Truck's smashing news at Senator

FILM

October 15, 2004|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Tom Kiefaber will do almost anything to get publicity for his Senator Theatre. But he insists he had nothing to do with the drifting truck that crashed into one of the York Road landmark's ancillary buildings Wednesday morning, breaking windows, knocking out bricks and otherwise making a mess of things.

"I got a call at 5:30 in the morning from WBAL, that's how I first found out that something had occurred," Kiefaber said yesterday. "Obviously, I imagined the worst. I was imagining a tractor-trailer heading down the road and plowing into the Senator."

Fortunately, what really happened was not nearly so tragic. Early Wednesday morning, an 18-wheeler parked across York Road from the theater, in the parking lot behind Belvedere Square, began rolling forward, eventually colliding with an addition put on the north end of the Senator in the 1950s and now used for storage. The driver for Extreme Logistics LLC, a Tennessee company, jumped in and stopped the truck before it did any more damage.

Kiefaber says there was no structural damage to the theater itself, and showings of the current feature, Ladder 49, have continued uninterrupted.

"Nope, it's like they say, the show must go on," a relieved Kiefaber said.

On a more positive note from Baltimore's premiere moviehouse, a short film featuring highlights of Sept. 27's gala Ladder 49 premiere, put together by Kiefaber and Eric Blair of Baltimore's Mission Media films, is giving visitors to the historic theater a chance to sample some Hollywood-style opening-night glitz.

"One of the things that has always been noted," Kiefaber says, "is that we have had a series of these premieres, where major stars are at this theater, major money is raised, it's really a glitzy thing. But within 24 hours," all traces of the festivities - save for the commemorative sidewalk blocks along York Road - are gone.

No more, says Kiefaber, who promises to continue documenting major comings and goings at his theater (a similar short film, chronicling the big opening-night celebration for John Waters' A Dirty Shame, is accompanying its run at The Rotunda).

Palin and the Cones

Michael Palin and the Ladies Who Loved Matisse, the Monty Python alum's delightful tribute to Baltimore's illustrious (and perhaps a little eccentric) Cone sisters, will get its Baltimore premiere this weekend during the Baltimore Museum of Art's 90th birthday celebration.

The Cones, Etta and Claribel, traveled extensively throughout Europe during the first third of the 20th century, amassing a huge collection of paintings. Among their favorite painters was Henri Matisse, who was represented extensively in their collection, which now resides at the museum.

"They're out there buying very early Picassos," Palin said while visiting Baltimore two years ago, "just sketches from when he was virtually penniless and living in this house full of pimps and prostitutes and all that. I have this image of them turning up there to see Picasso - now there's a scene. ... They're like characters that Terry Gilliam used to draw for Python, with little wheels appearing underneath them, and underneath their skirts would be a little motor. But that's so great. They weren't fuddy-duddy, they weren't puritanical."

The hourlong film, which Palin and the BBC filmed largely in Baltimore in June 2002, will be shown in the museum's auditorium at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, with additional showings at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Weekend at the Charles

Murder, My Sweet, director Edward Dmytryk's film-noir classic based on Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely, is the latest offering in the Charles Theatre's Saturday revival series. The film, which stars Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley and Dick Powell as private eye Philip Marlowe, screens at noon tomorrow and 9 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $5.

This week's Cinema Sundays feature, Stage Beauty, will be shown at 10:35 a.m. Sunday. The film stars Billy Crudup as a 17th-century British actor who specializes in women's roles, and Claire Danes as the dresser who idolizes and wishes to be just like him - difficult, given that women are legally prohibited from acting onstage. But she finds a way, almost destroying her idol in the process. Tickets are $15. Call 410-727-FILM or visit www.cinemasundays.com

Scary shorts

Dead of Night, a series of five short films strung together into one very unsettling whole, will be the subject of tomorrow's Filmtalk at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St.

The British film, released in 1945 and featuring the work of four different directors, should prove perfect discussion fodder for the Halloween season. The screening begins at 10 a.m. in the central library's Wheeler Auditorium, with discussion to follow. Call 410-396-5487.

Sun film critic Michael Sragow is on sabbatical.

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