After several years of talking about it, the Inwood Theater's parent company, Landmark, has finally decided to sink money into restoring the 48-year-old building. The three-phase renovation process is already under way, with workers busily cleaning and repairing various murals and other artwork. The theater was designed with an aquatic motif, but over the years, wear and tear (and a 1980 fire) have obscured some of its finer points, including neon-lit fish designs twisted into the railing of the main lobby staircase, and a large, lighted display window midway between the floor and ceiling made to showcase posters, promotional photos, and other memorabilia. Inwood manager David Kimball says the renovations unfortunately won't include handicapped accessibility, because installing a wheelchair lift to the upstairs theaters would necessitate destroying large portions of the building's interior. The process is slated for completion in April.
It's the best of times and the worst of times for The Dallas Video Festival.
The good news: for the third consecutive year, the Festival received a special grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The $10,000 was awarded through the National Services category of the NEA's Media Arts program, which recognizes locally based media events that "have significant national impact and/or serve as a model for the field as a whole." Considering that the Dallas Video Festival's entire yearly budget is $75,000--and that the NEA recently stopped providing regional grant money to organizations geared toward helping local film and videomakers--the award, which comes straight from the agency's hub in Washington, D.C., stands as both high praise and sweet relief. "What this grant says is that we're doing something that has an effect beyond the city limits," says the organization's artistic director, Bart Weiss. "That's obviously something we're really proud of."
The bad news: in one week, the festival will have to leave the building that has served as its headquarters for the last four years, a small structure on Henry Street in Deep Ellum. Until now, the organization has occupied the structure rent-free. "It's been for sale for four years now," says managing director Susan Teagarden. "Basically, we were told by the owner that we could stay here until the building sold, and now it's been sold, so we're packing." Teagarden says the Festival has a few leads on a new location, but nothing solid just yet. Anybody who has suggestions is encouraged to call the Festival at 651-8888.
--Matt Zoller Seitz (email@example.com)