What movie was that...?

24 March 2010

The Burton Theatre

Breaking symmetry here, but for good reason:

Metro Detroiters, if you’re like me, you regularly find yourself scanning the movie section of the newspaper, or scrolling down theater websites and saying to yourself “I wish there was something else out there to watch. Something strange. Something indie. Something that really cooks.” Well, look no further, because The Burton has heard your call, good reader. Armed with excellent proprietors, a perfectly fitting location (the old site of the Burton International Academy) and a uniquely surreal venue, The Burton Theatre is pleased to present Detroiters with genuine art house atmosphere and art house cinema. Having been out of town over the holidays, I missed The Burton’s grand opening in October, and I was only able to get down there recently to see the David Lynch/Werner Herzog oddity My Son My Son, What Have Ye Done (btw, totally worth seeing), and what an experience it was. As I pulled into the parking lot for the first time, I noticed a sign, festooned with Christmas lights, on a fence that read “Burton Theatre, Enter Here,” and an arrow pointing around the corner of a massive brick school. I made my way down the narrow path and around said corner, and happened upon another sign that beckoned me around yet another corner. I began to suspect that strange things were afoot at the Circle K, but as I navigated my way to the entrance, I found myself walking into the dark floored, white walled setting of various childhood night terrors (I mean that in every excellent way, of course). After purchasing my ticket from the small, barred, closet-like alcove that serves as a box office, I made my way up the stairs, beneath the ballerina leg hanging (I think seeing it for yourself will clarify my description) and into the auditorium, which is one of those wood floored, all-purpose rooms that all of use ate lunch in slash went to gym class in slash watched the school talent show in if we went to elementary school in southeast Michigan. As I sat down and waited for the show to start, I listened to others munch popcorn (that’s right, they have a concession stand) and chat, I realized just how lucky I am to have a theater in my town that not only loves the art of film as passionately as I do, but that seeks to excite others as well. So many other so called art theaters (I’m looking at you, Main and Maple) seem complacent in with their niche crowd of elderly cinephiles and college aged hipsters, but The Burton seems to quiver with excitement, as if founders Nate Faustyn, Jeff Else, Matt Kelson and David Allen still can’t believe that they get to do what they do. If you’re one of those weirdo, Russian animation loving, obscure doc watching (is he just describing himself, or making fun of me?) film geeks, come on down. But don’t worry, all you skinny jean clad, beard and sweater types, you’re invited, too. So are you, middle aged guys with Great White t shirts and sunglasses at night. But not you, lone drunk guy who chomps and spits popcorn out all over the place (please, just stay home). Everyone else, come on in. Have a seat in the auditorium, which is a frankensteined mash up of Detroit’s artistic, architectural and aesthetic history (those light fixtures came from a church). Follow the creepy trail that leads to the men’s room for a game of pool while you relieve yourself. Yes, there’s a pool table in there. Just make sure you’re back in time for the righteous trailer reel.
In addition to showing excellently independent cinema, simply experiencing The Burton is a conversation topic in itself, a true filmic experience that only works to reinforce the magic, the energy, and the joy of film.
The Burton features ample, lit parking adjacent to the building itself, and very reasonable prices to indulge in its wares. The lineup belies the owners’ true favorites; horror and classic exploitation films, but rest assured, there really is something for everyone. Located on Cass Avenue in the Cass corridor, The Burton is a tremendous asset for all you film nuts out there. Please, support your local film lovers.

1 comment:

  1. Kevin from DetroitMarch 26, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    Great review. Summed it up nicely. I just got turned on to The Burton about two weeks ago and love it. Went twice so far. Once for The White Stripes Doc and once for Blood Into Wine. Looking forward to 44 Inch Chest from the U.K. and many more to come.


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