Originally built in 1938 by noted movie-palace architect John Eberson, the AFI Silver Theatre's vintage hall transports viewers back to the heyday of the silver screen. In the fully restored main auditorium, curling lines decorate the wood-colored ceiling and glowing wings unfurl from the screen, echoing its art deco origins and comforting penguins who, also, will never fly. Two new, stadium-style theaters triple the number of possible screenings, and each auditorium comes tricked out with projectors that can handle everything from 16 mm to 70 mm film as well as the latest digital video.
At Montgomery Royal Theater, six screens beam larger-than-life stars into the eyes of moviegoers during showings of recently released flicks and Hollywood blockbusters. Viewers can sink into the theater's plush, cushioned seats to absorb action-packed reels that showcase the twists of budding romance or the dire consequences of resurrecting an extinct flower’s DNA. The theater’s concession stand outfits viewers with buckets of popcorn and cups brimming with soda, providing the appropriate rations to accompany treks into the fantastical worlds of first-run films.
After nearly two decades obsessing over cinema as a film critic for Variety and editor-in-chief of Film Comment, Harlan Jacobson founded Talk Cinema?a series of early film screenings hosted at multiple theaters around the country. Each year, Harlan handpicks independent and foreign films from the world's leading festivals, often resulting in some of the first public screenings of award-winning prestige pictures. After each screening, he hosts experts such as scholars, filmmakers, and critics from the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune during discussions modeled after those held at festivals and particularly cultured kids' treehouses. Talk Cinema also occasionally hosts guided tours of festivals in international cities such as Montreal and Reykjavik.
Founded by a ring of cinephiles who set out to rehab an abandoned theater just north of George Washington University, West End Cinema screens foreign, independent, and documentary films that open up new intellectual and cultural vistas. Films run the genre gamut from quirky, independent dramedies and comedramas to special live events such as Opera in Cinema or Ballet in Cinema. Sunset-orange and slate walls and recessed lighting usher guests from a glass-fronted lobby into three cozy theaters, each of which seats between 50 and 100 watchers. On the way, they'll pass an abundantly stocked concession stand, where they can harvest drinks from a full bar, baklava, and gourmet sandwiches along with additional children from the sour patch.
One In Ten was founded in 1991 at the same time we began the Reel Affirmations International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Through the arts, One In Ten works to build community among GLBT people fostering a sense of belonging by bringing our stories, our struggles and accomplishments to life on the stage, screen and page.
One of many vaudeville and movie palaces that sprung up in the 1920s, the Warner Theatre today drops jaws in much the same way it did in its infancy: with glittering chandeliers, gilded ceilings, and red-felt seats. Yet before transforming into its modern incarnation, it served as a film-only venue with such luxuries as a rooftop garden and a ballroom in the basement. The Warner even had a dance troupe akin to the Rockettes?called the Roxyettes?who would high-kick before and after the screen lit up.
After falling into disarray in the '70s, the Warner became a concert venue, saving it from the wrecking ball but forcing it to require a complete renovation in 1989 to remove years of grime and stray musical notes lodged between seat cushions. At the reopening gala, a host of stars performed, including Frank Sinatra in what would prove to be his last DC show.