Bessemer Residents Eager for Lincoln Theatre Restoration – WBHM

Bessemer Residents Eager for Lincoln Theatre Restoration – WBHM

Posted 08-30-2019 by .

Old flyers and film spools sit on a desk in the Lincoln Theatre's projection room.

Old flyers and film spools sit on a desk in the Lincoln Theatre’s projection room.

Janae Pierre,WBHM

Acclaimed actor Andre Holland is best known for his role in the Oscar winning film Moonlight and playing Andrew Young in the movie Selma.  In 2017, Holland purchased the Lincoln Theatre in his hometown of Bessemer, Alabama.  It’s a historic theatre that needs restoration and Bessemer residents are excited about the potential.

The Lincoln Theatre opened in 1948 in Bessemer’s downtown district.  It was known as the cinema for African Americans until it closed in the early 70s.  The owner of a neighboring clothing store then used the theatre to store furniture, shoes and mannequins, and at some point it was also a wig store. But decades later, some of the theatre’s original features remain.

“The ticket booth is still here and upstairs a lot of the original projection equipment is still in the building and a few remnants of older artifacts are still around,” Mary Holland says. 

Projectors

When her son, Andre, purchased the theatre a couple years ago his vision was to re-open it as a single-screen cinema and performing arts space. Andre lives in New York, so he left his mother in charge. 

“I think preserving it will help reenergize and rejuvenate the communities around it,” Holland says. “And hopefully turn this into the new entertainment district for the city of Bessemer.”

It looks like a big dusty warehouse, but you can tell it is a theatre by the slope of the floor. There are dozens of the original wooden theatre seats and on the ceiling there is a mural with swirls of green, orange and yellow.  Once the restoration is complete, organizers plan to offer performing space for plays, music lessons, art and more for Bessemer residents.

“I know for a fact that children in Bessemer are talented. I see it every day when I go to work,” says Temika Reasor, who works for the Bessemer City Schools System. “They just need the outlet.   This is the outlet and it could change so many different lives.” 

Reasor took a tour recently with her daughter Alexandria, who is a junior at Bessemer High School. She loves art and plays the cello. But getting to lessons, she says, is a hassle.

Reasor

“The only way for me to play the cello is to go outside the Bessemer community, so I have to drive all the way to Homewood and Brookwood just to take music classes,” she says. 

To make it easier for kids like Alexandria to do what they love,  Holland has teamed up with the Birmingham-based project consultant who helped restore the Alabama and Lyric theatres.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts is funding a design plan for the Lincoln’s marquee and signage. The city of Bessemer has also committed $100,000 towards the restoration. 

Holland is excited the grants are rolling in, but says it’s not enough. The Lyric’s restoration cost nearly $11 million. The project consultant says the Lincoln rehab will cost about half that.  In the meantime, organizers have been focusing on cleaning up the theatre.  Holland says they have had help from dozens of volunteers, including a group from the Bessemer Historic Society. 

“We have great support from the community and so we’re just gonna claim that we’re gonna have it up and running in late 2020 or early 2021,” Holland says.

Holland is hopeful the project will attract additional financial support from outside Alabama.  Last week, nearly 100 filmmakers toured the theatre as part of an exclusive Sidewalk Film Festival retreat. 

https://wbhm.org/feature/2019/bessemer-residents-eager-to-restore-lincoln-theatre/

Does Art Restoration Risk Erasing the Past? – frieze.com

Does Art Restoration Risk Erasing the Past? – frieze.com

When Paris’s Notre-Dame cathedral became engulfed in flames earlier this year, its flèche (timber spire) split into pieces, sparking a debate about how best to approach its restoration. Pitching his design for a replacement roof, leading British architect Norman Foster noted the building’s long evolutionary history. Originally completed in the 13th century, Notre-Dame was ravaged by fires several times in subsequent centuries, prompting experimental 19th century architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc to design the now-ruined spire in 1844. His version, which shaped the image of the cathedral as we know it today, differed from the original, being taller, sharper, and more decorative. Viollet-le-Duc did not seek to replicate the original; instead, he aimed for, as Foster described it in an interview with the Guardian earlier this year, ‘a combination of the dominant old with the best of the new’. In stark contrast, French architect Roland Castro called for an identical reconstruction of the spire, claiming: ‘Parisians just want it to be the same.’

The argument touches on questions of identity: if an object’s parts are replaced over time, does it remain the same object? If restoration is merely replication, then does it not become an act of enshrining, fictionalizing or even fetishizing the past – a nostalgic theatre of authenticity? Or, rather, in merging the old with the new, can it provide us with a teleological understanding of time, whereby the present improves the past as much as the other way around?

Popular awareness of restoration has increased significantly over the past few years. In July, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum prominently publicized the restoration of Rembrandt van Rijn’s baroque classic The Night Watch (1642), displaying and livestreaming the painting in a glass cube as it was scanned by researchers, curators and conservators as part of a €3 million project. Using advanced imaging technology to analyze the painting’s pigments and components, the restoration aims to preserve – or bring back? – some of the work’s original quality. But what is it about the process of restoration that’s so beguiling to the public eye?

‘People have shown extraordinary interest in our work recently,’ Babette Hartwieg, the leading restorer from Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, tells me. Last October, alongside an exhibition of paintings by renaissance masters Andrea Mantegna and Giovanni Bellini, the Gemäldegalerie presented a show titled ‘Bellini Plus: Research and Restoration’, which provided insights into techniques, object histories and questions of restoration. ‘Our profession is changing,’ Hartwieg adds, standing in front of Mantegna’s Presentation at the Temple (c.1455). ‘New means of analysis allow us to co-operate with curators much more closely today.’ Understanding how paintings were moulded, glazed, textured and restored in past centuries could help draw better conclusions regarding their genesis, she explains, and eventually also their meaning.

Hartwieg points towards a floral pattern on the right side of Presentation at the Temple. ‘What you can see here as blue used to be a luminous vermilion, but the colour has blackened over time. All of this can be seen with a microscope – which really is my all-time favourite instrument.’ When I ask if she would ever try to bring back the red colour, Hartwieg seems startled: ‘Of course not. We would have to overpaint! This we cannot do.’ Most of her professional time, she emphasizes, consists of analyzing and conserving, as opposed to actually restoring. ‘We want the works to be heard, but we also try to act as restrained as we possibly can.’

For Katharina Haider, from Bacon Art Conservation Studios in Berlin, the scale of influence in restoring is similarly minimal: ‘Whatever we do should be 100 percent reversible,’ is her golden rule. There are differences, too, though: the many living artists she works with can provide exact information on which materials to use. ‘Sometimes I just quietly roll my eyes when I hear their proposals,’ Haider admits. ‘Often, it’s really just about calming them. This goes for artists, gallerists and collectors alike.’ Haider’s studio looks a lot like a chemical laboratory. She specializes in synthetic materials and hoards whatever sticky, rusty, even yucky things she finds – from leathery coverings to yellowed sheet protectors. Haider’s all-time favourite material is partially gilded glass-fibre reinforced polymer. She shows me some transparent yellowish pieces of it that look like tokens; she used other parts of the same material to restore an outdoor sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle.  

There are significant regional differences in contemporary restoration. Haider recounts how, recently, in Los Angeles, a monochrome artwork by Ellsworth Kelly was completely overpainted. ‘I’m not saying it was bad. The glossiness, the weld seam visibility, the cellulite varnish – all of this was done well. But the work’s aura? Well, it’s just gone.’ Haider recalls Walter Benjamin’s essay, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ (1935), in which he famously stated that an artwork’s aura – being tied both to presence and time – couldn’t be replicated. ‘The unique value of the “authentic” work of art has its basis in ritual,’ Benjamin wrote, adding that he saw this ritual as ‘thoroughly alive’. Haider notes: ‘People forget that the aura of an artwork is not just its materials at the time of its making; it’s something ingrown, and growing.’

Naturally, this prompts some questions in relation to artworks whose ephemerality is intentional. Fluxus artists Joseph Beuys and Dieter Roth, for instance, often created pieces to incorporate an element of gradual decay: Beuys’s Fettecke (Fat Corner, 1982) consisted entirely of butter; Roth made sculptures, such as Basel on the Rhine (1969), from chocolate. More recent examples include Michael Sailstorfer’s deteriorating tree installations (e.g. Forst, Forest, 2014). These works arguably unravel the aura, militating against the concept of restoration altogether. ‘The art world is changing,’ observes Haider, who, before she started Bacon Studios, used to curate time-based video installations at Tate in London. ‘Lots of techniques get lost with digitalization. That’s why I’m so fascinated by the Japanese approach to restoration. There, the object being restored is less important than the craft behind it: the craft itself is what actually needs to be preserved.’

Regarding the reconstruction of Notre-Dame, Hartwieg and Haider are similarly sceptical. ‘The building’s roof is irrevocably lost, so whatever is constructed will never be the same,’ says Hartwieg. ‘You cannot keep everything,’ emphasizes Haider. ‘This might sound like blasphemy but, to some extent, it’s also just the course of history.’ Both recalled the story of the Berlin Palace that, having suffered significant bomb-damage during World War II, was reconstructed in a style which overlooked the building’s complex history in favour of re-creating an emblem of bygone Prussia. As Benjamin wrote: ‘The instant the criterion of authenticity ceases to be applicable to artistic production, the function of art is reversed. Instead of being based on ritual, it begins to be based on another practice – politics.’

Main image: Operation Night Watch, 2019. Courtesy: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

https://frieze.com/article/does-art-restoration-risk-erasing-past

Home and Away’s Patrick O’Connor just majorly embarrassed co-star Sophie Dillman – New Idea

Home and Away’s Patrick O’Connor just majorly embarrassed co-star Sophie Dillman – New Idea

Last month, the onscreen couple sat down to talk exclusively with New Idea about what it’s like to get hot and steamy on screen…and apparently, filming love scenes aren’t as fun as it looks.

“When we went to Parachilna, for the shower scene that we filmed, I didn’t actually get to shower so I was covered in stinky, smelly mud the whole time. Poor Paddy!” laughed Sophie.

https://www.newidea.com.au/home-and-aways-patrick-oconnor-shares-funny-pictures-sophie-dillman

Still theatres after all these years | By Poblocki Sign Company – washingtoncountyinsider.com

Still theatres after all these years | By Poblocki Sign Company – washingtoncountyinsider.com

August 30, 2019 – West Bend, WI – When Poblocki Sign Company began creating architectural signage in 1932, movie theaters were becoming the rage. Theaters had to capture attention from passing cars, and so the signage extended outward closer to the street and overhanging canopies were introduced.

West Bend Theatre sign

The blade signs on the side of the building allowed people to see the theater from a distance. There was scrollwork, chasing lights, hundreds of light bulbs, flashing words and a lot of excitement. The canopies earned the name “electric tiaras.”

Over the years, the theater signs have become a street marker and identification for area businesses directing customers. The signage has also started to deteriorate from weather, age and materials available at the time. Fortunately, there is a resurgence of people interested in preserving historical towns and buildings. Many communities involved in downtown revitalization and historical theater renovation have made signage the hallmark of their efforts.

The Historic West Bend Theatre in West Bend, Wisconsin opened in 1929 and has an active board of directors tasked with the theater restoration project. The fundraising goal to restore the theater is an aggressive $3.5 million. They have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support for this project as $2.3 million has already been donated by the community. Another $1.2 million will likely be raised through prospective government credits and grants.

The sentiment within the West Bend community is that this sign is an icon of the city. Many people are nostalgic and reminiscent of some childhood connection to the theater. Some contributors even had their first kiss there. This emotional remembrance has led to support unlike any the board have seen before on fundraising initiatives. The board is extremely grateful to the community and excited to return the theater to its grandeur.

The Historic West Bend Theatre will “re-light” their historic blade sign on Thursday, September 5 at 5:30 p.m. at 125 Main Street.

The “electric tiara” includes 478 light bulbs and 460 LED lamps within the blade sign. The sign has…. click HERE to read the rest of the story.

Garden Lounge 2
The Garden Lounge
Cast Iron banner
Cast Iron Banner 2019

https://www.washingtoncountyinsider.com/still-theatres-after-all-these-years-by-poblocki-sign-company/

Bessemer Residents Eager for Lincoln Theatre Restoration | WBHM 90.3 – WBHM

Bessemer Residents Eager for Lincoln Theatre Restoration | WBHM 90.3 – WBHM

Posted 08-30-2019 by .

Old flyers and film spools sit on a desk in the Lincoln Theatre’s projection room.

Janae Pierre, WBHM

Acclaimed actor Andre Holland is best known for his role in the Oscar winning film Moonlight and playing Andrew Young in the movie Selma.  In 2017, Holland purchased the Lincoln Theatre in his hometown of Bessemer, Alabama.  It’s a historic theatre that needs restoration and Bessemer residents are excited about the potential.

The Lincoln Theatre opened in 1948 in Bessemer’s downtown district.  It was known as the cinema for African Americans until it closed in the early 70s.  The owner of a neighboring clothing store then used the theatre to store furniture, shoes and mannequins, and at some point it was also a wig store. But decades later, some of the theatre’s original features remain.

“The ticket booth is still here and upstairs a lot of the original projection equipment is still in the building and a few remnants of older artifacts are still around,” Mary Holland says. 

Projectors

When her son, Andre, purchased the theatre a couple years ago his vision was to re-open it as a single-screen cinema and performing arts space. Andre lives in New York, so he left his mother in charge. 

“I think preserving it will help reenergize and rejuvenate the communities around it,” Holland says. “And hopefully turn this into the new entertainment district for the city of Bessemer.”

It looks like a big dusty warehouse, but you can tell it is a theatre by the slope of the floor. There are dozens of the original wooden theatre seats and on the ceiling there is a mural with swirls of green, orange and yellow.  Once the restoration is complete, organizers plan to offer performing space for plays, music lessons, art and more for Bessemer residents.

“I know for a fact that children in Bessemer are talented. I see it every day when I go to work,” says Temika Reasor, who works for the Bessemer City Schools System. “They just need the outlet.   This is the outlet and it could change so many different lives.” 

Reasor took a tour recently with her daughter Alexandria, who is a junior at Bessemer High School. She loves art and plays the cello. But getting to lessons, she says, is a hassle.

Reasor

“The only way for me to play the cello is to go outside the Bessemer community, so I have to drive all the way to Homewood and Brookwood just to take music classes,” she says. 

To make it easier for kids like Alexandria to do what they love,  Holland has teamed up with the Birmingham-based project consultant who helped restore the Alabama and Lyric theatres.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts is funding a design plan for the Lincoln’s marquee and signage. The city of Bessemer has also committed $100,000 towards the restoration. 

Holland is excited the grants are rolling in, but says it’s not enough. The Lyric’s restoration cost nearly $11 million. The project consultant says the Lincoln rehab will cost about half that.  In the meantime, organizers have been focusing on cleaning up the theatre.  Holland says they have had help from dozens of volunteers, including a group from the Bessemer Historic Society. 

“We have great support from the community and so we’re just gonna claim that we’re gonna have it up and running in late 2020 or early 2021,” Holland says.

Holland is hopeful the project will attract additional financial support from outside Alabama.  Last week, nearly 100 filmmakers toured the theatre as part of an exclusive Sidewalk Film Festival retreat. 

Bessemer Residents Eager for Lincoln Theatre Restoration

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