Angelika theater closure hurts Houstonians
Film lovers in Houston and the surrounding areas have been dealt a crippling blow. With the closing of the Angelika Houston Theatre, will Houston’s film community ever truly recover? For such a fledgling industry barely on its feet, to have such a staple close so suddenly brings into question how promising the future of Houston’s Film industry actually is. But are things really as they appear?
Yes, the closing of the Angelika was sudden and upsetting for local moviegoers and patrons, but for the cinema operator this comes from a long running dispute with the landlord. Both parties are at fault here. For one, the Angelika has been doing a month-by-month lease for nearly the last year, which leads to the landlord who unjustifiably terminated the theatre’s lease.
A lawsuit brought against the landlord of Bayou Place will eventually decide who was in the wrong. But what about Bayou Place’s other tenants, what’s going to happen to them?
The Angelika attracted many to the downtown area, especially art lovers. The theatre attracted many who would not normally make the commute to Houston’s mostly classical Theatre District. It’s location at the junction of Jones Hall, and the Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS), two of the most visited venues in area, offered a mutual modernity not quite offered by the others as well as a different medium. It gave those of us who enjoyed great music, great theatre and great film a honey hive to move about in, along with the luxury of the many restaurants erected about the surrounding streets. But one must admit, because of the Angelika’s somewhat awkward location on the forefront of a street behind a large frescoed pavilion, those who went to the theatre usually stuck to the convenience of the food venues offered by Bayou Place. Because of this, those restaurants had somewhat of an advantage as they got all the rebound from the theatre.
The owners of The Angelika are currently looking for another downtown location, but who knows when they will find another, let alone how convenient it will be. The landlord of Bayou Place say somewhat of the same thing; that the current theatre will be refurbished and reopened again sometime later in 2011.
Not only is it inconvenient for the rest of the Houston film community), but it has also put the annual Cinema Arts Festival out of place too. They’ve now had to relocate to Edwards Cinema, a somewhat larger more commercial theatre, but one who has nonetheless agreed to meet the standards of the festival.
Houston is becoming one of the most prominent cities in America for a variety of reasons. It has the ability and the resources to become a great city. In our own unique way, we can achieve a status as high and as coveted as that of New York City as a place of commerce, entertainment and diversity. The film industry has already begun to put down roots in our town, using us either as a replacement for other cities or finding the next big artist, director, or even more common, writers, especially for small films.
The loss of the Angelika makes the future of this industry more uncertain than ever before. Houston won’t know until late next year just where our film industry will head, but we can only hope for the best. We can only hope for the best not just for the Angelika, or for the film industry, but for the city itself.
Varah Thornton is a English sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].