Re: Free Tour of Congress Theater (before it's restored) THIS Saturday
Date: January 23, 2015 04:09PM
It's a shame that most of the damage that the restoration will have to undo only happened in the last 10 years or so.
The Congress was in tremendous original condition even up until the early '00s. I went there often in the '90s when movies were still shown (as Cine Mexico) and there was still signage left from Balaban & Katz throughout the place.
During the '40s, in an attempt to modernize, most theaters of the era were repainted and received new fixtures. The Congress somehow avoided this fate, and so it was a lot like finding a period-correct, original car from 1926 in a garage. And much in the way that you wouldn't expect a car from 1926 to perform to modern driving standards, the attempt to put on concerts there with modern sound/lighting requirements using infrastructure dating from the '20s is almost fraudulently irresponsible.
I was last there ca. 2011 and couldn't believe the shape it was in. There had even been huge windows cut into the rear walls of the auditorium in an attempt to create some sort of VIP lounge out of the projection booth.
I'm glad help is on the way.