Monthly Archives: June 2011

Stanley Cup Game 7 Aftermath

Excitement Before The Big Game.

I don’t have to explain Game 7 for you; most of you know Boston won 4-0 and took the Stanley Cup with it. I don’t even have to explain the aftermath that happened immediately after. It’s worldwide news now. However I would like to tell what I experienced, why I’m not surprised and what has happened since.

I saw the event over around Robson and Beatty. It was in a building with 70 others. It was a fun time, even though we weren’t happy with the final score. We sat through watching the Stanley Cup being given out, despite our obvious disappointment. Afterwards many of us stuck around to help set the place up for tomorrow’s work day. As we were looking out the window, all we saw were people walking down the street. Within a matter of minutes, I heard someone say that two cars were being burned. Another short while later, I heard another say that a police car was set ablaze on Granville. Once we had the room completed, I talked with four others I would be leaving the building with that I felt it was best to go to the Yaletown SkyTrain. Just as we were leaving, we went outside and saw rising smoke from above a skyscraper. The skyscraper was blocking the view of where the smoke was coming from. Then we heard two explosions that sounded like gunshots only to see more smoke. It was after ten minutes of looking out to the rising smoke that we decided to walk the long route to Yaletown SkyTrain. While walking, we saw one cafe had a TV screen on and live coverage of a car burning outside the Post Office building; that area where we saw smoke rise. We were all shocked. Soon we boarded the Canada Line Skytrain, got off at the Langara station and took a bus to a Metrotown Restaurant to toast the Canucks.

 At home hours later, I didn’t know if I would be going to work the next morning. The next morning I was able to go to work but not without seeing some of the damage, destruction or repairs happening. It was all over the news. Reactions not just in Vancouver’s news but all across Canada and around the world poured in. The riot led to 150 injuries, 15 burned cars and millions in damages and stolen goods. Even a story of a Boston Bruins fan stabbed in the neck. Vancouver was officially defamed.

The craziest thing about these riots is that they were not completely unexpected. Some may remember that seventeen years ago, in 1994 when the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the New York Rangers in Game 7, there was rioting happening then too. Businesses were damaged, there were at least 100 injuries. Police had to rush in to stop the action. Remembering that, I was originally planning to title my article Vancouver Riots: The Next Generation. Recently I heard a story from my uncle that there was a riot in Vancouver back in the 60’s when they won the Grey Cup. Whatever the situation, it was the riot of 1994 that would make Vancouver the unofficial ‘riot capital of North America’. There would be further riots: 1997 at the time of the G8 summit, a multitude of pre-Olympic protests and clashes, and Olympic raids during 2010. Vancouver has also been known as a central meeting spot for anarchists from all over BC and even the Northwestern United States. Even many people knew that there would be a riot after Game 7, win or lose. Some made mention that there were people in the crowd of Georgia street dressed as fans but carrying pepper spray and goggles for the sake of wreaking havoc at the end. Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Chief Of Police even made mention in a news story that they learned from 1994 and would be prepared for a possible riot this time around. They couldn’t have been wronger.

Despite all the nasty things that happened, there was a ray of hope. As workers started cleaning up the glass from smashed-in windows, volunteers came in and helped with the clean-up. I saw many along the streets and even around the Post Office building cleaning where cars burned the night before. Groups on Facebook started support groups like: ‘Vancouver Spirit Rally,’ ‘Real Canucks Fans Don’t Riot!’ and ‘Canucks Fans Against the 2011 Riots.’ One Facebook page even encouraged volunteers to clean up from the night before. That may have to do with why there were volunteers cleaning the next day. There were even pages devoted to posting photos of people causing criminal activity like ‘Vancouver Riot Pics: Let’s Get These People Locked Up,’ and ‘Report Canucks Riot Morons.’ Pages like those has led to many arrests since. On the plywood held in place of the various business’ broken windows, people wrote messages of apology or messages condemning the rioting or support to Canucks and the city of Vancouver. It’s a given that when cowardice like the riot arises, humanity responds.

 It has been eleven days since the riots. A lot of rebuilding and replacing have happened since. A lot of support has happened since too. The reputation of Vancouver since the riots still has yet to be determined. Will new laws be passed to prevent further riots from happening? If Vancouver qualifies for another Stanley Cup finals, will there be another telecast on a big screen on Georgia Street? Win or lose, will things be better this next time? Or will we have another riot? And will the authorities be prepared this time around? Only time will tell.

My Statement To Be Made.

Stanley Cup Finals Game Seven: All Or Nothing

This is it. On Wednesday June 15th at Rogers Arena, the Stanley Cup will be decided in a single game. The two finalists–the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins–both have won three games apiece. Both have shown their strengths and both have shown their weaknesses. Both have some key players out, either by penalty or injury. Both have also been the subject of negative opinion and positive opinion. Whatever the situation, tomorrow decides it all. But who will win? Instead of predicting the winner for tomorrow, I decided to sum the two all up and break them all down:

VANCOUVER-Three wins on home ice. All of their wins have been very close: 1-0, 3-2 overtime and 1-0. One thing about the wins is that they may not have been big or spectacular but the Canucks knew how to play smart at home in order to make the wins happen. Yes, the wins were mostly conservative but their conservative play would pay off at home. Their losses to Boston have been a lot bigger: 8-1, 4-0 and 5-2. Part of the reason for their losses in Boston have to be with the lack of confidence many would display. It would be noticeable as they would miss many important plays. Also during the Boston games, there was a noticeable weakness in Roberto Luongo as he let in a total of fifteen goals. Whenever he was replaced by Cory Schneider, the Canucks would soon get their confidence back and start playing better hockey. Already two top players: Aaron Rome and Mason Raymond are out.

BOSTON-Also three wins on home ice. All three of their wins against the Canucks have been decisive: 8-1, 4-0 and 5-2. The Bruins definitely know how to go all out on them while at home but during the away games, they’re lacking. All three of their losses have been tight games. They’re not as good at scoring in Vancouver and despite having a lot of puck control, they don’t materialize it at Rogers Arena as well as they could. One thing about their big wins is that they’re hoping to use it to intimidate the Canucks en route to winning the Stanley Cup. The big wins didn’t intimidate the Canucks enough as they would win 1-0 on Game 5. Tim Thomas has been an excellent goalie conceding only eight goals in the final. However this would prove to be a weakness as there would be two Canuck wins of 1-0. Plus Boston’s big wins in Game 3 and 4 didn’t succeed in intimidating the Canucks as they would win Game 5 1-0, putting the embarrassments of Game 3 and 4 behind them.

Now there’s the overall play. The media are already calling this the ugliest Stanley Cup finals in recent years. It all started in Game 1 with the Burrows Bite. Then in Game 3 came the check from Canuck Aaron Rome to Bruin Nathan Horton. That left Horton hospitalized and out of Finals play. For Rome’s part, he was slapped with a four-game suspension also leaving him out of Finals play. Then came the ‘pumping his tires’ reference from Bruins goalie Tim Thomas to Roberto Luongo that has been well-published. Already the Canucks were labels the most hated team of the Finals by many. Then things took a worse for Boston. Game 6 saw a check to Canuck Mason Raymond which left him hospitalized with a fractured vertebrae. Also many on the web have suspected the Boston ice to be too soft and the Boston referees too ignorant to the Bruins own penalty-worthy misdoings. Already the Finals are memorable for a lot of wrong reasons.

With Game 7 just more than a day away, people are already giving out their predictions. There has even been some numerology and trivia bits floating about to hint who will win. Now I’m not one who completely believes in numerology or trivia odds and ends but I have been hearing some interesting facts that may lead to tomorrow’s fates. I heard that a Canadian host city of an Olympic Games would win the Stanley Cup the following year: Montreal hosted in 1976 and won in 1977; Calgary hosted in 1988 and won in 1989: Vancouver hosted last year and it’s just so close. Also in favor of Vancouver, there’s the fact that of the fifteen previous Game 7’s of the finals, all but two have been one in the Game 7 host city. However there’s also one going against Vancouver which I learned of during Game 5’s telecast. Of the previous fifteen Cup Finals that lead to a Game 7, all but four winners of Game 5 would not win the Cup.

Whatever the odds and ends, whatever play happened in the previous six Finals games, only tomorrow will decide the 2011 Stanley Cup Winner.. Will Vancouver’s conservative style of playing and winning at home pay off? Or will it take its toll in Game 7? Will Boston’s big wins succeed in intimidating the Canucks for Game 7? Or will it be like in Game 5 in which the Canucks were able to bounce back from humiliation and show the Bruins they weren’t so intimidated? It will all be decided when the puck drops in Rogers Arena tomorrow, Wednesday, June 15 at 5pm Pacific time. May the best team win!

Me with the Stanley Cup. Which team will hoist it tomorrow?

My Stanley Cup Experience

So some of you may have already got my first taste of Canucks talk. Well guess what’s happened since? I was at the very first Stanley Cup Finals Game at Rogers Arena! Don’t ask me how much my tickets were. The most I’ll say was they were over $500. I will say that I was glad to be in the arena for a once-in-a-lifetime event. Looking back, I can say I was there when it all started.

Tickets for the Finals games didn’t go on sale until 10am on Tuesday, May 31st,, only the morning before Game 1. They were originally intended to go on sale Monday at noon but they were delayed 22 hours for inexplicable reasons. I took an early lunch break at that time to buy a fair-priced ticket for Game 1 from Ticketmaster. By the time I got on, they were either impossible to buy or completely sold out. I know that before ticket-buying I promised myself that $500 was the most I’d attempt to spend on a Stanley Cup ticket, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I called ShowTimeTickets to place an order because I had trouble logging in to their website. Luckily, I was able to buy one ticket for Game 1, for up on the balcony. Unluckily, I broke my promise to myself. I mean it is history in the making, right?

Okay, Game Day. On Wednesday June 1st, I was finally done my job at 4:30. I was told by ShowTime to wait until 3 at the latest to get the best seats in the house for my order.  Once my work was done, I took my Canon Rebel camera and bag out of my backpack to make my trek to the ShowTime office. Luckily I get my ticket just a minute as soon as I arrive. Amen! My order was for a balcony seat and I ended up with Section 329, Row 13, Seat 107. Original ticket price, $150. Luv-lee! I immediately head to the nearest path to get to Rogers Arena. I get to one entrance and security demands that they check my camera bag and  backpack and removed all my empty liquid bottles. Real fun.  Then my ticket was taken and scanned. Easiest part of getting in.

First thing’s first, I find my seat. Okay, first thing’s not first. I go to get a medium soda and huge pretzel. Yes, my favorite game snack is the huge pretzel! I get my goodies and then head to my seat. I find there’s no finals towel there. Which means either arena personnel forgot to put one on or the guys in the seats above me stole it as an extra thing to hock on Ebay.

I set my bags underneath my chair and have my camera around my neck. Nice SLR camera I bought for the Olympics for the sake of taking some good action shots. Now ready for another set of action shots. Before the game began, there was a rap from rapper Kyprios—whom I personally don’t care for—who rapped “How The West Was One”. Game begins with the Bruins and the Canucks on the ice. The national anthems are sung. Meanwhile Luongo is warming up the whole time. Anyways the game starts off on an exciting note. During the first two minutes, the Canucks produced four shots on goal. Boston would respond strongly. First penalty of the game would go to Daniel Sedin and that landed him 4 minutes in the box. Despite more shots on goal, Boston failed to score. The second half of the first period saw more Canucks dominance with a powerplay and six shots on goal compared to Boston’s four. After the twenty minutes were up, the period was scoreless. One thing I have to say is that being so far up in my seat made it hard to notice the Burrows Bite at the very end. It looked like a typical hockey squabble from where I was sitting and I wouldn’t know until tomorrow’s news what exactly happened.

During intermission, I left my seat and learned some yahoo spilled beer on my backpack. As annoyed as I was, I should have expected it. Anyways I made a full circle around the lobby to check out the shops, concessions, exhibits and fandemonioum. During the break, I bought another pretzel, this time salted. I took photos of the exhibits and some of the more colorful fans: both Canucks and even a Bruin or two. I hope those Boston fans inside know that Vancouver has a store that sells all sorts of ‘different’ meats, including bear meat! I bought some souvenirs in time for Father’s Day. Oh yeah, Supertramp and Michael J. Fox were spectators that night and Don Cherry was there too.

Before I get into my talk about second period, I have to say that being up there in my seat was not an easy thing. I wanted to watch the game and take pictures at the same time. It was not an easy thing to do being from my seat and sometimes using my camera as binoculars for the game. Sometimes I’d forget to take pictures of some of the highlights. I must admit that watching is easier without the camera.

I arrive back into my seat minutes after second period began. By the time I arrived, Boston had four more shots on goal and the Canucks had a power play. I returned around the time an injured Dan Hamhuis delivered one of the more entertaining tackles by flipping Bruin Milan Lucic. After that, there was some boring play for a while and then came the penalties- three in a minute. Thanks to a Bruin getting a penalty, I get my first look at the green men. Vancouver loves them but I bet every other team hates them! Vancouver soon came on strong and then Boston had more goal attempts. Nevertheless, the period ended with the game still scoreless. I didn’t want to deal with a soaked bag again so I remained in my seat during intermission.

Third period came with the Canucks coming on stronger but Boston continuing to challenge. There was music mixing from DJs Marlon J English and Jay Swing and the Canucks band played in our area. The last half of the third period saw the Canucks come out of their shell and start making more of a serious attempt to score. However in the final minute, most of us were groaning about a possible overtime after a scoreless game. Then the miracle happened. With 18.5 seconds to go, Raffi Torres delivered the goal, much to the euphoria of the full venue. It was there and then we knew the Canucks did it! Even though Boston called a time-out, we knew there was no hope for them. The game was ours and the Canucks began their quest for the Cup with a Win and Torres was the savior of the night. The final mark of the win was Fin waving the Canucks flag on top of his hockey stick.

After the win, it was a party as people were leaving the Rogers Arena and into the streets of Vancouver. As I exited arena with my backpack soaked in beer, the streets were loaded with fans. I met one guy who came from Winnipeg to see this. For three blocks until I hit the Central Library, it was like a complete parade of fans. Even after I left the library ½ hour later, it was still active with fans. Already the quest for the Cup began with a good start.

Hard to believe it was five days ago. Hard to believe Game 3, Boston’s first Finals game as host happened tonight. We had a second game on Saturday where the Canucks started good but Boston pulled a second period surprise. I was with friends in a church hall at the time. I kept on telling them ‘It’s not over.’ In the third period was the game-tyer. However with an event taking place upstairs, the church was under a strict regulation to end telecast of the game at regulation, overtime or no overtime. When we made it to the chapel, we were reassured that the Canucks won: 11 seconds into overtime by Burrows.

All I can say this last while is fan euphoria like no other. There have even been fan videos from Youtube. My favorite is of a Victoria comedian imitating a Bruins fan with Boston accent, attitude, foul mouth and all. I think he could rival the green men.

Just now, Vancouverites are recovering from an 8-1 loss to Boston. I was working when it all happened but I heard a lot and saw enough from replays on Youtube. Canuck Aaron Rome has gotten the biggest heck for that check to Nathan Horton that left Horton carried off on a stretcher. Boston sure came back with a vengeance, although many Canuck fans are complaining about bad reffing. Bad reffing or not, the Bruins won the game. Personally I had a bad feeling that Boston would win today but not by that much. I knew that both Canucks wins came from very tight games. Game One was won by a goal in the last minute. Game 2 was won by an overtime goal after just eleven seconds. Before Game 3, Boston was able to show the Canucks that they can be a formidable rival, even though they lost both games. Boston knows the Canucks are a tough team but they also have a vulnerable side and they really exploited that tonight. Many Canuck fans are claiming they appeared tired after the second and that’s where it all went Boston’s way. Now the Canucks know they will have to play harder smarter games if they don’t want to give anything else up. I believe the next Boston game will be another nail biter for both teams. Nevertheless Vancouver can take comfort that they still lead the finals two games to one. It ain’t over yet.

I don’t think I’ll ever see another Stanley Cup Finals game ever again. Not that I doubt the Canucks in the future but I believe the next Stanley Cup Finals tickets will be way more expensive the next time. It’s even possible that in the near future, $1000 won’t even be enough. All I can say is I was glad to be there when it all started. Now I have something to tell my grandkids!

Me With The Stanley Cup During The 2010 Paralympics

Me With The Stanley Cup During The 2010 Paralympics

The Hollywood Theatre: Gone But Beloved By Many

On the evening of May 29, 2011, I was at the Hollywood Theatre for their last double-bill showing. It was a bittersweet night with a huge attendance. The night not only marked the end of a Vancouver landmark as we know it but a family business too.

The Hollywood Theatre was opened in the West Broadway area of Vancouver back on Thanksgiving weekend of October 24, 1935. Reginald Fairleigh, a Vancouver cinema mogul, and his wife Margaret had the theatre built in the Great Depression so that her children could have jobs. At the time, there were already 26 other movie theatres in Vancouver. The theatre opened with the double-bill of Will Rogers in Life Begins At 40 and Thelma Todd in Lightning Strikes Twice. Tickets for the double-bills were a dime or 15 cents for a balcony seat. Men had to wear a tie and women had to wear a dress. A man tempted to make out with his lady was given a small sheet of paper saying, “Treat your date as if she were your mother.” Over time, many famous faces and many great movies graced the screen. Its tagline which existed until its last days was: “Pick O’ The Best Plays.”

Styles of movies changed and the theatre would face rivalries from television, pay-pre-view and VCR but the Hollywood continued success. Also in place even in present day were many things done back when it first started, like double-bills, taking straight cash at the ticket booth, and most importantly the Fairleigh family owning and operating the theatre. The closest thing to a big change was the start of the ‘odd double-bill’ back in 1990. This phenomenon started when My Left Foot and Rambo were aired one weekend. Some first thought it was a bad mix. It actually was a success because they attracted two completely different movie crowds that were both big in size. The ‘odd double-bill’ was kept up in many different versions in the years since.

Over the years, I’ve taken a liking to the Hollywood Theatre.  Just a fact about myself: when I first moved to Vancouver from Winnipeg in February 2000, I was just a casual moviegoer with a general interest in movies for someone at my age. Nothing big. But after I saw American Beauty just days after I arrived in Vancouver, that movie and that year’s Oscar race to go with it changed my life. 

Okay, going back to the Hollywood Theatre, I first saw a movie at the Theatre in 2001, shortly after moving to Vancouver from Winnipeg for the second time, and this time for good. I saw them as a second run movie theatre that played not just any movies for a second run but good ones too. I am unsure exactly what the first movie I saw there was. I’ve been asking myself ever since I learned of the closure what the first movie I saw there was; I believe it was Almost Famous. A few weeks later, I saw Gladiator. I came to like the theatre for its double-bills and for the best price of movie popcorn in town. Another thing I liked was their photocopied program of scheduled movies over a six-week period. I’d frequently pass by to pick one up. One noteworthy thing about the program is that in its brief review of the movie, they always had the director’s name and in bold. I consider that something.  A couple of years ago, I came across the newspaper article hanging in a frame. I saw it was from 1935 and talked of the opening of the theatre.  When I saw that I thought “Wow, 1935! This is definitely a piece of Vancouver history!”

Here’s some other excellent movies I saw over there: Mulholland Drive, City Of God, Downfall, Vera Drake, Lemony Snicket, Transamerica,  American Gangster, Changeling, Tropic Thunder, Another Year, it’s just too hard to remember them all . Yeah, I saw a couple of bad ones and the odd guilty pleasure now and then too, but the Hollywood never let me down. The most unique ‘odd double-bill’ I went to had to be the pairing of Bridget Jones: The Age of Reason and Vera Drake. Two movies with a British female lead character: two completely different films of quality. The Hollywood was really convenient when it would show certain popcorn movies and ‘Oscar buzzers’ I always wanted to see but missed during its main theatre run. I’d always check the newspaper to see what the Hollywood was showing. I also remember leaving my second job, which ends at 9pm, to rush out and take buses to the Hollywood. Even if the movie ended before midnight or past midnight, I didn’t mind bussing back home that late.

Hollywood also consists of a few movie-going milestones of mine which I’m quite proud of. The first is seeing City Of God in the spring of 2003 before most would later discover this gem on DVD. The second is A Serious Man the night before the 2009 Oscar nominations were announced. It’s an Oscar-time tradition of mine to see all five, or now ten, Best Picture nominees and seeing A Serious Man the night before the nominations were announced completed it for me right there and then!

On Monday May 23rd, which is Victoria Day, I went to the Hollywood with my cousin to see Another Year. It had been months since I had been there. As much as I like the Hollywood, I like going when there’s a movie I like or a movie I want to see but haven’t. Such was the case that day. Before I entered the theatre, I learned from the ticket taker that they would be closing and that there would be a farewell party over the weekend. That was a shock to me as well as to her.

One of the reasons for the demise is because of the current difficulties of the single-screen neighborhood theatre. Nowadays if a movie theatre is to do well, it either has to be a multiscreen cinemaplex or connected to a shopping mall. In the past ten years, Vancouver has seen a lot of single screen theatres go and end up crushed for developers to construct something new. There’s the Varsity Theatre near the University of British Columbia that ended years ago and is now developed into condo land. There was recently the Van East which ended in January and has had its inside worked in for new development. Even triple theatres like the New West Theatre and multiplexes Langley’s Willowbrook cinema closed and were developed into something new. Some multiplexes like the Granville 7 constantly face threats of closure. Currently there are only six single screen theatres in Vancouver; the independently owned Rio Theatre and Dunbar Cinema; the Festival Cinemas-owned Ridge and Park Theatres; and the organization-oriented Pacific Cinematheque and Vancity Theatre.

Another reason for its demise over the years is now of the many ways one could see film and its current ability to be accessed at no cost on the internet. I don’t want to get into a tirade about how Napster and Netflix get people with a selfish sense they have a ‘right’ to free entertainment, but I will say that movie websites like Netflix has made it so easy and affordable for one to have all the online movies they want at a monthly rate, it’s not only hit theatres hard but video stores hard too. Plus so many ways to watch movies, especially those that happened in the last 10 years like Youtube, in your airline seat, on your smartphone and even on your wristwatch. Makes the original ‘other’ ways like television, pay TV and VCR seem old and tame.

In the days before its closing weekend, I contemplated when to go to the farewell weekend. I was first thinking of Sunday only, then both Friday and Sunday. Also I was confused of what exactly was happening. What I heard at first, I interpreted that there would be a party going on in the theatre and that there would be a piano playing with all the movies silent. My mind does play tricks on me. When I returned on Thursday to take some pictures of the outside, I talked with the ticket-taker: Vince Fairleigh, the fourth generation Fairleigh to work at the Hollywood wo had been taking my tckets all these years. I told him I would miss it. Also in terms of the weekend festivities, I was left thinking of the same ‘party’ that I heard about on Monday.

Alice giving tickets one last time.

Friday the 27th came and I was to go with my friend to that ‘party’. The ticket taker at the door was an elderly lady: grandmother Alice Fairleigh well into her nineties! By the time I got in, I saw the ending of Cinema Paradiso. It wasn’t exactly a party but a showing of movies with speeches. After Cinema Paradiso ended, there were some speeches from professional actor and family friend Mackenzie Gray and from David Fairleigh Jr., the last Fairleigh to run the Hollywood. He gave some words about what the theatre was like in the past, including the ‘treat your date’ etiquette. He also talked of the experience of watching the movie in a theatre and how the new modern ways like cellphone and wristwatch can’t compare. Then began the final feature of the ‘closing double-bill’ which I will refer to later in this article. As it began, I left to check out the balcony. As I was taking some pictures, I noticed the door to the projectionist room was open and with a guest. I went into the room as well. I met David Jr. and we talked more. I learned a lot about the theatre and of the projector they had. He said “I’m going to miss the place,” not looking for sympathy. Then I returned to my friend in the theatre, after being away for almost half an hour. When the movie ended, the curtain closed. I thought I’d probably see in close on Sunday for the last time. As I was leaving, I saw Alice in the ticket booth and took some photos of her. I left wondering how Sunday will be like.

Sunday May 29th was a night of goodbyes but no one was going to shed a tear. All the family was here: grandmother Alice, David Jr. and wife, and all the Fairleigh sons with their families. The theatre was near-packed for this night, the final night. The night began with some applause to individuals. Then there was something unique that hasn’t happened in many decades but happened all weekend: a silent movie accompanied by a pianist. The pianist was Johnathan Benny, award winning director and cinematographer and good friend of Vince’s. The silent movie was The Goat which Buster Keaton directed and starred in. Many would forget that’s what the Hollywood did back when it first started. Even though it opened while ‘talkies’ were just starting, there were silent movies showed then too. It was fun to see the old film again and hear the piano played at the time in the way it was done: playing accompanying the many humorous, bizarre, dramatic and romantic moments of the film.

After The Goat ended, there were some speeches from family members like Alice, Vince and David Jr. David’s was notable because again he made the mention of the experience of watching a movie on a theatre. Despite that day being a bittersweet day, he sang the Charlie Chaplin song ‘Smile’. Then began the first of the final weekend’s double-bill Cinema Paradiso: a 1989 Italian film about Salvatore, a successful director, reminiscing about growing up in a smalltown’s theatre and learning projection running and filmmaking from the projectionist who just died. He returns to his hometown for the funeral and witnesses the Cinema Paradiso blown up. Vince picked the movie because the movie practically is what his life was all about: growing up in a movie theatre. The scene of when the grown Salvatore enters the dead Cinema Paradiso before it was blown up seemed almost synonymous with the Hollywood that weekend. At the end, the audience gave a huge applause. Mackenzie gave more thank yous but asked us to return to see the final movie of the night: Faster.

I left for a break in the lobby, taking more pictures and talking to people, especially many of the Fairleigh family including Vince’s brothers. Then I returned to the theatre to see what would be the last movie shown at the Hollywood: Faster– an action movie about a revenge mission starring The Rock. It seems odd for the Hollywood Theatre to show Faster after Cinema Paradiso but the mix of two was ironically appropriate for the closing weekend because it was part of the ‘odd double-bill’ tradition. And a double-bill of Cinema Paradiso and Faster doesn’t get any odder than that. I didn’t care too much about Faster. In fact I found it like your typical action movie with heavy emphasis on the shootings and car chases and featuring wooden overdramatic acting. Nevertheless I wanted to be there for the Hollywood’s last minutes. As The Rock left the screen, he had the honor of being the last face to grace the Hollywood’s screen. After the credits finished rolling, the curtains didn’t close. Instead some people walked around the screen area and checked some of the rooms around the screen. I then went upstairs to the balcony and said goodbye to the Fairleighs and wished them the best of luck in the future and best of luck for the theatre.

On the evening of Monday the 29th, the day after, I returned to the Hollywood. To my surprise, the neon lights were on. I saw the inside from the windows. Empty concessions, tables and chairs from the night, mop left out. Closings are never pretty. The future of the Theatre is a big question mark. I’ve been hearing a lot of tales about what will happen. Some say the developers want to either crush it or change it into something. I heard from others that Vince has partial ownership and that it will stay a theatre for at least five years. Despite all the talk of the possibilities for the Theatre, nothing was certain and closing weekend had to be treated like it was a goodbye.  Since nothing’s really definite despite the fact I’m hoping for it to reopen, I took the closing weekend as that goodbye and I’ll let time decide what happens. I plan on bussing by at least once a week to see if there will be any changes and exactly what. I hope whatever they do, if the Theatre runs again, they keep the inside exactly as is. Many people on review websites have said that entering the theatre is like stepping back in time. How many present movie theatres do you know of that do that?

I do hope for the best for the Fairleighs. I do hope for the best for the Hollywood Theatre. I do hope the new owners take good care of the Theatre. I do hope the younger generation learns to appreciate watching movies in a theatre. In fact I’m glad they aired Cinema Paradiso for the final weekend because it’s considered by many to be a ‘love letter’ to movies and movie lovers. Until then, thank you Hollywood Theatre for the memories and the experience.

Hollywood Theatre: 1935-2011