Thursday, July 07, 2005

Free Historic Theatre

Where it's at---
As I was taking my 7am, 3 mile walk, this lovely Wednesday morning,
(yes, you are on Anessa's blog...just in case you scrolled up to make sure...)

I took a slight detour and veered into the entrance of the dilapidated and wonderfully breathtaking Columbia Theatre on Broadway.
I have pressed my nose against her glass panes in every conceivable angle, over the past few years, wishing I could be part of the team that says, "Hey, what's going on here? We have gotta fix this grand old building up!
How on Earth did we let this happen?"

Yes, I wish with, all my heart, that someone would revive this forgotten theatre to the grandeur of years past.
I wish I could help them make it happen.

It's not that far fetched of an idea.

You see, the city of Paducah is wanting to giving away, for free, the Columbia Theatre (and the adjoining Arcade Theatre) to some lucky person who has a dream and a plan.

What a wonderful opportunity.
Such an opportunity,I can't believe it it still sitting there.
Crumbling and weeping.

I swear when I walk by it's almost as she calls out to me...

Columbia: (dignified and mournful)
Hello? Hello, young lady?
Can you hear me? Please help me... I'm dying...

Me: (somewhat shocked to be stopped by a talking building)
Yes Columbia, I do hear you. I hear you everyday I walk by and you're breaking my heart.

Columbia: Why won't anybody save me?
Can't you see me?
See my ornate tiles? See my grand foyer?
Feel the history I hold within these walls?
So many first dates here.... so many first kisses.
So many tears cried in my velvet seats...so many monsters on my gigantic screen...so many cowboys.

Me: I know...I know.......
I can see it.
I can imagine it.
I would love to help you, but I don't know how.

(silence for a moment)

Columbia: Do you remember the movie The Never Ending Story?

Me: Yes. I love that movie.

Columbia: Well, remember the scene where the dying princess of Fansasia is holding the last little ember of hope in her hand?

Me: Of course. I cried my eyes out at that scene. It was beautiful.

Columbia: You, my friend, are like the little boy that saves the princess by keeping embers of hope and imagination alive. All you have to do is believe you are capable of making change. It you believe you can change it, you will. You can save me from being consumed by the nothing.

Me: Where will I begin?

Columbia: That is up to you, child.

Me: See you tomorrow morning.

Columbia: See you tomorrow.

(i put my ipod back on and walk away with my heavy-hands feeling much heavier now)



So this conversation happens pretty much every morning between the Columbia and my dream filled brain.

Why is this wonderful space is crumbling?
It's as she hasbecome invisble to everyone.
She is like an iinvisible elephant in the corner.

I wish so badly for this building to be restored.
I want to get my hands on it and help transform it.
Explore it.
Give it a rebirth.

Maybe not necessarily as a movie house, but as something alive and vital and creative and alive with possibility.
Community theatre, perhaps?
A huge dance club?
Independent film festivals?
Unsigned artists?

I know it would take a lot of money to do the needed repairs, millions, in fact, but having driven through some of the recently developed subdivisions, past the gargantuan dwellings, I am convinced that there is money to be spent in this town.

Sheryl Crow just built an aquatic center for her hometown. Maybe Lily Tomlin can spare a few cool million for her hometown?
People put millions into pet projects every day. I am willing to put the heart, soul and sweat into it....problem is I do not have the money.

The right philanthropist to see this restoration through to fruition is out there....somewhere.

I would gladly take a huge portion of the responsibility if asked in this project. I could be the sub-contractor, the floor manager, the coffee girl, the "talk to her girl", the PR girl.
Whatever.

Right now, I will just keep planting the seeds of hope and imagination.
That will be my job right now.
And I'll do that for free.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Donna Maria said...

All this AND a wall mounted pencil sharpener. I'm with you. Let's do something.

Thursday, 07 July, 2005  
Blogger Mandy said...

This is amazing. Keep us posted on this project. I'm intrigued, in general, with Paducah's unusual plan to revive the community. I hope it can work and serve as a model for other communities.

Friday, 08 July, 2005  
Blogger Lori-Lyn said...

Yes, I agree with what Mandy said.

Monday, 11 July, 2005  
Blogger Mick said...

you are so damned tender!! that's conversation with the movie theatre?? yr. breakin' m'heart!! I'm not kiddin!

Tuesday, 12 July, 2005  

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