Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cinema Seance

Is the Rialto haunted? You guys know I like to think it is. I like to think that late at night, the spirits of Chaplin, Keaton, Pabst, Hawks, Welles, Godard, Antonioni, Kubrick and Kurosawa all sit in the dark, screening each other's movies and talking about philosophy.

"Tragedy is a close-up," Keaton loves to say, "Comedy a long-shot."

"Yes," Kurosawa says. "And in a mad world, only the mad are sane."

" Ah, mes amis," Godard usually chimes in when things get too serious, "don't you realize that cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world?"

That's what I think happens. Late at night. In our beloved movie palace that sits locked up and seemingly lost.

I would love it if the Rialto served as a comfy hangout for ghosts. I just don't want the Rialto herself to become a ghost. There's still a lot of life left in her.

In case you missed it, you can read/see more about ghosts of the Rialto -- and other places in South Pas -- at my latest Halloween column and video montage at South Pasadena Patch.

UPDATE
For even MORE spooky and cool Halloween video -- check this out. Is it proof of time travel, back to a Charlie Chaplin movie premiere? You decide...

17 comments:

Jean Spitzer said...

What would it cost to rescue it?

Maybe a group could do it.

Judy Williams said...

I wish the Rialto would receive the same fate as the Paramount in Austin. Some generous benefactors saved it, restored it and it still serves as a venue for old movies and live performances.

Laurie said...

The Paramount is run as a non profit. THe Alex in Glendale gets 100K from the CIty of Glendale to keep it going. The Rialto has a complicated ownership and the current leaseholder is Landmark Theaters who doesn't really care if it sits there dark.

The City Revitalization Project would have pumped some initial money into the Rialto but the economy made the backing for that deal fall apart.

I"m going to write a piece on the Rialto history and current situation for Patch soon. I've touched on it here, and I so dearly love the theater itself, but have found in my cursory research into it that it is WAY more complicated than first glance. Also, there are so few single-screen theaters in the US that survive. Multiuse ones can, ones converted to nightclubs can, ones bought by Walt Disney can and ones run as non profits like Paramount can.

DB has talked about this here before, and Scott Feldman over at the Chamber of Commerce knows just about everything about the Rialto. It's not a lost cause, but it's going to need a little magic of our own to figure out how to save it.

DOn't even get me started on the movie palaces in Downtown Los Angeles that are sitting there vacant, like our very own lost ruins. Some utterly amazing places line Broadway, beautiful relics of this region's past.

altadenahiker said...

I loved your Patch piece.

This quote is attribued to many people, but I think I'll settle on Oscar Wilde: "tragedy is when i cut my finger, comedy is when you fall down an open manhole cover and die".

Laurie said...

I knew I loved you, Hiker, for numerous reasons, but now I know we were separated at birth. One of my favorite quotes of all time.

Green Guy said...

I really like this. Your new column is great too.

Cheyne Gateley said...

Godard's not quite dead yet.

Laurie said...

Oh crap. I meant Rohmer. I hate it when I confuse my New Wave directors!

So, um, like maybe Godard hangs out with dead people?

Laurie said...

Reminds me of Betty White's great line in her Saturday Night Live monologue.

"at my age I don't need Facevook to get in touch with old friends, I need a Ouija board."

Anonymous said...

Comedy-Tragedy quotes, variously attributed:

An actor reflecting from his deathbed: "Dying is easy, comedy is hard."

Another: "Comedy is tragedy plus time."

Dixie Jane said...

Get out your Ouija board. I have one you can borrow. Do whatever you can to help save the Rialto. I am far removed but I care. I know how much I love our Paramount Theatre and I am so glad it survived. Destroying these old relics is like destroying a beautiful painting because it is old. I look forward to your research on the Rialto.

Virginia said...

Long live the Rialto. Keep on it LA!

altadenahiker said...

Rohmer's dead? Thanks for breaking it to me gently.

Laurie said...

Rohmer died this past January, right around the time Howard Zinn died. Two very influential/inspirational people in my youth. And I go and confuse Rohmer with Godard. Not that I don't love Godard, too. Actually, I'm glad he's still alive! What's HE been doing lately?

Cheyne Gateley said...

Godard's latest film premiered at Cannes this year, and a lot of critics reluctantly suggested it was undecipherable. I think he also gets an honorary Oscar this month, tho he won't be there to accept it.

My utopian two cents: Redevelopment funds should be used to lure something like Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas or McMenamins to the Rialto. The former is currently scouting L.A. (while the latter seems to be firmly planted in the Pacific Northwest).

Laurie said...

Cheyne! Alamo Drafthouse -- wasn't the first one in Austin, Texas -- the town where I grew up? It was a really fun place to eat, drink and see old movies.

I don't know about McMenemins. Must look them up.

Love your ideas.

Steve Scauzillo said...

Gosh, great photo. And I really miss the place. I remember my wife and I saw "The Player" there .... how deliciously ironic.