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Good morning! Arena Stage’s 2010-2011 season starts today, which means its massive $135 million Mead Center for American theater is open to the public. TBD is doing a huge curtain-raiser today, which includes a chat with Arena’s communications director at noon and an interactive map (avec video) of the new facility. How does it compare with the interactive map of the Mead Center that the Post had a few weeks ago? Vote in the comments of this roundup, and I’ll award the winning news organization a Washington City Paper No-Prize.
Speaking of new places to consume arts, WaPo‘s Ann Hornaday looks at the new West End Cinema, which opens next week. The founders are communications and marketing exec Jamie Shor and restaurateur/film marketer Josh Levin. From the article:
Although the Landmark theaters on E Street and in Bethesda show independent movies, as well as the Avalon and the AFI Silver Theatre, the West End will be “a complement, not a competitor” to those venues, Shor said. “I’m a firm believer that a rising tide raises all ships. We only benefit from each other being here.”
Opening a movie theater could be seen as something of a risk when studios and exhibitors are increasingly resorting to bells and whistles like Imax and 3-D to coax audiences away from their home entertainment centers. To create added value, Shor and Levin will offer the West End as a venue for non-film events such as opera simulcasts, corporate meetings and television production.
Also on the venue tip: You probably saw this coming, but DC9 has canceled or moved all of its scheduled shows, which is to say through Dec. 14. I wondered earlier in the week whether the venue, with a co-owner and four employees facing aggravated assault charges and allegations that they beat Ali Ahmed Mohammed the night he died, could possibly ever reopen, at least under the same name. For now it can’t: Alcohol regulators suspended the venue’s license, although there’s a public hearing on Nov. 1.
Tom Shales, The Washington Post‘s jocular TV critic and now columnist, tells TBD he’ll be leaving the paper this year. Blake Gopnik grapples some more with his reverse hard-on for Rockwell. Express drops its Best of 2010 list. And I bid you a good day!