||Tiki Tiger Studios: Big long Egyptian trip report!
Joined: Nov 25, 2004
|Posted: 2014-06-27 12:47 am  Permalink|
I am back, and what a lot of fun I had! I'll give you a little tour in just a moment... first...
I want to thank all the kind folks who stopped by the Tiki Tiger thread
LLT: Thanks Ken! Trying to keep it burning as bright as I can without burning down the town.
BaddTiki: Thanks for stopping by, Zombzilla does indeed just want a nice stiff zombie, but the servers in this place don't seem to want to go near the big guy. Yeah I really dig how the tiki tiger mug turned out too!
Hang10tiki: Thanks for the compliment, stop by the tiki tiger hut again soon.
MauTiki: I gotta say I was surprised how well those mugs turned out. She really did a super fantastic job!
LoriLovesTiki: I'm glad you checked out the thread too! Hope you keep coming back as I churn out new stuff.
Littlegiles: Hey Dale thanks for stopping by again! Gratifying to know someone would hang Zombzilla on their wall, I have had a lot of people in the past tell me "love your art style, but I would would never be able to hang something like THAT on my wall". Yeah it was a nice article, and thanks for the well wishes on going to the grand opening.
Wendy (and Dan): Wendy I think you are my personal cheer leader. No one else really noticed the significance of the shirt I wore (its a decayed mummy) which I did indeed wear on purpose.
So... inspired by the many photo trips Wendy & Dan always publish on their thread, here is a nice long tour of my trip to the Egyptian.
Crossing the bridge past the sand dunes area to enter into North Bend. It is a family tradition to try and take a photo of this bridge when we cross it.
I've always loved this old fashioned sign hanging over the street as you enter North Bend.
Finally in Coos Bay proper.
After getting things settled at the hotel, we were off to the Egyptian.
We got to join a party for all the fundraising volunteers that was taking place on the stage; a tradition that started with the opening of the theatre in 1925 when the owner and all of the theatre personal and cast had a grand opening party on the stage. You can kind of see one of the painted backdrops in the background. I'll talk about that more in a bit.
Me and my mom in front of the backdrop.
Just like in 1925 for the grand opening, musicians played on the stage.
I had some cheesy "restrained" photos of me taken by various parts of the theatre. At this point it was sort of a little bit of a shock to be walking around in my painting if you know what I mean. I had not seen the interior of the Egyptian since I was about 8 years old or so, and was not sure whether my memory was betraying me or not. For the painting I only had about 6 really clear photos to work from, so being inside what I had painted was a little surreal.
Okay, so I did do one goofy one in front of the Wurlitzer with a "Walk Like an Egyptian" pose.
The president of the association for the preservation of the Egyptian gave a speech thanking all the volunteers, and introducing the new lady that will run the business end of showings at the Egyptian. Not only will there be classic movie showings frequently, but also music concerts and other events. They plan on breathing some new life into the Egyptian with some really creative offerings such as showing "National Treasure" and then having a treasure hunt through the theatre for the kids.
Now.... behold the splendor of the Egyptian...
Before we move from the auditorium (yes there is more to see... a lot more! We have not even gone into the lobby for popcorn yet!) remember some of those details I sweated over trying to discern from the photos I had? I am happy to report I was right; those were indeed snake head canopic jars in the detail of the organ screen.
On another note, my detective skills turned out to be all too true about the arch. I know for a certainty that it was indeed painted over at some point because I spotted something with my camera from the balcony (we will get there in a moment... be patient.) that proved my theory only too well. Someone graffiti-ed their name above the pillar. All this time what I thought was a hieroglyphic was a sloppily painted name, more than likely the person who painted over the arch. From what I know of the history of theatre (which isn't much) there was a family that took it over after the original owner sold it, and did not seem to have as much appreciation for the history of the place (we will come to the main conjecture for that when we get to the balcony). From the way the name is crudely painted I would say it was a young kid, maybe a teenager who helped to paint the arch (doubtful it was a really young kid as that is a very high place to be painting) who seems to have with some pride signed his name to his job of painting over the arch. You will also see in comparing the top weird "stone" on top of the pillar to the arch there is without a doubt NO room for that to fit under the arch so it is confirmed to be a later add on along with the arch painting. In fact from the angle of the graffiti I would say that the person actually was perched on TOP of the pillar which makes me shudder to think about, since god knows what is actually inside holding that pillar up; the outside is just plaster like every decorative element in theatre. The graffiti of the name can only be seen with a camera. It is far too dim in there to really see it with the naked eye clearly, and those of the association I showed my photo to seemed shocked it was there. If you look closely behind the "square" thing on top here you will see the name "John" peeking over.
I did unfortunately see signs of things that will need restoring the future; a lot of the decorative plaster has cracks, especially on the arch behind the pillars. You can't see them very well unless you really look close leaning into the space between. My guess is when they moved the pillars from the original position out from under the arch it stressed the arch. It is still perfectly safe, they did all kinds of stress tests all over the theatre, but the superficial plaster will need to be fixed someday.
Okay, so let's head up to the balcony now. We will skip the main lobby and save it till later, first before we go up the stairs, you will greet an imposing figure seated at the foot of the stairs. He is one of two guards flanking the stairways on either side of the lobby. Please disregard the truly garish paint job (I do NOT remember him looking like this as a kid. The headdress was a more realistic blue and black just like the lapis lazuli and onyx they found on the ones in Egypt. And the statue was not painted in horrible gold, he was more of a black marble color.). This guardian is missing the "conical" part of his headdress, the other one flanking the other stairs still has his.
On the way up are framed pictures of many of the movie stars that would have had movies play here in times past.
Once we get to the top landing there is a area that probably served as a smoking and rest area during intermissions. It still has some of its original custom furniture, although a lot of it is missing as I understand this entire area was fully furnished for many people to sit down. We are fortunate to have the pieces left intact that are there.
I had to get a picture of myself in one of those chairs.
The sight that greets you as you finally climb the last stairs to the balcony.
I took several trips to take pics of the balcony. This is when the theatre was starting to fill up with people for the night showing of the first movie there in three years. Several of my pictures have a bunch of dotty stuff going on like this... probably some serious dust, although it is funny it never triggered my allergies. Usually I am very sensitive to dust particles.
With it being open house, they had showings of the projector room in the balcony. Most of the original projection equipment was stripped out by the previous owners, but there are a few relics left. What's used for movies these days up there is a state of the art digital projection system. Funny thing is, because things were stripped like they were previously there are no speakers in the projection booth to see if the sound is synched so they have to test beforehand and go outside the booth to hear it.
A few of the original film platters are left. I knew what these were I used to clean in a local theater and immediately recognized them.
Remember the story I was going to tell you about the previous owners not really having as much respect for historical aspects of the place? Well the irony here is the theatre was saved through its partial destruction. In order to compete the owners stripped a lot of the balcony down, ripping out a lot of decorative work to install several small theater screens in the balcony, and enclosing it so it would be dark enough for separate movies, sealing off most of the view down below to the main screen. This allowed them to show more than one movie at a time and keep the theatre open longer. Because of this it ironically kept it open longer as a functioning theatre during a time when many other architectural treasures were lost to the wrecking ball. The sad thing is though; I was told stories from people who remembered the old theatre over the weekend and they told me that balcony was almost as decorative as the main auditorium, I even heard there were two more statues flanking the sides of the balcony similar to the ones below guarding the stairs. No one seems to know where all this extra decor went. And sadly there isn't even any photo documentation available of how it looked.
Looking upwards at the ceiling you can see a little bit of the carnage. It's very hard to take pictures of with the balcony being so dark.
As you look from the stage towards the audience you can get a better view of the balcony layout and can see more of the ceiling which gives some idea of how they accomplished turning the balcony into extra viewing rooms.
This was the table set up for me at the foot of the stairs. I was in charge of telling people about my painting and selling raffle tickets for it. I sold $300 worth of tickets for the theatre, and two of the actual prints. I really had hoped it would be a lot more, but the theatre assures me they will sell out eventually on their website store once it is established. I do hope so. I did this all to help the theatre, and would love to have them sell out they need it for the next phases of renovation. The good news is the theatre is saved, but its going to make more to really bring back its glory.
Some of the fantastic volunteers that took over my table when I needed a break. Everyone was just so helpful and friendly and made an already wonderful experience even better.
They restored the brightness to some of the original painted decor in the downstairs area. This is the overhead part leaving the stairs from the balcony into the lobby.
The front of the same overhang facing the stairs.
One of the side wings downstairs by the newly renovated ADA compliant bathrooms.
This cloth wall covering is ORIGINAL. Incredible.
One of my favorite shots.
Reproduction ceiling lights were made for various areas of the theatre. This is one of them.
There are a couple original art deco hand painted tiles on the backside of the ticket booth inside the lobby. I find these bits left particularly beautiful and a tantalizing reminder of what may have been in the original. Rumor has it that one of the previous owners actually stripped a lot of the Egyptian bric a brac out sometime after the 1950's. This place must have been overflowing in opulence.
Back into the theatre auditorium...
There are something like five ORIGINAL 1925 backdrops that were discovered hidden way up in the fly loft when they were renovating. Can you imagine that? Actual backdrops painted in 1925 hidden away all these years. This is one of the real treasures of the Egyptian, and they use them between movie showings interchanging them. For the grand re-opening they showed off all of them.
This one is the original fire curtain. You will note it says "Asbestos". It had asbestos wove into it to prevent any fire on stage from going past the curtain once it is dropped. This used to be a practice in every theater from the 1920's through much of the 50's.
This one betrays its Portland origins (the backdrops have fine print on the backs that say they were painted in Portland Oregon LOL).
Another Portland-esque backdrop...
Three of the backdrops are Egyptian themed, this is the last one it is a night time look of Egypt.
Why, you may wonder did the Egyptian need to raise over a million dollars for renovation? You see, the entire back half of the theatre was slowly cracking and slipping into the alley. They had to drill 150 feet to bedrock and affix steel poles to the back of the theatre that go down to the bedrock. Originally the Egyptian was a car garage and later converted to a theatre. They never really planned for the weight of the organ loft among other things.
Speaking of the organ loft... I got a personal tour of it, something they don't allow too often and not with just anybody because the instruments are so delicate they can be affected even by a hand touching them. I was told the entire organ had to be re-caliberated if someone even touched one of the pipes because he heat of the hand would mess it up. They have to keep the loft at a constant temperature even when the theatre is not open. And they keep buckets of water up there so that the air is not too dry. What I found so fascinating is, the "brain" of the organ that works with electro magnets is essentially a primitive computer using opening and closing circuits instead of 1's and 0's. Very few places use the original electronics for the "brain" anymore, most have gone digital the Egyptian is one of the few left, and still has its original Wurlitzer organ.
First, here is the mighty Wurlitzer which is still used by two organists for silent movies and between shows to entertain the crowd.
Once you go up an old twisting set of rickety stairs backstage, you will reach the locked door of the organ loft. Once inside one of the first things that greets you is the temperature gauge.
Then as you very carefully step forwards over jutting boards and pipes you can see the first view of the organ pipes. Its really an almost surreal object to gape at.
Looks like something out of Doctor Who, or Forbidden Planet.
These are some of the littlest guys...
And these are some of the big bruisers...
This is what they call the "toy shelf" it has all kinds of sound effect mechanisms for the organ. See those octagonal shaped things? When they go together they create the sound of horses hooves. There is also a fire siren and various other sound effects in there.
Now lets go back a bit in time on the tour. At the very beginning while I was getting things ready for my table inside, outside they were having the ribbon cutting ceremony which my dad took pics of. Being a theatre though, they cut film. I figured I didn't need to stick around for all the posturing and speeches and stuff so let dad handle that one.
This is a obelisk painting on the wall that showed during the main money drive how much had been raised for preserving the theatre.
They also had an antique car show in front of the theatre, mainly featuring cars from around the time of the theatre opening.
For the night time entertainment, on the first night we go to see "Sugar Daddies" one of the earliest Laurel and Hardy films before they became a duo, and "Tillie's Punctured Romance" an early Charlie Chaplin film where he plays a villian, both accompanied by the wonderful Mighty Wurlitzer.
The second night was one of my favorite movies: "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World!" which was the big night for the general public and they charged the same price for a ticket as they did in 1925: 25 cents. Now here is the thing about that "Mad" movie... it was intended for the Cinerama screen, a fad in the 50's where they had this huge curved screens that wrapped around an audience. The Egyptian does not have a Cinerama screen so what we saw was a version slightly chopped on the sides. Still a HUGE improvement over watching it on home video where its usually cropped even more eliminating some very important visual aspects to the story. Well... I was a naughty boy (ok not too naughty I didn't use a flash which would have been pointless anyways) I took a picture of the opening credits screen. It turned out blurry of course but I had to have it as some kind of weird finale to the whole journey. A journey that started out months and months ago with a small proposal to help with a place I dearly loved.
It is saved. It needs more TLC, which it will get from all the most wonderful volunteers ever, but it is saved. And that makes me so very happy.
Through these doors pass the most wonderful people, indeed. People who took time out of their busy lives to help save a historical treasure for future generations.
This has been super long. A love letter of great length to that marvelous palace of childhood inspiration. So I will save some of the other stuff we did along the coast till next time. Thanks for stopping by the tomb one last time, and remember to put your camels in their upright positions before exiting.
Joined: Nov 25, 2004
|Posted: 2014-06-27 12:47 am  Permalink|
I have no idea why, but it posted twice. Hopefully this corrects it. Stop freaking out the scarabs by posting twice, TC.
[ This Message was edited by: tigertail777 2014-06-27 00:52 ]
Joined: Jun 10, 2004
From: Reseda, calif.
|Posted: 2014-06-27 07:24 am  Permalink|
Tigertail, thanks for a fabulous tour of this historical theater. What a great story, I found it very interesting.
Joined: Jun 17, 2002
|Posted: 2014-06-28 07:59 am  Permalink|
Your PM this morning reminded me to check your thread again. Wow I was so happy to read every word and to enjoy these photos. We had a palace theater in Sacramento called the Alhambra. It was torn down for a Safeway. Your story had the very best ending and actually it's still going on.
Your contribution will go on forever too. This is all so wonderful I'm smiling ear to ear. Congratulations, Wendy