[The End of an Era: the Egyptian]

What was the last film you saw at the Egyptian?

Mine was the fourth Secret film, the last Sunday morning of SIFF, but I’ve signed the oath that I cannot tell anyone about it, so let’s say that the last film was the midnight film on the same day, Cockneys vs Zombies.

I thought about going to see Before Midnight again tonight, but really, Cockneys vs Zombies was in a lot of ways the perfect film to go out on. It was the last Midnight Adrenaline film of the year (and you haven’t experienced SIFF properly until you’ve heard a theater full of people cheering for programmer Dan Doody like he’s a rock star. Which he is.) It was an excited, full, hot house (a chocolate bar melted in my bag), and I was there with pretty much everyone I know in Seattle: new festival friends, old festival friends, friends from current jobs, past jobs, past lives, and friends of friends.

It was also kind of a typical Egyptian experience in that the sound was fucked up as they first started, which is particularly embarrassing when the director is in attendance, which was true that night.

Because that’s the thing about the Egyptian. If something’s going to go wrong, it’ll go wrong there. That’s where it took two tries to see The Fifth Element because the first night they couldn’t get the sound to work (though judging from the audience chants of “Aziz! Light!”, sound probably wasn’t a requirement.) It’s also where I saw a screening of the beautiful queer film Undertow, where at various points the film was green, upside down, bore a watermark, had no sound, and had no subtitles. The Egyptian has terrible sound, terrible sightlines, and a terrible view into the men’s room when you’re walking past it to concessions.

All of this is true. But I will also miss it terribly.

I don’t remember the first film I saw at the Egyptian, but it would have been shortly after I started at Seattle U in fall of 1996. I do remember the first SIFF film I saw there, which was Crocodile Tears in spring of 1997. A local film with Dan Savage in it is a harsh lesson in the ways of a SIFF ticket holders line.


* All of the Secret films. All of the midnights.

* Y Tu Mama Tambien… with people walking out during sexy bits.

* A midnight of Harold & Maude that my friend & I attended in our pajamas.

* A singalong of Chicago.

* The documentary Good Food, and the massive round of applause when all the farmers featured in the film came up and took a bow.

* The cinecast of Company.

* Celebrity sightings like Minnie Driver, Edward Norton, & of course That One Time Ewan McGregor spoke to me and I nearly passed out.

* Hustling up there after work for first Seattle screenings of films like Volver; Lust, Caution; An Education; and so many more.

* Volunteering for SIFF and SLGFF: usher, will call, box office, and other duties as assigned.

The Egyptian closes tonight, with a screening of Before Midnight, which is without a doubt one of the best films of the year. If you’ve seen the first two & you’ve been holding out on the third for some unknown reason, you should go.

I hope this is not goodbye, but goodbye for now.

5 Replies to “[The End of an Era: the Egyptian]”

  1. It’s unfortunate they’re going out so quietly and not doing anything special tonight like showing a cult classic or a sing along, something that would draw a crowd, but c’mon! See Before Midnight again and get the word out. Lets pack this place for the last show tonight and have one more great memory. 🙂

    1. I definitely wish they’d been able to do something big. I also thought about going to the midnight this weekend, but I just saw Brazil at the Uptown, and my movie time & money is limited. I know that the Fools & other SIFF passholders are planning a farewell outing for tonight.

  2. The Egyptian has been my neighborhood theater since i moved to Seattle, 14 years ago. I don’t remember the first film i saw there, but I know I’ll never forget O, Brother Where Art Thou with a live bluegrass band, rowdy midnight audiences (especially that night at Splice), the last ten years’ worth of Almodovar films, running into Benjamin Bratt in the lobby, finding friends in ginormous SIFF lines snaking around the corner to Pike, & the house boiling with people to the balconies.

    1. All of these things! I was just thinking how sad it’ll be to *not* see I’m So Excited there. And I have spent really a lot of time in SIFF lines there since ’97.

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