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Kentucky TheatreJAMES CRISP Kernel staff LEXINGTON LEGEND Diverse crowds of students flock to the Kentucky Theatre, which features the best in independent, foreign, cult and other alternative cinema. The Kentucky is located downtown at 214 East Main Street.
Kentucky Theatre'Kentucky' is select cinema
By Dan O'Neill
The state of Kentucky is not exactly a Mecca of cultural entertainment, but Lexington's Kentucky Theatre sticks out like a very unique sore thumb.
Few movie theaters embody the true film-going spirit better than this majestic Main Street art house. Simply known as "The Kentucky," the theater strays from the dumbed-down status quo by publishing a monthly repertoire calendar, which features the best in independent, foreign, cult and other alternative cinema. The historic structure models itself after the classic art house look and does so with a style that's not as easy to imitate. It's the only theater in town where much of the discretion is taken on by the theater itself, as they book new films from an elite crop.
Diverse crowds get even more diverse on Friday and Saturday for the midnight movies. Mass audiences are treated to self-selected classic cult hits such as A Clockwork Orange or Reservoir Dogs to camp comedy classics in the vein of Monty Python or Cheech and Chong to the brat-pack '80s pics such as Ferris Bueller's Day Off or The Breakfast Club.
It can all be seen in the largest theater with one of the largest projection screens with the most affordable prices in town. Other identifying traits that set it apart from the rest include a concession stand that serves beer, a vintage marquis and large red screens that unveil the impressive screen. Its nostalgic atmosphere and ornate interior give you something to look at in addition to the films.
To supplement the unique film opportunities, the theater uses its large seating capacity and stage area to host a variety of concerts and other special events. Budweiser's Troubadour Concert Series, staple in the calendar lineup, has boasted such acts as Nancy Griffith, Waylon Jennings, Steve Earle and The Band, to name a few.
New students will also witness the opening of the historic State Theatre located next door. The theater has collected dust for the last 10 years after a fire and received a heavy make over and will re-open in October. At about half the size of the Kentucky, the State Theatre will stand as one of the largest in Lexington.
State Theatre Manager Fred Mills said, "The re-opening will give us more flexibility in that it won't have a set calendar. This will allow us to extend the running time of films doing well at the Kentucky as well as pick up movies that leave theaters almost immediately."
With its newly added potency, the Kentucky Theatre only stands to improve on a culturally diverse lineup in a class by itself. Its idea of movie-going as an experience and something-for-everyone approach gives new students no excuse to miss out on this landmark during their college years.
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