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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Next steps for the Vintage Theater


While it may sound dramatic to declare that "the Vintage Theater in Scranton is closing" (as I did) and to refer to the final First Friday celebration on June 1 as "the Last First Friday" (as I do), the truth, as always, is somewhat more nuanced.

The Vintage Theater is moving out of its current location at 119 Penn Avenue. (This isn't even the original location of the Vintage Theater. I discovered last night that I was correct in believing that it was originally housed in the old Ritz Theater where I used to see dollar movies when I was in college.) But that doesn't mean that the Vintage Theater is going away.

The idea of the Vintage Theater is what's important. It has been a multi-purpose art space where specific events - concerts, art exhibits, poetry readings, plays - brought the people in, and the synergies between the various art forms sharing the same space brought people back. That idea will be maintained, regardless of where the next incarnation of the Vintage Theater sets up shop.

The proprietors of the Vintage Theater are looking for a new home. Something affordable, something within the footprint of Scranton's First Friday celebrations, something accessible, something that is capable of serving the needs of all the different artists who present their creative works within the theater. They have made a list of seventeen different possibilities, and last night an eighteenth was presented - one that no one realized was even on the market.

But they're not rushing into this. They want to do this right. So during the transitional period, we will all have to be patient.

In the meantime, they have needs. Immediate, medium-term, and long-term needs. In the immediate future: they will need to be out of the 119 Penn Avenue location after the June 1 First Friday celebrations. That means that by June 1 they need to be 99% moved out. So in addition to being patient, anyone who really cares about the Vintage Theater should be prepared to lend a hand in some way - now, tomorrow, during the transition period, or in perpetuity.


The immediate needs:

- A plumber capable of doing the disconnection work on a very expensive and delicate European espresso/latte machine. I doubt that my own ham-fisted plumbing skills are up to the task.

- A carpenter with a portable saw to disassemble the very large and heavy countertops.

- An electrician to help with removal of light fixtures.

- General moving help to get stuff off the premises. This includes vehicles for hauling things away.

- Storage space for stuff that's been removed from the premises.

To reduce the tonnage of stuff that needs to be moved there will be a rummage sale on Monday, May 28th starting at noon. Books, chairs, art materials - almost anything that's still around on Monday will be up for sale. (So, FYI, if you're reading this and happen to have stuff that you kind-of left sitting around the Vintage Theater, you might want to reclaim it before Monday.)

After the hard (and frankly, heartbreaking) work of vacating the 119 Penn Avenue location is over, then the next stages will continue in earnest: identifying the needs of the next incarnation of the Vintage Theater, and making it a reality. And after that happens will come the really hard point: doing what needs to be done to keep the theater going.

The Vintage Theater is closing. The Vintage Theater will be back.

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