Article Comment 

Voice of the people: In praise of dingy theaters




Ever since I moved back from Memphis to Columbus, I have been wondering why the Varsity Twin has not been renovated by Hope Community Church. First and foremost, I respect the fact that they would like to better the community through their ministry. However, it pains me to see such a historical landmark waste away because they have failed to construct a solid timeline and business plan. 


A few years ago, I used to visit the Varsity Twin to watch independent films, and I loved that it was such a dingy cinema. For many kids growing up here in Columbus, films are a method of escapism. At the Varsity Twin, I could watch films with substance and not be bothered by blockbuster fare that plagues the Cinema 8. 


If I had the funds, I would gladly purchase the Varsity Twin building and resurrect it into an independent theater and art gallery devoted to films and filmmaking. The New Beverly Cinema, a revival theater in Los Angeles, shows classic films, both new and old, and even camp favorites.  


There are franchises, like the Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, that become fixtures in the community because they show films from the past and have quote-along movie nights. Out of the Alamo Drafthouse's involvement in Austin, Mondo has emerged. It is a small gallery that creates limited edition screen-printed posters based on their favorite classic and contemporary films.  


The Belcourt, Nashville's nonprofit cinema, enriches and educates the community through their innovative film programming. Many of these provide a positive outlet for entertainment and the exploration of art and filmmaking. 


In my opinion, Columbus would benefit greatly from this. This whole mentality of "build it and they will come" churches does not better the community.  


If you are an active ministry, you will make it happen. I am not saying a church/coffeehouse/whatever else they want to be should not be built, but the last thing Main Street needs is another building turned church turned vacant building. 


Hayley Gilmore 





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