Uptown and the future of movie theatres (was: Uptown and COVID-19 Main Street response) #uptown

Stephanie Gerard

Realistically the Uptown is no longer viable as a movie theatre: it's been forlorn for years, and actually is depressing to go to a movie there. (Reminds me of the emptiness of an Edward Hopper-ish painting, a dead Sunday afternoon in smallville.) Even a popular movie doesn't draw large crowds anymore, and the Uptown is too big and noisy for all but superhero movies. (AMC theatres tend to show splashy loud movies not appealing to most adults en masse.) Even when Star Wars was the feature, there weren't many kids after the first showings, and I never saw one person buying tickets for Birds of Paradise. A friend and I went to 1917, and we had to "select" a seat first-- a futile gesture because no touch screen -- the theatre was pretty empty, the seat letters/numbers couldn't be read in the dim light, and the idea of pre-selecting a seat thus ludicrous -- we knew then the end was in sight for the Uptown! It was like being in a Coen brothers satire.
The Avalon is much better; offers more variety of shows, more interesting films, has the cafe. I recently saw a documentary there, and the main theatre was crowded.
Maybe the Uptown could be converted into an apartment building or condos; it's a great location for not having a car (transportation, library, and 2 excellent grocery stores, drugstore, 7/11, bakery cafe, restaurants, inter alia, rather than fast fashion), and would add some life to the strip. A developer would also likely be willing to spruce up the block with landscaping, benches, the way Cathedral Commons has done, make it more sophisticated and appealing.
Let's be real; the west side of the commercial strip needs an anchor and a boost, and movie theatres of the Uptown type are dinosaurs. (Hello, Netflix and other streaming sites.) I still love going to movies, but the Uptown is a downer. (Maybe the post office could get a makeover, too; it's time USPS stopped looking 3rd world.)

Steph Gerard
Woodley Rd