Historic Tucson theater screens Indian films - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Historic Tucson theater screens Indian films

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Posted: Friday, April 14, 2006 6:40 am | Updated: 4:00 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Bollywood at the Fox — an evening of Indian film, culture, food and glamour — brings the colorful film genre to Arizona’s only Southwestern Art Deco theater, the Fox Theatre in Tucson.

“What a wonderful place to experience an Indian film,” says Herb Stratford, the theater’s executive director.

The Saturday evening festival will feature “Veer-Zaara,” the tale of an Indian man who falls in love with a Pakistani woman, as well as an Indian market with food stalls and henna displays.

After a five-year renovation, the Fox Theatre opened its doors Dec. 31 as a historic landmark.

When the Fox was built in 1930, going to the movies was still an event and theaters were built to rival the films they screened. The Fox was no exception: The 1,200-seat theater features a multicolored ceiling with intricate designs, a balcony and about 65 love seats.

Stratford was an undergraduate student in photography at the University of Arizona when he discovered the theater in 1986. The theater closed in 1974 after a 44-year-run.

“I snuck into the theater to take photographs,” says Stratford. “I got into the building and fell in love with it.” When he returned 10 years later, he was appalled to see the building so decayed and organized a nonprofit to raise money for the multimillion-dollar restoration.

Today the theater doesn’t show everyday films like a megaplex: On any given weekend you can expect to see live theater, classic movies or international film festivals. More than 13,000 people have visited the theater since it reopened four months ago, and Stratford expects 100,000 by the end of the year.

“This building is an amazing treasure,” Stratford says.

All proceeds from the event go to the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation.

Getting there

Take Interstate 10 east to Tucson. Exit at Congress Street/Broadway and turn east.

If you go What: Bollywood at the Fox, with Indian films and food When: 5:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday Where: Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., Tucson Cost: $100 Information: (520) 624-1515 or http://foxtucsontheatre.org

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