Friday, May 25, 2012

Historic Pleasant Street Theater in Northampton To Close -- Amherst Cinema To Carry On Valley’s Cinematic Legacy

For Immediate Release – May 25, 2012
Contact: Carol Johnson, Executive Director
Amherst Cinema Arts Center, 28 Amity Street, Amherst MA 01002
Office Tel. (413) 253-2547 x 6

-- Historic Pleasant Street Theater To Close --    Amherst Cinema To Carry On Valley’s Cinematic Legacy 

NORTHAMPTON, MA –  Northampton’s historic Pleasant Street Theater, an iconic destination for art house film since the mid-1970s, will close on June 8.   

“This was not a decision we came to lightly, or without sadness,” said Carol Johnson, Executive Director of the Amherst Cinema Arts Center.  “And it was not a decision about the future of independent film and world cinema in our Valley,” she said.  

“Our Valley loves film!  This decision was about how best to fulfill our mission and how to use our future resources to meet the growing needs of an expanding regional audience.”

After the Pleasant Street Theater closed in 2007, the Amherst Cinema Arts Center – a member-supported nonprofit – re-opened the theater under its umbrella.    

“We gave it our all, and evaluated many options for keeping the Pleasant Street Theater open before
concluding that the theater is physically inadequate as a venue in which to continue our mission,” said Johnson.  

“We would have been looking at significant expenditures just to stay current with the technology that is essential for vibrant arts programming today.”   

“Also, today’s audiences expect good sight lines and a comfortable theater-going environment, two things the size and configuration of the Pleasant Street Theater make impossible.  On top of that, the theater, which we rent, is not handicapped-accessible and cannot be made so because of space limitations.  These factors, combined with the costs of updated technology, led to the decision to focus our efforts in a way that best serves our audience.”  

The Amherst Cinema Arts Center is an independent arts organization that presents current-release film not typically shown in commercial cineplexes, and offers a range of educational and cultural programs.  It was built and opened in 2006.

“The Amherst Cinema is thriving and offers superb first-run film in a comfortable, fully-accessible theater.  In addition, we can offer the Valley a broad range of events captured live in HD, such as ballet performances and plays from Britain’s National Theatre.  The theater has also become a favorite venue for visiting filmmakers and other artists.  We plan to continue our current-release film offerings and special film series, expand our educational programming, and present a wide array of other arts programs at Amherst Cinema,” said Johnson.  

“The Amherst Cinema offers a variety of exciting opportunities, and we look forward to building on its success with the support of an active member base that spans the entire Pioneer Valley.”

All employees of the Pleasant Street Theater will be offered work at the Amherst Cinema.  Staffing changes will also be managed through attrition at both theaters.  

“We thank our community – film lovers, supporters and believers in the power of independent cinema – who helped keep the Pleasant Street Theater alive and open for over four years after its closing in 2007,” said Johnson. 

“We have been honored to be a part of the Pleasant Street Theater’s storied history.  Our Valley has benefitted from the love and knowledge of cinema that the theater’s founders, Richard Pini and John
Morrison, brought to this creative adventure, and the theater’s decades-long place as a destination for art house cinema.”  

“We thank the theater’s friends, patrons and community members for their support.  We will do our best to carry on its legacy,” said Johnson.  

Special farewell screenings at the Pleasant Street Theater are being planned for Friday, June 8 and will be announced at a later date.   

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Northampton Postcards Through The Years

This is my collection of Northampton postcards, scanned and posted for your time traveling pleasure.