About a week ago, I was looking for the movie “Cyrus”. In the process, I found an art house theater called the “Landmark Oriental”.
Located in a neighborhood in transition near The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the exterior shows a marquis reminiscent of theaters of my youth, with a lighted white plastic background and block letters that slide into place with movie titles and times. There is nothing extraordinary about the exterior.
Buildings around the theater all seem to be in the midst of transformation from older edifices in disrepair, to sparkling renovations of what can be.
Once in the theater lobby, I couldn’t help but admire the arches and detail and gold paint and filigree and gargoyles. And then, entering the theater, the first thing you notice is the live organ music being played from the front, no previews, or warnings about cell phones, or pitches for popcorn, just organ music played by somebody who could have been alive when the building was built in 1927. It couldn’t have been more grand.
The movie was good. But the theater was better.