What do we have to do to get In the Shadow of the Moon booked here? Do we not have enough screens for Good Luck Chuck, or what?
And indeed there was no exhibition scheduled anywhere in metro Oklahoma City, a situation not entirely unfamiliar to those of us at this end of the Turner. So inasmuch as I had already driven to Tulsa, and having satisfied myself that yesterday’s awards had fallen favorably, I took the advice of a reader and headed for the Circle Cinema, the one theater in the state which did book the film.
The Circle, north of 1st on Lewis, was built in the 1920s as part of Tulsa’s first suburban shopping center, Whittier Square. It’s a small place, the antithesis of the contemporary multiplex, though eventually it will have three screens. The Circle is owned by a nonprofit foundation which has several community-outreach programs in addition to the regularly-scheduled screenings. The closest equivalent in Oklahoma City might be the film program at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, which works similar cinematic turf, but which operates only four days a week. And the Circle, at least, has popcorn.
Apparently the Circle is Tulsa’s last remaining pre-1960 moviehouse. (We have a few in OKC, though they’re not being used for movies: the Plaza is now part of the Lyric Theatre complex, and the Tower is being converted to offices, retail, and maybe a music venue. The Centre, of course, was redeveloped as the Museum of Art.) It’s gratifying to see it serving its original purpose, to a small but no doubt intensely-loyal audience; we could definitely use something like this down around my neck of the woods. And at least some Tulsans assumed that we already did: upon leaving last night, I made some noise about the long drive back to Oklahoma City, and people were shocked that In the Shadow of the Moon, which was drawing fairly well they sold probably 60 of the 105 seats for the 7-pm showing, and people were arriving for the show at nine wasn’t going to be seen at all in the capital. “They needed the screens for Good Luck Chuck,” I grumbled, getting double duty out of a single snark.