The first time that I heard of the Millers Creek Film Festival, it struck me as the perfect example of the Michigan Theater as a Public Access Movie Theater. Here were some local activists in the Ann Arbor area who took the initiative to create a film festival out of their special interest. And there was the Michigan, ever ready to play its role as a community meeting place.
Archive for the ‘Michigan Theater’ Category
Most people’s favorite Christmas movies probably include the 1946 drama It’s a Wonderful Life and the 1954 musical White Christmas. On Dec. 20, 2008, I had the heartwarming privilege of seeing a big screen double feature of these two holiday classics at the Michigan Theater (It’s a Wonderful Life) and the Redford Theatre (White Christmas).
After a whirlwind of filmgoing that took me to all three of the Detroit Movie Palaces, I have many blessings to count in this season of Thanksgiving.
As I write this, my mind and emotions are reflecting on the enjoyment and the enrichment of: a family classic (The Wizard of Oz); a newly discovered barrel of fun (3 Ring Circus); a dramatic look at an Italian family (Days and Clouds); and two skillfully nuanced and emotionally gripping films (I’ve Loved You So Long and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas).
I’ve always enjoyed escaping into the Michigan Theater for its refreshing atmosphere and entertainment, but never more than on July 18, 2008, when I visited the Ann Arbor Art Fairs. Without the cool spaciousness of the Michigan, the art fairs would have been a weary test of endurance, instead of a wide variety of mid-summer activities and entertainments.
To better appreciate the preservation of the Detroit Film Theatre, Michigan Theater, and Redford Theatre, think about the outpouring of memories and emotions that have come this past week because of the demolition of Tiger Stadium.
And just imagine the news stories that might have been written if special efforts had not been made to maintain the DFT, Michigan and Redford for future generations:
The recently published mystery novel Frames is partially set in an old movie theater in Los Angeles. Reading this entertaining book by Michigan author Loren D. Estleman was made a lot more fun by my experiences at the Detroit Film Theatre, Michigan Theater, and Redford Theatre.
The blank film lay on the table in the Grand Foyer of the Michigan Theater, waiting for visitors to the 46th annual Ann Arbor Film Festival to mark up frames to produce a series of images that would later be projected on the main theater screen. A few feet away, some toy animals and a moveable projector awaited other filmgoers’ attempts at stop-motion animation.
Notes from a movie palace weekend (March 14-16, 2008):
After enjoying the focused intimacy of the Redford Theatre (Friday, March 14, 2008) and the Detroit Film Theatre (March 15), the spaciousness of the Michigan Theater on March 16 hit me very strongly. Steven Ball’s organ playing drifted out into the Grand Foyer and the street energy of downtown Ann Arbor continued into the Michigan’s auditorium.
If I had to pick one film that tied together the interests of most visitors to the Detroit Film Theatre, Michigan Theater, and Redford Theatre, it would be Buster Keaton’s 1927 silent comedy The General. A close second would be The Phantom of the Opera (1925) with Lon Chaney.