Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Storied Rialto

Just because it's not Christmas doesn't mean folks--or in this case, a theatre--couldn't use a miracle.

The Rialto Theatre in downtown South Pasadena has been crumbling for a long time. South Pas residents want to see this grand old palace resurrected and put to good use. The effort is underway, and you can help by taking part in a unique project. All you have to do is share your memories of the Rialto. Quoting from the press release:

"Laurie Allee, with Glimpses of South Pasadena and SouthPasadena.Patch.com will be at the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, June 29th [that's tomorrow] videotaping brief stories and remembrances of the Rialto Theatre...

Did you ever sneak in? Stay all night and all day? Meet your future mate in the balcony? Wear tights and throw toast at midnight? Perhaps you saw Art Clokey there live and caught an actual piece of Gumby? Maybe you heard a live rock band in the 80's? Or were in the band! Perhaps you simply saw a very special movie in a very special theatre . . . whatever your tale, we hope you'll tell...

So come on by...from 9am until noon at SoPas Gallery - 1121 Mission Street. It will be brief and informal, with very short interviews. And once the piece is edited you will see a copy, and so will the rest of the world, as we post it online to raise awareness that we all want to see - the return of the Rialto!

If you think you will attend, please let us know by emailing here."

Entropy's not for everyone, and surely it's not for the Rialto. I hope you'll share your stories with Laurie.

16 comments:

Bellis said...

Very appropriate photo, isn't it? A Miracle on Fair Oaks - that's what it needs. I'd love to see the Rialto reopened, but doubt it could make a profit. Still, Laurie's idea is brilliant, and who knows where it will lead?

Have you seen this? http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/wilson/ci_18352684

dive said...

What a shame to see such a lovely building in such disrepair. I do hope the campaign leads to it being restored.

Petrea Burchard said...

"Miracle on Fair Oaks!" That should have been my title, Bellis.

The theater can indeed make a profit, or at least pay for itself. I cite the Egyptian Theater in DeKalb, Illinois (my home town) when we discuss the Rialto. The Egyptian was saved by concerned citizens back in the ...1980's?... ages ago. It's been supporting itself forever with concerts, Broadway shows, films, lectures, you name it. It's about 75 miles west of Chicago. The Rialto is much closer to Los Angeles than that. That kind of venue can bring revenue to the whole town.
http://www.egyptiantheatre.org/

How interesting that the first two commenters today are British. I admire the British and the French for understanding how history can live, how an old place always has a new use, how old architecture informs the buildings of today.

Dive, in this case it seems there are so many different partners in ownership, so many legal puddles to step through, that no one has wanted to begin the process. But Laurie has not ceased to poke her thorn in the side of the lion, and finally it is beginning to roar.

Margaret said...

Very nice of you to cover this, Petrea.

Trish said...

thanks Petrea, as well as Laurie. The Rialto is a grand old lady under all that dust and peeling paint.

I can remember seeing my first movie there. The first one I went by myself. The first movie I saw with a date. And, the last one I ever saw at The Rialto. All important times in my life. I hope this project can spur on the saving of this landmark.

Petrea Burchard said...

Margaret, I have a soft spot for the Rialto, too, although no great stories to tell. It's just my kind of place, is all.

Trish, those are stories! Too bad you're not local.

Su_Tune said...

I remember that place! Used to go down there a lot as a teen in the 80s. Pre-VCRs it was the only place I could see cool old movies like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Psych-Out"!!

Laurie said...

Thanks for spreading the word, Petrea! I'll have another bit of info about it posted tomorrow. If you can't make it for this videotaping, there will be more coming up this summer. I'm looking forward to hearing all the tales of this grand place. I want to see her brought back to life.

Megan Lynch said...

The Rialto could make a go of it if it ran as something of a cross between the Arclight & the Alamo Drafthouse. Really good programming, guaranteed absence of cell phone yakkers & movie talkers, and an extensive menu of food and adult beverages could make The Rialto a real destination.

I remember going to 25 cent matinees there when it was really run down in the '70s. I've always loved this local theater.

Petrea Burchard said...

Su_Tune and Megan, if only you were local, to tell your tales to Laurie tomorrow!

Laurie, I hope you have a good turn-out. I tweeted the message, too.

Cafe Pasadena said...

And this yr in SoPasa, Trouble on Fair Oaks Ave. Such that the Rialto has been looking relatively good on that street lately!.

Susan Campisi said...

I don't have an exciting tale to share, but I saw "The Triplets of Belleville" at the Rialto about seven years ago. Yep, a special movie in a special theatre. I hope they bring it back to life.

Petrea Burchard said...

No kidding, Cafe. Fair Oaks needs a miracle, too.

Good memory, Susan. John and I saw a movie there before it closed, and I can't remember what it was.

Shanna said...

I must have seen at least 50 gteat films there. I lived in Pasadena, then nearby in L.A.

It was THE place to go...on a date, with my husband, or to meet up with a friend.

Jim and I saw " Shall We Dance" the last time we went.

I miss the Rialto and want it back!

Petrea Burchard said...

I assume that one's going into Laurie's video, Shanna!

Ms M said...

I hope the theater is restored. It's a shame to lose old classics like that.