A MATCH IN MOVIE LOVER HEAVEN: There isn't a cinephile on the planet who would turn her or his nose up at catching a famous silent era flick in a theater, any theater, especially if a fine fundraiser is behind it. But it is a rare day when a film from the 1920s is shown in a theater from the 1920s. Very often we see vintage works on screens in modern cinemas, and while we are definitely there to look straight ahead, at the action unfurling before us, we're aware, even in the dark, of the contemporary surroundings. Ah, but to see a deeply atmospheric treat like "The Phantom of the Opera," which was made in 1925, in the exquisite Avalon Casino Theatre, a venue that debuted in 1929, just a few years after "Phantom" opened. How's that for an era-ideal match between setting and cinema? It doesn't come along all that often. Add the fact that this is a one-night-only fundraiser to this most excellent pairing, a fundraiser for the history-important Catalina Island Museum, and you have another cherry atop the cake.
SPEAKING OF CAKE... would it be wrong to call the Casino Building, which the Avalon Casino Theatre is a part of, a bit cake-like in its iconic appearance? Surely we can't be the first. Just about every Catalina Island aficionado knows the cinema is inside the burg's best-known building, but if you don't know that, you're in for a treat. The Phantom goes a-haunting on Saturday, May 16, there shall be live accompaniment by a 30-piece orchestra, and organist Dennis James shall be filling the air with ye olde sounds of the '20s. Lisa Vroman shall sing, too, adding further exquisiteness to an exquisite night.
WE KEEP SAYING "EXQUISITE"... but we must. The interior of this theater is not really a best-kept secret. It's not a secret at all. It brims with Art Deco murals by artist John Gabriel Beckman and the kind of style and dash and atmosphere that shall match all of the spooky Paris-based action on the big screen. Truly, we don't get that twosome often enough, a theater and movie born of the same time. That you get to do it all on Catalina Island, itself a place out of another decade, is frosting on the aforementioned cake. Want a ticket? Sweep your cape dramatically about your person and sail your subterranean boat this way.