Friday, April 16, 2010

The Maple Theatre and beyond

For 20 years I have been coming to the Maple Theatre to watch art and independent films. When I returned to the Windsor-Detroit area in 1990 it was the only suburban Detroit art house. The Main Theatre in downtown Royal Oak would soon join it. Indeed both are now members of the Landmark Theatres chain. In the early Nineties however the Maple was still an AMC theatre. According to the Cinema Treasures web site the theatre was opened in 1974 and still has the AMC logo on the seat arm cupholders (I never noticed)..... The house has an endearing quality to me, despite the long drive from the border up the Lodge Freeway and then Telegraph Rd to Maple in West Bloomfield. The countless times I have been there with friends, on dates, alone - summer, fall, winter, spring - for afternoon matinees or late screenings, getting back to Windsor at 1 am with a Monday work day looming.....The theatre of course is located in the Bloomfield Plaza. The plaza's Machaus Red Fox restaurant (now an Andiamo) was the last place Teamster Jimmy Hoffa was seen alive..... I never had been that impressed with the before-and-aft dining in the area. (Yes there is the renowned Steve's Deli but somehow I wasn't tuned in enough to the Detroit zeitgeist to ever frequent it.) But lately things have picked up with Crust Pizza & Wine Bar. Last Saturday prior to the 9.15 screening of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Niels Arden Oplev 2010) the place was packed..... I used to hang out at Barnes & Noble across the street. Last Saturday we ventured into that plaza and noticed the former bookstore was darkened. Barnes & Noble had vamooshed! How depressing. As for the Maple itself it's starting to seem a little frayed around the edges, the restrooms especially..... Landmark has positioned the Maple and Main for slightly different types of screenings, with the Maple showing more classic period pieces and the Main edgier work. That's reflective of the Maple's older retired clientele and the Main's location in trendy Royal Oak..... Despite Barnes & Noble being closed, Crust Pizza and the Maple still made for an agreeable combo  (though thumbs down on the Tattoo flic).

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