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

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Kim Clark Show at The Senator Theatre

My title is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but last week's community meeting at The Senator Theatre and subsequent Baltimore Sun articles have revealed Kim Clark of the BDC to be an interesting, complex public figure with nuanced opinions and a flexible, changeable mind. If one were being unkind, one might say flip-flopper.

Now that I and others have videos and audio of the highlights of the meeting put together, let's examine the many conflicting opinions of that multi-faceted personality known as Kim Clark.

First of all, if you only have time to watch one video of the meeting, let it be this one from Arlette Productions. This highlights the discussion about the city's CHAP designation, which Kim Clark called "ill-timed" and "unnecessary," saying she had "in other people's face discussions" about it. I would have thought you only have "in other people's face discussions" if something is really wrong with what's happening.

But Clark softened her view about CHAP after the meeting, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Wednesday, both Clarke and state Sen. Joan Carter Conway, who called the meeting, questioned the timing and wisdom of the commission's action. But Friday, Clarke sounded less concerned: "I don't think it's as much of a roadblock as some people portray it to be."

Clark has changed her position about the likelihood of the theatre being sold at auction, too. In the meeting, she said she thought it unlikely that anyone would bid a million dollars for the theatre at auction, something she was strongly questioned on, given the extraordinary value and unique nature of The Senator.

After the meeting, she said that at least two parties with the necessary resources are interested.

Clark said she has heard from at least two prospective bidders -- one from Maryland, one from outside the state -- with the financial wherewithal to pay at least the minimum price for the theater. Plus, she said: "I'm hearing from other parties that they have been contacted. There seems to be definite interest out there."

OK, now to be fair, it may be there has been sudden interest since word of the auction got out that is surprising to Kim Clark, though not at all surprising to those of us who know and love The Senator Theatre.

But still, given that she does seem to change her mind a lot, can we really take her seriously when, confronted with the fact that her comments in a Daily Record article a couple of months ago made it seem that someone in city hall may have a personal grudge against Senator owner Tom Kiefaber, she claimed to have been misquoted? Her comments in the Daily Record set off a negative slew of nasty defamation of Tom Kiefaber that derailed the focus on The Senator from finding an appropriate solution to its future, by the way. Here you can (barely) hear her denying that she ever made those comments (she was off-mic for the denial). The comment she responds to with her denial can be found starting at about 4 minutes into this video:

What a fascinating character she is. Complex is the word, I believe.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baltimore: A City of Theatres

THIS is why we don't want Baltimore City to end up owning The Senator Theatre.

Baltimore: A City of Theatres v2.1 from Friends of The Senator Theatre on Vimeo.

Video created by a group of "historic theatre nuts" and Senator Theatre Volunteers. Thanks, Tom H and Amy!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

The Senator Theatre goes to auction July 21, 2009

It will take about $1 million to buy this wonderful, unique historic theatre with a national and international reputation at the city's foreclosure auction, as reported in the Baltimore Sun.

July 21, 2009. If you love historic theatres and want to take good care of our beloved Senator, be there.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Conflict at Senator Theatre meeting

This is a key piece of video from the community meeting at The Senator Theatre last week. More controversy over the CHAP action and the city's actions. Video courtesy of Arlette Productions.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Baltimore Sun makes sense twice in one day - will wonders never cease?

Imagine my suprise when I found out that the Baltimore Sun actually printed two things today that make sense --- a letter to the editor and an article about The Senator.

Here's the letter:

Kiefaber deserves respect, appreciation for his contributions

May 23, 2009

From Philadelphia, I have been watching in dismay the saga of Baltimore's Senator Theatre and, especially, the pillorying of longtime owner Tom Kiefaber.

I am a fan of historic cinemas, a keenly interested fan who frequently posts at websites like www.CinemaTreasures.org, and I am an active member of the Theatre Historical Society of America. As a volunteer, since 2002, I founded and have led a nonprofit organization, the Friends of the Boyd, Inc., which is seeking to ensure that Philadelphia's last movie palace, the Boyd Theatre, is restored and reopened. All of that means that I am a fan of the gorgeous and very historic Senator Theatre and a fan of Tom Kiefaber. I have been to the Senator Theatre on three different occasions, starting in 2001, to enjoy movies there.

Nowhere in the world is it easy to continue to operate a single screen movie theater, and too many single screens are just not feasible. For the last few decades, Kiefaber did it with aplomb. He put the Senator Theatre on the worldwide map of historic cinemas. He's made sure the Art Deco theater is physically maintained and that it glows with excitement. On my visits, the Senator has been a magical place. Moviegoers enjoy the backlit glass blocks of the exterior, the splendid rotunda lobby which often features interesting historic exhibits, the well stocked concession area, and a movie with state of the art sound and perfect projection on the large screen. Unforgettable is a trip to the handsomely decorated men's room suite, finding that you get to hear the movie through piped in speakers.

Kiefaber has worked hard to attract world premieres and film festivals, and he has shown mainstream blockbusters, art-house films, and classic movies. Unfortunately, the construction of so many mainstream movie megaplexes and art-house cinemas in the Baltimore area has rendered the Senator, with its huge single auditorium, no longer profitable as a theater that shows movies 365 days a year.

There must be other kinds of programs and events at the Senator. That's not Kiefaber's fault, as the same thing happened in many cities. The movie operator poured his heart and soul into the Senator. In recent years, he increasingly turned to the community for support as he literally went the extra nine yards, even putting his house up as collateral. He isn't one of those businessman who only "play with other people's money." He loves the Senator so much that he stuck his own neck out.

From what I've read, there seems to be a rush to eject Kiefaber forever and totally from the Senator. Everybody recognizes that the theater needs a new business model, one that might bring in concerts and other live events that will serve the community. To survive, the Senator will likely need to be owned by a nonprofit organization, with donations and volunteers. Nonprofits operate many theaters worldwide, with tremendous success.

Hopefully, there will still be some place at the Senator for films, such as Hollywood style movie premieres, film festivals, classic films, and maybe some first run films. That kind of mixed program is our goal for the Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia, and has worked in cities worldwide. But, Baltimore should not "toss out the baby with bath water." Kiefaber is the expert authority on the Senator, the star player who has worked with the theater building, the community and the film industry. He's a hero, not a villain. Long before many historic cinemas were saved by nonprofit organizations, Kiefaber was working super hard to make the Senator Theatre a cherished local movie theater. He deserves gratitude, and a role to play in the future of the gem that is the Senator Theatre. Please treat him with the respect he deserves.

Howard B. Haas, Philadelphia

Thank you, Howard B. Haas!

Then there's an article by Chris Kaltenbach that makes sense, too. Kim Clark doesn't necessarily make sense when it comes to the CHAP decision, which she seems to have changed her mind on, but that's not Kaltenbach's fault.

The Senator Theatre will continue showing movies and playing host to other events in the coming weeks, even as the city prepares to put the 70-year-old North Baltimore landmark up for auction.

Owner Tom Kiefaber plans to continue showing a slate of older films (such as Stagecoach, playing through May 28) until a new owner is found. He also plans to open the facility for other uses, including concerts and private gatherings, to show potential buyers the "great vitality" of the Senator.

"If you've ever had the fantasy of sitting in the theater by yourself, with everything cranked up, now is the time to approach us," he said.

The city officially purchased the troubled theater's $950,000 note from 1st Mariner Bank on Friday, said Kimberly A. Clarke, executive vice president of the Baltimore Development Corp. The date for a foreclosure auction will be set next week, she said.

"They generally take about 45-60 days," she said, "so we're hoping to have the auction by the end of June."

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Unnecessary and Ill-Timed: Baltimore City's CHAP action on The Senator Theatre

See why Baltimore City's CHAP action on The Senator Theatre is costing the taxpayers almost a million dollars that could have come from private investors. Senator Theatre owner Tom Kiefaber, members of the public, State Senator Joan Carter Conway, and Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) Executive Vice President Kim Clark all agree: CHAP's actions were unnecessary and ill-timed.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Reporter Gets Something Right on Senator Theatre!

Adam Bednar of the Messenger, move to the head of the class! A reporter finally got something right on The Senator Theatre. (Sorry to be so snarky, but local media reporting on this issue has been largely dismal.)

Mr. Bednar caught one of the key issues that came up in Senator Conway's meeting last night: even other agencies within Baltimore City government don't like the CHAP board's recent action to list the interior of The Senator on its Special List.

A quote from the article:

Where one city agency sees protection others see interference.

During a meeting Wednesday at the Senator Theater about the historic theater’s immediate future it was clear that the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation made an unpopular decision to place the theater’s interior on a special protective list.

Tom Kiefaber, the owner of the Senator Theatre, Kim Clarke, executive vice president of the Baltimore Development Corporation, and State Senator Joan Carter Conway all called the addition of the Senator to CHAP’s Public Interior Special List a roadblock to the financially troubled theater being sold. Kiefaber owes First Mariner Bank, the mortgage holder, $950,000.

“We thought the CHAP designation was unnecessary and ill timed,” Clarke said.

The special list is a stopgap measure that requires any owner of the theater to seek CHAP approval before it can alter the building’s interior while the Planning Department and the City Council consider whether or not to name it to Baltimore City’s Public Interior Landmark List.

“I perceive (the designation) as a barrier to get the dollars we need for the property,” Conway said.

Kiefaber, during the CHAP hearing last week and during Wednesday’s meeting, said CHAP’s actions scared away two parties that were interested in buying the Senator earlier this year.

Had those negotiations come to fruition, the entire debate about whether public dollars should be used to secure the theater would be moot, Kiefaber said.

The article goes on to note that Councilman Bill Henry, who was not at the meeting, is still in favor of the CHAP actions. Henry claimed he was too busy to come to last night's meeting, but was found just after the meeting at the neighboring Zen West restaurant hanging out and getting a report from other city officials.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just Back from State Senator Joan Carter Conway's Meeting at The Senator

Well, I just got back from State Senator Joan Carter Conway's meeting at The Senator Theatre. Before I say anything else, let me just say a BIG THANK YOU to Senator Conway for calling the meeting and helping us get some semblance of answers from some of the city representatives for the first time in this process. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, and there seemed to be still some obfuscation of the real motives (fancy way of saying lying) going on by some of the city players, but it was obvious that Senator Conway gets it and is not afraid to stick up for constituents and work hard to get to the bottom of what is really going on here. Truly appreciated!

I got audio of the whole meeting and video of some key parts of it. Others did too, so some of this will be up on YouTube in the next few days. Unfortunately, the media outlets got their soundbites and left before the real interesting stuff came out, so it's hard to see how they'll report what really happened, since by the time things started getting interesting, they weren't there.

The city was at first still trying to say they will own the theatre after they buy the note, but got immediately corrected by several audience members pointing out that they will own the mortgage, not the theatre. We were then able to get city officials such as Comptroller Joan Pratt and the BDC's Kim Clark on record repeatedly as admitting that there will be a foreclosure auction on the theatre (probably in about 60 days, according to a lawyer from the city). They also publicly committed to widely publicizing the auction, which since they've been apparently trying to hide the fact that they are having one up until now was quite unexpected.

Many members of the public spoke out to say there is clearly a hidden agenda here on the part of the city, which Kim Clark denied, but those of us who have been volunteering in the theatre and close to the situation know the hidden agenda exists.

Tom Kiefaber and others also managed to put in front of a wider audience the facts about the CHAP process scaring away private investors that would have saved the theatre and prevented the necessity of the city spending this money. An audience member spoke up to bring out James "Buzz" Cusack's conflict of interest on the CHAP board, since he has expressed an interest in buying the theatre. When Kim Clark quickly pointed out that Buzz had recused himself, I was able to reveal that another commissioner, Bob Embry, abstained from the vote at the CHAP meeting after his own conflicts of interest were pointed out, but had reportedly been driving the whole process up to that point.

Score some points for the good guys! This meeting got a little truth out there at last. More to come on YouTube.

Tom Harris and Mimi Shelley's video of what has happened to so many theatres in Baltimore, and what happened to the Mayfair after Baltimore City took it over, was premiered before the meeting, and that will be up on YouTube soon too. If that video doesn't make you cry, I don't know what will.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yellow Submarine ROCKS ON at The Senator!

Yellow Submarine continues this week at The Senator with evening showtimes on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 7:30 PM.

Wednesday there's the public meeting with Joan Carter Conway at 6:00 PM, so the film will not show.

How many times can I see Yellow Submarine in a week or so? It remains to be seen. I figure my chances to see Yellow Submarine on the giant 40 foot screen at The Senator with the incredible sound system are finite, so I'm taking advantage of it while I can. I think I watched the film at least 5 times in the past week. That probably means I've seen this movie at least about 50 times now in my lifetime. For some reason, I'm not tired of it. Maybe that's because The Beatles rock. Maybe it's the colors. The colors! Anyway, it's all in the mind.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Community Meeting on The Senator Theatre

Maryland State Senator Joan Carter Conway has called a


May 20, 2009, 6 pm at
The Senator Theatre

Area media outlets are reporting that Baltimore City now owns The Senator Theatre.

This is not accurate.

It has also been widely reported that The Baltimore Development Corporation [BDC] will choose the new owner or operator of The Senator Theatre and determine its future entertainment programming through the RFP process.

This is not accurate.

The ownership of the landmark Senator Theatre will be solely determined by the outcome of a public auction, expected to take place later this summer. The successful bidder at the public auction will own The Senator and proceed to determine its future use within certain parameters.

In a timely effort to separate fact from fiction and clarify the situation regarding The Senator Theatre, Maryland State Senator Joan Carter Conway, who represents the 43rd legislative district in which The Senator Theatre is located, has called a public meeting in response to constituent concerns.

The open public information session will take place at The Senator Theatre on Wednesday evening, May 20th from 6pm to 8pm.

Please spread the word!

State Senator Conway has invited City and State economic development representatives to attend the meeting.

Scheduled government representatives to date include:

* Clarence Snuggs, Maryland's Deputy Director of Housing and Community Development representing Raymond Skinner, Secretary of Housing & Community Development

* Kim Clark, Executive Vice President of The Baltimore Development Corporation, representing Deputy Mayor Andrew Frank, Neighborhood and Economic Development

Representatives of Preservation Maryland, Baltimore Heritage, The Baltimore City Historical Society, The Commission for Historic and Architectural Preservation [CHAP] and media representatives have also been invited to attend.

North Baltimore business and community leaders are invited along with all others who are concerned about the uncertain future of The Senator Theatre.

Topics to discussed include:

~The State of Maryland's financial investment in The Senator Theatre;

~The State of Maryland's position in Baltimore City's upcoming foreclosure proceedings;

~ The City of Baltimore's purchase of the 1st Mariner mortgage note secured by The Senator Theatre;

~ Baltimore City's public auction process intended to transfer ownership of The Senator Theatre;

~ The rising concerns of the extended North Baltimore residential and business communities as to The Senator's uncertain future.

In recent years the theater's present owner, Tom Kiefaber, has called The Senator "The People's Theatre". Apart from The Senator Theatre's inaugural opening on October 5th, 1939, the upcoming transition from 70 years of continuous family ownership and operationis the most pivotal event in the renowned theatre's rich history.

Please mark your calendars and encourage your family, friends and neighbors to attend the upcoming meeting at The Senator!

For further information visit:
www.senator.com or
www.thesenatorcommunitytrust.org or

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What REALLY happened regarding The Senator today

Since the stupid news media can't get anything right and some of them are falsely reporting that The Senator changed hands today, I guess I'm going to have to report the truth here.

Baltimore City's Board of Estimates voted today to approve spending the money to buy out the 1st Mariner loan on The Senator Theatre. The Senator DID NOT change hands today. I repeat, Tom Kiefaber still owns The Senator Theatre, thank you very much!

The theatre will not change hands until the gavel comes down on the foreclosure auction, which now will be rescheduled. A date has not been set, but it will likely be in a month or a month and a half.

Truth in reporting. What a concept.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

CHAP Commission Ignores Concerns - Passes Controversial Interior Controls on Senator Theatre

Well, yesterday's CHAP hearing went pretty much as expected. Rumor had it that the CHAP commission had already decided the outcome before the public hearing. Although they denied that when pointedly asked the question by Senator owner Tom Kiefaber, their lack of consideration of the objections raised by Kiefaber and members of the public, including myself, and their hasty movement toward unanimous passage of the controversial measures certainly indicated the fix had been in before the meeting even started.

I got audio of the whole sad, sorry affair, and video of some of it. Those with strong stomachs may want to listen to this.

The entire portion of the meeting on The Senator took nearly two hours. I chose not to show the staff presentation by CHAP, which was a summary of the legislation, in the videos. The actual legislation is just a sideshow to the real issue at this point.

I figure anyone who really wants to know the details of the legislation can go to the CHAP web site. The actual legislation might not be a problem if it were currently needed, and if it weren't for the inauspicious timing, which has scared off private investors and had serious detrimental consequences.

The videos therefore focus on the objections to the legislation by Senator Theatre owner Tom Kiefaber, testimony by members of the public, and the CHAP board's hasty passage of the measures anyway. They are a study in government indifference and the exercise of royal power by the elite.

Part 1: Board members are introduced. Senator Theatre owner Tom Kiefaber begins his testimony agreeing in principle with the aim of preserving The Senator's interior, but objecting to the legislation for its negative consequences.

Part 2: Kiefaber gets further into his testimony, detailing how a pattern of CHAP actions with "inauspicious" timing has derailed multiple rounds of negotiations with potential private investors in The Senator. Bob Embry catches up on his sleep.

Part 3: Kiefaber wraps up his testimony and requests that the legislation be withdrawn so that it will not interfere with the upcoming foreclosure auction on The Senator and not impede the search for a buyer who will have the resources to run The Senator without leaving the financial burden on taxpayers.

Part 4: Kiefaber asks the CHAP board whether or not it is true that the outcome of the meeting was already decided before the meeting started. CHAP Chair Tyler Gearhart denies this, but as the meeting progresses and the CHAP board ignores objections by Kiefaber and others, it becomes more and more clear that the outcome actually was already decided.

In this section also, public comment begins and Gayle Grove, long-time Senator employee, gives her testimony. My camera battery ran out, so I will report that Gayle was suitably attired in camo pants and a t-shirt that read "Do Not Star With Me You Will Not Win."

Part 5: Public comment continues. I give my testimony, where I object to the CHAP board taking actions that have scared off potential buyers and scuttled private sector solutions, which has necessitated the city to spend almost $1 million in a recession when the city's budget is seriously strained. Although I don't object to the city spending money on preserving this wonderful theatre, I do object to the timing of these actions, which appears manipulative and suspicious. (Gayle and I had coordinated our outfits, and although you can't see it, I had borrowed the "They're Lying" t-shirt from Han Solo.)

I also point out Bob Embry's conflict of interest (yes, he's Mr. X!). Embry has been involved in The Senator's finances in the past, including a previous Abell Foundation foreclosure attempt in his role as President of the Abell Foundation, and he also has a long-standing personal connection to a prominent developer who has publicly expressed interest in owning and/or operating The Senator.

Tom Harris also gives his testimony, asking several pertinent questions about why the CHAP board is proceeding with these measures at this time.

Part 6: Johns Hopkins of Baltimore Heritage is the only member of the public to speak in favor of the CHAP measures. It is pretty clear his organization has not considered the timing or other suspicious factors, but only the need to protect The Senator's interior. Hopkins speaks of The Senator as a kind of museum, and Tom Kiefaber speaks up to point out that it is absolutely not a museum, but a living, evolving entity in an ever-changing industry.

Part 7: The CHAP board ignores most of the objections raised and continues with discussion of the finer points of the legislation that they clearly intend to pass.

Part 8: The CHAP board proceeds to a vote. Tom Kiefaber objects one last time on procedural grounds: the neighborhood associations for the surrounding neighborhoods were not notified, in violation of CHAP's own procedural guidelines.

The vote goes forward anyway. Bob Embry abstains due to the criticism of his conflict of interest, but only after making sure the measures were passing unanimously, and reportedly after being the driving force behind the whole thing up to this point.

There is apparently an appeal process, and the city council still would have to approve this before it becomes law. Another disappointing day in the petty politics of Smalltimore.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Beatles and The Rolling Stones at The Senator this weekend!

Oh yeah!



The Beatles' Beloved Psychedelic Animated Feature Accompanied by The Senator's State-of-the-Art Sound

(1968 - G - 90min)

Monday, May 11th through Thursday, May 14th:

Friday, May 15th:
5:30, 7:30 & 9:30pm.

Saturday, May 16th through Sunday, May 17th:
3:30, 5:30, 7:30 & 9:30pm.

Admission $5 for everyone [cash only].
The Senator seats 900 and ample tickets will be available at showtime.

The Beatles agree to accompany Captain Fred in his Yellow Submarine and go to Pepperland to free it from the music hating Blue Meanies.


(1968 - 70min)

Friday, May 15th through Sunday, May 17th at 11:00 pm.

Admission $5 for everyone [cash only].

Originally filmed in December 1968, the special was filmed over two nights and featured not only the Rolling Stones but The Who, Jethro Tull, Marianne Faithful and an all-star jam featuring John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, May 11, 2009

CHAP hearing on The Senator tomorrow!

Baltimore City's Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) will meet to discuss proposed Special List designation of The Senator's interior spaces tomorrow. According to the hearing agenda, public discussion of The Senator will begin at 2:00 PM in the Phoebe Stanton Conference Room at the Department of Planning on the 8th floor of 417 E. Fayette Street in Baltimore City.

Eddie Leon, formerly known by this blog as "the guy" will be the staff presenter. I don't think Mr. Leon is Mr. X.

I have previously raised concerns on this blog about the timing of these actions so close to a foreclosure auction, which has reportedly scared off potential private investors in The Senator. I continue to be concerned about this matter and about conflicts of interest on the CHAP commission itself.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Yellow Submarine Continues at The Senator

In response to popular demand, The Senator's management has extended the run of Yellow Submarine through Thursday, May 14th. Yellow Submarine will play nightly at 7:30 PM through Thursday.

The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean will play nightly at 5:00 PM through Thursday, also.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Millionaire's Dream

Here is the long-awaited sequel to Woman Snorts Natty Boh to Save Historic Theatre!

Real millionaires should know they can probably buy The Senator at auction in late May or early June for about $1.1 million - and if there wasn't a lot of value there, Baltimore City wouldn't be trying so hard to take it over.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Woohoo! Yellow Submarine on the big screen!

OK. I just had to get that little scream of pure JOY out of my system. In case you can't tell, The Beatles' Yellow Submarine is one of my favorite films of all time. I've seen this one so many times I can just about recite all the bad jokes, but I don't care. Can't wait to see this on the big screen with The Senator's amazing sound system!

Yellow Submarine plays at 1:00 PM this Saturday and Sunday ONLY, so don't miss it!

Also, I'm looking forward to seeing The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, starring the late, great Paul Newman. I've never seen this one, but I love the tag line:

I want peace - and I don't care who I kill to get it!

The film will be shown with a rare 35mm I.B. Technicolor print, which means the color is gorgeously preserved. Yay!

Friday, May 8th: 5:00 & 7:30pm.

Saturday, May 9th through Sunday, May 10th: 2:30, 5:00 & 7:30pm.
Monday, May 11th through Thursday, May 14th: 5:00 & 7:30pm.

Admission $5 for everyone [cash only].

A no account outlaw establishes his own particular brand of law an order and builds a town on the edges of civilization in this farcical western.

I also want to personally remember and thank Mr. Paul Newman by starting me on a lifetime of drinking early, by offering me a beer when I was 10. (He was joking. I don't want to start any bad rumors here. The offer never came through.)

Also playing this weekend:

Horror Hotel
AKA The City of the Dead

Starring Christopher Lee

Presented with a rare original 35mm print.

Friday & Saturday evenings (5/8 - 5/9) at 10:00pm.
Admission $5 for everyone [cash only].

A young coed uses her winter vacation to research a paper on witchcraft in New England.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

CHAP Hearing on The Senator on Tuesday, May 12th

The rescheduled controversial CHAP hearing on The Senator Theatre is now scheduled for 2:00 pm on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at Department of Planning, 8th floor Phoebe Stanton Conference Room. That's at 417 E. Fayette Street in Baltimore. I'm sure the CHAP board will be happy to know that I personally canceled a planned trip to California in part so I could attend the meeting.

To briefly recap what I've written here about this, I've learned there is a powerful CHAP commissioner who is driving this process to slap unprecedented red tape on the interior of The Senator building. This government intrusion into private property has already scared away investors in The Senator, and with the timing being so close to a probably auction of the theatre, seems designed to scare away bidders. Note that when the bank auction was canceled and the city postponed the auction of the theatre, the CHAP hearing was postponed right along with it. Apparently the scare factor packs more punch if it's close to the time of the auction. (We don't know when the city's auction will take place, but I'm guessing within a month or so.)

Some of the CHAP commissioners have conflicts of interest in this, since they have either personally expressed interest in possibly acquiring The Senator or are tightly personally connected to people who have. One of the commissioners, Buzz Cusack, the owner of the Charles Theatre, recused himself from the meetings after Tom Harris and I pointed out his conflict of interest. For the record, I will say I don't personally believe Mr. Cusack is the person driving this shady maneuver by city government, but he did have a conflict of interest and was right to recuse himself.

I'm not going to go too much into my current thinking on this issue here. That would spoil the surprise. I hope people who are concerned about the future of The Senator and these shady city government dealings will show up to the hearing.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Woman Snorts Natty Boh to Save Historic Senator Theatre

She will do this again for one million dollars!

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,