Monday, March 23, 2009


I went to the movies tonight. I've been going to a lot of movies lately. This might seem like an obvious statement but, with the exception of Oscar season, I tend to wait until things come out on DVD. But lately I've discovered a renewed interest in the theater-going experience.

I think part of it has to do with a deliberate effort to not get caught up in things that used to bother me. I'd start by counting the amount of coming attractions (not to mention the newly added commercials - over fifteen minutes! That's ...[calculation in head] __ % of the whole movie...) I try not to do that any more. Mostly, I try to come in late and coincide my entrance with the opening credits. Also, I used to be very pre-controlling of the crowd. I would exhaust myself by trying pre-determine the talkers or chair-kickers. I try not to do that any more. Not that it always works, this zen-attempt to just go, but it sure beats starting out every movie unnecessarily stressed out.

I'd forgotten how special a space the Drexel's main auditorium is. I love most theaters, just for being theaters. I'd say being in a theater is like being in church, but that's not true. Mostly because I already go to church and my experience is not the same. But there is a sacredness that I am always aware of. I tend to get my best ideas while sitting in a theater seat.

The architecture of the Drexel auditorium is not particularly grand or spectacular. But I did get the chance to sit and take it in this evening (I confused the time with one for a different cinema so I was early.) I concluded that the architecture was designed by a passionate craftsman on a tight budget. It is modest but purposefully classic in its beauty.

Because I was early, I got my choice of seats. So I picked my favorite option - the seventh seat of the seventh row, which put me pretty close to the middle. As others trickled in, an interesting thing occurred. Usually, the space in a theater is like that of an elevator, people tend to space themselves out. But the very next people (a couple) sat with only one seat between them and I. The next people did the same on the other side of me. At one point during the movie I looked around and counted sixteen people, no more than a few rows up and back. It was the most bonded I have ever felt with a crowd of strangers.

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