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Admiral Theater renovations get Landmarks Board approval

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

At City Hall, the Landmarks Preservation Board has just unanimously approved the Admiral Theater‘s renovation plans – a key step toward getting the work done in the months ahead.

The board’s approval is necessary because much of the historic moviehouse is protected by the city ordinance designating it a landmark – including its site, exterior, lobby (but not its restrooms or carpet), and the east and west walls with historic mural art.

FarAway Entertainment (the theater operator, not building owner)’s Sol Baron presented the plan, after first describing the Admiral’s ship-evocative design. “What we’re proposing is limited exterior improvements, updating our bathrooms – right now they probably haven’t been updated in decades – make them handicapped-accessible … Main thing we’re doing from our business perspective is converting the 2-screen auditoriums to 4 screens. A corridor that’s actually a tunnel is how we’re going to access them … (they’ll have) stadium seating, it’s going to be a pretty classy place – around 220 seats in 2 auditoriums, the other two will be significantly smaller.”

Baron said the exterior work will be limited, but they’ll be “replacing water-damaged sections of the roof … replacing emergency exit doors … inside, the doors will be painted the same colors …. lobby doors will be painted the same color … we’re not making any chnages in the color or look.” Also some improvements are planned to deal with stormwater issues, including a downspout, and a steel canopy over two alley-side stairwells that “collect water.” Some exterior “patching and painting” is planned, too.

On to the interior: They want to change the bottleneck of how the entry works – requiring you to go through the ticket counter the moment you set foot into the building – so that people have some access to more of a “public space” in the lobby. For one, they’ll transfer condiments to a condiment counter, which will enable the addition of one more concession stand. They’ll reconfigure what’s in the lobby, and also change the look of the concession counters themselves.

(WSB file photo)

Overall, they want to pull as much signage as they can away from the Captain Vancouver mural (above) so that it’s showcased even more.

Enhancing the theme, Baron told the board they’re ordering a custom carpet “that will have nautical themes.” He said some of the mural art that will be uncovered inside the theater is believed to be in OK shape but will need restoration work, and they hope to partner with the community on that. New curtains are planned too.

The only member of the public to speak was Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals, who campaigned to save the theater almost three decades ago when it was in danger of closing forever. “This is a hugely exciting turning point, in fact, it will go down as a landmark year … the theater is a bellwether for the community.” He mentions the 1989-1992 closure, “and in those three years there were many empty storefronts” as a result. “This is what’s going to keep a landmarked business building alive. … The beauty of this is, these changes are being done without harming, and with in fact enhancing the historic features of this building … that caused this board to vote it to be landmarked 27 years ago.” He mentions that the centennial of the building itself (in its pre-Admiral incarnation) is just three years away. “Exposing the murals … will be a tremendously inspiring thing.” He called it “the next phase of a jewel … the only theater in the community … the only theater between the airport and downtown.”

Landmarks Board member Deb Barker (a West Seattleite) said that “cleaning up the mural in the lobby really makes a lot of sense …” Board member Rob Ketcherside said it will be good for the mural art to be seen by more people. Barker said, “What’s there now, you really have no idea that the side walls (hide the murals).”

Baron explained that all this is essential to make the theater a successful commercial venue, and that the building’s owner had looked at other possible uses, but continued operation of a moviehouse would be vital to truly honoring the reasons it was made a landmark.

With that, the board voted unanimously to give its approval. As noted in our coverage of the “Group Hug” event outside the theater earlier this month, Baron expects the work to get going by mid-August.

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VIDEO: ‘Group Hug for The Admiral’ honors historic ‘neighborhood moviehouse’

2016 06-03 Group Hug for the Admiral Theater lowresJS
(Photo by Jean Sherrard, courtesy Southwest Seattle Historical Society; click here to see full-size version on SWSHS website)

10:58 AM: After a burst of excitement this morning, with a crowd including about 800 elementary-school students and former mayors Greg Nickels and Norm Rice, The Admiral District is getting back to the usual dull roar. The “Group Hug for The Admiral” photo event, organized by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, went off flawlessly, with photographers Jean Sherrard and Brad Chrisman atop a lift truck across the street from the historic theater, hailed as a classic “neighborhood moviehouse.” (Updated) Here’s what the crowd looked like on the ground:

hugkids
(WSB photos/video from here down)

The speakers included theater operator Far Away Entertainment, Sol Baron told WSB that the renovations to convert it into a fourplex – the reason to capture this moment in time – are expected to start by mid-August, provided the final permits come through. (added) You’ll hear him in this clip, introduced by Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals, who emceed and organized the event:

12:37 PM: More of how it unfolded: Plenty of orange-vested adults (the vests were loaned by Highland Park Elementary) were there to help ensure the safety of the students, who walked from each participating school – we rolled a bit of video as each arrived:

First, the most distant school, Schmitz Park:


Then, Alki:


Finally, the nearest school – about half a block south – Lafayette:


Along with those we’ve mentioned earlier, speakers also included the principals of all three participating schools – Shannon Hobbs-Beckley from Alki, Gerrit Kischner from Schmitz Park, and Robert Gallagher from Lafayette – as well as Jim Kelly from 4Culture (which donated $95,000 to the Admiral renovation project) and Shannon Braddock from County Councilmember Joe McDermott’s office:

hugdinitaries

The principals voiced appreciation for their students’ chance to be part of a moment in local history:

The theater, its operators stressed, will remain open throughout the renovation work later this year. We’ll find out more about the specifics as the plan goes to the city Landmark Preservation Board – whose approval is required because of the theater’s landmark status – later this month.

Mayor Nickels, as introduced by Eals, represented this area on the King County Council when The Admiral closed – in danger of never reopening – in 1989. The Admiral enhances our area’s “sense of community,” he pointed out, also lauding Eals for organizing the campaign to save the theater, which reopened in 1992. Mayor Rice was in office at the time of the reopening and said The Admiral continues to “symbolize West Seattle … and the people who care so much about it.”

P.S. From-above SWSHS photo added 10:30 am Saturday!

REMINDER: Admiral Theater ‘Group Hug’ tomorrow morning

In case you missed our original mention and are going to be in The Admiral District at midmorning tomorrow (Friday), a reminder that almost a thousand students will be there too, for the “Group Hug for The Admiral” event. As reported here last week, it’s a big photo op to commemorate the soon-to-start major renovations at the historic Admiral Theater, organized by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which did the same thing for the Alki Homestead/Fir Lodge on the first Friday of June last year. SWSHS executive director Clay Eals says neighbors in the area all have received a notice; students will start arriving, on foot, around 9:30 am, from Alki, Lafayette, and Schmitz Park Elementary Schools. The ceremony/photo is set for 10 am; former mayors Norm Rice and Greg Nickels (an Admiral-area resident) are scheduled to speak to them briefly. No streets will be closed but a few parking spaces in front of the theater will be off-limits for the duration of the event.

West Seattle’s Admiral Theater to get a ‘group hug,’ as renovation work nears

(June 2015 photo by Jean Sherrard, courtesy SWSHS)

Remember that scene at the Alki Homestead/Fir Lodge last year, with hundreds of local students photographed in what Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals dubbed a “group hug,” to commemorate the start of its restoration? Something similar is about to happen for another West Seattle landmark – again on the first Friday in June. This time, it’s West Seattle’s only moviehouse, the Admiral Theater. Hundreds of area students will gather outside the theater at midmorning on June 3rd (one week from tomorrow) for another “group hug,” to be photographed from above, as the theater gets ready to launch its renovation project. No street closure, but things will be a little crowded outside the gas station/mini-mart next door; Eals tells us that’s where they’ll be gathering.

(WSB photo from February)

Speaking of the Admiral’s renovation work, which ultimately will turn it into a fourplex with lots of upgrades to its lovable-but-worn interior, readers have been asking about its status. So we checked with The Admiral’s Dinah Brein, who says the city permit process has had them in a holding pattern. “They are backed up 4-6 weeks. We initially were hoping to start first couple weeks of May, but now they won’t probably review until the end of June. At that point, depending on if they have any questions, comments or concerns that we need to address, we will have to resubmit again for their approval. We are thinking that we should be good to go no later than end of August, which would be good because the movies slow down until mid-October for the holidays.” That’ll be close to a year after the originally hoped-for timetable for getting the work started; the agreement between the theater’s owners and longtime operator Far Away Entertainment was announced early last year.

Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s big day: ‘Holiday Party on the Porch,’ after this morning’s ‘Claus, Chowder, & Cartoons’

December 12, 2015 3:42 pm
|    Comments Off on Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s big day: ‘Holiday Party on the Porch,’ after this morning’s ‘Claus, Chowder, & Cartoons’
 |   Admiral Theater | Holidays | West Seattle news

(WSB photo added 4:16 pm)
Less than an hour until the Christmas Ship‘s final West Seattle visits begin, and you can get ready for the second stop, at Alki Beach Park (5:10-5:30 pm, following 4:20-4:40 pm at Lowman Beach), by visiting the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s ‘Holiday Party on the Porch,’ with free treats on the covered porch at the Log House Museum, right now at 61st SW & SW Stevens (half a block inland from where you’ll see the Christmas Ship).

The porch party is the second of two big events today for SWSHS:

(Photos courtesy Southwest Seattle Historical Society)
At the historic, city-landmark Admiral Theater, Santa Claus jingled his way into the auditorium during “Claus, Chowder, and Cartoons,” a free family event this morning. Santa’s stage show followed a program of short Christmas cartoons.

SWSHS supporter Duke’s Chowder House provided soup for the Admiral crowd and is doing the same at the museum right now.

3 West Seattle landmarks get $ boost from Building for Culture

(WSB photo from February)
Three landmark buildings in West Seattle are getting a boost from a county cultural-grant program.

(SW Seattle Historical Society photo from May: Dennis Schilling, Alki Homestead owner, with logs for restoration)
Here’s the announcement from West Seattle’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott, one day before county and cultural leaders gather to celebrate the list of grants that includes these three:

Renovation of the Admiral Theater and restoration of the Alki Homestead highlight a list of the projects in West Seattle and throughout King County that will receive funding to help maintain their buildings and preserve the arts and heritage programs that are held inside.

“As a lifelong West Seattle resident, I grew up going to the Admiral Theatre and Alki Homestead,” said Council Vice Chair Joe McDermott. “I am proud to promote the rich cultural history in West Seattle through the Building for Culture grant program.”

The Admiral Theater received $95,000 towards a renovation that will see the number of screens double from 2 to 4. The 111 year old Alki Homestead was awarded $83,000 towards its complete restoration, after a fire destroyed it in 2009.

The funding for maintenance, repairs, and preservation were allocated from the Building for Culture Program and unanimously approved by the County Council. Building for Culture is a partnership between King County and 4Culture, King County’s cultural services agency, using bonds backed by the hotel-motel tax to build, maintain, expand, preserve, and improve new and existing cultural facilities.

After the Council approved the creation of the Building for Culture Program, 4Culture put out a request for proposals to nonprofit arts, heritage and cultural organizations and eligible public agencies, as well as owners of national-, state-, or local-designated or eligible landmark properties. 4Culture then convened independent peer panels composed of arts, heritage, and preservation professionals, and other community representatives to review applications and make the final selections.

Facilities receiving funding in West Seattle are:

Admiral Cinema LLC – Admiral Theater Renovation – $95,000
Delridge Neighborhood Development Association – Elevate Youngstown – $100,000
Dennis Schilling – Restoring the Alki Homestead – $83,000 $45,190 (correction from CM McDermott’s office on 11/24/2015)

The bonds supporting these projects are made possible by early retirement of the Kingdome debt. State law requires that hotel-motel tax revenues King County collects this year after repayment of the Kingdome debt be directed to arts and cultural programs.

Read more about the grant program here.

Admiral Theater’s next step into the future: First laser projectors in service; farewell to film

That photo shared by the Admiral Theater might not be oozing Hollywood glamour … but it’s the next big step toward the historic moviehouse’s bright-as-the-stars future. The Admiral’s two new laser digital projectors are here, and manager Dinah Brein says that the first audiences to see them “commented on how amazing the high definition, crystal clear, and bright screen resolution enhanced their viewing experience. No more platters, no more bad film prints, no more stoppage in the middle of the movie.” That’s because, Brein adds, “these two new projectors (with two more to come by the end of the year) utilize all new laser technology replacing the standard projector light bulbs used in most theaters. Now, with *all* the light energy coming from lasers … the on-screen image is bigger, brighter and better.” And it means the film days are almost over:

It’s been four months since The Admiral announced it had the green light to proceed with renovations that will turn it into a modernized four-plex; that in turn came a few months after it started showing first-run movies.

FOLLOWUP: Admiral Theater expects digital projectors in June

(WSB photo: February marquee message at The Admiral, announcing the renovation plan)
The city-landmark Admiral Theater says its renovations – announced in February – are finally about to begin. It’s just announced that “two new state-of-the-art NEC Digital Laser Projectors will be installed early next month.” The theater’s announcement explains:

Laser technology offers an unparalleled viewing experience that is brighter, crisper and highlights the intensity of colors unlike traditional digital cinema projectors. In addition, moviegoers watching 3D films will view an image much brighter than is seen in systems now in use.

Utilizing a laser light source in lieu of traditional projector bulbs also extends the life of the projector and eliminates gradual dimming of images as a bulb begins to wear out.

“Everything we will be doing as a part of this renovation is designed to create a superior viewing experience and facility that while functionally modern, respects viewer comfort and the historical character of the theater,” said Jeff Brein of Far Away Entertainment, which operates and manages the theater. “We wanted the very best and latest projection technology to accompany what we’re planning with seating, sound, carpeting, new restrooms our concessions area and historical preservation. These initial laser projectors represent a first step in a journey that will culminate in a beautiful neighborhood theater.”

The permitting process for the Admiral will soon begin with the City of Seattle, while discussions with historical and neighborhood groups will be well underway this summer.

The Admiral says it’s now hoping to have renovations complete by this year’s holiday season.

Curtain rises on Admiral Theater’s future: Agreement announced, renovations ahead

(WSB photo from 2013: Mural over The Admiral’s concession area)
After many months of uncertainly, finally a breakthrough for West Seattle’s historic Admiral Theater. The company that runs it has announced “an agreement in principle” with the building’s owner, clearing the path to its much-needed, long-anticipated remodel, which will turn it into a fourplex.

Though The Admiral’s announcement (read it in full here) says the “planned improvements (will) begin this fall,” it also notes “an immediate conversion from 35mm film to state-of-the-art digital cinema and Dolby Surround Sound.” That will be followed by “phased=in revisions of the interior floor plan, adding two auditoriums (with elevated stadium seating), all-new chairs with cup holders, new carpeting and curtains, new screens (including 3D capability), and improved heating, air conditioning and ventilation. Additional improvements will also be evident in the restrooms, concessions area and upstairs Crow’s Nest Lounge.”

The Admiral is a city landmark with protected features, and Jeff Brein, managing partner of Far Away Entertainment – the Bainbridge-based regional chain that has run The Admiral since 2008 – says the plan recognizes that: “The existing architectural features, nautical theme, original artwork of captains and explorers, and unique lighting fixtures will be retained. Additionally, and perhaps most exciting, hand-painted historic murals hidden behind curtains for over 35 years will be uncovered and with financial support from grants and the community restored to their original condition.”

The Admiral will continue to work with the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which worked to save the historic theater more than a quarter-century ago. And it expects to stay open “with minimal disruptions to moviegoers” during the work, which management hopes will lead to phased-in openings as soon as this August.

The theater started moving to first-run films with the successful premiere run of “Interstellar four months ago. That followed a long-running concern about a “ticking clock” as they waited for the now-secured longterm commitment so they could proceed with renovations, including an upgrade to digital projection.

P.S. We’ve asked for renderings of the Admiral’s future; not available yet, but soon, we’re told. For its almost-century-long backstory – dating back to its opening in 1919 as the Portola – check this 2013 story by SWSHS executive director Clay Eals.

ADDED 7:42 PM: Thanks to Clay for the tip on the customized marquee at the theater tonight, announcing the news – we went over to photograph it:

We also just heard back on one of our followup questions, to clarify the timeline: “The finished project should be done by end of summer, but one theater (actually 2) will be done before that. Also, digital projectors will be in by the end of March.”

Admiral Theater update: More first-run movies on the way

(WSB photo, added Thursday afternoon)
If you don’t often check the schedule for West Seattle’s historic Admiral Theater, you might not have noticed yet, but the success of the “Interstellar” premiere run is bringing more first-run movies to The Admiral.

One big example: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies(trailer above) is on the way, starting December 16. As for the theater’s future – very much up in the air as of our update last month – the latest is that the current management is “in talks with the landlord to move forward with the lease toward a hopeful renovation.” Stand by for updates.

P.S. Following up on a reader question, we asked theater manager Dinah Brein if they’re planning a Christmas movie again this year. Doesn’t look like it, she says, given how busy they’ve been with all of the above, but she’s expecting to have a holiday donation drive of some sort later this month.

‘Interstellar’ to blast off in Admiral Theater premiere tomorrow. Will it be moviehouse’s ‘last hurrah’?

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

It’s a week of big events at West Seattle’s city-landmark Admiral Theater. None bigger than tomorrow, when the first-run “Interstellar” premieres with a sneak-peek screening at 8 pm.

Tonight, Admiral manager Dinah Brein and her crew were preparing the film reels for the screening.

It’s an hours-long task, but one that is a reminder of the reason they are getting “Interstellar” before the megaplexes, as reported here last month: The Admiral is one of just a few theaters still screening in 35mm, and that’s one of three film formats in which the producers are releasing the movie two days in advance.

Tuesday will come just three nights after a crowd jammed in for the final monthly “Rocky Horror Picture Show” shadow-cast-enhanced screening:

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Last chance to ‘Time Warp’ with ‘Rocky Horror’ at The Admiral

Saturday night – the night after Halloween – brings the end of an era at West Seattle’s historic Admiral Theater – the last of the monthly “Rocky Horror Picture Show” events with shadow cast, after a decade. From The Admiral’s Dinah Brein:

Saturday night, November 1, will mark the final live shadow-cast performance of the Vicarious Theater Company as they shadow-cast The Rocky Horror Picture Show on the Admiral Theater stage.

The cast has performed here for over ten years and many of the original cast members are still involved.

“We have enjoyed our time with the Vicarious Theater group immensely,” said theater manager Dinah Brein. “They’ve been like a family to us. We’ve watched many of the cast members meet, fall in love, and even get married from their time here at the Admiral. I think the only one that will be sorry to see them go is the janitor. That was a lot of rice and toast to clean up over 10 years. We could have probably fed a small country.”

Come say goodbye to the cast and catch the show, this Saturday night, November 1st. Doors open at 11:30 and the ticket price is $6.00 – cash only (exact change preferred). You must be at least 17 or accompanied by an adult to attend as the pre-show and the movie are rated. R.

In case you’re wondering, we talked to Dinah while stopping by The Admiral for the “I Am Eleven” event on Tuesday night; still nothing new to report re: the theater’s future.

West Seattle scene: ‘I Am Eleven’ filmmaker at The Admiral

I AM ELEVEN – Official trailer 2014 from I Am Eleven on Vimeo.

At Admiral Theater tonight, a sold-out house – about 300 people – got a bonus after watching the documentary “I Am Eleven” – they got to talk with its filmmaker, Genevieve Bailey, and her co-producer Henrik Nordstrom:

We caught up with Bailey, who is from Australia, and Nordstrom in the Admiral lobby, just before the post-film discussion with the audience. She said they had been in Atlanta previously and just decided to come – a modest jaunt for Bailey, who made her film by spending six years traveling the world filming the lives of 11-year-olds. Tonight’s screening was arranged by West Seattleites Susanna Moore and Anita Lavine through the on-demand service Gathr.

ADDED: Nordstrom shared this photo of the 11-year-olds in the audience, invited up to the stage (as mentioned in comments):

See it first, in West Seattle! ‘Interstellar’ to premiere at The Admiral

That’s the final trailer for “Interstellar” – which you’ll be able to see at West Seattle’s historic Admiral Theater before it hits the megaplexes. The Admiral’s announcement explains why (and when):

How exciting is this? Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that the highly anticipated “INTERSTELLAR” from Christopher Nolan will be released in 70mm IMAX® film, 70mm film and 35mm film formats on Wednesday, November 5th, two days ahead of its nationwide release. Because the Admiral Theater is one of only a few theaters screening in 35 mm, we have been selected to premiere this highly anticipated holiday movie.

“In the past, we have always had to wait in line for a film to run its course in major chains before coming to us,” says Dinah Brein, Admiral Manager. “More and more, new films aren’t even being made in 35mm, so this is a huge treat for us, sort of an early ‘Thanksgiving blessing’.”

The Admiral will have a special sneak-peek showing of the movie, Tuesday, November 4th at 8:00 PM and then will show the movie multiple times beginning on Wednesday, November 5th. Ticket prices will be set at $10.25 for adults and $8.50 for seniors (65 and over) and children under 11. All screenings before 5:00 pm will be matinee priced at $8.50. Senior Tuesday discount does not apply and special tickets (Groupon, Living Social and Deal Flicks) will not be accepted for the run of the film.

“INTERSTELLAR” was shot using a combination of 35mm anamorphic film and 65mm IMAX film to maximize the crispness and clarity of the image and give the audience a truly cinematic and immersive experience. These advance engagements highlight those theaters presenting “INTERSTELLAR” in its native formats.

“INTERSTELLAR” stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, and Michael Caine. With our time on Earth coming to an end, a team of explorers undertakes the most important mission in human history; travelling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars. Directed by Christopher Nolan, written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, and produced by Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Lynda Obst.

P.S. because you’re probably wondering: No new official news on The Admiral’s future.

Admiral Theater’s future: ‘Ticking clock’ forcing decision soon

(June WSB photo: Film-projection room at The Admiral)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

More than a year ago, we told you about the Admiral Theater‘s hopes of renovations to ensure the historic moviehouse’s future.

It hasn’t happened yet. And its management/ownership is acutely aware of a “ticking clock” sped up by the fact that – as they pointed out when we talked to them for the aforementioned story last year – film is going away as a method of delivering movies.

In a conversation with theater manager Dinah Brein, she explained they’ve already felt the effects. “Certain films weren’t even made in (film) like ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ so we have to wait for it to go to DVD (before we can) show it.” For some movies, that timetable is relatively fast – for some, it’s not. And only one of the Admiral’s theaters is DVD-capable.

The Admiral simply must convert to digital. (It’s not alone, as continuing national coverage has documented.)

And for that, they have to have a commitment from the building’s owner Marc Gartin that they’ll be there for the long haul.

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Save the date: ‘Awareness-raising’ orca film ‘Lolita’ screening at The Admiral

Mark your calendar for a free movie at the historic Admiral Theater – Thursday, December 5th. This isn’t a fundraiser, but rather an awareness-raiser. We learned about it from Dawn Clark, who says her high-school-senior daughter Keely and friend Angelica are so concerned about the captive killer whale known as Lolita – the last surviving Puget Sound-captured orca – that they are renting space at The Admiral to show a documentary made about her, “Lolita: Slave to Entertainment.” Here’s the trailer:

Activists around the world have been campaigning for Lolita to be set free. The awareness campaign even succeeded in getting a ferry being built right now at Vigor Shipyard on Harbor Island to carry her previous name, Tokitae. You can support the students’ efforts by coming to the movie on December 5th; doors open at 6:30 pm, movie at 7 pm. It’s not a movie for young children, so they’re promoting it for teens and adults; if you need an incentive besides free admission, they’re offering free desserts. “We’re not raising money, only awareness for her,” says the announcement Dawn shared. “Her story will touch your heart. There is a sanctuary waiting for her in the San Juan Islands. Help us get the word out.” (You can read about the proposed retirement sanctuary on the Orca Network‘s website.)

West Seattle weekend scene: ‘Clutch’ premiere at The Admiral

Notice the gleaming classic cars outside the Admiral Theater tonight? The show of muscle (cars) was only fitting for the public premiere of a movie said to include more than 150 vehicles. The movie is “Clutch,” a years-in-the-making project for West Seattleite Jay Rowlands, as we reported two months ago. Tonight, he held court at the crowded premiere:

(This photo and next two, shared by Jennifer – thanks!)
The crowd that gathered for red-carpet arrivals filled the Admiral’s lobby:

And some of the cars remained outside the theater during the screening:

If you missed the premiere, you can get the film on DVD or BluRay – it was just released this week and can be ordered right from the “Clutch” website’s home page.

Got tickets yet? ‘Jaws’ @ Admiral Theater on Friday night

It’s been a while since we’ve reminded you – but now we’re just four nights away from the benefit screening of “Jaws” at the Admiral Theater, so we’re reminding you again. As announced last month, it’s the kickoff of a benefit movie series (with co-sponsors including WSB) for the Mind Unwind Foundation‘s support of arts in education and for The Admiral’s renovations, and there’ll be a silent auction and art exhibit as well as the movie. 11 pm this Friday night, June 21st. Get your tickets online, here. 21+ only because of beer/wine sales. And save the dates for the second and third movies in the late-night series, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” July 27th, and “The Big Lebowski” on August 24th.

‘Jaws,’ ‘Monty Python,’ more: Benefit series @ Admiral Theater

(1975 trailer for “Jaws”)
Three more big-screen special events have been announced for the Admiral Theater – this time, movies and more, presented as benefits, explained by Mind Unwind‘s Krystal Kelley:

I am happy to announce a series of Art events that we are doing this summer at the Admiral Theater. This is a fundraiser to raise money for both the Admiral Theater’s renovations and for supporting Arts in Education through the Mind Unwind Foundation. It also helps support local artists!

Tickets for the first two events go on sale June 7th. First one:

JUNE 21

Late-night showing of JAWS at 11:00 pm

Join us for a late showing of a classic movie, including intermission, wine/beer, silent auction and unique mixed media exhibit “Lost At Sea” by J. Conrad Nivens. 21+over event. Guests are encouraged to wear their finest DENIM!

Second event:

JULY 27

Monty Python & The Holy Grail at 11:00 pm

Join us for some friendly medieval fun. Late night showing of Monty Python & The Holy Grail at 11:00 pm, intermission, beer/wine, silent auction and original exhibit, “Holy Grail” by Dave Ryan of Manticore Stencil Art. Guests are encouraged to come dressed as medieval knights & wenches.

The third event will be a group art show with a showing of “The Big Lebowski” on August 24th. Krystal says that along with ticket sales, they’ll also be raising money by selling sponsorships; any businesses/organizations interested in sponsoring the series can sign up by going here.

P.S. If you missed our recent story about the Admiral’s renovation hopes, read it here. And to find out more about the Mind Unwind Foundation, go here. Related to its work, you’ll see a summer-long art-supply drive in The Admiral’s lobby, too.

Another championship game: Big soccer, big screen, at Admiral Theater tomorrow (food drive, too)

Another championship game happening tomorrow (Saturday, May 25th) – as shown on The Admiral Theater‘s marquee, and previewed here a week and a half ago, tomorrow is the day you can join the West Seattle Soccer Club for an open house and live screening of the 2013 UEFA Champions League final match between German powerhouses Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munich. Doors open at 10:30 am and close when they reach capacity – but everybody’s welcome, first-come, first-served. No admission charge, but please bring a “kid-friendly food item” to benefit the West Seattle Food Bank. One change from the original announcement, according to WSSC’s Tim McMonigle (who also shared the marquee photo) – the kids’ movie (for children not interested in the game) is now a free bonus showing of “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” one of the Admiral’s current films. It’ll start at about 11 am, and end around the same time as the match, which starts around 11:45, after 11 am preliminaries.

West Seattle Soccer Club invites you to watch big-time soccer on the big screen @ Admiral Theater

Want to watch a soccer-championship match on a big screen? The West Seattle Soccer Club is offering you the chance, sponsoring the 2013 UEFA Champions League final match live at The Admiral Theater on Saturday, May 25th. Doors open at 10:30 am and will close when they reach capacity – everyone is welcome, first-come, first-served. Free admission; you’re asked to bring a “kid-friendly food item” to benefit the West Seattle Food Bank. Read on for the full announcement, as shared by WSSC:

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Admiral Theater plan: ‘We have to … try to make this thing happen’

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The owner of the Admiral Theater has a plan to ensure the historic landmark has a promising future as well as a storied past.

The first phase of that plan is already complete … creation of the plan itself.

“We have spent a lot of time and energy and money – what little that we have – to engage the services of an architect,” explained Jeff Brein, whose Far Away Entertainment owns the Admiral – the business, not the building itself, as well as seven other theaters in six towns around the region.

“We determined that in order to keep the theater going and to at least turn a profit, we need to make some changes in the basic business model. And that … takes the theater from its current two-auditorium, second-run format to a four-auditorium, first-run digital format.”

There’s really no choice, said Brein. The notion of a “second-run, dollar-house” theater is dying: “The studios are not providing us with the types of release schedules they used to. The window from theatrical first-run release to home video or cable TV or RedBox or whatever is becoming much more narrow.”

That’s not the only reason that a first-run moviehouse makes more sense for West Seattle: “It’s a great unserved market. If you want a first-run movie, you have to get in your car and travel well outside (West Seattle) – downtown, the airport, wherever people need to go.”

However, it’s not as easy as deciding to run new movies instead of not-so-new movies. First, Brein says, “you really need a minimum of three to four screens. And you need a facility that everybody is going to feel comfortable in.”

No matter how much you love the Admiral Theater, designated a city landmark 20 years ago – “comfortable” is not a word that comes to mind. “Overhaul” is.

Brein knows that. The Admiral’s devoted on-site general manager – his sister Dinah Brein – knows that.

So, they have a plan. They have an operating budget.

What they don’t have yet (and they stress they’re NOT asking for a handout or donations) is … the money.

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