Curtain to drop on Cinema at the Avalon

Venue for independent films plans final screening tonight

Daily sentinel publisher Alex Taylor works the concession stand on the next-to-last night for Cinema at the Avalon screenings. Popcorn and sodas were free, courtesy of The Daily Sentinel.



Most of the time, it didn’t matter what film was showing at Cinema at the Avalon — longtime friends Thelma Hughes and Janet Johnson were regulars at the Wednesday senior matinees.

“We’re very sad,” Johnson said, snacking on popcorn in the theater Wednesday.

“We’re going to send them out in style,” Hughes said.

Today is the final day for Cinema at the Avalon — which has shown independent and foreign films at the Avalon Theatre, at 645 Main St.

The nonprofit’s board of directors decided to terminate the use arrangement for the building it had with the city of Grand Junction, which owns the Avalon Theatre.

Hughes and Johnson said they’ve been going to see movies in the Avalon Theater building since they were elementary school age, when it was called the Cooper Theater.

“This is usually our Wednesday afternoon thing,” Johnson said. “We’re going to have to find something else to do.”

The two friends said they’ll probably do less shopping on Main Street now because movies were their excuse to go downtown.

Gretchen Reist, executive director of Cinema at the Avalon, said she would like to keep a film presence in Grand Junction, however small it is.

She said she is working with the community radio station KAFM 88.1 to utilize its Radio Room in the future as a new venue for independent and foreign movie screenings.

Using the 75-seat theater space inside the radio station at 1310 Ute Ave. “is an idea we’ve tossed around for years,” she said.

Reist said she thinks the Radio Room will offer new possibilities, flexibility and opportunity that didn’t exist at the Avalon Theater.

On Wednesday night, The Daily Sentinel purchased popcorn and soda for the first 50 people who bought tickets to the 7:30 p.m. movie.

Movie-goers stuck dollars in the tip jar marked “employee severance package” and commented among themselves about the movies they’ve seen in the building, how much they’re going to miss it and whether they wanted butter on their popcorn.

The final Cinema at the Avalon movie showtimes are 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. today.

The movie is “Bottle Shock,” about a wine-tasting contest between French wines and California’s Napa
Valley wines.


Reporter Mike Wiggins contributed to this story.


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