Film

Quarantine Cinema

Lincoln Theatre’s screen scene

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

It says a lot about the resilience of the Lincoln Theatre that it was only at the beginning of 2021 that the longtime performance venue and movie theater in downtown Mount Vernon needed to furlough half its staff.

In a Jan. 8 COVID-19 update from Roger Gietzen, the Executive Director of the Lincoln Theatre Center Foundation noted that since the theater shut down 10 months ago, they’d been able to keep the staff fully employed with support from donors, financial reserves, a PPP loan/grant and shifting from performances and movie screenings to streaming both films and concerts. Additionally, a Popcorn Pop Up (more on that shortly) and increased grant-writing efforts furthered the cause.

During that same time frame, they began updates and renovations to the auditorium and have since contracted with HKP Architects to design plans for further expansion in the restrooms and lobby, including moving box office ticket purchasing outside of the theater. All updates are being made in the name of safety, Gietzen says, for the time when they can open their doors to the public once again.

When Phase 1 of Governor Jay Inslee’s “Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery” plan set to begin this week goes into effect, near-term changes will include an increase to a six-person limit for private rentals and tours at indoor theaters, aquariums, arenas, concert halls, gardens, museums, event spaces and more—which would affect the Lincoln’s “Host Your Own Movie Party” opportunities as well as its “Lincoln Theatre Live” concert series.

“We do see a light and the end of the tunnel, and now is the time to rejoice, but also to hunker down, wear your mask, stay safe and sane when you leave home and forego large gatherings,” Gietzen says. “If we can all do that over the next few weeks, the sooner we can reopen and start building a better, more cultural future.”

While patrons are being asked to shelter in place, they can still be entertained as part of the Lincoln Theatre’s Quarantine Cinema roster. The virtual movie rentals are a way to support the Lincoln and the independent film industry while theaters are closed, so whether you’re watching new releases, daring documentaries or foreign language films, it’s possible to stream your way to an interesting night at your home theater. For $2 a pop, you can also choose from more than 2,500 titles at the Lincoln’s Video Rental Library to pick up and take home for a week.

After pre-ordering movies for rental or streaming, visit a virtual concessions stand—the aforementioned Popcorn Pop Up—and add movie theater popcorn to your list (as well as soda, Red Vines, Seattle Chocolate Bars, cookies, candy and various beverages). Merch and gift cards can be purchased on the same page, and while you’re there, donate to the Lincoln or become a member to help ensure the vaunted venue’s longevity during these challenging times.

From 12pm-5pm Monday through Friday, curbside pickup will make securing snacks and other goodies a cinch. After calling in an order or placing it online, pull into a designated parking spot out front and it will be delivered to you by staffers following strict CDC guidelines.

Personally, I’m intrigued by the Lincoln Gift Basket. At $50, a large popcorn bucket is stuffed with an elSage-designed T-shirt and sticker, movie candy, a Lincoln mug, two film passes and two concession passes. I’d need to add another large popcorn with butter to my order, of course, but that’s a small price to pay for a deluxe movie-watching experience.

For more details, call (360) 336-8955 or go to http://www.lincolntheatre.org

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