For those of you who haven’t taken my advice, you need to hook em on downtown to the Burton Theatre for a dose of filmic truth. I’ll be baking a cult film cake to celebrate The Burton’s 1st B Day this weekend, and all you assholes better be in attendance. To commemorate the milestone, The Burton will be featuring some gems from the past year’s lineup, gems like Bronson, Taxidermia, The Room, and Robocop, among other filmic treasures. If you are like me and you find yourself wishing that some local theater played the kind of awesome cinema that you just don’t find in the burbs, cinema that throbs with the illicit pulse of the pulpish, the cultish and the badassish, then The Burton is your kind of place. It seems to be that time again, that time when I remind all you cinephiles out there that if you live in Detroit, you are just minutes away from a filmic treasure trove.
Without further ado, the old refresher course of the amazing and singular experience of watching films at The Burton:
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. I remember my inaugural voyage like it was yesterday. 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 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 whilst 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.