Founded in 1975, Real Art Ways is one of the United States' leading innovative contemporary-arts organizations. The cinema at Real Art Ways screens first-run and classic independent films seven nights a week for the viewing pleasure of card-carrying art haus-ers and visually starved celluloid fanatics alike ($9 for non-members, $5 for members). Leave the distracting 4G smart-toaster at home to put all the focus on Life 2.0, a thought-provoking film about human interaction in the digital age. Vintage hits like the horrifying Japanese 1977 flick House and the slightly less-horrifying 1955 Guys and Dolls share silver-screen space with surprising ease. Visit the calendar for a full list of show times.
Did you know that, on average, 88% of the seats in a movie theater remain empty during a showing? According to the New York Times, this phenomenon really surprised Sean Wycliffe a few years back when he went to see the Oscar-winning film The King's Speech and shared the theater with only two other audience members. With all the focus on online video services, Sean realized movie theaters were being overlooked, and came up with a concept that could help movie houses fill their empty seats.
His brainchild became Dealflicks, a website that offers customers discounted tickets (sometimes with popcorn or soda) for same-day showings. Customers shop a selection of deals, each of which is specific to a particular film, theater, and showtime, and upon purchase, receive an email voucher they present at the theater's ticket counter. Dealflicks is partnered with theaters around the country, particularly independent and neighborhood venues, such as the treehouse of the enterprising kid down the street.
Spotlight Theaters? screens enrapture audiences with first-run movies. In each movie house, digital sounds and visual projections of fresh Hollywood films alight inner emotions of audiences resting in plush, high-backed seats?each outfitted with a coin-operated mustache comb?or thrown directly into the action through 3-D technology. As eyes and ears relish motion-picture pursuits, soda, candy, and bounties of salty, crunchy popcorn emerge from the concession stand to occupy chatty mouths or catapult towards the screen to feed the hungry actors. Front Street?s brand new Spotlight Theater also houses a full-service restaurant and will soon feature themed movie-and-food pairings, such as French cuisine with French films.
Parkade Cinemas doesn't need a marquee lit up in flashing bulbs or spotlights waving through the sky to get the community through its doors. The film buffs behind the independently run theater know that the focus of the movie experience is the movie itself, so they don't try to overshadow it. And by leaving their decor understated, they've created something distinctly familiar. The red curtains lining the walls around six screens, the blue and white tile leading to the candies in the concession stand, the gray seats whose arms hug audiences during the scary parts are all emblematic of movie-going. These, coupled with the second-run Hollywood blockbusters and the regular live performances from comedians and magicians, make Parkade Cinemas a staple of the community.
Hoyts Simsbury Cinemas enthralls cinephiles and periodic moviegoers alike with the latest Hollywood fare screened in Dolby Digital surround sound. A concessions stand nourishes viewers with delectable noshes, and the theater's stadium seating comfortably harbors audience members waiting their turn to give an acceptance speech for Best Movie Viewer. In addition to its usual cinematic offerings, Hoyts Simsbury Cinemas screens biweekly sensory-friendly showings––for families with youngsters affected by autism and sensory disorders––during which theater lights remain on, the volume is turned down, and patrons may opt to dance, sing, and hop throughout the film. Private showings for mothers and babies invite parents to enjoy movies without worrying that their child's clamor is bothering other audience members. Birthday-party packages treat celebrants to a movie-themed birthday area with a snack pack and helium balloon for each child, and private presentations or VHS support groups welcome up to 50 attendees.
In the 1920s, Thomas Lamb was the man to see if you were planning to build a theater. The designer of everything from the Orpheum in Boston to Madison Square Garden in New York, his designs fanned the flames of vaudeville and inspired so much admiration in silent-film stars that they almost spoke. So when theater impresario Sylvester Z. Poli decided to built his Palace Theater, he turned to the best. Lamb designed the Palace in a Second Renaissance Revival style, mixing Greek, Roman, Arabic, and Federal motifs into the grand lobby and domed auditorium. With such a regal foundation, Poli couldn't keep his wallet closed when decorating, and spent $1 million dressing the Theater for a king. And so well outfitted, the Theater had a good run, operating with force until 1987. Then the lights on the marquee went out, staying dark for the next 18 years. But with such undeniable beauty, it couldn't stay dark forever. A three-year, $30 million restoration and expansion brought the Palace into the 21st century, turning it into a 90,000-square-foot historical landmark. Yet now, as in the 1920s, the Theater's mission remains the same: to serve as an artistic, cultural, educational, and economic catalyst for the community.