Last night I enjoyed one of the perks of being a blogger: an invitation-only advance look at the newly-renovated AMC Mainstreet movie theater up the street from my office.
I've been watching the renovation process with interest the entire time I've worked in downtown Kansas City. I could see the green dome from the Kansas City Power & Light Building where I worked at my last job. At the time, it was a popular gathering place for pigeons, which made it just as poop-bedecked as you'd imagine. Back then there were also trees growing on the roof.
During the tour, we learned that it was originally built in 1921 as a vaudeville theater. Eventually it became a movie theater, and it remained open until 1985. I'm a lifelong Kansas City area resident, but I'd never been there and I have no memory of it being open or advertising movie showings in the paper. I guess we lived too far south for it to have registered.
I made the mistake of failing to check my camera batteries before I went, so the only photo I got is from my phone. It shows the "backstage" of the new theaters built within the brick shell that still contains the risers and spotlight platform from the original vaudeville auditorium.
After our tour, which included a look at the huge server room and one of the projection rooms for the all-digital theater, we got to see The Brothers Bloom in one of the Cinema Suites theaters. The movie choice was a pleasant surprise given that we'd been told we were going to see Valkyrie.
They'd given us a few appetizers, but I was hungry for dinner and ordered the mac n' cheese during the movie. It was tasty, but I wouldn't order it again because it was very difficult to maneuver in the dark and I dropped pieces on my shirt several times.
The Cinema Suites lounge chairs were very comfortable and it was great to be able to put my feet up for the whole show. They even have transducers in them that make them shake when there's some particularly low-frequency sound onscreen (explosions, trains going by, etc.). Pretty cool.
I haven't even mentioned that there's a restaurant inside the theater, as well as a huge wall of concession stand drink options, popcorn toppings and condiments. They have beer on tap and a coffee bar, too.
The theater doesn't open until May 1st, but I could definitely see myself going back (albeit probably for the less pricey regular theaters as opposed to the premium Cinema Suites experience). Thanks, @jpgardner, for setting up the tour and including me.