Lani Jo Leigh, one of the Clinton Street Theater's new owners, swung by the Mercury offices yesterday afternoon to drop off a review copy of A Drummer's Dream, which will be opening at the Clinton next Friday. She was also kind enough to tolerate me while I pestered her with some questions about what's next for the theater. She was a very sweet woman.
The short version: Expect plenty of movies on 35mm, Blu-ray, and DVD, with a focus on documentaries and independent films. The Clinton's longstanding Rocky Horror screenings will continue—Leigh noted they're a cornerstone of the business, and that she'd rather have teenagers watching Rocky Horror than "out getting into trouble." After "smudging" the theater to get out any "bad mojo," she's prepping the Clinton for Filmed by Bike this weekend, and hopes to fix up the theater—which has seen better days—and reassert its role in the community.
Leigh, a filmmaker herself, is showing two of her documentaries this Monday as part of a meet-and-greet for Clinton patrons and neighborhood residents; later that week is another chance for people to check out the theater: Who Knows?, a grab bag of shorts that Leigh says will feature work from local filmmakers Karl Lind and Matt McCormick.
Ever since I moved to Portland a decade ago, the Clinton's been a wild card in the local movie theater scene—showing stuff other theaters wouldn't, and boasting an old-school, run-down charm. It's an uncertain time for movie theaters in general, and particularly for independent movie houses. Where the new Clinton fits into that landscape—as well as Portland's—probably won't be something we'll know for a while yet.