The Screening Room restaurant and cinema, 54 Varick St., New York, (212) 334-2100. This N.Y. first combines food, cocktails and movies. The 132-seat cinema boasts loveseats from the 1940s and shows indie films daily. The restaurant has been awarded two stars from the New York Times, and movie tickets can be purchased from waiters. Indie film events are held regularly, and a 22-seat screening room is available at $100 per hour.
The L.A. Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats, (213) 623-2489. On Wednesday nights in June, the Conservancy shows classic films at historic movie palaces downtown, including the Palace Theater (1911), the State Theater (1921), the Orpheum Theater (1926) (which has a Wurlitzer organ and shows silent films); and the L.A. Theater (1931), which is normally closed to the public. There’s live entertainment before each film and talent and directors from the films often appear. Tickets are $10 and $12.
Tales Short Story Bookshop/Cafe and Cinema, 667 S. La Brea, L.A. (213) 933-2640. Exactly what the name says, this bookstore specializes in the short-story form and also acts as a revival house Thursday through Monday. The “theater” seats 40 and films are projected in 16mm on a wall over the snack bar. Tickets are $5 and include popcorn. The cafe serves inexpensive deli food and is becoming an indie industry lunch spot.
The Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., San Francisco. (415) 621-6120, http://www.thecastro.com. The 75-year-old, 1,500-seat venue is the highest-grossing arthouse in the country. Shows indie and gay-related new releases and hosts various local specialty film fests. Indie film impresario Marc Huestis hosts a variety of wacky events in conjunction with rep titles, such as the “Valley of the Dolls” fest and a John Waters Christmas.
Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, Mass., (617) 876-6838. Housed in a restored 1890 building, this 250-seat theater shows rep and indie films. Every day of the week has a different theme and double features play for $6.75. Six or seven times a year the Brattle hosts indie/folkie acoustic-type live concerts. Memberships and discount cards available.
Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., Seattle, Wash., (206) 523-3935. This red-velvet, tin-roof, turn-of-the-century, 95-seat theater, recently purchased by the nonprofit Northwest Film Forum, shows both arthouse revival films and new indies. Also available are free 16mm editing facilities for indie filmmakers, who may even have a venue to show their own films. Critics and filmmakers appear regularly.
The Capital Theater, 206 E. Fifth Ave., Olympia, Wash., (360) 754-6670. Home to the volunteer-operated Olympia Film Society, the 1924, 700-seat theater shows arthouse fare, liberally sprinkled with adventuresome international, independent and underground works, four days a week. The Capital hosts a 10-day indie film fest in the fall with fringe events and guest presentations.
The Music Box Theater, 3733 N. Southport Ave., Chicago (773) 871-6607. The converted 1929, 750-seat theater shows rep films at midnight and matinees on weekends. Rest is exclusive-engagement, firstrun indie films. A smaller, adjacent second screen (100 seats) shows films held over. Special events include Christmas Sing-along, with vintage song lyrics projected on the screen.
The Intl. Film Series at Muenzinger Auditorium, 102 Hunter Building, Boulder, Colo., (303) 492-1531. Part of the U. of Colorado at Boulder’s film school, the series is one of the few independently booked indie outlets in the region. The 56-year-old Intl. Film Series shows firstrun and second-run arthouse and classic films five nights a week, year-round. An active visiting filmmaker program is free to the public, and film tickets are a shockingly low $3.50. Also hosts First Person Cinema, which was started by experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage in the ’50s. Two times a month shows purely experimental films, also with visiting filmmakers.