The State Theatre in Traverse City is one of those vintage movie palaces dear to the hearts of pretty much everyone who grew up in this country, although for a time we thought of them with a certain fond nostalgia and then went off to the mall. The theatre had fallen on hard times before it became a venue for the Traverse City Film Festival back in 2005. People came, people liked, and the next thing you know, with the help of Rotary Charities and a whole lot of other folks, the State was donated to the Festival, which restored the building and the seats and then made it even better with truly excellent sound and projection equipment. Now it’s open all year ’round, seven days a week, and on Monday afternoon I was down there being fitted for a volunteer usher costume. We had a choice of headwear, bowties, pearls and stick-on mustaches to accessorize our tasteful maroon usher jackets.
Betty Jo talked me into it. She promised me I’d get my own box of popcorn for my trouble. She didn’t mention the accessories. Here’s Lois, the volunteer coordinator for the day, modeling one of the fetching 1920s headbands, feathers, glittery dangles and all. Lois is irrepressible.
When the volunteer ushers have taken all the tickets and made sure all the paying customers are happy, they can grab their popcorn and head inside to watch the movie. On Monday the movie was The Artist, which I liked a lot, so I forgave Betty Jo for the accessories. I am very bad at reviewing movies so I will not tell you anything about The Artist except that you should go. You will enjoy the Jack Russell terrier. Also the dancing. Also the imagination involved in the entire production. And if you go see it at the State Theatre in Traverse City you can see this, too.
OK, that is a pretty bad picture, but it’s the best I could do with my skills and my little camera under all the lobby lights. The famous statue looks pretty glamorous when you’re standing right there in front of its museum quality glass case looking at it. That is the honest-to-goodness real Oscar that Michael Moore and Michael Donovan won in 2002 for Bowling for Columbine.
The way I look at it, Michael Moore has made the Oscar Traverse City’s Oscar, the same way the Red Wings have made the Stanley Cup Detroit’s Stanley Cup on many occasions. Back in 1999 I got to touch the Stanley Cup, but that’s another post entirely. I did not get to touch Oscar, but I believe I may have left a noseprint on his glass case. I could touch Oscar, though . . . Here’s the description of this year’s Oscar Party at the State:
Watch the 2012 Academy Awards in high definition on the biggest screen in Northern Michigan! Admission includes gourmet pizza, salad, dessert, and popcorn, plus soda, coffee and tea to keep you awake until Best Picture is announced. Dress in your formal best and walk the red carpet. Enter our Oscar contest for a chance to win prizes including a one-year All Access Pass for two for the State. Fill out your ballot ahead of time and drop it in our lobby ballot box — you need not be present to win. And this year, you can appear on the big screen yourself — stop by the State and record your acceptance speech in the lobby with Michael Moore’s real Oscar (just ask a staff member for help). Keep it to 45 seconds, please!
How cool is that? That is very cool. In case you decide to go, and want to know how you’ll recognize it when you get there, here is what the State looked like four summers ago when Babs Young went down there to hear a historic speech.
Did I mention that besides great movies you can see live broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera and important community events like Presidential nominating conventions and the Michigan-Michigan State game? Now I think I’m going to go work on my acceptance speech. I want to thank the Members of the Academy, the Cowboy and Miss Sadie . . .