IOW: “Art Theater” now in print!

Happy end-of-Art-Theater-100th anniversary week, gang! With the special events scheduled by Art Co-op general manager Austin McCann to help celebrate the occasion now past, what else can the cultural sophisticates who frequent C-U Blogfidential partake in to better understand the legacy of our century-old cinema temple in downtown Champaign?

Might we suggest reading The Art Theater: Playing Movies for 100 Years, a brand-new book introduced at the Art on Tuesday, November 12, and written by Champaign-Urbana residents Perry C. Morris, Joseph Muskin, and Audrey Wells! Nine chapters plus miscellanea recount the history of the Art, our first purpose-built movie theater, by introducing the successive entrepreneurs who shaped its existence. From vaudeville to Red Grange, the sounds of THE SHOPWORN ANGEL to forbidden Sunday matinees, war bonds to smoke bombs, Europe’s filmmaking finest to America’s pornographic pipeline, and worn-down facilities to upgraded digital presentation, much is awaiting your discovery within its 168 pages.

Not only will you learn all about the theater and its movies and the business of exhibition and a smidgen about 20th century C-U, you can help stoke the fire behind Champaign Urbana Theater History, an imprint founded by Morris, Wells, and Muskin. Plans are afoot to introduce a second volume about the Art’s nearby cousin, the Orpheum Theatre, since it will reach its own century milestone in 2014; future titles have yet to be announced. If it must even be said, this writing trio needs their own dearest readers to justify all the hard work they’ll be undertaking for our community’s enrichment. Make sure to visit this Web site for direct ordering information and this Facebook page for updates on their adventures!

The Art Theater: Playing Movies for 100 Years will retail on a sliding scale from $20 to $30 depending on location and occasion. As of today, the only purchasing location in the C-U is the Art itself, although Wells tells CUBlog that stores and libraries will be added shortly. If you don’t get a peek at it right away, be sure to pick up C-U Confidential #7 next week to enjoy, for free, an exclusive excerpt from Chapter 5 of The Art Theater, “From Art House to Adults Only.” Ahhhh, we love it when a plan comes together … especially if bound at the spine!

~ Jason Pankoke

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