Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse remains committed to its full slate of upcoming shows scheduled for the fall, owner Tim Clark says, but he’s it taking it week-by-week.
As Covid rates rise once again in the county and masks are back to being strongly recommended indoors no matter vaccination status, Clark acknowledges this is cause of concern for the decades-old Columbia Pike theater and venue. He says he’s already had one prominent comic push back performance dates.
“I don’t know if there’s going to be others. I think we’re just going to see where this thing goes,” Clark tells ARLnow. “Either way, we will have to adjust.”
What’s currently online represents the most up-to-date bookings, he says.
The schedule lists a number of well-known comedy acts that will be taking the stage, including:
- Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show (Aug. 27)
- The Daily Show Writers Stand Up Tour (Sept. 3 & 4)
- Mitch Fatel from Comedy Central (Sept. 10 & 11)
- Shuler King from YouTube (Sept. 23, 24, & 25)
- Feminist Buzzkills of Comedy with The Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead (Oct. 7)
- Jeff Garlin from Curb Your Enthusiasm (Oct. 8 & 9)
- Carlos Mencia from The Journey Podcast and Mind of Mencia (Oct. 29 & 30)
- Brian Posehn from HBO, Netflix, and Comedy Central (Nov. 4, 5, & 6)
- Mary Lynn Rajskub from 24 and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Nov. 19 & 20)
- The Tired of Adulting Tour with Desi Alexander (Nov. 28)
There’s also a special screening of the cult classic movie “The Room” with co-star Greg Sestero — who wrote the book The Disaster Artist about his experience making the “so bad it’s good” movie — in attendance.
Clark notes that while people are coming out, business and audiences are not back to what they were pre-pandemic.
“Comics that typically have a pretty good draw are a little bit lighter,” Clark says. “The comics that have a really good draw are not quite fully back to selling out shows.”
Arlington Drafthouse is still limiting capacity to about 65% in order to space out tables and give audience members a bit more room. The initial goal was to go back to allowing full capacity this month, but Clark admits that he’ll have to see what happens over the next few days in terms of any mask or capacity mandates.
“I don’t think it will change what we do a whole lot, but we will have to keep making adjustments,” he said.
It’s been a trying 18 months for the Drafthouse. Management closed up the theater in mid-March 2020, like many other businesses, and re-opened in August 2020 with severely reduced capacity.
In late winter, the theater started screening favorite, older movies like Lord of the Rings and Notting Hill, but it was barely sustainable with only 30% capacity allowed.
“I don’t think many restaurant theater business operations are built to run on 30%,” said Clark at the time. “And that’s 30% if we sell out, and we’re not selling out every show. If you take averages and you’re at 20%, it’s really not sustainable.”
Clark says now they are pivoting again away from movies, at least temporarily, and are concentrating on booking comics.
“I think comedy is the long term for us, especially those primetime weekends,” he says. Right now, Drafthouse is booking big name acts on Friday and Saturday nights and leaving Sunday open for “up and comers.”
Clark also says private rentals have helped the business significantly and has seen an influx of them in recent months, with smaller groups renting out the entire theater for screenings, parties, and performances
At this point, Clark says, all they can do is stay patient, take one day a time, and adjust when needed.
“The way things are going, it’s like every time we try to get [ahead of things], it’s like totally opposite,” says Clark. “We’re just going to ride the wave and do what we need to do to stay afloat and just continue to hope that this thing clears up and gets better.”
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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.
Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.
About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.
The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village