Sunday, November 15, 2009

Movies at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art

I wanted to do a separate post about our visit to catch a movie at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art because I didn't want to distract from the brilliance of my brief review of the movie. But I managed to take a few pictures with my iPhone of the auditorium and I wanted to post them and say a few words about being here.

The OCMA is housed in the old Centre Theatre :

On Christmas Day 1947, Oklahoma City saw an impressive new movie palace open downtown. The Centre Theater, the last of the downtown movie palaces to open in Oklahoma City, was considered to be one of the most modern cinemas between Chicago and the West Coast. Built within the municipal center of Oklahoma City, the theater’s design matched those of its neighbors: City Hall, the County Courthouse, and the Civic Center Music Hall.

Now sixty years later, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art occupies the entire block at 415 Couch Drive on the site of what was formerly the Centre Theater. In 2002, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art opened its new location while preserving many of the unique architectural elements that were original to the building, such as the box office, poster display cases, and the Plexiglas staircase railings.

I'm not quite clear if the auditorium we were in was the original one; we had to go up a flight of stairs to get in and that doesn't quite make sense to our modern theatre-going sensibilities. And by today's standards, it's tiny, no bigger than the small venues you'll sit in at the local google-plex. Oh, but it's been beautifully restored and you can imagine the ghosts of the past that are sitting right beside you as you watch the movie. (Drat. No popcorn though. But they did have previews. Yes!)

A brief glimpse of what the OCMA will be showing next. I was wanting to get a shot of the stage and its hardwood floors but the low light and limitations of Blogger only get me the screen. Well, maybe you get an idea of it:

Here's something you don't see anymore in movie theatres: the projection booth. An actual person is in there jockeying around the reels of celluloid. Cool:

In this part of the museum, you'll find another Dale Chihuly. And, again, thanks to he limited iPhone photo capability and Blogger, you get only a tiny sense of the beauty of this piece. (Funny how I manage to shift the blame of my lousy photos, isn't it?):

After the show, you can go back out the doors into the night of downtown OKC. No, you're not in Manhattan - it's foolish to think you'd have that kind of experience, but maybe it'll do for now. It's enough to think you might have just passed through the same doors, stepped on the same sidewalk, as Susan Hayward and Robert Preston and thousands of Oklahomans before you who were doing the same thing you just finished doing: looking for a few hours of entertainment in the city.

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