TL;DR: Five Things We Want to See at the Minor Theater


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Busy week? We get it. Here are some highlights from this week's cover story to get you caught up.

Earlier this month, the 101-year-old Minor Theater quietly closed, its operator, Ashland-based Coming Attractions, unable to renew a contract with the building's owner. But quickly thereafter, owner Josh Neff, who bought the Minor and most of the adjacent block next door, announced he was partnering with Merrick McKinlay, the co-owner of La Dolce Video and Richards’ Goat Tavern, to renovate and re-open the theater. With that news, here are five things this writer wants to go see at the Minor Theater:

1) Star Wars 8. I mean, obviously, right? Neff plans to deck out the Minor to the tune of a quarter million dollars, installing state-of-the-art screens, projectors and sound systems, along with new, comfy seats. “It will, without question, be the best movie-going experience you can get within 100 miles," he said.

2) Live ballet — or maybe an opera? Neff and McKinlay have floated the idea of partnering with big-city live dance and theater presentations, bringing world class performances that otherwise wouldn’t grace Arcata stages. Also, no tux necessary. The partners in the newly formed Minor Theater Group say they’re committed to bringing movies and arts of cultural value to the theater, and hoping to attract people of all ages with their offerings.

3) The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Can you imagine a better movie during which to gorge yourself on the Minor’s new food offerings? Neff and McKinlay plan to offer local, fresh food with beers and wine, even saying they hope to partner up with local farms. “Who would’ve thought the movie theater would be working with farms?” McKinlay asked.

4) Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Or Night of the Hunter. Or Creature from the Black Lagoon. Or Blade Runner. Or Holy Mountain. Or next year’s Oscar-nominated documentaries. Foreign, cult, arthouse, kids’ fare, blockbusters — you name it. McKinlay and Neff say the programming with be flexible and responsive to the community. "It's been the entertainment center of the town since it was built. It doesn't get any bigger or better than this," McKinlay said. And with that comes the responsibility of being the "cinematic lifeblood" of the community.

5) The Humboldt International Film Festival. The nearly 50-year-old student-run film festival is coming back to the Minor on April 20 for the first time in 10 years. The festival’s organizers expect a better turnout than recent years at the Van Duzer Theatre, and that means more eyes on the student-curated films and more renown for the festival. Plus, more interaction between town and university. "It's like going home," said film professor Susan Abbey.


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