Varsity Theater Shows That Indie Film Is Alive and Well in Small Town USA

davis-varsity-art-house-theater As the antithesis to the modern multiplex, the art-house, Varsity Theater in Davis, CA, proves that indie film culture can thrive in the smallest of towns. For nearly 60 years, this single room cinema, has been offering independent art to the residents of this Sacramento Valley community. To give you an idea of just how long this theater has been around, it was the first building in Davis to have air-conditioning. With so much history behind this jewel, I couldn't wait to check it out. davis-varsity-theater-lobby Upon arrival, it's easy to note, through the architecture, that the Varsity has been around for a bit. Flanked by noticeably modern buildings on each side, the theater's Art Deco styling (Streamline Moderne to be exact), stands out as a beacon of cinematic history. On this day in that history, I was there to watch the '08 Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominated Sunshine Cleaning. davis-varsity-theater-seating When I visit art house cinemas, the screen is usually too high and too small. Not here! Even though much of theater has resisted the multiplex look, luckily such resistance stopped at the screening room itself. The screen was huge and at the proper height. The sound quality was more than adequate, although it's sometimes hard to tell with independent narratives focusing on the story instead of special effects. The seats were plush and the rows were spaced enough for my 6'6" frame to fit comfortably. The only con that stood out was the faint sound of the projector operating during the film. Even so, at least it was harmonious with the Varsity's ol' timey character.  Here's the trailer to Sunshine Cleaning... The film was pretty good, but the ambiance of the theater, somehow made it better. After all, it's experiences like that which will make film fans go out for movies, instead of waiting for at-home releases. If you happen to find yourself in Davis, CA one night, treat yourself to this little piece of indie film history. And when you do, make sure to bring cash, so you don't have to walk the two blocks to the nearest ATM, as I had to.

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