In the final issue of Link magazine for 2013, Simon Little caught us up to speed on a battle for an iconic Vancouver cultural landmark which is being threatened to be turned into a gym. The Hollywood Theatre on West Broadway is now at the centre of a passionate fight led by members of the community who don’t want to see the beloved building disappear after serving for more than 75 years as an independent movie theatre.
Recently, the current property owners submitted an application to the City of Vancouver to turn the landmark into a fitness centre. This did not sit well with the community who decided to form the “Save the Hollywood Coalition” led by organizer Mel Lehan.
“Our plan is to come up with a business plan to make sure that we can run the Hollywood Theatre,” Lehan said. He also acknowledged that in today’s market, single-screen theatres just can’t compete. “We are not trying to recreate a single-screen theatre. We are trying to to create a multi-purpose community and cultural space.” Lehan hopes that a revitalized Hollywood could house concerts, theatre, film nights, and amateur shows, much like the Rio Theatre in East Vancouver. ”
[excerpt from “Save The Hollywood” — Link 49.4, December 2013]
In November, councillor Adrian Carr extended protection of the theatre for 75 days, but time is running out with a January deadline looming.
An online petition hosted at Change.org has successfully completed its campaign, with a total today of 7, 257 signatures. Last Wednesday, City Hall was crowded with supporters there to speak for the Hollywood. A total of 87 speakers put themselves forward. Mel Lehan was there to talk about all the interested purchasers, the arts and community organizations who have expressed interest in renting a saved Hollywood, and read out a list of all the organizations who have sent in letters of support for our effort to save the Hollywood Theatre which included: The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, The Vancouver International Film Festival, The Arts Club, Rio Theatre, Doxa Film Festival,Vancouver Folk Fest , Music on Main, Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts, Co-op Radio, St. James Community Square, R2R, Artists in our Midst, Art for Impact, Limelight Video, Dunbar Theatre and many more.
Watch Adam Abrams address City Council with a song:
Find out what you can do to help Save the Hollywood by visiting their site: savethehollywoodtheatre.com
(“Save the Hollywood” illustration by Matt Landels; photos by Simon Little)