Sunday, July 27, 2014

American Film Institute Silver Theater and Cultural Center

I visited the American Film Institute Silver Theater and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD for the first time yesterday.  Until I was connected to it via a Twitter recommendation in the last week or so, I had no idea this place existed.

I am ecstatic that I found it.

I'll tell you what made me so happy in this post, but first, let me invite you to check out the Silver Spring Theater's website, here, so you can see how the place presents itself, and, if you'd like to read about the history of the Silver Theater itself, you can read it, here.

I love movies and I often don't pursue my love of movies as forcefully as I might.  Part of what gets in the way of my pursuit of this love is that it's not my sole love.  I'm often enjoying other things in life I love and sometimes watching a movie gets lost in the shuffle of taking pictures, cooking, trying out different beers, spending time in Kellogg, and doing other things.  While I enjoy watching movies at home, sadly, on my small computer screen, I really love going to movie theaters.

I especially love movie theaters that show independent, foreign, and documentary movies -- I loved the Cinema 7 in Eugene until it closed in 1987, and loved the Bijou in Eugene, too, especially the downtown Bijou Metro.

Living, for now, in the Northern Virginia (NoVa) suburbs of Washington, D.C., I realized immediately that it would be no problem to find any number of mall-anchored multi-screen movie emporia showing the latest box office smashes here in the suburbs.

In searching for other movie venues, I was pleased to find the West End Cinema near Foggy Bottom in D. C. as well as the E Street Cinema, The Avalon, and The Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (The Arlington features all kinds of movies, ranging from Godzilla to The Grand Budapest Hotel to single night showings of MASH and Plan 9 from Outer Space.  The Arlington also features live entertainment some nights). 

I look forward to going to all of these theaters, but I want to live at the AFI Silver Theater. 

It's place devoted to movies in a way I've never seen before.

Let me explain by example, by telling you what is happening at the AFI Silver Theater right now.

For starters, three current independent movies are showing (Snowpiercer, Belle, and Boyhood).  My sense is that the theater is always showing contemporary movies of this sort.

For me, the real fun is found in the multiple film series the Silver Theater runs.  Here's a list of the series currently underway:

  •  A fifteen-movie Burt Lancaster series has run since April and ends on August 2 with a screening of Atlantic City, featuring a talk by his daughter, Joanna. 
  • An Alec Guinness Centennial has been running since July 3 and will end September 15. It features twenty-seven movies from all across Guinness' film career. 
  • Ha!  July through September features a retrospective of thirty-four films from the 80s entitled:  Totally Awesome 8:  Great Films of the 1980s.
  • Cinema and the Great War features thirty-four movies, including several silent films with live musical accompaniment, with WWI as their subject matter.  Again, July through September.
  • A five movie Sergio Leone series wraps up today.
  • Fourteen Mario Bava films will show from July through August.
  • Enjoy Raoul Walsh movies?  Come to Silver Spring in July through September.  Eight of his movies are showing. 
  • Starting Saturday, you can see six Harold Ramis movies, screened in his memory. 
  • And, starting Sunday, six movies will be shown in 70mm, including, to my delight, a movie I've never seen (I can't believe it!), Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet
Right now, I live about an hour or so from Silver Spring via the Fairfax County Connector and the Metro Train.  I'll live much closer via Metro if and when the Deke and I move to Greenbelt, MD. 

When we decided to move to the D.C. area, I was excited to be closer to Molly and Adrienne and I knew from my six day stay with Molly and Hiram back in 2012 that there was a lot I wanted to see and do.

What's really fun now is making new discoveries, like Huntley Meadows Park, right down the street, and, as you can see, the AFI Silver Spring Theater and Culture Center. 

When I retired in June, 2012, I never saw this coming. 

How could I?

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