June 1, 2023


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The Clinton Theater Has 6 New Proprietors, but A person Has Been Programming There for Nearly a 12 months – Blogtown

The Clinton’s new owners prepare to use the theater for occasions, these kinds of as e-book releases, in addition to the indie and cult film programming to which fans are accustomed. Aaron Colter

Immediately after a 10 years of ownership, Clinton Avenue Theater is about to transform arms again—which is not unheard of for a venue that’s around a century old.


A new team of house owners will think functions at the arthouse commencing Friday, April 1. That weekend also happens to be the theater’s anniversary—it’s been displaying the The Rocky Horror Photo Exhibit weekly for 44 several years.

If you like what the scrappy minor moviehouse and showspace has been kicking out considering the fact that they reopened in April of 2021—like the Agnes Varda Movie Festival, the Akira Kurosawa Film Competition, the standup evening with Ian Karmel—do not fret. Just one of the new homeowners, Aaron Colter (cofounder of Banana Stand Media), has been programming at the theater for nearly a calendar year, beneath the path of the outgoing co-owner, Lani Jo Leigh. It really is their hope that the transition will movement with nary a glitch.

Lani Jo and Roger Leigh procured the theater in 2012 from then owner Portland Underground Film Competition founder Seth Sonstein. For the subsequent 10 years the Clinton continued to monitor unbiased films, and host new music shows, cultural occasions, and the longstanding, weekly Rocky Horror screenings.

Nonetheless, in late May 2020, Lani Jo penned a considerate observe to the theater’s e mail newsletter audience, admitting an uncertain the long term for the theater, in the face of the pandemic closures. She concluded it with:

Maybe there is a Clinton Theater angel somewhere. Probably there is a team of you who, as stakeholders in the Clinton, feel like you want to acquire more than the reins. I am open to speaking about any and all choices. I will operate difficult to make passing the torch probable, but like Moses and the Promised Land, I may possibly not be the one to have us about into a new starting.

Colter states that he and Tom Kishel achieved out soon after. They’d attempted to make a bid on the theater in 2012, but lacked for money. Both of those convey an indelible fondness for the theater and its enduringly awesome intersection, at Southeast Clinton and Southeast 26th.

“My companion and I experienced our very first date at Dots, [and] we saw some of our most loved films and bands at the theater,” Colter advised the Mercury.

The new owners of the Clinton Street Theater.

The new house owners of the Clinton Road Theater. by way of Gofundme

Signing up for Colter and Kishel is a team of likewise enamored movie and new music buffs—David Gluck (of Caravan, Inc.), Morgan McDonald, and Steven Williams, all of whom have backgrounds in music and media. Susan Tomorrow is a existing employee at the theater. She moved to Portland last yr from Austin—where she was a effectively regarded movie programmer—and wrote the theater to ask about volunteer opportunities. Lani Jo just went ahead and hired her.

Colter suggests that with the new model everybody named—he, Kishel, Gluck, McDonald, Williams, and Tomorrow—is an proprietor of the small business.

“The new entrepreneurs intend to perform normal shifts at the theater in addition to their entire-time day careers in order to preserve the enterprise worthwhile,” he stated.

On Friday, the new workforce dropped a Gofundme to elevate resources for enhancements to the theater’s amenities and machines.

The Clinton’s calendar is by now packed with impending situations: Documentary Tuesdays, Church of Movie Wednesdays. In April, they will operate a sequence of nature-themed films for Earth Working day, and in August the theater strategies to host a new creation from Portland-dependent organization The Broken Planetarium. Of training course, they’ll continue on to show Rocky Horror each individual Saturday night time at midnight.

This Sunday, there’s a particular function where patrons can say goodbye to Lani Jo and Roger.