Been awhile! During all of the craziness of 2020 – my second daughter was born, so I took a bit of a break to spend as much time as possible with her.
Now that I’ve got your attention with a cute baby photo I’d like to talk about an issue that is affecting most of the world currently – the Covid-19 epidemic. Yes, I know you’re probably here to look at photographs of historic theatres, but as this crisis has shut down the world for a year, including most of the historic theaters – it should be addressed. The area of the US I call home – the Northeast – seems to be getting better, and as a freelance architectural photographer and digital technician jobs have started to pick up again. I was even able to host a few long-delayed workshops last year.
In some areas of the country, theaters have been able to reopen after being closed for months, but the majority of them are still closed. The larger corporate-owned ones will probably be ok when this is over, but the smaller independent theaters will need our help. Theaters were one of the first locations to close, will likely be the last thing to reopen, and when they do they will have a reduced occupancy so that social distancing is possible. I’m afraid that we’re going to see many theaters close for good because of this.
A friend of mine recently asked regarding theaters closing “Isn’t that good for you?” No, it’s not good for me. I started After the Final Curtain to raise awareness of largely forgotten structures, not to wait around for more to become abandoned. Besides, my list of theaters to document is long enough already. His comment did get me thinking – what could a 2,000 + movie theater turned performing arts center do in a time like this? It could revert to what it was built to do – become a movie theater. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know my favorite theater is the Kings in Brooklyn, NY. There are roughly 3,200 seats in the Kings. It would be a perfect place to watch a movie while still following social distancing protocols.
You may have read a bit about the Spanish Flu pandemic that began in 1918. Theaters closed pretty quickly after it began and many independent ones did not reopen. Studios took advantage of this and began to buy up the closed theaters. Studios at the time were allowed to own theaters, so all of the chains began to form after this until the Paramount Decree put a stop to studio-owned theater chains. On August 7, 2020, the Paramount Decree was overturned and studios are once again allowed to own movie theaters.
I’ve still been keeping very busy even though I didn’t post very often on here during the past year. This post is long enough already. I’ll save what I was up to in 2020 and what’s in store for 2021 (the 10th anniversary of After the Final Curtain!!) for Monday.