On this cold, damp, rainy fall day, I decided to finally go down to the Cleveland Institute of Art’s new facilities on Euclid Avenue and see what the hoopla is all about with the Peter B . Lewis Theater which is the new home of the Cleveland Cinematheque. There was such a hoopla in the local media over the auditorium when the Cinematheque finally moved over there in August (even a spread in the Cleveland Plain Dealer). However, so many factors, such as no films on their schedule I really wanted to see, prevented me from going there until now.
I got there in time for their five o’clock showing of the Eric von Stroheim classic Greed which I never saw in its entirety. Like with any new facility, it was a bit difficult trying to get my bearings and find out where that new parking lot behind the building was. I did find it and followed the pink arrows past two closed doors before I saw Cinematheque assistant director Timothy Harry waving at me inside the building to go to a pair of doors where he let me in. We had a very nice chat on the new facility, how the final night at the old building in July went, and how this was the first time I’ve been in the new place. I did learn something that was quite interesting. It seems that, on East 115 st., Cleveland police do ticket cars on the weekend parked at the meters. That’s something they never do elsewhere at University Circle, but parking in the lot is free and he did show me another pair of doors in the back that led right out there. Another thing that their website also mentions, they now accept plastic to buy a ticket, which now looks like a receipt.
It is a very nice facility and I admit that the seats a lot more comfortable. As for Greed, I can see why Irving Thalberg cut all that footage. I know it’s supposed to be a masterpiece of silent film but, in my opinion, it took awhile for the plot to pick up. It doesn’t look good nodding off in a new theater! Admittedly, the old Gund Auditorium on East Boulevard was far more convenient but things do change.
Photographs by James Valentino