Anniversaries in action
WHAT: The Trail of Gold
WHEN: 5pm Sat., April 27
WHERE: Lincoln Theatre, Mount Vernon
COST: 35 cents
WHEN: 7:30pm Sat., April 27
WHERE: Mount Baker Theatre, Bellingham
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
I’d never given much thought to the twin-like similarities that exist between Bellingham’s Mount Baker Theatre and Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre until a serendipitous glance at the venues’ upcoming calendars tipped me off to the empirical evidence that’s been in front of my face for years.
To begin with, my eye was drawn to activities taking place within a couple of hours of each other noting the theaters will celebrate more than 90 years of existence Sat., April 27 with events designed to get audiences through the door and into seats.
Since it was born a year before the MBT, it’s fitting that the Lincoln Theatre’s 93rd birthday blowout comes first, with a 5pm screening of Clarence Brown’s 1928 adventure film, The Trail of ’98. While watching the innovative, epic account of the Alaskan gold rush and the lives of many of its prospectors, keep in mind that when the film opened, the Lincoln had already been in business for a couple of years. At 35 cents a pop, ticket prices will hearken back to opening night.
Younger by a year, the Baker’s 92nd birthday mega-party will come second. (Technically, you could leave the Lincoln and be in Bellingham by 7:30pm when the curtains come up.) Those who make it will be privy to the interactive imaginings of “Artrageous,” a troupe comprised of artists, musicians, singers and dancers who pay tribute to a variety of art forms, pop icons and musical genres. The show culminates with a gallery of finished paintings, and looks like a swell way to pay homage to the storied space.
Further similarities between the twins include the fact that both theaters were first built as “movie palaces” and were a part of the West Coast vaudeville circuit, and have each depended on members, volunteers and fundraising efforts to keep running through the decades. And remarkably, although they’ve gone through upgrades and renovations, the theaters have managed to keep most of their original designs intact.
I also get a kick out of the fact that the Mount Baker Theatre and the Lincoln Theatre are the only two venues in Washington state to house working Wurlitzer Organs in their original locales, something that may not come into play during every show, but is most definitely worth a mention.
And when it comes to performances, the biggest similarity that exists between the theaters is the fact that despite the fact that they were built in the 1920s, they continue to provide year-round schedules of plays, concerts, current and classic film, educational programming and far beyond, and our communities wouldn’t be the same without them.
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