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Publication Date: Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Park Theatre fans plan Thursday demonstration Park Theatre fans plan Thursday demonstration (August 07, 2002)

Before the last picture show plays at the Park Theatre, the art house's supporters plan to gather in front of the theater at 8 p.m. Thursday, August 8, to protest its closure. The theater at 1275 El Camino Real has lost its lease and is scheduled to close August 11.

Winter Dellenbach of Palo Alto, who is heading the protest, says it is a chance for people to say goodbye to the theater for now. She plans to continue fighting to keep the Park operating.

"It cannot happen that we lose this wonderful old theater to offices, which we don't need," says Ms. Dellenbach, an activist and movie fan.

Ms. Dellenbach was also involved in the fight to preserve the Varsity Theatre in Palo Alto, which later became a Borders bookstore, and the recent successful effort to save the Palo Alto Square Theater.

The Thursday demonstration will take place between screenings of "Blue Vinyl" at 6:30 p.m. and "Desperado Square" at 9 p.m. on the last day of the Jewish Film Festival, she said.

"Elling" will be the last film shown at the Park Theatre before it closes. It will play August 9, 10 and 11. The Norwegian film, nominated for best foreign film at this year's Academy Awards, is typical of the Park's independent and foreign fare.

Landmark Theatres lost its lease on the theater, built in 1947. Landlord Howard Crittenden has not announced what he intends to do with the property. In the past year he has presented to city officials ideas for office and retail space, as well as a "mini" movie theater with 200 seats.

Mr. Crittenden also owns Menlo Park's only other single-screen movie house, the Guild Theatre at 949 El Camino Real. The landlord said months ago that he doesn't have any plans to change that property, also leased by Landmark, because it's a smaller theater that pays more rent per square foot.


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