Cupertino Square movie theater at Vallco will close

By George Avalos | [email protected] | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: March 7, 2018 at 7:00 am | UPDATED: March 7, 2018 at 7:06 am CUPERTINO — AMC Cupertino Square 16, located at the dying Vallco Shopping Mall, will close its doors on March 22 — although it’s possible the movie chain could re-open there with modern cinemas if a deal is struck to redevelop the retail center. Kansas-based AMC Theaters, a chain of movie theaters with $4.59 billion in annual revenue, and Sand Hill Property, a realty firm that owns Vallco Shopping Mall, disclosed the plan Wednesday to close the Cupertino theater, where 35 people work. “What AMC now operates in Cupertino is an obsolete movie theater model for them,” said Reed Moulds, a managing director with Sand Hill Property, in an interview. “AMC wanted to upgrade with an invigorated, modern product. At the end of the day, AMC was just not able to ride it out.” In recent years, Sand Hill Property has sought to redevelop the failing Cupertino retail center, a one-time Silicon Valley shopping destination. The mall has tumbled into hard times after the exit of anchor stores Sears, Macy’s and J.C. Penney — and now, AMC Theaters. “After a thorough evaluation of AMC Cupertino Square 16 and the mall’s status, we determined further investment in this location was not feasible,” said Dan Ellis, AMC’s senior vice president, domestic development. “We reached an agreement with Sand Hill to close this theater, and we look forward to opening our AMC Sunnyvale Town Center theater.” AMC has struck a deal to open a state-of-the-art movie complex in a retail center at the heart of a new emerging downtown for Sunnyvale. That modern cinema is due to open in 2019, AMC said. AMC also has theaters in east San Jose, Saratoga and Santa Clara. Yet the theater chain eventually could return to Vallco mall, if a “viable” plan to revive the mall Continue Reading

Times Square’s AMC Empire 25 theater reopens after bedbugs battle; Infestation now hits Elle mag

Bedbugs in 3-D! A Times Square movie theater reopened Wednesday after exterminators battled bedbugs, and officials confirmed another Manhattan cinema had been hit. The creepy crawlers were also spotted in the offices of Elle magazine and part of Rikers Island, officials said Wednesday. About a dozen customers streamed into the AMC Empire 25 theater on 42nd St. when doors were unlocked at 10:45 a.m. - but some split after hearing of the outbreak. "You couldn't pay me to go in there," said Parker James, 43, of the upper West Side. AMC's problem began at its Magic Johnson Harlem 9 theater, where bedbugs were found in several of its screening rooms on July 30, a company spokesman said. AMC exterminated that theater and checked all others in Manhattan, finding bedbugs on two seats at the Times Square location on Aug. 3, the spokesman said. When a guest complained of being bitten last week, the theater was exterminated a second time. Meanwhile, Elle had bedbugs this week in a small area on the 44th floor of its building on Broadway at 50th St. And a city Correction Department spokeswoman said only two bugs were recently found in the infirmary at the Rose M. Singer facility, and a small number of bugs were found in four other Rikers facilities over the past 18 months. "We have a lot of traffic. It's critical we stay on top of this, " said spokeswoman Sharman Stein. A 20-year old visitor to Rikers, who declined to give his name, said that his cousin showed him her bite-covered arm. "It's just like a million bites," he said. "She told me, 'I'm tired of getting bit up every night.'" Businesses and residents across the city have been hit by the bedbug epidemic, prompting the city to recently allocate a half-million dollars to eradicating the pests. With Erica Pearson Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

AMC Empire 25 in Times Square, busiest theater in nation, gears up for Christmas Day screenings

At AMC Empire 25 in Times Square, the nation's busiest movie theater, Christmas Day requires a dress rehearsal. "We do so much business we do game plans before hand," said Empire 25 manager Christine Ceveno, who predicted 15,000 people would see a flick there on Christmas Day, the busiest day of the year. "We order double [the amount of concessions] we usually get." While national box-office sales figures were not available Friday, industry experts have predicted Christmas weekend could be the most profitable ever - surpassing the $260.8 million record set by "The Dark Knight" last year. Several big films opened Friday, including "Sherlock Holmes," staring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, and "It's Complicated," with Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Empire 25 showed 14 different films throughout the day - a total of 131 screenings over 14 hours. "We always come here on Christmas because we're Jewish and there's nothing to do," said Ronni Wirshba, 46, of Long Island. She and her kids saw "Sherlock Holmes." "That's our thing," she said. "Chinese food and a movie." Ellen and Michael Chales, both 52, live in Atlanta but decided to spend this Christmas in New York. That didn't stop them from doing what they do every year. "We go to the movies in Atlanta or wherever we are," said Ellen Chales. "It's the perfect thing to do." The couple decided to see two flicks Friday - "Sherlock Holmes" followed by "Up in the Air." "After this, we're heading to Chinatown," her husband added. Of course, Jewish people aren't the only ones crowding movie theaters on Christmas. Michelle Davies, 25, of midtown went to see "Avatar" after she opened Christmas presents with her family. "We did it efficiently so we could get here," she said. "We're really not traditional. We'd rather have fun than stuff our faces." It was so busy at Empire 25 that Davies and her family bought tickets to a 6 p.m. show five hours in advance. Despite the crazy crowds, the Continue Reading

Porn-again Times Square

The man who brought you the Sex Pistols is bringing sex back to Times Square. Malcolm McLaren, who helped launch the punk movement in the '70s, has created a series of artful porn films that will be shown on MTV's giant "44 1/2" screen on Broadway between 44th and 45th Sts. starting Thursday. "I've cut up pieces of old stag movies, slowed them way down, and set them to music," the 62-year-old pop provocateur tells us. "What you see is not people having sex but people about to have it. The old movies had a lot more foreplay. I was interested in the body language of nonactors, how they communicated their longing." One piece has "a woman descending a staircase," à la Marcel Duchamp's famous painting. "She's wearing a garter belt and a mink. She's going to an orgy, but you don't see where she's going. It's set to a mashup of the Captain and Tenielle's 'Love Will Keep Us Together' and Joy Division's 'Love Will Tear Us Apart.'" (Pedestrians can listen to the music by calling a number on the screen.) Other pieces feature "a chap biting a girl's ankle as she runs out of the subway," "two normally dressed schoolboys chased by a naked couple into a dark room" and "a guy vacuuming a tiny piece of red carpet." MTV was "extremely strict" about making sure no one's private parts are seen, says McLaren, whose installation, titled "Shallow," is presented by Creative Time. The videos are to run through Aug. 14. McLaren loves that the videos are showing in what was once New York's Tenderloin, the seedy precinct of peep shows and streetwalkers. "Hundreds of people would walk down the street thinking about sex," says McLaren. "Now the outlawed culture will live on." The cleanup of Times Square was known as its "Disneyfication." So it's triply rich when McLaren reveals he's talking with Disney about bankrolling his musical about fashion designer Christian Dior. Is this the same McLaren, a punk anarchist who snarled at EMI and all record labels? "The people Continue Reading

Nickelodeon actor Jordan Coleman, 12, hittin’ the big Time (Square)

Most 12-year-olds watch movies. Jordan Coleman makes them. The seventh-grade actor, voice of Tyrone the Moose in the popular Nickelodeon series "The Backyardigans," is using some of his television earnings to spread the message that "school is cool," with his first film, "Say It Loud!" premiering Wednesday in Times Square. Coleman funded, directed and stars in the documentary, which focuses on the importance of education for African-American boys. Statewide, statistics show that fewer than half of African-American students get their high school diplomas on time. "Say It Loud!" includes guest appearances from athletes Kobe Bryant and Michael Strahan, as well as rappers Ludacris and Master P, who all echo Coleman's message - that "school is cool." "I wanted kids to know that it's not just their parents telling them to get an education. It's their idols, too," said Coleman, who goes to a New Jersey middle school. He started production on the film after his parents challenged him to make a positive contribution with his money from the show. "The statistics of African-American boys who don't graduate from high school are amazing, and I wanted to help out," he said. The pint-size producer will travel across the country this summer on tour with "Say It Loud!" which will also be shown on July 2 at the AMC Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

How a mother and her daughter saved an Iowa movie theater

Marianne and Rebecca Fons are freaking out over a handrail.They are frantic clapping, jumping up and down, shrill squeal-level excited over this railing, which is a sturdy wood banister, sure, but not a furnishing that should elicit this much happy hysteria.But to this mother-daughter duo, that handrail is so more than a stairwell safety requirement. It’s a sign.A harbinger that construction inside the historic Iowa Theater is on track. Proof that they are, indeed, in the final stages of renovating the beloved movie house that has graced Winterset’s town square since the early 1900s before falling into disrepair and closing in 2015. And, most importantly, an auspice that maybe their audacious idea for Rebecca to quit her steady job in Chicago and commute from the Windy City to Winterset for two years as the pair whipped up community support and raised funds to the tune of $800,000 to renovate the now-multi-use entertainment space wasn’t such a foolhardy endeavor.Like the renovated movie theaters in nearby Newton and Knoxville, The Iowa Theater reopening in Winterset is a direct result of neighbors taking up the mantle of change and locals, like the Fonses, investing time and money in their community.As the drum beat of decline in population and amenities in rural Iowa continues steadily, Winterset is playing a different tune. The town has grown by about 10 percent since the turn of the century, according to U.S Census data, and has averaged about 16 new dwellings built per year for the past 13 years, according to the Madison County Development Group.While all growth is mostly good growth to small communities, a focus for Winterset and many similar locales is the retention of young professionals, who want to play in their town as much as they want to live and work. Having places for residents to dine out and options for entertainment are simply necessities if you want to ensure a prosperous future, said Tom Leners, executive director of the Madison Continue Reading

Times Square Playpen may get demolished for high-rise

A historic Times Square theater that opened as a vaudeville showplace 91 years ago and closed as a porn shop last month appears headed for a date with a wrecking ball. Unless preservationists prevail, the Playpen on Eighth Ave. at W. 44th St., once considered for landmark status that would have protected it, likely will be torn down and replaced by a high-rise. Leading the battle to save the Playpen, which opened in 1916 as the Ideal, is Michael Perlman of Manhattan, who wants to keep intact the building's Beaux-Arts facade with its curved central arch, pilasters, statues and other ornate features. With few theaters dating from the early 20th century still around, one of the oldest "shouldn't be sacrificed for the sake of progress," he said. "It's a culturally, architecturally significant structure, and we hope to preserve this gem for future generations." A group called the Committee to Save the Playpen Theater has joined Perlman in calling for the Playpen to be spared. Perlman played a key role in the recent rescue of the Moondance Diner in SoHo, but saving the Playpen would be harder. The Tishman Realty Corp. got the property in July and said it already was looking at "development options." During its life, the Playpen operated under at least eight different names, offering screen fare ranging from foreign films and Hollywood B-movies to Scandinavian skin flicks and gay movies. As the Adonis, it was closed by city health inspectors in 1994 after patrons were seen taking part in "high-risk sexual activities." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Preservationists fight to save Times Square porn theater

It opened in 1916 as a vaudeville theater called the Ideal and closed a few weeks ago as the Playpen, a seedy porno emporium on the ragged rim of Times Square. It now faces the wrecking ball despite a last-minute attempt to rescue it. With few theaters dating from the early 20th century still in existence, one of Gotham's oldest "shouldn't be sacrificed for the sake of progress," said Michael Perlman, a self-appointed preservationist who wants to keep the building's Beaux Art facade - with its curved central arch, pilasters, statues and other ornate features - by incorporating it into a new building, or moving it to another location. This is a "culturally and architecturally significant structure, and we hope to preserve this gem for future generations," he said. Perlman played a key role in the recent rescue of Manhattan's 74-year-old Moondance Diner. The neighborhood icon escaped demolition when a couple bought it off the Internet and moved it 1,200 miles to a new home in western Wyoming. But there appears little or no chance of anything similar happening to the Playpen, which was doomed when partners headed by Tishman Realty Corp. acquired the property on 8th Avenue at 44th Street in July, reportedly for a new high-rise building. The group said Thursday it was "currently exploring development options." Unlike other historic theaters in the area that have been saved and renovated, the Playpen was never given official landmark status that would prevent its being destroyed. "We gave it the old college try," said Anna Levin, who chairs the local community board's land use committee. "This was looked at three times but we were completely rebuffed by the City Planning Commission." The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission also studied the issue and decided the building "did not meet three necessary criteria - architectural features, history and cultural contributions to the city," said the agency's spokeswoman, Lisi DeBourbon. "We Continue Reading

FLICKS WITH A SWITCH. NYC movie theaters steal the scene with a variety of views

Think summertime moviegoing in New York is all sticky floors and stale popcorn? Think again: There are lots of cool spots around town to watch a film with a fresh eye (maybe while noshing an extra-fresh treat). If you want a theater with classic ambience, or one that's a quick jump from your subway stop, we have that, too. Here's the Daily News' salute to places with a reel difference. -BEST TASTE OF THE OLD 'DEUCE' - The AMC Empire 25 (234 W. 42nd St.). The Empire Theater suffered through the bleak Times Square days like everything else around it. But after the area rebounded, a sparkling new Empire was built in 1998; the old 1940s-era lobby was dragged down the block to its current location. Nice touch. - BEST CELEB-WATCHING - The Angelika Film Center (18 W. Houston St.). SoHo's indie film mecca draws an interesting crowd, including actors and filmmakers. The spacious café, which has high-end delights, is an ideal people-gazing perch to wait for a film to start. - BEST MINI-COSTUME BALL - Chelsea Cinemas (260 W. 23rd St.). Fans dress as their favorite movie characters at the "Chelsea Classics" series hosted by Hedda Lettuce; Thursdays at 10 p.m. - BEST REBOUND -The Alpine Theater, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (6817 Fifth Ave.). After 85 years, this seven-screen landmark got a renovation, one auditorium at a time. Fictional favorite son Tony Manero (of "Saturday Night Fever" fame) would be proud. - BEST SMALL FILMS IN A BIG SPOT - Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Ave., at Second St.). Quirky shorts in a building so chunky you might just miss it. - BEST PERK-UP - Film Forum (209 W. Houston St.). This indie and foreign film fave (around since 1989, after two previous incarnations in different locations) serves great coffee and cookies - essential refreshment for film noir double-features and six-hour Italian epics. - BEST HOME AWAY FROM HOME - Cinema Village (22 E. 12th St.). Built as a firehouse, this cozy NYU-area theater includes an upstairs, Continue Reading

Showgirls and hucksters recreate Jazz Age New York in Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic’ at a hidden Times Square theater

A Josephine Baker character who takes the stage wearing little more than a skirt made of bananas. A chandelier that descends from the ceiling with four sultry aerialist dancers slung around the sides. Swinging girls and a 1920s style adaptation of modern pop hits - all staged on a hidden Broadway theater that hasn't seen a show like this since 1933. It’s “Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic,” an extravaganza that harkens back to the golden age of Broadway burlesque. In the show, which opened last week at the Liberty Theater on 42nd Street, a cast of more than 50 actors, singers, dancers and aerialists transport the audience into an immersive world of showgirls and hucksters. "I want to give the audience an experience they haven't had before," said Cynthia von Buhler, the show’s creator. "You feel like you are actually traveling back in time for a whole whirlwind tour in three hours." "Ziegfeld's Midnight Frolic" tells the story of Olive Thomas, a real-life silent film star and one of the renowned Ziegfeld Girls of Broadway. Thomas died in 1920 under mysterious circumstances during a trip to Paris with her husband, Jack Pickford. Von Buhler's play is a glorious romp through Thomas' life and times. Behind the main stage is a re-creation of the cabarets and nightclubs of Paris’ Monmartre district, where Thomas went drinking the night of her death. Hidden around a corner is the room at the Hotel Ritz where Thomas spent her last night. Wandering everywhere are the kind of scantily clad women who made the "Ziegfeld girl" an icon of Jazz Age New York. The "Ziegfeld Follies" that inspired von Buhler's play were a stage sensation credited with transforming Broadway into a place where showgirls could become stars. It's a fitting production for the Liberty Theater, a historic gem hidden behind a diner right in the thick of 42nd St. To reach the Continue Reading