Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Cinerama Dome

My photo from across the street for the 2012 TCM Film Festival

Another grand movie theater is shuttering as a result of the pandemic.  The Arclight Cinerama Dome will be closed, as a part of the closing of all Arclight and Pacific Theaters. While the loss of the other theaters in their chains sting, the loss of the Cinerama Dome is particularly hurtful.

The Cinerama Dome opened November 7, 1963, as a venue specifically designed for widescreen Cinerama films.  Cinerama used three projectors to create an 86 foot wide image on the arced screen.  The screen begins to wrap around you and the resulting image cannot be recreated on our modern equivalents.  When they have tried, like in the Blu-Ray for How the West Was Won, the resulting image is shaped to resemble a smile.  That's the only way to preserve the whole picture.

When I wrote about the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, I talked about the special theaters I've been to.  The Cinerama Dome is up there.  I've had the great pleasure of seeing How the West Was Won and It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World there as part of TCM Film Festivals.  How the West Was Won had an interview with Debbie Reynolds before the film, and It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World had a panel with Marvin Kaplan, Karen Sharpe Kramer, Barrie Chase, and Mickey Rooney.  While those interviews definitely color the experience, there is no question that I have yet to experience a theater screen that immerses you in the film like the Cinerama experience.

We're fortunate that the building was declared a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in 1998, but there is definitely something lost by not having films on display.  That's my fear in this pandemic recovery and how it has affected Hollywood - not that the megaplexes will not reopen, but that we will instead lose the small, the classic, the unique theaters that truly make the movie going experience magical.  I know the Royal here in nearby Danville has changed management due to the pandemic and has not yet announced a reopening date.

Hopefully we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm ready to light the lights and to share the theater experience again, both for live theater and for great film.  I'm ready for that communal experience that happens with a full theater and a great film.

I just hope we have unique and beautiful places to see them in once this is all done.

To the Cinerama Dome, may you soon return.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Ramadan 2021

Last night marked the beginning of Ramadan, a month long period of reflection, fasting, prayer, and introspection for the Muslim faith.  The month commemorates the revelation of the Qur'an to the prophet Mohammed.  The month is marked by fasting from sunrise to sunset and a devotion to prayer, the reading of scripture, and to charity.  In many ways, it is comparable to the Christian period of Lent. 

To any readers who may be observing Ramadan this year, Ramadan Mubarak. May this Ramadan clear your understanding and Judgement between right and wrong.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Shot #1

One down, one to go. 

I received my first dose of the Moderna vaccine today. Now scheduled for my second on May 6. 

I’m glad to join the ranks of the at least partially vaccinated. Indiana opened up vaccines those 40 and over while we were back in Texas and I signed up as soon as I could possibly do so.  They dropped the age limits even further during our stay and Jamie was able to get scheduled for next week. 

No real side effects to mention. My arm is sore, but so far, I’m no worse for wear.  So far the microchip isn’t even noticeable. 😉

But seriously, get vaccinated. I know for those in Texas, there aren’t too many limitations on who can get vaccinated - just an unwillingness to do so. 

Stay safe, wear your mask, get the shot. Let’s really beat this thing. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Resurrected Monday 2021

Easter is now officially over.

The question is, what now?


The Resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian faith.  If Christ is not resurrected, then what hope do we have.

"But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is worthless, and so is your faith.  In that case, we are also exposed as false witnesses about God.  For we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead but He did not raise Him if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If our hope in Christ is for this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all men."
1 Corinthians 15: 12-18

The greatest hope of the Resurrection is not that Jesus was raised once.  It's that He remains alive.  He is alive and omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent.  He is alive and at the right hand of the Father.  He is alive and reigning on high.

And that is something we can and should celebrate each and every day of the year!

For too many people, Easter is the one time of year that the Resurrection is given any thought.  It may be one of only a couple of times the enter the church, likely as a responsibility to family.  It's the only time they hear the story of Jesus' death and resurrection.  And with the Monday after Easter, everything is back to normal.  Easter is over.  The obligations are complete.  Reality sets back in.

Sadly, I think this is the case for far too many Christians as well.  

Oh, they can quote the verses.  They sing "My Redeemer Lives," "He Lives," and "Resurrecting."  They are in services every week, and they would say they believe every word of the Easter story.  They believe in Jesus' death and literal resurrection.

They just don't live like it.

For far too many Christians, the Resurrection is brought out at Easter and then celebrated, but then Jesus is put back in the tomb or back on the cross.

Others may only be celebrating this one time a year; gathering with family for the annual obligation.  Without being able to gather this year, what happened to that obligation?  Did many still view a service out of habit?

Jesus on the cross is marketable.  It's fashionable.  It can be worn on t-shirts and jewelry.  It can be put on Bible covers, hung on walls, and be used as an easily recognizable symbol.  And when Jesus remains on the cross, when he remains a savior that died for our sins, then we have been saved and our present obligation ends.  Likewise, with Jesus in the tomb.

The resurrection is something different.  If Jesus not just rose again, but is alive today, then we have obligations to him.  We have to recognize him as Lord.  As the ruling King of Kings.  And we have to live accordingly.  Jesus as Lord requires more of us.

"For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake.  For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death works in us, but life in you."
2 Corinthians 4: 5-12

Leaving Jesus in the tomb or on the cross misses out on the power that He can demonstrate in our daily lives.  On the mission that He has for us today.  Now.  On the blessings, the comfort, and the LIFE that only He can provide.

This seems to be a great part of why the early church did not use the iconography of the crucifix.  The cross was too recent, too painful, perhaps too close to the reality of what the crucifix did.  It was seen as the instrument of torture that it was.  

Instead, the imagery was focused on the Good Shepherd.  Jesus with a lamb resting across his shoulders.  Jesus with the shepherd's crook.  

And to me, that really re-centers the focus of the Christian life.  Don't get me wrong, the crucifix is still powerful imagery and represents the greatest victory that we have.  There is, however, also a tendency to treat it as a one-time historical event, both in the life of Christ and in our lives.  It's too easy for us to leave Christ on the cross.  To stop at our salvation and not pursue sanctification - to just get "fire insurance" and that's it.  To treat Jesus as just Savior and not Lord.

Focusing on the Good Shepherd reminds us that He is still watching over us.  He is still guiding us and protecting us.  And that we are still required to be listening for His voice.  To follow His voice and His voice alone.  To go where the shepherd guides us and to graze there.   To lie down in good pastures, to drink still waters, to graze along the Paths of Righteousness.

It reminds us that the Good Shepherd is and should be a part of our daily lives. 

So don't let your celebrating end.  Don't let Easter be the end of your remembrance and celebration of the Resurrection of Christ.  Don't keep Jesus in the tomb.

He's alive!

Hallelujah!

Now let's live like it on more than just Easter Sunday.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Sunday 2021

"Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.  But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.  Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.  Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!  Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'"

Luke 24:1-7


Today marks the greatest celebration of the Christian life.  The greatest news that could be shared.  He is not among the dead.  He's alive, He's alive, He's alive!!  I'm forgiven, Heaven's gates are open wide!

We have hope because He has won the victory over death and the grave.  No matter how dark Friday was, no matter how difficult the waiting on Saturday, it's Sunday and Christ is victorious!

May the joy and grace of the Easter season be on you and your family!  If you do not know the reason why we celebrate, I pray you find yourself surrounded with friends who exemplify the good news and are overjoyed to share. There are plenty of online opportunities today to join a celebration.

God’s blessings on you today and continuing through this year.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Holy Saturday 2021

Here the whole world (stars, water, air, and field, and forest, as they were reflected in a single mind) like cast off clothes was left behind in ashes, yet with hopes that, in lenten lands, hereafter may resume them on Easter Day.
-  C.S. Lewis - 


This year, I've been looking over a post from a couple of years ago on Holy Saturday.  The day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  That period between death and resurrection.  The period between the event that causes suffering and the event that brings deliverance.  The eternity between sorrow and joy.

In the Easter week, Friday is definitely a difficult day.  It's the infliction of pain.  It's the day where the death occurs, the suffering is inflicted.

But to me, Saturday, that next day has to be the worst.  It's that period of waiting.  Of reality setting in.  The shock wears off, and everything is real.

On Friday, they were experiencing everything as it was happening, perhaps holding out hope for a miracle to completely change their circumstances that day.  Perhaps in complete shock through the whole experience.

Saturday is the day everything sharpens.  Jesus died.  And for all the disciples know, he is not coming back.  It's that period we all find ourselves in, where all we can do is just wait in our suffering.  And I do not know about you, but I'm terrible at waiting.  I want solutions. I want action.  I want to change things, now.   And the fact always remains that you cannot rush this time.

We're all in the waiting now.  With rolling state-wide and nation-wide stay at home orders, lockdowns and shutouts, everyone is waiting on a change.  Waiting for this to end.  Waiting for hope that this too will pass.  Some of us are adjusting better than others, but we are all struggling to adapt.

The good news is that we know it does end.  It does get better.  "Every storm eventually runs out of rain."  Especially, for those that follow the Way, for those truly living the life He has called us to, we know the end.  Even if we do not see the victory here, we know who holds it in His hand.

It's Holy Saturday.  But Easter is Coming!

Friday, April 2, 2021

Good Friday 2021

"It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.  But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
The Burial of Jesus

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God.  Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.  Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.  It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.  Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
"

Luke 23: 44b-56


Today, for those of faith, represents the darkest day in human history.  The day where it seemed all hope died.  Good Friday remembers the day when Jesus Christ, Son of God, was crucified by the Roman government and died a criminal's death.

He suffered through the mockery of a trial, in which the prosecution presented trumped up charges to a judge who found no fault but still sided with the mob and gave into their demands.  He was beaten, tortured, and jeered.  Stripped and dressed in a costume designed to mock the charges against him.  He was forced to carry the beam of his cross in a walk of shame through the city where the same people who cheered his arrival now gawked at the parade of criminals as they worked their way to the site of their execution.  He was then nailed to that beam, in both his hands and feet, raised between two criminals and left to die.

Crucifixion was one of the most cruel forms of death that humans have ever created.  It was public and designed to dissuade its witnesses from perpetrating similar crimes.  Victims were sometimes left on display after death as a warning to any other potential criminals.  The death it provided was particularly slow and painful, leading to the term excruciating, or literally "out of crucifying."  The person executed was usually attached to the cross by a range of methods including rope and nails.  The executed could be tied to the cross such that the ropes would cut into his skin.  To support the weight of a body, nails would be driven into the arm just above the wrist, between the two bones of the forearm.  Nails would also be driven into the feet, also to support the weight of the body, usually without the foot-rest or the seat that is placed on our decorative crosses.  The entire weight of the body would be placed on those nails as the body would continue to pull downward in gravity, keeping the person in continual pain.

When the whole body weight was supported by stretched out arms, nailed to that cross, the typical cause of death was asphyxiation.  The executed would have severe difficulty inhaling and would have to draw themselves up by the arms, leading to exhaustion and pain at the nail sites.  This process could be sped up by the soldiers breaking the condemned's legs, preventing them from pushing up, leaving them to die choking for air.  The executed could further suffer cardiac rupture, heart failure, hypovolemic shock, sepsis, acidosis, arrhythmia, and pulmonary embolism.  The scourging before the crucifixion would exacerbate the potential for sepsis.  Add in dehydration and you have a slow, agonizing death on display for all to see.

And Jesus willingly chose that path.  He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, willingly going to cross to redeem his creation.

To his followers, this day marked a feeling of hopelessness.  It was the day hope died.  Their hope in change for the future.  The possible hope for revolution.  They saw everything they had hoped for vanishing in an instant.

For Jesus, this was also an unprecedented day.  The day when Jesus, the pure, spotless lamb would bear the sins of the world, past, present, and future.  It would be the one time Jesus was completely separated from His Father.  Where God would turn His back on him, for he could not see his son stained with sin.  Eloi; Eloi; Lama; Sabachtha.  My God; My God; Why have you forsaken me?

The first time Jesus experienced despair.

Many of us today on this Good Friday might be experiencing despair.  Might be feeling hopeless.  The physical isolation.  The loss of a job.  The loss of income.  This might indeed be the darkest night.

But we - we know dawn is coming.  We celebrate that Friday is not the end of the story.  Things may look at their absolute darkest, but morning is coming.  Friday may be death, but Sunday is resurrection.

No matter the outlook, it gets better.

It's Friday, but Sunday is coming!

Praise the Lord!