Page 2 of The Lance
usually had a listing of upcoming entertainment, social, and community events
for the week. Diversions was created when The Legendary Kevin Johnson was editor the first time around. He astutely noted that people
tended to pick up free weekly community papers like Detroit's Metro Times for two
reasons: 1) Life In Hell/Ernie Pook's Comeek and 2) Entertainment listings.
Kevin's observation was a few years ahead of its time. Few ever pick up such papers
for their perspicacious articles on hemp legalization. You'll notice today
that many cities with entrenched left-of-center weeklies like Detroit's Metro Times, Toronto's Now, or Seattle's Seattle Weekly have
colorful, airy, successful competitors that eschew weighty articles on
Libertarian politics for straight-out entertainment listings, movie reviews,
and hooker ads. You gotta give the people what they want. Hence Detroit has or had Orbit, Toronto has eye, and Seattle has The Stranger.
"FILM" the "Windsor Theatre of Film" is a reference to Windsor's long running Windsor Film
Theatre. The Windsor Film Theatre was a small repertoire theatre near the U
that showed subtitled art films. All cities with a university have one.
What's remarkable is Windsor, at that point in time, had one
too. Windsor had a pretty good film school
and there was always some PhD student who entertained a fantasy about running
his own art movie house. Unfortunately there was no such theatre within
walking distance of campus. The closest theatre was a two-transfer bus ride
away. On Transit Windsor that basically meant a two-hour bus ride.
Technically the theatre was really no more than a 20-minute car drive away
(including time to park and walk to the box office). Transit Windsor just sucked that freaking much.
Most buses ran once an hour.
miserable situation in Windsor was this: the one vacant theatre
property that could be used for art house movie purposes was a two-hour
transit journey away from your largest concentration of possible customers.
That glaring, immutable fact didn't deter a succession of PhD film students
with entrepreneurially stars in their eyes from taking a lease on this old
decrepit theatre. The other problem was the old decrepit theatre was not only
old and decrepit but built in the days of huge movie houses with a single
screens and 300 seats you filled easily on a Friday night by showing a movie
about a talking horse. One would be lucky to get 25 people to a screening of Mediterraneo in Windsor. So the other strike against
striking gold in the Windsor art movie house business was you
had to rent a huge building and pay to heat it for the pleasure of ten or
twenty people three and a half nights a week. The numbers just weren't there.
Few lasted long in the Windsor art house movie biz.
changed when some genius realized if you can't bring Mohammed to the mountain
bring the mountain to Mohammed. In other words, open a theatre within
walking distance of campus. Now you're saying, "Slow down there
Donald Trump, you just said there was no such theatre near campus."
Right. What the genius realized is you didn't need a 300-seat theatre for
films that only get 50 people tops. And if you only need to show a film to 50
people tops, really, any space could be converted into a screening room. This
particular genius wasn't even a film student grad. He was a man by the name of
Dominic Giglio. Dominic had a Bachelor of Science degree and could clearly
approach the problem from a fresh perspective. What Dominic did was take out
a lease on a crappy store front near the campus and made the back of the
store into a cute theatre with seats on risers. He projected the flicks on a
pint-sized silver screen. Behold, the Windsor Film Theatre. And it was good.
Where other art house theatres opened and closed on an annual basis, the
owner of the Windsor Film Theatre kept his little project going for more than
a decade. I believe it eventually succumbed in
2001 when someone took over the lease on the building to open a yuppie pub.
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