West Seattle, Washington
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.
Congratulations to Admiral Theater boss Dinah Brein and her cross-country songwriting partner – Dinah reports their Today Show jingle-contest entry won!
Seattle songwriter and theater manager Dinah Brein, along with her collaborator Jon Michaels, has won NBC’s “Quest for the Best Today Show Jingle”. Michaels performed the song this morning on the Today show and beat out the two other finalists. Renowned record producer David Foster, who judged the segment, commented after listening to the songs that if he were chosen to produce a killer 30-second spot – it would be the Brein/Michaels entry and awarded the song the top honor.
“Jon called me this morning and told me the good news”, said Brein. “He also said, don’t be mad, I didn’t mention you until the end of the segment, because my daughter would have killed me if I hadn’t led off with her.”
UPDATE: Added above, the “Today Show” clip during which Michaels performed the jingle he and Brein wrote.
Just in from The Admiral Theater: This year’s free holiday movie, to be screened at 4 pm Sunday, December 16th, benefiting the Seattle Humane Society:
The Admiral Theater is proud to announce this year’s free community Christmas movie……drum roll please….”The Nightmare Before Christmas“.
Painstakingly and meticulously crafted, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a beautiful and unforgettable film from start to finish. It is original, funny, and moving.
Again, admission is free but we are asking for a donation to my “pet” (pun intended) charity – The Seattle Humane Society.
Bring dog/cat food, toy’s, bedding, etc. and make the holidays bright for our 4-legged friends. …
This is a classic Christmas family movie and as usual, we urge the community to show up early. It fills up fast. The movie starts at 4 PM, Sunday, December 16th.
Adding this to our West Seattle Holiday Guide – where you can find dozens of other holiday events, offerings, and giving opportunities, now through New Year’s.
Thanks to Melissa for the reminder that one of the movies playing this week at Admiral Theater was partly filmed here in West Seattle. We mentioned the Shipwreck Tavern shoot for “Safety Not Guaranteed” in May of last year. According to the Admiral schedule, the movie is showing there once a night through Thursday, at 9 pm.
Oscar nominations are out – and West Seattle’s own historic Admiral Theater points out that two of the “Best Picture” nominees are being screened there right now! “Moneyball” and “Midnight in Paris.” Showtimes are here. Admiral manager Dinah Brein adds, “Also – we wanted to let the community know there will be NO 4 pm screening of Tower Heist this Thursday, 1/26/12 due to a private event.”
Long before night fell, we photographed the marquee for posterity (and reminders via Twitter and via Facebook) … Tonight’s the night the doors to the Admiral Theater swung wide open for a free holiday treat, a hot ticket indeed:
Those are some of the moviegoers now watching “A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie,” courtesy of The Admiral and its fellow Admiral District businesses. And look who was there to help Admiral boss Dinah Brein share the holiday cheer (and collect donations for the Humane Society):
We have it on good authority that Santa, in this case, likely arrived via two wheels, rather than eight tiny reindeer. P.S. If you feel like a movie Christmas Day, the Admiral will open at 4 pm Sunday (after closing following the matinees on Christmas Eve).
That’s a scene from “It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie,” which you can see on the big screen at West Seattle’s only moviehouse tomorrow (Tuesday) night – historic Admiral Theater‘s free Christmas movie. Dinah from The Admiral shares this reminder, with new details about the event:
The movie starts promptly at 7 PM and doors open at 6:15 PM. Guests are advised to come early as we will probably pack out. During the movie, adults can enjoy a liquid libation up in the Crow’s Nest Lounge.
Prior to the movie, Santa will be on hand for a photo op and will be serving up Xmas Cookies and Hot Chocolate.
This year the movie is co-presented by the newly formed Admiral Business District. The movie is graciously donated by the Admiral District Blockbuster.
Don’t forget to bring some much-needed animal provisions; high end pet food, crates, collars, toys, beds, etc., which will be donated to the Humane Society.
The Admiral is at 2343 California SW. If you are planning ahead for this weekend – Dinah adds that both matinees will be shown on Christmas Eve, then the theater will close for the night, reopening for the 4 pm show on Christmas Day, with both evening shows on the screen that night.
The word’s in from Dinah Brein at the historic Admiral Theater – this year’s free Christmas movie is … the one in the trailer clip atop this story … “A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie’! 7 pm Tuesday, December 20th. Here’s the official announcement:
The Admiral Theater, the Admiral Business Association and The Admiral Blockbuster present ‘It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie’ -Tuesday, December 20.
What would life amongst the Muppets have been without their unofficial leader Kermit the Frog? This holiday confection, not only spoofs the Yuletide classic , It’s a Wonderful Life, but also takes satirical aim at such pop cultural phenomena as Moulin Rouge and Fear Factor.
The plot is set in motion when evil banker Rachel Bitterman (Joan Cusack) forecloses on the Muppets’ famous variety theater, with the intention of building a gaudy nightclub. But Bitterman’s machinations take a back seat when apprentice guardian angel, Daniel (David Arquette), shows Kermit what conditions would have been had he never existed. Oh yeah, Whoppie Goldberg is cast as God!
Join Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and a star studded cast in this heartwarming holiday classic that will bring joy to the world this Christmas at the Admiral Theater!
For the fourth consecutive year admission is free, but we ask that everyone bring donations for the Humane Society and the Seattle Animal Shelter including crates, high-end dog food, collar’s leashes, blankets, etc. This time of year, the shelters run low on these much needed supplies.
The movie starts promptly at 7 PM. Beer & wine will be available for the adults, upstairs in the Crow’s Nest Lounge.
Many storefronts are already festively lit and decorated in the Admiral District, and more will be by tonight – including wreaths going up on some of the business-district light fixtures, like this spot outside Alki Bike and Board (whose proprietor Stu Hennessey is in our photo, with Dave Weitzel from Weitzel Construction). The “work party” was already planned before today’s forecast took a turn for the sunny! Also helping decorate – Max and Quinn, as in the Atomic Boys‘ original namesakes (sons of store owners Parris and Kent Sadow):
Among the holiday fun coming up in the Admiral District, Dinah Brein at the historic Admiral Theater says she’s finalized the date for the free Christmas movie, 7 pm December 20th. She’s still finalizing the movie; once again this year, she asked us to ask you for ideas – see the suggestions here.
Admiral Theater boss Dinah Brein says, “It’s that time again……time to decide the annual Free Admiral Theater Xmas Movie. We’ve already shown Elf, A Christmas Story and Jim Carrey’s A Christmas Carol. We want something both kid friendly and adult friendly.” Got any suggestions? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ll also take up a collection for charity that night, too; the movie will be screened one night the week before Christmas.
The historic Admiral Theater is only about a block away from Lafayette Elementary – convenient for the crowd that packed Thursday night’s movie-watching party celebrating last month’s Walk-A-Thon. As noted here, the annual tradition was a success again this fall, and the money it raises is more important every year, since Lafayette is West Seattle’s most-populous elementary school – more than 540 students last time we checked the enrollment numbers.
Tomorrow is opening night for the 2011 Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (WSB sponsor), and once again this year, the festival includes screenings in West Seattle, at the historic Admiral Theater. This morning, SLGFF has sent a news release with details of the 11 films you’ll be able to see at The Admiral, starting one week from tonight – read on!Read More
We got a quick promotional sneak peek earlier this week at the trio of local entertainers who are performing as “The Vaud Squad” – as in a vaudeville-style variety show – at Admiral Theater this Saturday night. Mentalist Lance Campbell – who notes that he reads thoughts, not minds – will perform, as will magician Joe Black and juggler/comedian Matt Baker. The latter two are West Seattleites; Campbell is from Kirkland – and all three tour (separately) nationally, but are joining forces for one big fun show here. 7 pm Saturday, family-friendly fun, get your tickets online now. (P.S. Baker will be juggling in more ways than one – he’s making a cameo as the pre-show entertainment for West Seattle Outdoor Movies the same night!)
Big news from The Admiral tonight – not only is SIFF returning, it’ll have showings throughout the festival’s three-week run May 19-June 12, not just a one-week stop. Plus, Admiral manager Dinah Brein has announced an Elizabeth Taylor tribute later this month. Read on for the official announcement of both:Read More
Heike shared that Admiral Theater ad from the January 23, 1942, “Seattle Daily Times.” We asked how the old paper was found. Reply: “We put a few can lights into the ceiling, and had to go up into the attic for rewiring. Pretty amazing that it’s been there all this time!”
The overfishing crisis was on the menu, and the marquee, for Sustainable West Seattle last night, launching their new periodic film series. The cautionary film based on the book “The End of the Line“ was on screen, and then sustainable-seafood star Chef Hajime Sato, proprietor of Mashiko in The Junction, was onstage. If you don’t want to eat endangered fish, he pointed out, bluefin tuna is far from the only thing to avoid:
This summer will mark two years since he gained fame for not just advocating “sustainable sushi” but dedicating his acclaimed restaurant to it. But, he said, “I’m not telling you to stop eating everything; if we protect certain species, they are coming back.” Another video clip after the jump:Read More
Its critical look at pressures faced by U.S. students has had a lot of people talking since its release more than a year ago – and they’re still talking. This Thursday night is your next chance to see “Race to Nowhere” with a West Seattle group. The Holy Rosary School Parents’ Club is sponsoring a screening at 6:30 pm Thursday at the Admiral Theater. As the promotional page explains – and as you might guess from watching the trailer above – the movie is “a call to action for families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.” Tickets cost $5 less if you buy in advance – you can do that online by going here.
The latest “Harry Potter” movie continues at the Admiral Theater this weekend, and the theater plans a special event: Fans who come to the theater in costume for the 3:40 pm matinee on Sunday will get a chance to win prizes courtesy of a super-fan who’s also bringing along her HP-themed car (which isn’t among the prizes, but IS for sale). The car belongs to Alexia Johnson, a custom-made Mini Cooper convertible that was custom-ordered from Oxford, England, in the 2006 model year. According to The Admiral’s announcement, Johnson explained, ““I have been a longtime Harry Potter fan and I wanted my British car to reflect my favorite British story. I went to the Mini dealership in 2005 and choose everything that I wanted to have on my car. It has a supercharged engine and it is manual. I love the color purple and at that time they came out with a new color, Purple Haze. That color is now discontinued but that makes my car even more special and unique.” She says an artist “took the clear coat off of the car, painted “HP” on the doors, golden snitch on the gas tank cover, Hogwarts crest (which has a lot of detail) on the hood between the stripes which are hand-painted not decals like they normally are. Finally, he put a metallic coat on the car and under street lights and in the sun light it sparkles like magic!” (52,000 miles on the odometer and she’s asking $20,000 or best offer.) The Admiral says that Johnson’s collected HP memorabilia through the years and “will be giving out some great prizes to the best costumed attendees.” Doors open at 3 pm.
(Also of note for those who haven’t seen the Oscar-nominated movie “The Social Network,” it opens Friday at the Admiral. Plus, Saturday night at midnight, it’s the monthly “Rocky Horror Picture Show” extravaganza. More details in this update e-mail from The Admiral.)
Well, OK, it’s *almost* a century of history. The Museum of History and Industry‘s video team has taken on another West Seattle landmark, and suggested to WSB that you might want to see the 4-minute result. P.S. If you’re looking for what’s up at The Admiral right now, here are the latest listings.
Tonight (Thursday) at West Seattle’s historic Admiral Theater, you’ll get something extra if you’re going to the 6:40 pm showing of “Waiting for Superman” – a preview of the new documentary about Community for Youth, a mentoring organization that works at three Seattle Public Schools high schools, including Chief Sealth. Mentors and students will be there to talk about the program. You can find out more at communityforyouth.org.
2:46 PM: Thanks to the WSB’ers who tipped us to this via text message and WSB Forums post: The Admiral Theater
is closed was closed earlier today because it’s been burglarized. Police were still there when WSB’s Katie Meyer went over a short time ago to investigate the reports. According to what she learned from Admiral staffer Sean and police, the break-in happened around 5 am – it set off an alarm but that didn’t get help fast enough to prevent the burglars from making off with what we are told was a significant amount of cash. The staffer says they don’t usually have that on hand but they had a problem with the drawer at the bank where they usually use to make night deposits, so they brought it back to the theater. So they’re closed for today – you’ll see “no movies today” on the marquee if you drive by (photo added 3:15 pm).
3:28 PM UPDATE: We’re told now that they plan to reopen later this afternoon, for the showings just before 4 pm, but are asking for exact change.
4:58 PM UPDATE: We checked with the Southwest Precinct for any additional information; Lt. Ron Smith says the preliminary report says it was a “forced entry” burglary, and that “electronics” were taken as well as cash.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
This autumn’s been a tough one for operators of historic local theaters, and their fans.
That made us wonder how West Seattle’s historic Admiral Theater is doing, two and a half years after its last management change. So we arranged a chat with the woman who runs it, Dinah Brein. She was on duty last night, helping run the night’s films, and getting ready for a special New Year’s Eve-themed holiday double bill tonight: “Holiday” at 7, “When Harry Met Sally” at 9.
Just as we headed her way, Dinah sent a link to another theater-closure story that had just appeared online, this time the Orchard Theater in Port Orchard. And with a close-to-home twist – it’s part of the Far Away Entertainment theater group run by her brother Jeff Brein, which also includes The Admiral.
No, they’re NOT throwing in the towel here too. But some of what was on that theater’s wish list remains on The Admiral’s wish list too.