One stops to wonder what happens to technologies that get lost to time? There is no farewell ceremony to the VHS, the 8-track, or the floppy disc. Somewhere in the corners of our vast global society, we can still find historic remnants and curators who still maintain and display these relics so we can appreciate their art form and rewind ourselves back to their time period.
The Cinerama in Seattle has been one such spot that What Strange Beasts have always enjoyed. Narrowly avoiding shutting down in the 1990’s thanks to Seattle’s Late Paul Allen, it’s been host to a number of film festivals, and is one of the few locations that still is capable of running an older format of films, such as 70 millimeter and the original 3 projector Cinerama format from the early 1960’sA view of it is just one gateway back into the technology that’s seeing its sunset as time passes.
Call us suckers for the vintage, but we enjoy (or enjoyed, as a pandemic would have it) stepping into the space as the atmosphere throws us back in time. Aaron, our intrepid Bassist writes: “It's the best of all worlds, a big, old school theatre with comfy seats, huge screens, balcony. Selections of Paul Allen's movie and TV costume collection were always on display, and the chocolate popcorn (served up in the lobby) was super delicious (though one was best served by going with the 50/50; consuming the pure chocolate popcorn version could put one into a coma).” It should also be noted in addition to the above, the staff takes great care in the presentations, always coming out to the screen before rolling the film and doing an introduction.
A favorite spot of ours would be the first or second upper rows of the balcony space where we would enjoy Tarantino and Cameron films when they came through. An annual favorite would be the Anime Movie Festival that we could frequently see films by the great Hayo Miyazaki. As a side note, we recommend Porco Rosso and Howl’s Moving Castle as a couple of favorites, though you really can’t go wrong with any of his films.
There is something more intrepid in the space however, and that is the visitors that frequent it along with us. Something about the atmosphere that the old theater brings, with its lobby, staff and space, seems to put everyone in a good headspace to enjoy the old (and new) films that they’re sitting down to watch. Everyone seems to find and extend greater courtesy to each other, and tune in a little easier as the movies start.
We owe a great thanks to the Cinerama as it’s one of the ways we bonded with each other outside of music as we were forming. Whatever its fate may be on the other side of the global tunnel we’re traversing, we are thankful for the memories. Still, our fingers remain crossed for a day we can return to it and take in its timeless nature.
Spaces like this one with their media give us a powerful reminder that the importance may not weigh on the lost technology itself. Through it, though, we find atmospheres, old or new, that transform how we can see or hear things. In that, we find ways to better connect with one another through that art, on the other side of the lens.