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Clinton Street Theater

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Clinton Street Theater
The Clinton (1915–1945), 26th Avenue Theatre (1945–1969), Encore (1969–1975)
Portland, OR - Clinton Street Theater 01.jpg
The theater's exterior in January 2015
Clinton Street Theater is located in Portland, Oregon
Clinton Street Theater
Clinton Street Theater
Location in Central Portland
Address 2522 SE Clinton Street
Portland, Oregon
United States
Coordinates Coordinates: 45°30′12″N 122°38′24″W / 45.50321°N 122.63996°W / 45.50321; -122.63996
Capacity 300[1]
Construction
Opened 1915
Years active 1915 – present
Architect Charles A. Duke
Website
cstpdx.com

The Clinton Street Theater is a theater located in southeast Portland, Oregon. It is believed to be the second oldest operating movie house in the city and one of the oldest continually operating cinemas in the United States.[1][2] The theater was designed by Charles A. Duke in 1913, built in 1914, and opened as The Clinton in 1915. It became known as the 26th Avenue Theatre in 1945 and the Encore in 1969, before reverting to a resemblance of its original name in 1976. The Clinton often screens grindhouse, cult and experimental films, and has become known for hosting regular screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (since 1978, marking one of the film's longest-running showings) and Repo! The Genetic Opera. The venue also hosts the annual Filmed by Bike festival, the Faux Film Festival and the Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival.

History[edit]

A photograph of the building that was to house the theater appeared in The Morning Oregonian newspaper in 1913. Known as the Kleist Building after its owner, Edward Kleist, it had a pressed brick front and walls with hollow tiles. The second floor was intended for residential rooms and apartments, and the ground floor was designed for business storerooms and a movie theater.[3] According to a February 1915 newspaper advertisement, The Exploits of Elaine, the first in a continuing series of Craig Kennedy detective stories, was to show at The Clinton on March 1.[4]

The 300-seat theater was designed by Charles A. Duke in 1913 and opened in 1915 as The Clinton.[1][5] Its main entrance faced 26th Avenue until 1922.[1] The venue became known as the 26th Avenue Theatre in 1945 and the Encore in 1969, before reverting to a variation of its original name on May 30, 1975.[1][5] At that time, a five-person collective bought the theater. The collective consisted of Jim Blashfield, Joe Uris, Lenny Diener, David Lifton and others. The group also published the Clinton St. Quarterly, with poetry by Walt Curtis and cartoons by John Callahan.[6] The movie house had been showing X-rated films, which the collective replaced with a wide variety of movies including foreign films, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and older films like The African Queen.[7]

The theater in 2010

In September 1999, Anne Rozier and Dennis Nyback took over operation of the theater.[8] Nyback had previously shown films at the Clinton beginning in 1997.[9] He was told about the availability of the theater when he was showing films in June 1999.[10] During his time operating the theater with Rozier,[11] Clinton showed a mix of new films, revival films, and creations by Nyback using his archive. His shows included: "Defining the 1970's Through Classic Commercials",[12] "Bad Bugs Bunny",[13] "Strange and Surreal Industrial Films",[14] "F&#k Mickey Mouse",[15] "Scopitone A Go Go",[16] "Jazz on Film",[17] "The Dark Side of Dr. Seuss",[18] "Forty Years of Classic Commercials",[19] and "The Genius of Bob Clampett".[20]

Seth and Nicola Sonstein purchased the business from Anne Rozier in September 2003.[21][22] The couple "fell in love with both the city and the theater" after visiting in July 2002 as coordinators of San Francisco's Sick Puppy short film festival.[23] The Sonsteins added heating and air conditioning, both firsts for the theater, and refurbished the bathrooms, lobby and walls, among other upgrades. Screening independent films and supporting local filmmakers remain the couple's primary goals.[22]

In March 2012 the business, including fixtures and projection and concession equipment, but not the building itself, were listed for sale.[24][25] In April 2012 ownership of the business transferred from the Sonsteins to Roger and Lani Jo Leigh.[2] After the sale, Seth Sonstein said in a press release: "For the last eight-and-a-half years I have had the opportunity to run the coolest movie theater, in the coolest neighborhood, in the coolest city in America. My eternal gratitude goes out to the citizens of Portland. I can never say thank you enough times for all of the support you have given to the Clinton."[26] Events to mark the change included an open house "meet-and-greet", which included screenings of two documentary films by Lani Jo, and an evening of rare trailers and video clips from the Prelinger Archives.[2] Lani Jo confirmed the theater will continue to offer screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and focus on documentary and independent films.[27]

Events[edit]

Members of the Clinton Street Cabaret, who present The Rocky Horror Picture Show, walking in Portland's Pride Parade in 2014

Clinton Street Theater offers: "a mixture of grindhouse, music films, political documentaries and experimental films".[21][24] The theater has become known for its weekly screenings of Rocky Horror and Repo! The Genetic Opera,[28] and for its annual Filmed by Bike festival, which began in 2003 and features: "bike-themed independent short movies from around the world."[2][29] Rocky Horror screenings began in 1978, marking one of the longest-running showings of the film.[21][30] The theater also hosts the Faux Film Festival, offering cult and independent film showings, and the Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival.[24][31][32]

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Portland Trail Blazers, in 2009 the theater screened the 1978 rare and out of circulation documentary Fast Break about the team's 1976–77 championship season.[33] In 2010 the Clinton hosted the Three-Minute Picture Show, which featured screenings of three-minute films by first-time filmmakers.[34][35] The venue has also hosted benefit events, such as "Can't Stop the Serenity" (presented by PDX Browncoats), which included showings of the film Serenity among other features to benefit Equality Now and the Oregon Food Bank.[36] Other hosted events have included the Portland Underground Film Festival,[22] comedy shows,[37] commemorations for holidays such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day,[38] and lectures on film making.[39]

Many celebrities have appeared at the theater to promote films, including Crispin Glover in 2008, and Bill Plympton and Tom Shadyac in 2011.[40][41][42] Chuck Palahniuk, Tom Potter and Gus Van Sant have also appeared at the theater.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Lacher, Gary; Stone, Steve (June 15, 2009). Theatres of Portland. Arcadia Publishing. p. 101. ISBN 9780738571478. OCLC 428734869. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Levy, Shawn (April 10, 2012). "The Clinton Street Theater rolls on under new management". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  3. ^ "Building Being Completed at East Twenty-Sixth and East Clinton". XXXII - No.36. Portland, Oregon: The Sunday Oregonian. September 7, 1913. Sec.4 p.10.
  4. ^ "The Exploits of Elaine (advertisement)". Portland, Oregon: Morning Oregonian. February 3, 1915. p. 14.
  5. ^ a b c "About the Theater". Clinton Street Theater. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  6. ^ Michael Kelsey, The Southeast Examiner, "Clinton Street Theatre turns 100" 2/1/2013
  7. ^ Pierce, Janice (March 18, 1979). "Collective Turns Clinton Theater into Success". The Sunday Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. p. 56.
  8. ^ Raymond, Camela (August 31, 2000). "The P.T. Barnum of Cinema: The Lovably Eccentric Dennis Nyback and the Clinton Street Theater". The Portland Mercury. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  9. ^ Morgan, Kim (October 22, 1997). "Dennis Nyback's Forbidden cinema". Willamette Week. Portland, Oregon.
  10. ^ Levy, Shawn (June 4, 1999). "Nightly Themes Show Treasures of Film Vaults". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon.
  11. ^ Levy, Shawn (December 10, 1999). "Dennis Nyback and Elizabeth Rozier: On the Clinton Street Theater". The Oregonian.
  12. ^ Levy, Shawn (February 11, 2000). "Defining the 70's Is Groovy Look at TV". The Oregonian.
  13. ^ Foyston, John (January 21, 2000). "Vintage Cartoons Reveal Dark Side of Warner Bros". The Oregonian.
  14. ^ Foyston, John (March 2, 2000). "Long-Forgotten Short Films Feature Odd, Surreal Themes". The Oregonian.
  15. ^ Morgan, Kim (July 14, 2000). "Twisted Toons". The Oregonian.
  16. ^ Foyston, John (June 2, 2000). "Clinton Street Offers Sample of Old Videos on French Scopitones". The Oregonian.
  17. ^ Levy, Shawn (March 23, 2001). "'Jazz on Film' Offers Rare Insights Into Genre's Various Ages". The Oregonian.
  18. ^ Mahar, Ted (September 7, 2001). "Geisel on the Loose Before Dr. Seuss A Retrospective Looks at the Author's Midcentury Works". The Oregononian.
  19. ^ Morgan, Kim (August 9, 2002). "Talk About Your Commercial Appeal". The Oregonian.
  20. ^ Morgan, Kim (August 2, 2002). "Beyond the Multiplex Il Postino Always Knocks Twice". The Oregonian.
  21. ^ a b c Hottle, Molly (November 1, 2011). "Southeast Portland's the scene for vintage, independent movie theaters". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  22. ^ a b c Ohlsen, Becky (July 7, 2004). "The New Clinton Era: The Clinton Street Theater's new owner remains committed to making Portland a haven for independent cinema". Willamette Week. Portland, Oregon: City of Roses Newspapers. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  23. ^ Sanders, Justin (October 16, 2003). "Clinton Street Theater Changes Hands". The Portland Mercury. Portland, Oregon: Index Publishing. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  24. ^ a b c Levy, Shawn (March 8, 2012). "Clinton Street Theater up for sale". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  25. ^ Henriksen, Erik (March 8, 2012). "Clinton Street Theater for Sale". The Portland Mercury. Portland, Oregon: Index Publishing. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  26. ^ Henriksen, Erik (April 6, 2012). "Clinton Street Theater: Sold". The Portland Mercury. Portland, Oregon: Index Publishing. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  27. ^ Henriksen, Erik (April 12, 2012). "Quick Update on the Clinton Street Theater". The Portland Mercury. Portland, Oregon: Index Publishing. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  28. ^ Butler, Grant (May 2011). "Portland's Clinton Street Is A Feast of Handpies, Cocktails and Hand-made Soap". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  29. ^ Sources for Filmed by Bike:
  30. ^ "In A Time Warp". The Daily Beast. The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. January 17, 1999. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  31. ^ Hall, Stan (March 29, 2012). "Indie & Arthouse films: Faux Film Festival, 'Cuts' and more". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  32. ^ "Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival" (PDF). Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 3, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  33. ^ Meagher, Sean (October 23, 2009). "Blazers documentary 'Fast Break' playing at Clinton Street Theater". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  34. ^ Levy, Shawn (July 29, 2010). "A big day for little movies". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  35. ^ "Three-Minute Picture Show Family-Friendly & Grown-Up Film Screenings Make Their Portland Debut". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. August 15, 2010. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  36. ^ Turnquist, Kristi (June 25, 2010). "'Can't Stop the Serenity' returns on Saturday". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  37. ^ "Charles Phoenix". The Portland Mercury. Portland, Oregon: Index Publishing. 2008. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  38. ^ "King: A Filmed Record — Montgomery to Memphis". The Portland Mercury. Portland, Oregon: Index Publishing. 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  39. ^ "Box office". Corvallis Gazette-Times. Corvallis, Oregon: Lee Enterprises. April 5, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  40. ^ Coleman, Patrick (February 5, 2008). "The Biggest Little Theater in Portland". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  41. ^ Levy, Shawn (July 15, 2011). "Bill Plympton: an Oregon animator comes home to show off 'Idiots and Angels'". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  42. ^ Levy, Shawn (February 14, 2011). "Tom Shadyac's 'I Am': launching a national release from Portland". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved April 13, 2012.

External links[edit]