Monday, April 13, 2009

Balcony Seating




Well I've made you wait long enough.  Today we're getting down to the nitty gritty - literally.  I shared last week, the Lyric Theatre has long been abandoned.  According to the experts, Dan Liles, Cecil Whitmire, and Tom Cronier,  it opened in January 1914 and was a vaudeville theatre at the time.  In November 1914, the new Independent Presbyterian Church ( my church!) held evening services there until the church was built.  The Lyric closed in 1958.  It reopened in 1974 as the Grand Bijou,  showing classic films.  After that it fell into a little "disrepute" and showed ahem....adult films under the names Foxy/Roxy. You have to love those names!  1978-79 it closed its doors as a theatre.  As sad as it is to see the theatre in its present state, it's heartening to me that there are people like these tireless volunteers that are looking after it and hopefully will find funding. Until then, let's look around shall we?  Watch your step, it's not safe in a lot of places and there are numerous "critters" calling it home.  

The upper balcony back in the day, was for "coloreds" only.  They purchased their tickets at a ticket booth on 18th Street, went up a different stairway, and sat on benches instead of seats.  Not a practice anyone in Birmingham is proud of , but a historical fact that needs to be noted.  Today, the benches have been replaced.  The top photo is a row of seats in the balcony.  I am thinking the design is Art Deco but I could be totally wrong.  While Tom and I were stomping around up there, I spotted a large pigeon sitting in the window (see second photo as proof)  and a bat was zipping all around, a little disconcerting.  Those of you that know me well, will be amazed that I didn't run flying out of the place screaming like a banshee. Oh the things I endure as your intrepid photographer in the name of City Daily Photo!

ON A LIGHTER NOTE
You get a bonus photo today.  My five cute chicks all dressed up in their Easter duds,  and I am very pleased to report that there wasn't a major meltdown over the photo shoot this holiday.  Behold the power of  "popsicle bribes".


27 comments:

Bibi said...

What an interesting story about the theater. There's an old, now run-down movie theater near the train station here, which was once apparently quite a nice one. Now it's more on the order of your former 'Foxy-Roxy'...

I love the bw photos, and remember your dancing chairs of a short while back.

And the kids are little pastel beauties.

Alex said...

Hi Virginia, Great story and brill shots,have you ever thought about fhoto journalism. Sounds like the old place is now a wildlife haven lol. Well done.

Halcyon said...

Beautiful portrait of the grand chillins. You can really see the family resemblance!

JM said...

It seems the place has a lot to tell us! The seatings are gorgeous and definitely Deco.
And what a wonderful bonus! A lovely group of five young fairies! :-)

Jacob said...

I sure hope they can find a way to keep the theater going...

But these little cuties are so sweet!

Hope you had a Happy Easter.

Petrea said...

Virginia, you are a student of light. These theater shots are wonderful. The kid shot, too! Just great.

There's an old vaudeville theatre in DeKalb, Illinois (where I grew up) called the Egyptian. It was restored some years ago and is a success story. Maybe your friends at the Lyric can contact the Egyptian for pointers?

Dusty Lens said...

Cute girls all dressed up! Hopefully this theater will find a new use. nothing worse then old buildings decaying beyond use only to make way for glass boxes and steel sheds. Thanks for braving the little bat for these photos. Just think of Batman saving the day next time you run into a little bat. ;)

B Squared said...

I think the internet has something to do with the demise of these places. Their upkeep has gone thru the roof and revenue has all but faded. After just finishing my taxes, I know I couldn't help out. In fact, I may be looking for a handout.

Babzy said...

Very intersting post and the bonus photo is so nice , seems timeless !

marley said...

I'd say art deco too! Lovely seats, its such a shame they aren't used anymore.

FireLight said...

I will make sure my husband sees this post. He is very interested in restoring landmarks. I did not know of the "back stairs," though I am not surprised. I suppose other theatres had the same. I remember the small theatre in Fairfiled had a crying room -- for unhappy children and babies.
You had your own Easter Parade! The children are precious, precious, precious!

Marie-Noyale said...

Is it sun light on the chairs inside the theater?..Lovely tones.
For the 5 little cuties ,they are adorable in their Easter colored outfits.
I love the girls all smiley faces and the little boy who cannot wait to go back playing with his little red car!!

altadenahiker said...

I have a friend who turned around an old theater into a community playhouse. Doing quite well, I believe, in Carbondale, IL.

Virginia said...

M-N, No the light on the chairs was a huge spotlight type that made the most horrendous glare. I had to "work" on it some to tone that down. And yes, Davis was in the photo but contemplating making a break! As you can tell, I've pretty much got the girls trained. They are great models.

FIreLight,
Wish some churches had "crying rooms". Have been at a few weddings where the babies almost ruined the ceremony. If I'm not mistaken, my Momma had to take me out of Bambi when I was young.

B2,
Sorry to hear about your taxes. I took a little hit this year myself.

DL,
I knew you'd get a charge out of the bat scaring me silly!

Babooshka said...

The top one puts in mind of those Paris shots of yours when I discovered Paris has much earthier tones than I thought. Love the light. Screaming Banshee, but birds are fun. As for the girls an image to treasure, and dare I say the affinity with people clearly shines through again.

No rest for the wicked, still on the hoof of work.

D said...

I love the detail on the seat. And yes, I'd say art deco too.
What a great history.

Those popsicle bribes are so worth it. Your Easter models are priceless!

Thérèse said...

The first picture is so nice. 30 years without any use? THe seats seem to be in great shape. Is someone coming from time to time to wax them??
Girls in pastel: so cute.

Judy - So California said...

Love the chairs - I vote for deco as well. Who had to mention taxes??? Just when we were taken away by these beautiful grandchildren of yours - we put a damper on the whole thing! No, no - not even taxes can detract from these wonderful, happy children!

Gena said...

Interesting background!

Beautiful children!

magicpolaroid said...

interesting story nad great photos! my fav the first!
ciao, Luis

Ken Mac said...

that is a sad story of a grand old theatre...would love to see more pics!

Virginia said...

KM,
I know how you like old and dilapidated places. I knew you'd show up to have a look/see! Wish you had been with me ( as an additional bodyguard). You would love this place.

Luis,
Thanks. I can't back to your blog through the link. Grrr

Fabrizio - ikol22 said...

Ah... But this is a piece of art !!! It's so wonderful...

Anonymous said...

Hey Mumsie,

I love this photo, the girls are posing so nicely and of course Davis is looking off in the distance waiting for the whole ordeal to end. Playing with the red car was his plan!

M

Maya said...

I don't know where to start on this post! The cool chairs? The bat? The lovely little ladies? All so good!

Tash said...

I love, love the photo of your lovely grandchildren.

Tash said...

PS - the 1st photo of the chairs is one of your best (do I keep saying that?)