Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sevillians Unite to Save the Empress!!!

Leila Marshy over at The Rover writes about the ill-fated Empress Theatre building which has shamefully sat idle and deteriorated over the past 20 years while politicians and community organizers argued over what to do with it. I remember the building when it was Cinema V, sister repertory film house (in a sibling rivalry sort of way) of the old Seville Theatre where I worked as a doorman for a few years in the early 80s. Yes, their building was more art-deco beautiful, but we Sevillians thought of ourselves as cooler because our building had a more venerable history (Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr.) and it was downtown, a block from the Forum. Also, our ticket booth was on the street, while theirs was inside. Working the Seville door every Friday and Saturday night (Rocky Horror, Dawn of the Dead, The Road Warrior, Best of the New York Erotic Film Festival) was my rite of passage into young adulthood. I cleaned up more than my fair share of beer-smelling puke, and stopped more than one speed-induced fight between patrons, but the unmentionable perks (Leila mentions some of them) were unmatched and I was the envy of all my friends. Now, the Seville is nothing but a memory. All Sevillians should unite to find new life for the Empress, undeniably a Montreal landmark. We can't let this opportunity slip away, the way it did with the Seville. My seventeen year old is currently looking for part-time employment while she attends CEGEP and I can't help lamenting the fact that there aren't jobs with perks anymore like at the Seville and Cinema V.

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