. Admission is $5 (cash only)

Movie Memorabilia Sale

From The Senator's email today:

We're opening up The Senator's back rooms!

Don't miss your chance to own a piece of Senator Theatre history

Starting this Friday, April 3rd @ 1pm, a wide variety of Senator Theatre memorabilia, including: film posters, banners, t-shirts, standees, film reels, press books, vintage projection equipment, marquee letters, large marquee signs from past premieres and more,will fill our lobby spaces for your perusal and purchase.

Thousands of these items will be placed on sale in the next few weeks, lobby space permitting.

All sales final ~ cash or check only

Folks, they're not kidding about thousands of items. The good people at The Senator let me into these fabled storehouses of treasure they have and showed me the rooms and rooms of posters and other items. I can only say --- WOW! If you're a movie buff, you won't want to miss this.

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