Survival of the Fittest Building

I went to Crest Theater last night, to watch the Orphanage, and as I sat down I was asked, “Do they have screenings here?” I didn’t quite understand the question, looked puzzled, and thankfully the question was rephrased; “Do they do other events here? That’s a big stage.” Aha! I understood and rambled off the number of events they house in the theater: film festivals, concerts, lectures, and standup comedy performances.

While listing the events, it occurred to me the diversity the Crest offers up. In order to survive, and creep towards profitability, the Crest has adapted. I suddenly was impressed with the Crest. I was also, suddenly, and equally, disappointed with the Tower Theater. The Tower seems to consistently bemoan it’s inability to compete with the new movieplexs (Oh no! Not the big bad Cine Arts complex on K Street!).

Tower seems focused on their value as a landmark; they foolishly bank on their history as their meal ticket. Meanwhile, the insides are dilapidated, and I don’t blame anyone for fleeing to another theater. “Wait,” they cry, “it’s not our fault! We don’t have the money to spruce the place up!” Well, Tower, I’d suggest you figure out a way to augment that meager art film income. Crest looks for other income streams, why shouldn’t you?

In fact – call me a bastard if you want – if those who run the Tower are to stupid to try something new, I hope the place does get torn down.

3 Comments so far

  1. rah62 (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

    I was initially impressed by the Crest but will no longer patronize them because of their stand in favor of “Eminent Domain” (as evidenced by the manager’s recent testimony to the City Council in the K Street matter).

    I don’t want my hard-earned money subsidizing someone who would favor government force against another private party.

  2. wburg (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2008 @ 6:45 pm

    Tower is owned by a chain of theaters in New York, it is basically something they operate as a write-off, which is why they don’t reinvest in it. The Crest is vital and energetic because they are locally owned and run and their management (and staff) is very active in the local creative community.

    I don’t hope Tower gets torn down, but I do hope it gets dumped by its current owner and picked up by someone who can make use of the building and take advantage of its attributes: history, aesthetics, a great location, and its status as a local icon.

  3. cd (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2008 @ 7:21 pm

    Have you been to K Street lately? If ever there was an example of why the power of eminent domain was recognized by our founders – there it is! Blight doesn’t fix itself. If K Street’s major property owners could do the right thing and develop rather than hold out for the right price tag while letting the whole place continue to swirl the drain, they wouldn’t be facing city action. I’m all for it. The “save our business” signs downtown in empty store fronts are truly laughable. What business?!

    As for the Tower, it is sad that it can’t get a good scrubbing like its buddy the Crest. I don’t advocate tearing it down. I’d love to have seen the Alhambra . . . . I’m a grand old deco movie house junkie, however. But you’re right, the inside can’t hold a candle to the outside or to the Crest.

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