The Lansdowne Theater has been out of commission since a fire during a movie in 1987. The first time I heard of renovation plans was about 4 years ago, when I was living in my 2nd Lansdowne apartment, and my landlord (who lived up the street) was telling me he was on a committee to start fundraising for renovations. I didn't think very much about the plan then, simply that they were looking to turn it into a live performance venue, which might interest a friend who manages local bands, and that my friend Hilary's mom would be very excited. The next time I heard about it was on Facebook, through a friend who had discovered a group called Save The Lansdowne Theater. They were holding tours to raise funds, and had an open house last year, which I attended with Becky and her sister, Julia. (Julia's photos of this trip are here, and are much better than mine, so look at them!)
Shortly after our visit there, a film crew came to town to film The Silver Linings Playbook, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. A few scenes were filmed in front of the theater, and they needed the marquee to light (which it hadn't done in over 20 years) for the scene, so it was rigged to light. At that point, the theater was given a grant to have the marquee fully restored, and on October 5th, they finally unveiled the finished project.
Lansdowne has always been such a special place to me. It was where my parents had their first apartment, where they brought me home for the very first time. It was also the place where I had my first (and second) apartment on my own. It has history and architechture and beauty unlike some of the suburban sprawl in the neighboring towns, and, in short, is a place that makes me very happy. I was so proud to be present at the relighting of the marquee. The cheers that went up, the people blocking the street in order to be part of the photograph, filled me with such warmth. There was such a sense of community, of the pride of people coming together for a common goal: to restore this once gorgeous building. I mentioned to Becky, as we walked through the second time, how I almost wish it could stay the way it is, crumbling, just a little musty. How beautiful I think it is just the way it is. But people can not enjoy it this way - it needs to be restored (and by all accounts it will be carefully and beautifully done) so that it can survive for generations to come, so that years from now more people can have the same pride that I have now.
|becky and I went to a moroccan restaurant afterwards, where I had couscous and possibly the world's largest carrot|