Live Wire is a not-too-distant descendant of vaudeville and is closely tied to several historic theaters. The beautiful old Hollywood Theater on
A less direct tie Live Wire has to another theater steeped in late vaudeville history is with the Rialto Theater in Deer Lodge, MT. That’s because in the early 80’s in the dark, sticky seats down front I copped my first feel. I’m sure more significant and historic events happened there since it opened in 1921, but the clumsy fumbling I achieved that night was sure a milestone for me.
My earliest movie-going experiences were at the
The Rialto was the cultural center of our little town and in recent years citizens rallied around it, raising money, maintaining, restoring, and improving the theater for generations to come. But tragically late last year it burned down. Compounding that tragic event was the subsequent (unrelated) death of one Jim Gilbert, this old-timer I knew in town who was instrumental in caring for the theater and bringing back a certain measure of its former glory. I can’t think of any other unfortunate event that has united the small town in shock and grief since…well…wars and such.
Maybe it’s because I make my living in theaters, but many of them, especially the old historic ones, seem like hallowed ground to me. There are in fact many churches in theaters and vice versa. I suppose there’s kind of a fine line between the two sometimes. Sure, that doesn’t stop pervy punks like I was from copping feels or sucking face down front, it just makes the worshipful element of the experience a bit more pagan. Understandably I’ve been able to appreciate these old theaters a little better lately. When we perform in the beautiful Aladdin I think of how lucky we are it still stands. Same goes for the
Now when I perform in the Aladdin or the
I’m thankful to be a part of Live Wire, a radio show that somehow brings people to the theater, in an age of cheesily apportioned multiplexes, cable movies on demand and Netflix.
(Incidentally, on the topic of theaters passing on, before the
And I’d like to thank that girl upon whom my feel was copped…a red head named Julie I think.
You can see pictures and stories about the Rialto and the fire at http://www.deerlodgerialto.com/index.htm.