Thanks to city, it’s again showtime at the Avalon

The lights didn’t stay dim at the Avalon Theatre for long.

Less than a month after the financially troubled nonprofit Cinema at the Avalon folded, cutting off a five-year run of nearly daily showings of independent and foreign films, the city of Grand Junction will fire up the projector again starting Friday.

City officials are in the midst of putting together a business plan that calls for showing mainstream movies at the city-owned theater several times a week through the end of the year and independent films one Saturday a month in 2009.

The city will start by showing “Scrooged” Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m., hoping to draw Parade of Lights revelers to the latter showing two hours before the annual downtown event.

The city also will show “The Way We Were” at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday and again at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“Obviously what we’re trying to do is capitalize on some themes, particularly with the holidays, and, most importantly, get the lights back on in the theater in a meaningful way, not to just say we’re doing it,” said Tim Seeberg, manager of the Avalon and Two Rivers Convention Center.

City officials are billing Tuesday nights as “dinner and a movie,” an opportunity for patrons to eat dinner downtown and take in a romantic film. This coming Tuesday, people who dine at any restaurant downtown can take their receipt to the Avalon and receive two free tickets to see a movie that night. All other Tuesday nights, downtown diners will receive special pricing on movie tickets, according to Debbie Kovalik, executive director of the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau, the Avalon and Two Rivers.

Kovalik said the city plans to show independent films the second Saturday of each month throughout next year. She said officials will partner with former Cinema at the Avalon board members to select movies.

Theater administrators also are attempting to combine movies with other activities.

As one example, the city hopes to put on an event one Saturday morning a month for kids.

Parents could drop off their children and go shopping while their kids watch a movie or two and do a craft or some other activity, Kovalik said, adding that officials are working out the details.

The city may explore showing movies based on novels or food themes and pair them with book discussions or culinary events, Kovalik said.

“We’re trying to broaden the appeal of the movie industry past just sitting and watching a movie,” she said.

Tickets for evening movies will be $5 apiece, while matinees will cost $3. The city will sell traditional concessions, as well as beer and wine for evening movies.

For movie titles and show times, log onto http://www.tworivers or call the convention center at 263-5700.


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