Though its sister theater, the Mayan, seems to grab all the attention as an historical treasure, Landmark's Esquire Theatre is actually a little bit older -- though you wouldn't know it from its moderne facade. But while the Mayan, which opened in 1930, survives -- with tweaks -- as the movie palace of old, the Esquire, built in 1927 as the Hiawatha, got a facelift and a new name over the years; after the Landmark bought the balconied theater in 1980, it was turned into a two-screen art house.
True to the Esquire's unfancy nature, the celebration of the cinema's 85th birthday tomorrow night will unfold like an indoor neighborhood party, with shared memories, old photos, theater trivia and a manager's choice screening of The Last Picture Show, introduced by local playwright/director Terry Dodd.
The Peter Bogdanovich classic isn't significant to the Esquire's own history, notes Landmark publicist David Kimball, but it's definitely a pleasure to see, especially since a new 35mm, fortieth-anniversary director's cut will be screened. The film features good performances, etched with nostalgia, that will serve as a gift to the neighborhood that's long patronized the theater. "We're just darn glad to still be here and can have a great night with the folks who've supported us all these years," Kimball says.
The party starts at 7:30 p.m. August 30; when the film lets out, moviegoers can walk their ticket stubs down the street to the Campagna Salumi Bar and Pizzeria for an after-party with door prizes, and food and drink specials. That's a good deal, considering that the movie tickets themselves will be $5, and for one night only a popcorn and soda combo can be had for $3. Free refills, too! Visit the Esquire online for details.
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