Monday, July 28, 2008

Indoor Drive-In

Ooooo, have I made a great Tucson discovery! While I was dining at GRILL (see my July 8th post), I picked up a copy of the monthly calendar for “The Loft”. As it turns out, The Loft is the local ‘art theater’. Now there’s another term that can have many different meanings. Coming from my previous Midwestern community, ‘art theater’ usually meant an under funded movie house that was either in dire need of repair, or movies being held in a multi-purpose room of another local non-profit organization.

The Loft
I could tell right away this wouldn’t be the case with The Loft. The calendar was a well designed, multi-page, event packed showcase of The Loft’s movies and activities.

Here’s a sample of upcoming films for the month of July:

Special Events
THE UNITED ARTISTS 90TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
Arizona Yoga Association presents "LIVING YOGA"
Special Screening of CARAMELO
ATOMIK CIRCUS - Arizona Premiere!
EL VAMPIRO with Live Music!

Cult Classics
RESERVOIR DOGS
BRAZIL
THE MONSTER SQUAD
AMERICAN PSYCHO
RUSHMORE

Mondo Monday Films
BREAKIN' 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO
BLOODY BIRTHDAY
HERCULES IN NEW YORK
ED WOOD'S BRIDE OF THE MONSTER
THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN

Essential Cinema
THE RULES OF THE GAME
WALKABOUT
LAST TANGO IN PARIS
KNIFE IN THE WATER
PLAYTIME

Local Film Events
FIRST FRIDAY SHORTS
Special Screening of CARAMELO

It’s like Christmas everyday for a film lover like myself. Check out the list of films they will be showing for The United Artists 90th Anniversary Celebration: Annie Hall (1977), A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Goldfinger (1964), The Magnificent Seven (1960).

My first real introduction to the Beatles was when I watched A Hard Day’s Night (Reporter to John: “What do you call that haircut?” John: “Arthur.”), and I can still remember when my uncle and my dad took me to see Goldfinger (Bond: “Do you expect me to talk?” Goldfinger: “No Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!”). I haven’t been able to see these films on the big screen since. What a treat this will be!
So it should be no surprise that: “The Loft has received many honors since its transition to a nonprofit arts organization. It has been named Best of Tucson by the readers of the Tucson Weekly every year since 2002. The Loft received a Lumie from the Tucson Pima Arts Council in 2005 for Emerging Arts Organization.
In 2007, the Arizona Commission on the Arts noted that The Loft is “one of the most important cinema organizations in the state."”[1]

Hot Rod Rumble!“Hot Rod Rumble!”
My first exposure (ha!) to The Loft was thanks to The Tucson Street Rod Association and their sponsorship of “Hot Rod Rumble!”

As I drove into the parking lot I was greeted with about two dozen pristine classic cars gleaming in the afternoon Arizona sun. It was a beautiful sight, and blended in perfectly with The Loft’s retro marquee announcing the day’s features.

I arrived about five minutes after the announced show time and heard the ticket seller tell the group in front of me that the theater was almost full, and they might not find seats together. True enough, and I found an open seat between what turned out to be two members of the Street Rod Association.

After some short announcements and prize give-a ways by the TSRA the theater darkened and the “previews” began. These were movie previews from the 50’s for other hot rod style movies. These were great fun to watch, but were for the most part extremely washed out. Almost to the point of being unwatchable. I hoped the feature film would be in better shape.

As the feature film started I was relieved to see that it was in fine shape. The movie starts on a dark and stormy night, and that’s just one of the clich├ęs I was to be treated to that afternoon.

I had expected to see a campy piece of 50’s cinema with performances ranging from bad to tolerable. As it turned out the movie held up fairly well after all these years. The plot involves a hot rod club and the murder of one of it’s members after a swinging jamboree. (I never really knew what a “jamboree” was until this movie’s example.) A bonus for my ears was the excellent jazz music played throughout this flick. Sitting through the credits afterward I noticed Maynard Ferguson as one of the musicians. Nice ‘get’ for a B movie like this.

Tucson Hot Rod
Tucson Hot RodAfter the movie ended I had a chance to take a few photos of some of the classic cars owned by members of The Tucson Street Rod Association.
Tucson Hot RodThe day turned out to be a great introduction to The Loft for me. My Saturday afternoons will never be the same!

Source:
[1] http://www.loftcinema.com/abouttheloft

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