The Theatre N at Nemours nestles in downtown Wilmington, but its focus extends beyond the city's borders?the theater screens independent films from around the world, from dramas to documentaries. As patrons watch in the comfort of the more than 200 seats, they nosh on freshly popped popcorn, candy, and other classics from the concession stand.
The wait for movie concessions shouldn't be as long as the movie itself. At Westown Movies, selecting a snack is as easy as dashing into a corner store?just grab what you want from the shop and then get into the checkout line. Beyond popcorn and soda, you'll also find tasty treats from local vendors, such as Pat's pizza, Pretzel Boys pretzels, and fresh whoopee pies from Smackerals by Michelle.
All these snacks keep rumbling tummies from drowning out the dialogue during a variety of first-run movies. Of Westown's 12 screens, the biggest is the GTX theater's 61-footer, equipped with Dolby Atmos sound and stadium seating with extra legroom. Aside from cinematic features, Westown Movies also rents out its screens for game parties, when guests can hook up their video-game systems and play out their own adventures on a grand, cinematic scale.
Talk Cinema offers an industry-insider peek of upcoming foreign and independent pictures, all curated by longtime film critic Harlan Jacobson. Guests receive the indiscreet honor of previewing the freshest films, followed by a discussion led by a guest speaker who might be a notable critic, a filmmaker, or an artisanal popcorn chef. Attendees have no prior knowledge of the day's screening, giving viewers a roulette of genres to experience, including psychological thrillers, romantic dramas, and heart-warming documentaries on the evolution of ice-cube trays. All shows start on Sundays at 10 a.m., with doors opening at 9:30 a.m.
The second annual Philly F/M Festival culls hordes of independent films and live music, emphasizing the interplay of the two media. Thursday night hosts the event's kick-off party as Philadelphia Slick douses the crowd with waves of toe-tapping beats and games of Simon Says. The neighborhood's lights dim on Friday as the film screenings begin at 7 p.m. with Sound It Out, a phonetically precise documentary that chronicles the last vinyl record shop in Teesside, England. Meet Me on South Street, The Story of JC Dobbs (September 24 at 6:30 p.m.) delves into Philadelphia's artistic subculture and underground crocheting scene from the 1970s to 1996 through the lens of one of its signature and now defunct musical establishments.
Written by Richard Greenberg, Take Me Out centers on Darren Lemmings, an arrogant superstar on the New York Empires whose coming out of the closet irrevocably alters the national pastime. Amid the anger of deeply racist and homophobic teammate Shane Mungitt, the admiration of gay financial manager Mason Marzac, and the reactions of other players in the locker room, the only person who seems unaffected by the revelation is Darren himself. Watch the drama swirl around the ego-ridden protagonist both on and off the field, but always on the stage, at the Plays & Players performance of your choice.
The building that would eventually become Merriam Theater opened as the Sam S. Shubert Theater in 1918, honoring the famous, theater-owning Shubert family’s youngest member, who died tragically in a train accident a decade earlier. Following the fortunes of its fellow theaters, the Merriam's inaugural years saw success with toe-tapping Gershwin musicals and spine-tingling Shakespearean performances by John Barrymore. As vaudeville petered out and the country slid into a depression, the theater struggled to pay the bills through more tawdry means, hosting burlesque shows and letting patrons see the stage without its curtain. The University of Arts eventually bought the building in 1972, and restored the venue to its former glory as host to the country's finest performers.