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I am currently working on a comedy mystery novel set in a world somewhat like ours. I can draw with either my right or my left hand, and I love to paint. I administer the blog for The Original Tree Worshippers of Rock County--rocksherlockotw.blogspot.com--a Sherlockian group I co-founded that meets in Janesville, Wisconsin, and am a founding member of The Cherry Street Irregulars, writers who gather (in groups of two or more) with laptops to create, critique, and support one another.
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2010/08/13

Requiem for the Park Place Cinema

by Resa Haile

As I was walking by the Park Place Cinema in Janesville one day, or rather, what used to be the Park Place Cinema, I saw the dreaded notice. This former movie theatre, sadly empty for many years, was going to be torn down.

I remember the Park Place, before the Rock and the Movies 10 came to town. It had a friendlier feeling to me, with large overstuffed chairs in the lobby and posters of old movies on the walls. I spent many a happy hour there, comfortably ensconced in the special rocking theatre seats. Sometimes movies went to the Rock before coming to the Park Place, one reason for the latter’s eventual closing. If I had seen a movie at the Rock and it later came to the Park Place, I would go again just to see it in my favourite theatre.

The Park Place Cinema used to run a foreign film once a week. My friend Liane and I went to see the movie Blue (or Bleu) starring Juliette Binoche, who later went on to win the Oscar for The English Patient. Blue was part of director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors Trilogy; the other two being White (Blanc) and Red (Rouge).

Liane and I were alone in the theatre with one man and woman who had come together (foreign films not being all the rage in Janesville at that time). At one point in the movie, the Juliette Binoche character, having a problem with mice, went over to her neighbor’s and knocked on the door. Her neighbor asked her to come in, but she said no. She wanted to know if she could borrow his cat for a couple of days.

“Can I borrow your cat for a couple of days?” I exclaimed to the nearly-empty theatre, and we all four burst out laughing. A few days later, I had a message on my answering machine from Liane in a pseudo-French accent: “’Allo. Can I borrow your cat for a couple of days?”

I can’t help but wish that the Park Place Cinema, which was the nicest movie theatre in Janesville, although not the biggest, were being prepped for a reopening rather than a demolition. There are good signs that Janesville’s downtown is now undergoing a revival, such as the recent addition of a dinner theatre not far from the Park Place. My favourite movie theatre, however, is a victim of a time when the downtown was dying, and I can’t help but feel that it deserves a better fate.

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