The Service Employees International Union sends word of a free screening Monday night of the new documentary following former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich ”as he looks to raise awareness of the country’s widening economic gap.” Inequality for All shows at 7 PM, Monday at the Harvard Exit (807 E Roy). Trailer and RSVP information for free tickets, below.
If you have been thinking about operating a 600-seat theater on Capitol Hill, here is your chance. Tuesday, Seattle Central Community College is putting out the call for interested organizations to formally apply to take over The Egyptian Theatre a little more than a month after the Landmark chain walked away from renewing its lease at the former Masonic Temple that has operated as a venue for art house cinema since 1980.
CHS reported on SCCC’s plan to search for a new tenant here.
Tuesday’s “request for proposals” call reveals what will come next in the process — and how the next era for the Egyptian will be defined. “The space might continue as a cinema, or perhaps there’s a new mixed-arts use you can imagine for it,” the school’s statement on the request, below, reads.
It’s been more than a month since the final* midnight screening at Capitol Hill’s Egyptian Theatre. The popular art house shuttered last month as tenant Landmark pulled out citing the general malaise of the movie theater industry. Landlord Seattle Central has said the public process to find a new tenant for the building will ramp up soon. In the meantime, Landmark’s remaining Capitol Hill venue the Harvard Exit is getting into a reduced version of the midnight movies game with the start of its Cine Insomnia series Saturday night. At midnight, you can catch freaky puppet flick The Dark Crystal down at Broadway and Roy. Tickets are $8.25
When our CHS photographer came down with some technical difficulties Friday night, a few readers and “the crowd” stepped in to share a few images of the opening night for Capitol Hill’s 2013 summer movie season. Thanks for the help! On the big screen, fans celebrated the 25-year anniversary of the John Waters classic, Hairspray — and, of course, a perfect Pacific Northwest summer night in Cal Anderson Park.
CHS catches the occasional indie film crew in our neck of the woods but starting soon, you’ll see a Hill-raised performer begin the process of taking his stage comedy to the silver screen after a successful crowdsourcing campaign.
Matt Smith, creator of “My Last Year with Nuns,” an autobiographical play based around his 8th grade Catholic school experiences circa 1966 on Capitol Hill, will soon star in an independent film based on the story. The production shouldn’t be hard to find.
“The public face of Capitol Hill (the churches, houses, and streets) as well as its back alleys and empty lots will frame and illustrate the lives of young Matt and his friends,” according to a release. Raised on Capitol Hill, Smith attended St Joseph’s Elementary, the setting for his monologue “comedy grounded in his Catholic education, racism, and the joys and horrors that are male adolescence,” according to the press release announcing the production. A snippet of that monologue and film background is scripted in an earlier CHS article.
According to the release:
Smith will play all the parts in the film, from his 8th grade self to the nuns of St. Joseph’s parish to the various kids, some innocent, some dangerously rough, who populated his world. The movie will mix performances shot in front of a live audience with scenes shot on location, adding texture and context to Smith’s vivid tales.
The film crew is currently looking for “1960s-era pictures of Meany Junior High, Seattle Prep, and St. Joseph’s school (ideally with students in the shot),” a July 2 post from the My Last Year With the Nuns Facebook page says. That film crew also contains some familiar faces in the area.
Capitol Hill Housing’s Michael Seiwerath will wrangle a producer role for the film while Bret Fetzer, former theater editor for The Stranger, will direct the nun-disciplined Smith. The rest of the film crew is rounded out by:
Seattle cinematographer Ben Kasulke, recently nominated for a Genius Award by The Stranger, will helm the camera. He is joined by an impressive crew of veteran Northwest artistic talent, including editor Sean Donavan (My Effortless Brilliance, Improvement Club), Production Designer Tania Kupcheck, Sound Mixer Vinny Smith, and Gaffer Kevin Cook.
With local talent in tow, Smith will add to his acting resume which includes a mailman role in “Sleepless in Seattle,” four solo performances and more.
So don’t be alarmed when you see a grown man on Capitol Hill portraying an 8th grade Catholic school student this week, that’s just Smith doing what he does best.
You can keep track of the production at facebook.com/mylastyearwiththenuns
Call it a sign of things to come. The curtains never rose for Saturday’s midnight showing of the classic Casablanca at the old Masonic temple that has become Capitol Hill’s Egyptian Theatre. The audience was told the projector was broken. Somebody else said it was a digital rights expiration issue. Whatever the cause, the disappointed crowd had better get used to a dark screen at E Pine and Harvard.
After more than 30 years of independent film, The Egyptian will go dark at the end of the month, according to people familiar with the situation. We have not yet confirmed details with management or the building’s owners.
It’s not yet clear what will come next for the old movie theater transformed by the creators of the Seattle International Film Festival and operated by indie film house Landmark Theatres since 1989.
Like the Egyptian itself, the Mark Cuban-backed Landmark chain has seen better days. In 2011, the investor put the company on the block in an effort to recoup massive investment in the theater chain. No buyer came forward. Meanwhile, the further erosion of the movie theater business coupled with new, more nimble, better financed competition has put the chain in an even more precarious place. Upgrades at The Egyptian and its sister Landmark venue The Harvard Exit as well as the other Landmarks Seattle locations have been mostly limited to changes like the addition of latte bars at the Capitol Hill outlets a few years back. Next month, Sundance Cinemas will re-open the former Landmark Metro location in the University District with “reserved seating, big comfy seats with tablettes, stadium seating, brand new digital projection, a new full bar serving drinks and bistro fare.”
We’re still confirming details around The Egyptian but it sounds like it’s not just about a challenged industry. Employees have shared with audience members that they were told the theater’s management was not preparing for the closure and that the situation with the building’s landlord has come about suddenly. A review of property records shows that the building once owned by the Seattle Community College system was part of a round of Sound Transit acquisition related to the U-Link light rail project.
We’re checking with Sound Transit to learn more about
the $1.5 million price tag in the 2010 transaction and the building’s current relationship, if any, with the school. UPDATE: We’re also waiting on more information from SCCC. As for the Sound Transit transaction, another record we found indicates that the comment below is correct — Seattle Colleges is the property’s owner and the 2010 transaction was related to the tunnel easement. The $1.5 million value from the records is the original purchase price paid in 1992. Sorry for the confusion and mistake regarding the property records. UPDATE Monday 6/17/13 9:28 AM: Seattle Central tells CHS that the theater chain made the decision to leave. “Landmark Theatre declined renewing its lease with the college and said it would move out by the end of June,” a spokesperson tells CHS. “No decision has been made on what will happen to the theater space next.” UPDATE 6/17/13 9:45 AM: Local representatives for Landmark said they are not authorized to comment on the closure and referred CHS to the corporate offices in New York. We have confirmed that the rumored last night for the theater will, indeed, be June 27th.
The 1915-built masonry building continues to host Seattle Central facilities in addition to the theater. The three-story building appeared in a survey of Seattle masonry buildings that don’t appear to meet current seismic standards. There are currently no records listed with the city indicating plans for any near-term construction at the site.
As for movie end of things, Sunday’s first showing of Before Midnight was slated to begin as scheduled and a short line formed prior to showtime in the Father’s Day sunshine. The theater will continue to operate through the end of the month, we’re told. Next weekend’s midnight movie, if you’re feeling especially nostalgic, will be Brazil, the tale of “a dystopian world in which there is an over-reliance on poorly maintained (and rather whimsical) machines.”
“European cut” ending, of course.
UPDATE 9:20 PM: No further information from the theater or the school yet at this point.
We’ve reported on the changing real estate portfolio of SCCC in recent months including a possible expansion at this Beacon Hill medical facility. Meanwhile, the school is also considering a multitude of new development even as it overhauls many portions of its crowded classrooms. Despite an enrollment drop throughout the system, SCCC has found its facilities squeezed by the nearly 18,800 students it currently serves. Though it nixed plans to build a project with Capitol Hill Housing on property it already owns on Broadway, the school is very much in the mix for being part of the development around the Capitol Hill Station light rail facility where it could build a 105-foot student housing project if the cards play out. In March, CHS reported the school was planning to pull its Erickson Theatre property back into use for class space.
The school’s Broadway Performance Hall continues to be used as a performance venue though it, too, has recently been used more frequently for lectures and instruction. The venue is regularly booked with what might best be described as an eclectic mix of concerts, local performances and recitals as well as the occasional forum — like this recent session about the possible “death” of Capitol Hill as we know it.
UPDATE 10:13 PM: If you’re looking for glimmers of hope, in addition to the upcoming Sundance opening showing that somebody out there still thinks there’s a market for movie theaters, SIFF moved in and reopened the Uptown Theater in late 2011. Given the festival’s historical and ongoing connection with the Egyptian, a similar pairing with SCCC would be an intriguing and positive outcome to the situation at 801 E Pine.
UPDATE Monday, 6/17/13 8:45 AM: We made mention of the aborted showing of Casablanca and a reference to a “digital rights” issue. Here’s an account from one person in attendance who shared the details with CHS:
It was after the saturday night showing of Casablanca was cancelled. They unfortunately took a minute before the showing to tell us about the closure. I say unfortunately because there was an electronic/computer timer on the movie for how long they could show it.. I guess it was digital. It seems the “Midnight Movie” was actually timed out at 11:59 pm. It wouldn’t play. About 45 minutes later when we were all getting refunds in the lobby [redacted] told us the story of what was going on.. Basicly a double suck. I worked at a movie theater (the Uptown) growing up. Really hate to see the Egyptian go.
The tipper said Egyptian’s management contacted the vendor for an updated code but didn’t receive an answer in time to salvage the showing.
Capitol Hill filmmaker Arthur Allen wants to tell a story of parental acceptance in a post-same-sex marriage Washington, and he’s set a major funding deadline for Father’s Day.
Winning Dad, which tells the story of a gay man’s quest to change his homophobic father’s mind, has until Sunday to reach its $30,000 funding goal on Kickstarter.
The feature film’s central character, Colby, seeks to introduce his father to his long-term partner, Rusty. He “hatches a plan to trick his father into camping with Rusty under the pretense that Rusty is Colby’s straight friend and future business partner,” according to the film’s Kickstarter.
Allen started writing the film’s screenplay while working in the United States Merchant Marine. On the crew he met many people who “were for all intents and purposes homophobic,” and set out to make a film that addresses those issues of identity and acceptance, he said.
“A lot of people who [are] homophobic feel themselves not being listened to,” he said. “This movie gives voice to those reasons and treats them on their own terms.” Continue reading
We’re probably a little too eager to post this. After the burst of warm weather in April, May has been a reminder of what a Pacific Northwest spring is really like. Let us think of summer nights in the park. Also, Cal Anderson could use some hopeful love these days.
Three Dolar Bill Cinema has announced the first film in its summer “I Need A Hero!” series and the schedule for 2013 in Cal Anderson Park:
Look, up in the sky! It’s a small army of super iconic characters, swinging into action and coming to save your summer with FREE outdoor movies!
Three Dollar Bill Outdoor Cinema returns to Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park with “I Need A Hero!” — four nights of action-packed fun!
Friday July 19 – HAIRSPRAY (1988)
Hair hoppin’, booty shakin’ Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) is breaking all the rules for the better and making heroic strides for civil rights in this bouncy & beloved John Waters classic starring Divine and celebrating its 25th anniversary! (92 mins.)
“I Need A Hero!” continues on Friday August 2, 9, 16.
All screenings are FREE and begin at sunset (around 8:30/9pm) at the southeast corner of Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park.
This is a smoke-free event. Bring low-backed chairs or blankets for seating, please.
Hot popcorn, cold drinks, candy and other concessions for sale on site. Limited lawnchair rentals available. Proceeds benefit Three Dollar Bill Cinema’s efforts throughout the year to provide voices and visibility for the LGBT community through film and video. More info at
As springtime has most definitely arrived, so has Translations, the Seattle transgender film festival. Returning for its eighth year, Translations is a four-day festival starting Thursday produced by Three Dollar Bill Cinema.
“The impact of film is strong, because it allows people to understand individual experiences,” says Sam Berliner, the 2013 festival director. The Berkeley, California-based Berliner wrote and directed the short film Genderbusters which received the Translations audience award in 2011. Continue reading