The Virginia Theatre

ebert cinemas

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, we highlight the important theaters in Roger Ebert‘s life. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. The Art Theatre Location: 126 W. Church Street, Champaign, IL Opened: November 12, 1913, as The Park Theatre. Reopened as The Art on October 3, 1958. No. of screens: 1 Why Ebert worshipped here: “I learned about the art of film [here]…The atmosphere of the Art reflected the new beatnik culture of the ’50s, and to walk through the doors was like breathing the air of freedom. There wasn’t any popcorn for sale, but the coffee was free, black, and strong, and at the age of 16, sitting in the dark wired on caffeine and trying to puzzle through Ingmar Bergman’s Through a Glass Darkly, I felt I was on the brink of amazing discoveries about the world, life, and myself…I remember those movies at the Art so vividly. The posters outside, with their stark surrealistic images and bizarre typography. The earnest bohemians in the lobby, sipping their coffee and talking like the captions on ‘New Yorker’ cartoons. The notion that in a movie you had never heard of you could discover truths you had never dreamed.” [Entertainment Weekly, 1991] “At a time when the exhibition of art and independent films is in jeopardy, the […]

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published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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