Monday, March 30, 2009

Senator auction - I lost count

"Baltimore-based a capella group Smoothteaze, bows on stage of The Senator Theatre during a town hall meeting in Baltimore, Monday night. The Senator Theatre closed its doors Monday and is supposed to be auctioned in the near future."

I've never seen a flick at the The Senator Theatre in Baltimore. But the historic theatre, which opened in 1939, is facing to be sold at auction in April - again.

According to reports, a payment has not been made on the theater's $940,000 debt since September and a town hall meeting was called two weeks ago with hopes of divising a plan to save it.

Enter my assignment. Warm the popcorn. Roll film. Start the community disagreements.

The meeting came about several days after 1st Mariner Bank, which holds the theater's mortgage, said The Senator was in jeopardy of being auctioned in a foreclosure, and announced the auction could be held as soon as mid-April.

Now, I've never seen a flick at The Senator, yet, and heard it's nothing short of amazing. Now that I think about it, I did assist friend Chris Assaf there when he was shooting Baltimore Raven linebacker Terrell Suggs a couple months ago. While a movie wasn't playing, it was a cool experience walking around at that point in time.

Continuing on, foreclosure threats is nothing new for the theater. It has faced chronic financial trouble in the past couple of years. From what I can recall, I believe this is the fifth time? Correct me if I am wrong.

With the way the economy is now, I am sure nothing short of Edward Norton rolling up in a limo with an overflowing brief case full of money will save it. But I could be wrong and this meeting was obviously held to help community members and civic leaders explore measures to save the historic space.

Not sure what to expect, I had simple instructions. Get an image of the owner, Tom Kiefaber, and the marquee at dusk.

Well, that proved to be a bit hard. Now only did Kiefaber hide in the shadows of the pitch dark theater, every time I lined up a shot, I felt as if he was intentionally avoiding my lens and would move.

Granted, I had gotten a couple frames of him in the beginning of the meeting and wasn't only shooting him, it was a frustrating two hours.

The night rolled along, and I had fun chatting up with my buddy, and Baltimore Sun nightlife and local entertainment reporter, Sam Sessa, among other local media there, all of whom where either there listening, some on, and others off the clock.

I didn't really hear many tangible steps in helping preserving the theater, it was more or less some arguing, questions being asked along with some praise.

As for the above photo, I liked it for its symbolism and thought it was appropriate. Back in the day, singing groups would perform before movies, and this is kind of like the last singing performance before the movie at The Senator.

Alas, enough words from me. I hope The Senator remains open, but a foreclosure auction since been set for April 20.


Blogger Unknown said...

Damn shame. I only saw one movie there (300) and it was an experience. It's unlike any theater environment when you walk through the doors and sit down. I wish I had taken advantage of that place a lot more when I was in B-More.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger Allyson said...

Ugh! Why would you post inaccurate information about The Senator Theatre on your blog?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 2:13:00 PM  
Blogger Patrick Smith said...

You should elaborate, Allyson. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 2:16:00 PM  

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