June 23, 2020:
The real theaters, the ones worth taking buses to reach, were the Ken, Mithras, the Strand, and the Fine Arts.
The Strand had The Rocky Horror Picture Show; it and the Fine Arts had midnight movies with the usual repertoire of rock 'n' roll films: The Kids are Alright, Woodstock, Concert For Bangladesh, Phantom of the Paradise, The Song Remains the Same. Thank God the Eagles didn't have a movie. The Ken had the independent repertoire, where you could see Kubrick's films, Ken Russell, Zabriskie Point, Easy Rider, A Boy and His Dog, Harold and Maude. Mithras was the odd fish, a lovely little indie artsy bookstore where I found Joseph Campbell and Gnosticism and, well, Mithraism, along with my first exposure to World Music playing on the stereo. Upstairs via a ramped floor was a small theater they called The Unicorn, with folding metal chairs, an antique popcorn machine, Italian sodas with Torani syrups mixed into club soda, and an eclectic commitment to the avant garde meets silent era Hollywood. They'd show Truffaut and Kenneth Anger and Adolfas Mekas and Soviet sci fi and Japanese Modernism and Metropolis. I remember being utterly stunned there by Marat Sade: walking out into the night beyond merely drained.
These are all gone now. The Ken has just closed, killed by Covid I expect.
God I hate change. I hate it so much.
Not exactly the loss of beloved places or pastimes or events. The loss of resources. Where these brilliant, quirky alternatives to the mainstream are replaced by exactly the middling milquetoast conformity against which they rebelled.