Movie Madness

Sixty years to the month after it first opened, and after more than a year dark, Tempe's Valley Art Theatre reopens this week. The venue, newly renovated by Harkins Theatres, reintroduces itself to the community with a series of celebratory events and schmoozes, after which, Dan Harkins promises, it will regularly show arthouse fare "like Camelview [theater in Scottsdale], only edgier," as well as continuing Valley Art's long tradition of animation festivals and the like. Here's a run-down of the reopening festivities:

Friday, November 17 -- The Zone (KZON-FM 101.5) will broadcast live from the theater from 5 to 10 a.m. Movies will be shown starting at 6 a.m. and will continue through 3 p.m., with the last show starting at 1:30 p.m. Admission to these screenings is free, as are popcorn and soft drinks; at the first show, bagels, orange juice and coffee will also be given out. The Matrix will screen at 6 a.m.; There's Something About Mary at 8:45 a.m.; and Swingers at 1:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 18 -- Doors open at 9:30 a.m. for "12 Hours of Movie Madness" (the box office opens at 9 a.m.). Featured are movie screenings, free popcorn and soft drinks and a 2001 Harkins souvenir cup to each guest, along with the chance to win such prizes as a year of movies, 200 pairs of tickets or 20 packs of 20 tickets. There's a pretty cool selection of flicks, too: La Femme Nikita (the real one, the French one) at 10 a.m.; Jacques Tati's Mon Oncle at 12:30 p.m.; La Cage aux Folles at 3:30 p.m.; Russ Meyer's sleazo classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! at 6:30 p.m.; Swingers again at 9 p.m.; and at midnight, The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Sunday, November 19 -- Three movies will be shown -- Big with Tom Hanks at 11 a.m.; Men in Black at 1:30 p.m.; and The Matrix at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m. -- with $1 admission and $1 popcorn/soft drink combos all day long. Proceeds will benefit local education charities. There will also be the opportunity to register for prizes such as 104 tickets (a pair of tickets a week for a year, in other words), 10 sets of 10 tickets, 100 pairs of tickets (Isn't that another way of saying 10 sets of 10 tickets?) and 25 prize packages consisting of a Harkins tee shirt, a 2001 souvenir cup and a pair of tickets.

On Wednesday, November 22, the Valley Art will open for regular business. The first scheduled regular feature is Into the Arms of Strangers, a documentary about the children of the Kindertransport (see the review on page 80). A Dixieland band is scheduled to play in front of the theater throughout the day on Friday, November 24. From Wednesday, November 22, through Sunday, November 26, guests will receive a Valley Art beer stein, which can be brought back for $1 refills (of soft drinks, presumably, not beer) throughout 2001.

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M.V. Moorhead
Contact: M.V. Moorhead