Endorsement for theater

Dear Editor:The letter by Harold Tseklenis, championing Lawrence Christon's letter with the idea of converting the Avenue Theatre into a three-screen movie house, warrants further attention. ("Reusing the Avenue Theatre," 1/2/09) Not only would an offering of critically acclaimed movies, foreign films, animations as a special form of the art, and classic films help revitalize Downey Avenue, but the mix of the audience might have some unexpected constituents. Many of the young people of Downey are excited by the idea of making movies. When I was interviewing senior students from our high schools for scholarships this spring, I was surprised to find that the goal of many of the contestants was to direct or produce movies, and they were conversant with the names of art film directors as well as box office "popcorn" movie makers. Since cinematography has long been a pervading part of Southern California's artistic and business scene, we should realize that the next wave of creativity in this field could well come from some of our own Downey young people. They would help make up the paying audience for such a movie house, and their conversations in lively yet-to-be-built coffee houses would enrich the downtown scene. I would hope the Avenue Theatre could be operated as a revenue generator for the city while adding to the cultural and entertainment options. Reviewing by the City Council the proposals of 2001 might be a good place to make a serious start. - Lorine Parks, Downey