Arts and Entertainment

The Orchard Theater throws classics and midnight movies into the cauldron

In its first three months of business, The Orchard Theater has done well matching challenging and deviant cinema with esteemed award winners.

Last week the Port Orchard art house debuted the animated feature “Persepolis” based on the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi. It’s a poignant story of a precocious Iron Maiden-loving Iranian girl amidst the Islamist Revolution, examining the stereotypes of extremism that hanker her throughout her life.

It’s a black and white, cartoonish French feature with English subtitles.

Also last week, The Orchard Theater, brought back by popular demand the Coen Brothers’ latest freakish feature, the year’s Best Motion Picture, “No Country for Old Men” and opened the tormenting and triumphant picture based on a true story — “The Diving Bell and The Butterfly.”

Starting in March, the Bay Street film house will be taking its diversity and experimentalism to the extreme, kicking off its first of a monthly classics night series March 4 with the Orson Welles’ classic “Touch of Evil.” Later in the month it will host the first of what theater program manager Mike Pitts hopes will become another regular installation — midnight movies — March 15.

“I would really, really, really hope we could do that monthly as well,” Pitts said. “It’s kind of an experiment right now.”

The first midnight movie “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” came at the request of neighboring business Sugardaddy’s Salon. The salon will be feting its grand opening starting at 5 p.m. that night, with food, cocktails and a concert featuring local band Neutralboy down the road at 834 Bay St.

Sugardaddy’s organizers asked The Orchard Theater managers to work out a special screening of “Hedwig” to cap off the party, and that piqued Pitts’ interest.

“I’ve been going to (midnight movies) for years in Seattle and Tacoma,” the 20-something real estate salesman turned movie house manager said. “I think they’re fun and I think it’s something a lot of people in our age group could get into ... it’s kind of an American institution.”

The midnight movie is said to be rooted in the 1950s, when television stations started airing low-budget genre films late at night. Later in the 1970s, film houses in American urban centers began screening offbeat cinema and B-movies at midnight, developing cult-like followings. With the national success of 1975’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” the phenomena was born.

It would seem that it lives on. Pitts noted since mentioning the Orchard’s first midnight movie screening he’s already received enough feedback from patrons that he’s compiled a giant list of suggested shows. But the truth of the phenomena and the fate of midnight movies at The Orchard Theater will be told through ticket sales.

In addition to regular programming

The Orchard Theater, located at 822 Bay St. in Port Orchard, hosts a classics night on the first Tuesday of every month starting with the 1958 Orson Welles’ classic “Touch of Evil” at 7 p.m. March 4.

At midnight March 15, the theater will showcase the first of what might become another monthly series — midnight movies — with “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” The first installment is sponsored by Sugardaddy’s Salon which fetes its grand opening that day at 834 Bay St.

Info: Visit The Orchard online at www.orchardtheater.com or call (360) 895-0564. For more on Sugardaddy’s grand opening celebration March 15 visit www.sugardaddysalon.com or call (360) 895-7838.

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