The Arlington Cinema Drafthouse’s marquee may be gone with the wind, at least temporarily, but that likely will not diminish the boldfaced comedy names coming to the theater over the next couple of weeks.
Next week, on Friday and Saturday (March 16-17), T.J. Miller will perform. The Silicon Valley and Deadpool star, who has been in the news recently for the wrong reasons, will bring his brand of “absurdist observational stand-up” to the Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike).
The following Friday and Saturday (March 23-24), actor and comedian David Alan Grier, of In Living Color fame, will perform.
Tickets for each range from $25-35.
The westbound lanes of Columbia Pike are temporarily closed due to damage to the outside of the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike).
On traffic cameras, the front panel of the Drafthouse’s marquee sign, which announces upcoming acts, could be seen dangling precariously in the wind. Firefighters are currently working to secure it and reopen the roadway ahead of rush hour.
While traffic is being diverted, there is another road hazard nearby. According to scanner reports, a large tree has fallen across 8th Street S. near the intersection with S. Walter Reed Drive.
More views of the dangling Drafthouse sign:
— Marcos W (@HockeyTarheel) March 2, 2018
#Windmageddon strikes again! Damage to the Arlington Cinema Draft House, caused lanes of the Pike to be shut down while crews cleared the hazard. All lanes of Columbia Pike are now open. pic.twitter.com/kozDkGUz1u
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 2, 2018
Update at 3:20 p.m. — All lanes of Columbia Pike have reopened. A photo of the tree down on 8th Street S. is below.
Next week the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse will be hosting an alternative to the traditional Valentine’s Day sit-down dinner: stand-up comedy and a showing of “The Princess Bride”
There will be two showings of both on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Doors will first open at 6 p.m., with the stand-up starting at 7 p.m. and the movie beginning at 7:30 p.m. For the second showing, doors will open at 9:30 p.m., the stand-up will start at 9:45 p.m. and the screening will begin at 10:15 p.m.
Tickets are value-priced, according to the Drafthouse’s website.
“Only $10 — inconceivable!” the website says.
The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Douglas Park resident Dan Hauser.
I wanted to thank Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse for a really lovely gesture.
I took my four-year-old son to see the Last Jedi on December 30. (If any of the staff at the Drafthouse happen to see this, he was the kid wearing the army clothes and army helmet… it looked like he was going to the premiere of Saving Private Ryan.)
He was so excited! He was sitting on the edge of his seat, eating popcorn and drinking lemonade, and giggling all throughout the movie.
When the movie ended and the credits started to roll, Pete, the manager, asked my son if he might like something from Star Wars. He walked us across the stage and into a little office. He then gave my son a lightsaber and a bag that contained the original Star Wars trilogy on Blu-ray, a Star Wars puzzle, a Star Wars book, and four free movie tickets for the Drafthouse!
My son was over the moon, and I was really touched. We’ve read the book twice and have had some epic lightsaber battles.
My family loves going to see movies at ACDH. In fact, this was the second time I’d seen the Last Jedi here. The Drafthouse was a huge draw for us when we were looking for a neighborhood to buy a house. We’ve had so many nice memories laughing, having snacks, drinking some beers (well, my wife and me), and watching movies.
The Drafthouse is a verifiable Columbia Pike institution. Maybe one day my son will take his children here.
ARLnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor for consideration, please email it to [email protected]. Letters may be edited for content and brevity.
Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk
The Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) is expanding its Christmas Movie Festival for the first time this year.
The festival usually takes place on one day, but instead will last for three weeks, starting on Friday, November 24 with showings of Elf and It’s a Wonderful Life. It wraps up on December 13 with Gremlins.
Paying for one $10 ticket will get attendees unlimited admission to all the scheduled festival movies across all three weeks, depending on space.
Dates for each movie screening are as follows:
- Elf (November 24-27, December 2-4, December 10)
- It’s a Wonderful Life (November 24, November 27, December 2-3, December 10-11)
- Home Alone (November 25, November 26, December 7, December 11)
- Miracle on 34th Street (November 25, November 26, November 28, December 3, December 9, December 12)
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (November 26, November 30, December 2, December 5, December 10)
- Scrooged (December 3, December 4, December 6, December 10)
- Gremlins (December 13)
Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards
The iconic local business will show “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” from December 14 until January 11. Customers are being asked to buy tickets in advance due to high anticipated demand.
Due to what organizers called the “special screening nature” of the film, tickets cost $10 in the evening and $8 for matinees.
It comes as part of the Drafthouse’s decision to shift to playing movies on a first-run basis, meaning it has quicker access to films.
Owner Greg Godbout has said that the rise of video on-demand services has hurt its previous business model of showing mainstream movies several months after the initial release.
Income from the movie could be small for the Drafthouse, however, as like all movie theaters it reportedly must turn over at least 65 percent of revenue generated by ticket sales to Disney, which owns the Star Wars franchise.
The Drafthouse is making the most of its Star Wars deal, holding dozens of screenings and even offering the chance to host Star Wars-themed parties for businesses. Via a Drafthouse email forwarded to ARLnow.com:
Host a STAR WARS PARTY!!! Is your company looking for a fun alternative holiday party? The Drafthouse can accommodate your group with our restaurant style seating, giant screen, no hassle buffet style catering options as well as our FULL BAR!! Give your employee’s the gift of a private screening.
Availability: Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm. December 15th – January 11th.
Contact us: [email protected] for a full offering of catering, bar and rental options.
Joel McHale is coming to Arlington.
The actor and comedian, best known for hosting The Soup on E! and for his starring role on Community, is performing four stand-up comedy shows at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) this coming Friday and Saturday.
McHale, who also recently starred on CBS’s The Great Indoors and Fox’s The X-Files reboot, spoke with ARLnow.com for our 26 Square Miles podcast on Wednesday. He talked about hosting the 2014 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, told us what we can expect at his upcoming stand-up shows, and gave a candid answer about why The Soup was cancelled and whether it is in line for a revival.
It’s going to be a star-studded fall and winter on Columbia Pike as the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse is continuing to add boldfaced names to its standup comedy schedule.
As previously reported, Aasif Mandvi from the Daily Show will perform this coming Friday and Saturday, trying out new material and showing the audience “how the sausage is made.” He joins a fall lineup that includes Rhys Darby, Pauly Shore and Steve-O.
The recently-announced additions to the schedule include:
- Shawn Wayans of Scary Movie and In Living Color (Nov. 10-11)
- Joel McHale of The Soup and Community (Nov. 17-18)
- Darrell Hammond from Saturday Night Live (Jan. 5-6)
- Brian Posehn of The Five Year Engagement and Netflix specials (Jan. 18-20)
- Jay Mohr of Saturday Night Live (Jan. 25-27)
- Steve Rannazzisi of The League (Feb. 9-10)
- Michael Ian Black of Wet Hot American Summer (March 2-3)
The Arlington League of Women Voters is hosting a free screening of a new Zach Galifianakis film.
Better known for comedies like The Hangover and The Campaign, Galifianakis tackled the serious topic of gerrymandering and money in politics in his new film, “Democracy for Sale.”
The League is sponsoring the film’s screening at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) on Wednesday, Sept. 27.
More from an email from LWV:
A border and barbeque aren’t the only things Virginia and North Carolina have in common. The two states also have some of the most gerrymandered districts in the country. Cozy relationships between regulators and industry are another commonality. A new film called Democracy for Sale featuring NC native and comedian Zach Galifianakis puts a spotlight on the ways big money political interests have influenced the drawing of district lines and led to a lack of environmental protection and tax cuts for the upper class and corporations, education cuts, gerrymandering, and laws designed to decrease voter turnout.
After a successful tour of Democracy for Sale in North Carolina, we’re excited to bring the film to Virginia on a statewide tour beginning on September 19th. The showings are presented by the Virginia Civic Engagement Table in partnership with local organizations throughout the state. Each screening event will be followed by a Q&A and discussion with local leaders.
While the film focuses on NC as a case study, the parallels to Virginia are innumerable. We hope these screenings will shed light on the similarities and show audiences how to get involved in demanding reform.
Come and bring your friends!
Photo via League of Women Voters
With fall just around the corner, the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) has added some big names to its live comedy lineup.
On Friday, September 22 and Saturday, September 23, Aasif Mandvi will perform a “New Material Night,” with each show ending in a question-and-answer session. Mandvi was a correspondent on Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and also wrote, produced and starred in “The Brink” on HBO.
And on December 1 and 2, Rhys Darby of the BBC and HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords” comedy will perform his own standup show. Darby, who has also produced mockumentaries and appeared on TV shows like “Modern Family,” “How I Met Your Mother” and the Late Show with David Letterman, as well as movies.
Photo via Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse
The host of the CNN show “United Shades of America” is known for exploring tough subjects. In two seasons of “United Shades,“ Bell has spent time with members of the Ku Klux Klan and has sat down with Alexandria-based white supremacist Richard Spencer. The show was nominated for a Primetime Emmy award in 2016.
But although he’s been outspoken about his support of social causes, Bell says his comedy act is not about political affiliation.
“I feel the need to make the jokes about the people who I feel need to have jokes made about them, it could be the left, it could be the right, could be somewhere in between,” he said.
The comedian believes that too many of America’s issues have been politicized even though those issues exist no matter where someone is from. By poking fun at both sides, he believes he helps erases some of the social divides.
“We think of the north and the south and the west and the Midwest, but every town, every city, every part of this country, there are different things going on,” Bell said. He thinks that once people stop focusing on what makes us different, “we’d realize that we all want more money from our job, we all want better schools for our kids.”
In an especially polarized political climate, Bell thinks that his show can be a place for people to unwind. He says his visits to places with histories of racism often turn out to be the best shows, because the audience members need the break more than anyone else.
The author of the book “The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6′ 4″, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian,” released early this month, wants people to leave his show willing to engage with those with different perspectives.
“We are not as strong in our communities as we think we are, we need to get to know our neighbors,” Bell said. “We need to get to know the people two streets over, we need to get to know people outside of neighborhoods.”
And although it can be uncomfortable, he believes it’s an important learning experience.
“Awkward can often lead to a better place, a smarter place and a more joyful and more informed place,” Bell said. “That’s what I’m encouraging people to do, lean into the awkward.”
Bell will perform two shows at the Drafthouse on Friday, an early show at 7:30 p.m. that is now sold out and a late show at 10 p.m. Tickets are $35 for general admission, $63 for general admission and a book.
It’s expected to start Sept. 7-9 with comedy legend Jon Lovitz. Later that month, Pauly Shore will be performing a “one-nighter” on Sept. 24. Another former MTV personality, “Jackass” star Steve-O, will be in town Oct. 19-22. And comic/actor Tom Arnold will perform his standup act on Nov. 3 and 4.
In addition to the comedy, actor Val Kilmer will be at the Drafthouse on Oct. 6 and 7 for a special screening of his one-man play about Mark Twain, plus a question-and-answer session after the film.
This summer’s comedy lineup includes “Super Troopers” star, director and co-writer Jay Chandrasekhar this weekend and W. Kamau Bell next weekend, followed by Chris Gethard, Gary Gulman, Kevin Barnett, Alex Moffat, Jade Catta-Preta, and Piff the Magic Dragon.
Photo via Arlington Cinema Drafthouse
The proprietor of a food truck that would park near the now-closed Food Star grocery store is set to take over the former Green Room next to the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse.
The truck, Tortas Y Tacos La Chiquita, sold Mexican food like tacos, quesadillas and tortas from the parking lot at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive.
Owner David Villalobos said on the eatery’s official Facebook page that their new digs at 2911 Columbia Pike will be open in the first or second week of June. He also said that customers can expect “new cakes and tacos” after the grand opening.
The restaurant replaces “The Green Room,” which hosted stand-up comedy and other events adjacent to the main theater. It closed earlier this year as owner Greg Godbout looked for a new tenant.
Homeless Population on the Rise in Arlington — “Most jurisdictions saw declines in homelessness from 2016, though the population… increased by 33 percent in Arlington County. Kathleen Sibert, the president and chief executive of the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, noted that because Arlington has a relatively small homeless population, modest fluctuations can create dramatic-looking percentage increases or decreases.” [Washington Post]
More on New Rosslyn McDonald’s — The new state-of-the-art McDonald’s in Rosslyn has some food offerings not available elsewhere in D.C. It has an in-house bakery that serves fresh pastries; the other closest McDonald’s with a bakery is in New York City. Also, the restaurant will soon offer two special ice cream sundaes: turtle brownie and strawberry shortcake. [Rosslyn BID]
County Seeks Volunteers for ‘BioBlitz’ — “Arlington County is seeking dedicated volunteers to support its May 20 ‘BioBlitz,’ a quick-but-intense wilderness exploration that will produce a catalog of our natural holdings spotted within a 24-hour window. Think of it as a snapshot of the common-to-rare wildlife that can be found hiding in plain sight within our borders.” [Arlington County]
Drafthouse Continues to Critique Kennedy Center — Arlington Cinema Drafthouse owner Greg Godbout has penned another letter to customers that makes the case for why the Kennedy Center is competing unfairly for comedy acts. The letter also accuses the center of “lying” and a “cover up” after Godbout went public with his initial criticism. [Drafthouse Comedy]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The iconic local business at 2903 Columbia Pike is about to shift to playing movies on a first-run basis, meaning it has quicker access to films. Owner Greg Godbout has said previously that showing mainstream movies several months after the initial release has hurt business given the rise of video on-demand services.
But to show first-run films, the Drafthouse will need to increase its ticket prices to meet the requirements of its film distributors. In an email sent to customers Tuesday, Godbout said tickets will now cost $8 for matinee screenings, and for students and other discounted groups like children and seniors, and $10 for screenings after 6 p.m.
The Drafthouse will also no longer offer $2 discount films on Mondays and Tuesdays. Instead, Mondays will be a “discount day,” with $8 evening showings, while Tuesdays will be the full $10 price.
“While this is a low price considering the average ticket prices in our area ($12 – $16), it is still a significant increase for our customers,” Godbout wrote. “By agreeing to the studio’s terms on pricing we will get access to films earlier than normal. We are doing this because the ‘Second Run; market has vanished — and we are struggling to compete with streaming at home released, before we get access to films.”
But the cinema will also receive several upgrades. The outside marquee will be revamped at some point in the future, while “The Green Room” — adjacent to the cinema entrance — has been closed to make way for a soon-to-be-announced new tenant. A new food menu will also be introduced, as well as some new furniture over time.
In the email, Godbout also criticized the Kennedy Center for establishing itself as a “commercial entertainment entity and local competitor” that now has stand-up comics. He said the center’s “unfair advantage” of being underwritten by federal taxes will cost the Drafthouse at least $150,000 in revenue this year.
More from Godbout on competition with the Kennedy Center, after the jump.
Having grown up in the DC area, we used to have such a fond impression of the Kennedy Center. Until the last few years, when the Kennedy Center has become a ruthless direct competitor. They have poached comics who annually perform in the comedy club or small comedy theater market in DC and rerouted them to the Kennedy Center – significantly overpaying the comics. In these cases they aren’t offering increased DC area performances, but instead moving comics (and revenue) from one healthy private market to their publicly funded venue.
In our case, they have also denied us access to a performance troupe that has regularly performed at the Drafthouse for years – not because we wouldn’t share, but because they want all the performances for themselves. They won’t allow the performance troupe to work with us as they have done each year. Repeatedly we have found ourselves in disputes with the Kennedy Center over the last two years.
We are used to dealing with competitors – we have many in the DC market. However, the Kennedy Center leverages money and assets received by the Federal Government (US Taxpayer) to directly compete at the local level – damaging what used to be a local healthy marketplace. Having read previous reports to Congress, it is clear they are able to overpay for comics/performances, because the Federal Government pays for all building expenses, land, utilities, and facilities management. The US Taxpayer is giving an unfair advantage to the Kennedy Center to compete in the small comedy theater market.
The legal entity that operates theater performances in the Kennedy Center pays no rent or expenses related to the building (based on past congressional reports). It appears the legal entity is also charging rent to groups for the rights to use the facility and keeping that revenue for themselves. The smaller theaters in the DC area do not have the same advantages – particularly the private ones.
We would love for the Federal government to give us a room in the East Wing of the White House, pay all of our operating expenses related to the room – and allow us to produce shows and/or rent it and keep the proceeds.
We will be writing a more detailed letter (which we will share) where we ask Congress to charge the non-profit legal entity fair market rent, utilities and facilities management costs for using the Kennedy Center. We are asking this in order to level the playing field, now that the Kennedy Center has established itself as a commercial entertainment entity and local competitor.
For the Arlington Drafthouse, the damage is done. The Kennedy Center will cost us at least $150K in revenue this year as a direct result of their actions. Small dollars for the economic behemoth that is the Kennedy Center. However, for a small privately owned family business who gets zero government funding/assistance – it is a painful loss.
Below are a set of questions I have emailed to the Kennedy Center (which they have not responded to yet). I believe these questions will shine a light on the Kennedy Center’s practices and quantify the benefits they receive from the Federal Government. Sorry, to bother you all with this drama, but we want to get the word out after dealing with this privately for 2 years and we want answers from the Kennedy Center. If you have some thoughts/ideas – please feel free to share.
1. How much does the Federal Government pay for your facilities?
2. How much rental income did you receive in the previous year?
3. How much of that revenue was returned to the US treasury to reimburse the government for paying for facilities, utilities, insurance, and facilities management?
4. Which companies donate to your comedy programming?
5. Where can I find an online account of your latest budget?
6. Where can I find a copy of your latest report to Congress?