One week from today, on Friday, November 22, the city of Traverse City will have, for the first time in nearly a half-century, TWO permanent full-time movie theaters within its city limits and open for business.
This brand new theater, built and run by the Traverse City Film Festival, will be known as the “Bijou by the Bay” — and it will operate with the same high standards we’ve set at the State, providing only the best movies to the people of northern Michigan.
The seven-day open house celebration will kick off next Friday with tours, marquee lights, and a week’s worth of FREE movies.
Our doors will be open, free of charge, for anyone who wishes to stop by and take a peek, watch a movie, or try our world-famous popcorn — and the good news is, it’s all on us! We are hoping to see literally thousands of our fellow Michiganders during this Open House Week, just as we did when we opened the State six years ago.
The official ribbon cutting will take place during our Opening Ceremony on November 22 at 5:30 pm and all are welcome to attend. Just as former Governor Jennifer Granholm christened the State Theatre on the night it opened, I have invited Governor Snyder to do the honors this time around. Unfortunately his schedule, we are told, will not permit him to attend. But we are thrilled that former Governor William Milliken and Traverse City Mayor Pro-Tem Jim Carruthers have accepted our invitation to cut the ribbon and get this theater open!
Following the ribbon cutting, the much-anticipated Bijou marquee will be unveiled and our City Commission will “pull the switch.” The City owns the building that the Bijou inhabits, and the City Commission voted unanimously to let us rebuild the former Con Foster Museum and operate the Bijou inside it — all at no cost to the City.
On Opening Night next Friday we will say thanks to those who have made the significant contributions that have made the Bijou a reality. Without our donors and volunteers, none of this would be possible.
And for their efforts, this group of community citizens will attend a special sneak preview screening of the new, critically-acclaimed Robert Redford film, “All Is Lost,” a film I can’t wait to bring to the State for everyone to enjoy.
Also on Friday, November 22 at 12 noon, we are inviting everyone to gather at the State Theatre to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This free noontime event, open to the public, will include a performance of John Williams’ Suite from “J.F.K.” by Traverse City Central High School students; remembrances of JFK from myself, Rabbi Chava Bahle, and others; and a new and poignant film about our nation’s response in the aftermath of the assassination and Kennedy’s enduring legacy.
On Saturday from 9:30 – 11:30 am, the Bijou’s doors will open for a free Open House. Everyone is welcome to tour the renovated building, see a presentation covering the history of the theater, ask questions, and taste test the theater’s popcorn and drinks.
Then on evenings during the Grand Opening Week (Saturday November 23-Wednesday November 27), we will present special screenings of films that have not yet been shown at the State Theatre — all at regular admission prices: ”Prisoners” (Saturday at 8:30 pm), “The World’s End” (Sunday at 7:00 pm), “Kill Your Darlings” (Monday at 6:30 pm), “Machete Kills” (Tuesday at 7:00 pm) and “Don Jon” (Wednesday at 7:30 pm).
State Theatre Members will have the first chance to purchase, in advance, the limited number of tickets that will be available for these premiere films. From noon on Tuesday, November 19 through noon on Friday, November 22 tickets will be available exclusively for members at the State Theatre at the box office downtown and by phone at 231-947-3446.
Speaking of Members, I am pleased to announce that State Theatre memberships — and all their cool perks — will also include admission at the Bijou by the Bay. One membership covers both theaters! And anyone can become a Member at any time. Memberships are available for as low as $50 and all memberships are good for two people for an entire year. Most importantly, the proceeds from the State/Bijou Memberships will allow us to fund the free student and community screenings that are so vital to our mission throughout the year. Click here for further details.
The daytime and early evening movies at the Bijou during the Grand Opening Week will be FREE for everyone. We also have two “Bijou Family Surprises” — bring the kids and find out what G rated great movies we’re showing. Here’s the full schedule:
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23: “MIKE’S MOVIE DAY!”
Michael Moore will introduce 3 of his favorite movies:
“The Shawshank Redemption” – 12 noon – FREE
“V for Vendetta” – 3:00 pm – FREE
“Almost Famous” – 5:45 pm – FREE
“Prisoners” – 8:30 pm (regular admission prices)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24: “STONER SUNDAY COMEDY!”
Bijou Family Surprise - Rated G – 11:00 am – FREE
“The Big Lebowski” – 2:00 pm – FREE
“This is the End” – 4:30 pm – FREE
“The World’s End” – 7:00 pm (regular admission prices)
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25: “MONDAY MOVIES FOR SMART PEOPLE!”
“Election” – 1:00 pm – FREE
“The Social Network” – 3:30 pm – FREE
“Kill Your Darlings” – 6:30 pm (regular admission prices)
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26: “TESTOSTERONE TUESDAY!”
“Jack Reacher” – 1:00 pm – FREE
“Man of Steel” – 4:00 pm – FREE
“Machete Kills” – 7:00 pm (regular admission prices)
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27: “WILD WEDNESDAY!”
Bijou Family Surprise - Rated G – 11:00 am – FREE
“Inglourious Basterds” – 1:30 pm – FREE
“Pacific Rim” – 4:45 pm – FREE
“Don Jon” – 7:30 pm (regular admission prices)
And then, the movie we’ve all been waiting for: “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the second film in the popular series, will open at the Bijou on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, at 7:30 pm — and will show at 2:30, 5:30, and 8:30 pm beginning Friday, November 29.
The Bijou has been made entirely possible by its donors who have spent over one million dollars to renovate and restore the long-shuttered Con Foster Museum building, a historic landmark built by FDR’s Civil Works Administration, which in recent years had fallen into serious disrepair.
The Bijou will boast the latest 21st century technology, acoustics, and comfort. As the “sister screen” to the State Theatre, it will give northern Michigan two great places to watch the best movies being made today. This means we’ll have the opportunity to bring even more quality films to the area. And one of the best things about the Bijou is that we have no deed restrictions like we do at the State. That means we can bring any first-run Hollywood film we’d like to bring, in addition to the other cool things we’re going to be able to do for the community and movie lovers.
The day has finally arrived. Please come celebrate it with me, beginning next Friday.
See you at the Bijou!
P.S. The best film I’ve seen so far this year, “12 Years a Slave,” continues its run at the State this week. I urge you not to miss this vital, necessary, and brilliant piece of work. Also on the bill… “Moulin Rouge!” is tonight’s Friday Night Flick and the kids can catch “The Pagemaster” Saturday morning for only 25 cents. Over at the Bijou, our dress rehearsal comes to a close this weekend with “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II;” and we continue our special event offerings with a FREE screening of the documentary “Inlaws & Outlaws” with the director in attendance on Sunday night, and “The Fisher King,” also FREE, for Homelessness Awareness Week this Monday. See the complete schedule here.