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Detroit Zoo Premieres Three Films at Wild Adventure Zone

Rio - 4D Experince

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Detroit Zoo visitors can travel from Rio de Janeiro to Alaska to a mysterious island with three new films at the Wild Adventure Zone, located in the Ford Education Center. “Rio: The 4-D Experience” and “Grizzly Bears: 4-D Experience” at the 4-D Theater and “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” at the Simulator Ride will debut on April 18, 2014, and run through the end of the year.

“Rio: The 4-D Experience” follows Blu and Jewel, the last blue macaws on Earth, as they are chased and captured by evil cockatoo Nigel. The duo takes viewers on a thrilling journey through Rio de Janeiro, working together despite Blu’s inability to fly and finding courage, friendship and maybe even love along the way.

Alternating with “Rio” is “Grizzly Bears: 4-D Experience”, a wildlife adventure that follows grizzly bears as they emerge from their winter dens in the Alaskan mountains and travel up the west coast of North America to feast on the great salmon run. This captivating film provides insight into the forces of nature, which drive a chain reaction culminating in a spectacular wildlife event.

In “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”, the star of “Journey to the Center of the Earth” is back in another Jules Verne-inspired voyage. While looking for his long-lost grandfather, Sean decodes a secret map that points him and a group of adventurers to the elusive “Mysterious Island”. After finding Sean’s grandfather and discovering that the island is sinking, they all head for the shore on the backs of giant bees.

The 126-seat 4-D Theater delivers a high-definition viewing experience in 3-D with 7.1 digital audio surround sound. The experience features a variety of sensory surprises that are built into the seats and theater environment, bringing on-screen images to life with 4-D effects such as mist, scents, back pokers, leg ticklers and seat vibrations. Some 4-D effects may be too intense for children 5 and under; parental discretion is advised.

The 30-seat Simulator Ride is an educational, action-packed thrill ride which offers a “you-are-there” experience from the comfort of a specially equipped, motion-simulated cabin. Passengers must be at least 36 inches (3 feet) tall, and it is recommended that they be at least 5 years of age or older.

Tickets for each experience are $5 with Detroit Zoo admission and are available at the main gate, the Wild Adventure Zone ticket booth or online. With ZooMORE! – a seasonal discounted ticket package for rides and attractions – visitors can experience the 4-D Theater and Simulator Ride as well as the Tauber Family Railroad (one way) and Carousel, or any combination thereof, for $12 with Zoo admission.

Click on Attractions at www.detroitzoo.org for the most up-to-date information and movie times.

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A conversation with the guys behind Corktown Cinema

corktown_cinema_logo

By Patrick Smith

It has been a hard, frustrating few years since The Burton Theatre in Detroit was forced to close its doors due to a dispute with its landlord. Since then we here at the Spine have been following the ups and downs of their quest to find a permanent home with the same anticipation and attachment as the rest of Detroit. Now it looks like our days of waiting may soon be over. But first you have to go vote for Corktown Cinema in the Hatch Detroit contest. Like right now, go vote on Facebook and at Hatch.com, then wait 24 hours and one minute and do it again. Repeat until August 29.

And you need to do this everyday because Corktown Cinema is proof that all the nice stuff you want to believe about Detroit is true.

During its too-brief run, The Burton was the sort of place people are talking about when they talk about the possibilities of Detroit. Too often all that bluster about the freedom and space to make what you want of the world just ends with Dutch people buying shitty houses, but the people behind the Burton actually took an old school and turned it into a really special place to watch movies. And then they showed incredible and unique films there. The Burton wasn’t just about having a movie theatre in Detroit that was like theatres in other cities, it was about having one that was better. Which is the idea after all, right?

Any confusion or frustration felt by fans of the former Burton, now Corktown is understandable. For a long time it looked like they had a spot in an exciting new complex in Corktown (hence the new name) but that development has hit some snags. It is understandable that people set themselves up for failure, or brace for expected disappointment. But the Corktown guys haven’t stopped working. Since the Burton closed, Brandon Walley joined Jeff Else as a part owner. Walley was the director of the Detroit Film Center and is a filmmaker himself, so he brings valuable knowledge and perspective to the operation.

This week both Else and Walley answered some questions for the Spine. Their edited answers are below.

Woodward Spine: The Hatch contest winner gets $50,000. What are you going to do with the money?

Brandon Walley: Corktown Cinema will become a reality. It has become a singular mission for Jeff and I. Winning Hatch Detroit will put us on the fast track to purchasing the building that will be a perfect fit for us in Corktown. Having our own space as oppose to renting, as was the case with Burton Theatre, will allow us to do everything Burton did but on steroids. So much more opportunity to have unique programming and events that aren’t offered in Detroit currently.
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Jeff Else: We will be using the $50,000 in conjunction with some private investment we have committed towards the purchasing of a building to house the cinema, and the expenses involved in adapting the space.
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WS: Why should people vote for you?
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BW: We are offering something that is singularly unique to Detroit right now. Anyone that lives in the city knows that going to see a movie usually means driving to the suburbs. But mainly, we will offer programming that isn’t even offered anywhere in Michigan. Major cities in the US have options for unique cinema, we’ll bring it to Detroit but also do it better than most. Basically, we’re all friends working towards the same goal… cinema not otherwise offered in Detroit. The mantra remains.
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JE: We think watching movies in a social setting (with a beer maybe) is an essential part of any vibrant community.  As anyone who lives in the city can tell you, far too often seeing a movie involves going to the suburbs.  There are only 4 functioning movie theatres in the city, most of them on the outskirts.  We think that’s tragic.  Also, we’ve proved that this idea works.  We were open for almost two years as the Burton Theatre, and developed a loyal following when we were forced to close due to a dispute with our landlord.  We have card-carrying members.. Detroit wants this.
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WS: What else you guys working on beyond this contest?
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JE: Well we’ve been working hard towards finding a suitable building for the cinema, which is a bit more challenging than just finding your average storefront, that’s really been our focus this year.  We kept up a fairly consistent pop-up schedule after the Burton closed, but we’re really trying hard to find a permanent home now.
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BW: Beyond my role as Program Director for Corktown, I’m lucky that I get the opportunity to program (when asked) for other organizations. I’m curating the next Mothlight Cinema here in Detroit, which is a really great outlet for avant garde cinema (bridging the gap until CC opens.) Programming at Nightingale Microcinema in Chicago this fall and continuing to be the regional programmer for Media City in Canada.
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Then, well I’m a filmmaker. Keep working. Hopefully my first feature, loosely based on the Detroit music scene, will be done by the end of the year.
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WS: It has been a while since you closed, what has been going on since then? Why the hold up?
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JE: Oh boy, so many things.  We had been working with some developers from New York for about a year and a half to be part of a big complex of independent retail, food etc.. they are doing in Corktown, but their development hit some snags and is sort of in limbo.  Earlier this year we were in a prolonged bidding war for a building that we ultimately lost.  So, you know, just mundane stuff, but we’ve been working hard all the while to make it happen, and there’s no stopping us.
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Interview with Director Paul Feig: Part II

Kick Me Book Cover | © Paul Feig

Kick Me Book Cover | © Paul Feig

By Jeffrey Buck

This is Part II of the interview with Michigan native Paul Feig. Be sure to read Part I if you have not already.

Jeffrey Buck: Did you watch a lot of movies as a kid?

Paul Feig: I definitely watched movies but I wasn’t a Quentin Tarantino where I saw every movie that was ever made, that kind of thing. I liked the movies that I liked. I was way into science fiction. My best friend, the one who drove out to California with me, Mike, he and I were way into SciFi so we would see every single science fiction movie that came out. And comedies, I would go see those. Woody Allen, [too.] I loved ‘What’s up Doc?’ When old black and white comedies would come on TV or be in the movie theaters I would always go and see those. But I didn’t like drama. I would try and do everything I could to not see any dramatic films until I got to college. At Wayne State, the first kind of dramatic film I saw and really fell in love with was this Francis Ford Coppola film called ‘The Conversation.’ And that’s the moment I was like maybe I do like dramas and [it] put me on the road to liking to do stuff that was both comedic and dramatic. Because it’s really the most honest way of storytelling. Anything that’s so dramatic with no laughs in it is almost as dishonest as a comedy where everything is funny and there’s no kind of heart to it because life is very much your laughing one minute, you’re crying the next, and something terrible happens and somebody tries to make a joke to try to pretend it’s not happening and cheer themselves up. And that’s the tone I like. The whole creative [thing] I do now is to try and create what’s the most honest, hopefully the most funniest thing but also what’s the most kind of emotionally honest thing, the kind of thing where you don’t go as an audience member , ‘Well that’s stupid’ or ‘That wouldn’t happen.’ Because that to me is when you fail as a filmmaker, [and] the audience doesn’t believe something; I think you’re kind of dead in the water. Continue reading

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Interview with Director Paul Feig: Part I

Paul Feig |  © Paul Feig

Paul Feig | © Paul Feig

By Jeffrey Buck

Thirty years ago Paul Feig took off west in his Mustang with one goal: to make it as an actor in Hollywood. Thirty years later, the successful actor, writer and director, continues to make people laugh while remembering his humble roots back in the Midwest.

The Woodward Spine had the chance to speak with the highly successful director of 2011’s critically acclaimed hit ‘Bridesmaids’ and the upcoming film ‘The Heat’ (opening in theaters June 28th) about his life in Michigan and his journey to break into show business.

Jeffrey Buck: How often did you and your family visit Detroit?

Paul Feig: The only time we really went to downtown Detroit was to go to Greektown like everybody else in the world.  We didn’t spend too much time downtown. My dad, while I was growing up…actually not when I was growing up, before they had me, even before he met my mom owned his first store, a pawn shop. It was down in Cass Corridor.  He was in like the roughest part of Detroit. When he got out of there and moved his business to the East Side he was always kind of hesitant to go back down to Detroit. So consequently, we never went down there that much except to go to Greektown. But the irony was when I went back to Michigan, on a book tour a number of years ago, I was suddenly like gosh I never used to hang out in downtown Detroit, this time I just want to hang out down there this whole time. And I did and it was a lot of fun discovering Detroit and finding the fun places, cool restaurants and just kind of seeing it again. I used to go down to the Fisher Theatre too and we had a cottage in Canada. Right outside of Windsor. So we drove through Detroit a lot.  So we were only going through it and by it. But yeah never really spent too much time downtown, which was unfortunate. Continue reading

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Joel Landy tells his side of the Corktown Cinema fight

This is a response, from Joel Landy owner of the former Burton International School, to Patrick Smith’s Explaining the Corktown Cinema Internet Fight published August 14, 2012. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Woodward Spine. 

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I, Joel Landy, the Big Bad Landlord, created the idea of hosting a theater in the Burton School. I named it, designed the theater and its operation, borrowed and spent more than $80,000 and many hours renovating all of its features including the pool table in the boys’ room. The Corktown guys rented the Burton Theatre , bought a popcorn machine, installed some used projectors, started renting movies and organized and operated their creative project. There was no “dispute with the landlord” as they have stated. They moved out at 2 a.m. under their own free will with no notice to avoid paying three-month-overdue separately-metered electric bills and the payment, or arrangements thereof for a security deposit that had never been paid. The rent never changed, it only went down as I subsidized the operation.

After 20 comments in one week from people thinking the Burton Theatre was closed—and having asked the Corktown Cinema guys to discontinue using the theater’s name—I contacted Facebook. After a short investigation, Facebook determined the former tenant was still using the theater’s name on their page and turned the page over to us. After a couple quick postings to let people know the Burton Theatre was still open, I unpublished the page and shut it down. I look forward to the day when the Burton Theatre, the Corktown Cinema, and the DFT will be working together and cross-promoting various activities.

Thank You,

Joel Landy

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Explaining the Corktown Cinema Internet fight

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Woodward Spine.

By Patrick Smith

Yesterday there was an Internet slap-fight between the operators of Cass City Cinema and fans and friends of the operators of the late-Burton Theatre and the very-much alive and getting alive-ier Corktown Cinema. Because most of the back-and-forth occured on Facebook and was littered with both incendiary and uninformed comments, there is a likelihood that the squabble will be, and has been trivialized, (like me calling it a slap fight) or misunderstood, but this is important stuff and the disagreement is not at all confusing.

Yesterday someone, seemingly the current owner of the former Burton International School, Joel Landy, effectively wrestled control of the Burton Theatre Facebook page and twitter account. How he did this I am not entirely sure, though based on accounts from others’ posts, it seems he managed to do so simply by asking Facebook to give him control of the page. This account had, before Landy took over the page, more than 2,100 “likes” and a robust community of people following and interacting with the theatre, which was promoting the new location and name of the Burton, Corktown Cinema. There is not any question that the Facebook page and twitter account, along with the thousands of fans of the Burton are not the property of Joel Landy or anyone else associated with Cass City Cinema, and there is also no question that stealing someone else’s creation (in this case both the Facebook page and the cultivation of the theatre’s online presence) is illegal and morally wrong.

Right now the Burton Theatre Facebook page has been deleted, either because of complaints from the actual owners of The Burton Theatre or because of informed fans of the page reporting the hi-jacked page as a scam. Please do not mistake the deleting of the Facebook page as a victory for the original owners of the business, as anyone who has ever tried to accomplish something on the Internet knows, building and maintaining a strong following and a consistent Internet voice is a very difficult thing to do. If the page stays deleted, or if it is not restored to its original owners this stands as a victory for the owners of Cass City Cinema.

To start off, let’s be clear on what this disagreement is most certainly NOT about. No one believes that Joel Landy or anyone else does not have the right to operate a theatre within the former Burton International School, of course he does. No one thinks there isn’t enough room in the city for another movie theatre, if Landy is finally realizing his dream of running a theater that is essentially TNT writ large, I have no problem with it. It has been sad and extremely frustrating to watch Landy and his supporters act as if fans of the real Burton Theatre are simply against all other movie theaters.

At issue is that Joel Landy does not have the right to operate The Burton Theatre, because he does not own The Burton Theatre, did not create The Burton Theatre and had nothing to do with the success of The Burton Theatre anymore than any other landlord has to do with the success of his/her tenants.

Perhaps this is already obvious, but I am friends with the owners of the original Burton. That friendship is certainly what makes me so invested in this issue, and that friendship also means that I got to watch a group of very hard-working Detroit and Hamtramck residents build a really special cinema from scratch. Joel Landy provided the physical space of course, and that is not nothing, but Jeff, Nate, David and Matt furnished the theatre with amazing seats, a screen, two projectors, a concession stand and everything else needed to run a theatre. More importantly they established a film program that was at one-time challenging and rare while also being really fun and popular.

And most importantly they made the name The Burton Theatre mean something. People know the name, people know what the Burton stood for and they knew it as the theatre that opened in a great but underdeveloped area in Detroit and brought a really special film-going experience to people who otherwise would not have been able to experience it. This is something that Landy absolutely did not do until the necessary infrastructure and public attention were gifted to him. Many of the movies shown at the Burton weren’t only not available in Detroit, they weren’t available in the suburbs either and they weren’t available in most American cities. In posts on his website and elsewhere Landy has somewhat-subtly used that uniqueness as a club to bash the owners with calls of elitism or at least impracticality, as if the only important thing is building something in Detroit, not building something special.

Legally the issue is not remotely gray, The Burton Theatre is a company officially formed and licensed in the state of Michigan (in case you were wondering neither Landy nor anyone else associated with Cass City Cinema is listed on the articles of organization) and The Burton Theatre is a trademarked name. The fact that the theatre was located in the former Burton School is completely irrelevant, if I were to open a fair-trade organic kale store in the Renaissance Center called “Renaissance Fair,” and then decided to move locations, General Motors could not just reopen the same business with the same name in the same location. It would be laughable to suggest they could. On some level Landy acknowledges this, by renaming the theatre Cass City he is admitting that he knows he does not own the rights to the name Burton Theatre.

But apparently, while being aware that he does not own the rights to the name, Landy is a bit fuzzy on whether or not he owns the rights to a piece of intellectual property he most certainly did not create. And by a bit fuzzy I mean totally delusional, The Burton Theatre Facebook page is not his. The particularly insidious part of this whole mess is that it is very easy to create a Facebook page with the same name as an existing page; as of right now there are at least six different pages titled “cute girls” on Facebook. But Landy did not create his own Burton page, had he done so he would have been clearly stealing someone else’s name but it would have at least demonstrated an actual desire to foster his own publicity and attention, by simply stealing the existing page and not creating his own Landy made it incredibly transparent that what he is attempting to steal is not the name but the goodwill and attention rightfully earned and accumulated by the owners of the Corktown Cinema.

Disingenuously, the operators of Cass City have been claiming on Facebook and elsewhere that their latest efforts are simply attempts to combat confusion and misinformation spread by the owners of Corktown Cinema. It is completely necessary, they plead, to steal someone else’s web page and disrupt legitimate business efforts so that they can get the word out that cinema lives in the old Burton International School. Never, neither publicly nor privately have I heard anyone from Corktown Cinema deny that Landy is operating a theatre in their old space, rather the owners of the Burton have correctly informed their fans and the public that the company The Burton Theatre has changed locations and names.

You see, as hard as this may be to believe, it is NOT the responsibility of the owners of Corktown Cinema to promote Cass City Cinema, that is Landy’s job, and stealing someone else’s Facebook page is not an appropriate way to do so. Finally, not only is it ludicrous to suggest that a company who changed locations is somehow responsible for promoting its old location, it is also important for the Corktown Cinema owners to make sure people are aware they are no longer operating at the Burton School. As they set out on creating a unique and special cinema viewing experience in a new location, Corktown Cinema has an invested interest in making sure the public knows they aren’t the ones screening 8 Mile and The Hunger Games over on Cass Avenue.

And this all matters for a number of reasons: most personally, the Corktown Cinema guys have worked extremely hard to establish themselves in Detroit and are dedicated both to film culture and in contributing to the city, it is not OK for a rich bully to sweep in and denigrate all of the hard work they have put in; on a larger scale it is important that we do not let the owners of property assert their right to own individual and creative product, being wealthy enough to own large chunks of land is its own privilege, it is not accompanied with the right to push others around.

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New Films Offer Something for Everyone at Detroit Zoo’s Wild Adventure Experiences

By Mike Fossano

Visitors to the Detroit Zoo can take a chilly wild ride with penguins or outrun African wild dogs with two new films now showing at the Wild Adventure Ride and Wild Adventure 3-D/4-D Theater in the Ford Education Center.

In “Happy Feet: Mumble’s Wild Ride,” Mumble and his penguin friends race down the frozen cliffs of Antarctica, until they come face to face with the villainous Leopard Seal. The action-packed wild ride has a happy ending and promises to be great experience for the entire family.

“Great Escapes: Life in 4-D” takes a never-before-seen look at the clever tactics animals have developed to survive and thrive in a danger-filled world. The 12-minute film from the award-winning “Planet Earth” series captures sequences in digital 3-D with 4-D special effects that bring viewers right into the action.

Also, back for a return engagement at the Wild Adventure 3-D/4-D Theater is “Dora and Diego’s 4-D Adventure,” a family-friendly film based on Nickelodeon’s two hit animated preschool series “Dora the Explorer” and “Go, Diego, Go!”

All three films are produced by SimEx-Iwerks, an entertainment company specializing in 3-D/4-D cinematic experiences.

Guests must be at least 36 inches tall to partake in the 30-seat Wild Adventure Ride.

The 126-seat Wild Adventure 3-D/4-D Theater features a variety of sensory effects such as mist, scents, back pokers, leg ticklers and seat vibrations. Some 4-D effects may be too intense for children 5 and under; parental discretion is advised.

Tickets for both the Wild Adventure Ride and the Wild Adventure 3-D/4-D Theater are $5 with Zoo admission and are available at the main gate, the theater ticket booths or online.

For more information and movie times, visit www.detroitzoo.org.

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