Sunday, February 11, 2007

Biograph Theatre's 35th

There was a time when the 11th of February meant a party was probably brewing, maybe a few surprises, too, at 814 West Grace Street, in Richmond's Fan District. That was before the Biograph Theatre closed a little over 19 years ago. Well, today happens to be the 35th anniversary of the opening of the Biograph in 1972. With that thought in mind, here's an excerpt of "Thanks, Aimee," written by yours truly for Richmond.com (in 2000):

"...For me, the gig lasted nearly 12 years, including five years of Rocky Horror midnight shows. Four years after my departure, seven years after the arrival of cable TV in Richmond, the Biograph's screen went dark in December '87. Times had changed and the theater could no longer pay its way. But in that little independent cinema's heyday, Feb. 11 meant something to those familiar with the nightlife in the VCU area. The Biograph's second anniversary was the party that established the occasion of the theater's birthday as a date to mark on the calendar. That was the year of The Devil Prank."

A few Biograph Theatre anniversaries have been celebrated since it closed. In 1992, for the 20th, I booked two acts, lined up a room -- Twisters (it was the Back Door in the 1970s, more recently it was Nanci Raygun) -- promoted the event and even made up some T-shirts. We had the Useless Playboys as the headliner; Rebby Sharp did an opening set. The late Carole Kass, the best friend in the working press the Biograph ever had, was there. The reunion aspect of it was like most good reunion parties.

For the 30th anniversary, in 2002, working with the Richmond Moving Image Coop, we showed several films and presented three bands at Poe's Pub. That open-to-the-public party -- featuring Page Wilson with Reckless Abandon; Burnt Taters (now The Taters); Used Carlotta -- packed the house and raised a little money for RMIC. Wilson did a version of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" that was powerful.

Colleen Curran at Richmond.com wrote a piece about the occasion.

For yet more Biograph-related nostalgia click here to visit the Biograph Archives.

3 comments:

BML said...

The Biograph closed only a couple years after I came to Richmond, but it would be really nice to have a place that showed Rocky Horror now and again!

Brad Tucker said...

Happy Anniversary, Terry - as is the case with so many other folks, I have a vast archive of great memories of that fine movie house.

F.T. Rea said...

bml,

The Byrd Theatre is probably your best chance for seeing Rocky Horror in a local movie theater.

Brad,

Thanks. We had so much fun in that building that some of the best stories don't sound true to a person who wasn't around then.