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Senator Theatre

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By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | July 22, 2010
City officials changed the Senator Theatre 's locks Thursday as the historic movie palace came under the management of James "Buzz" Cusack, and his daughter, Kathleen. But a crew working for Tom Kiefaber, the building's previous owner and operator, spent the day packing up his personal belongings as police officers guarded the doors. C. Lawrence Jenkins Jr., the city's special chief solicitor, said that Kiefaber's crew was in the building with the city's permission, but he said he did not know how long the move would take.
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ENTERTAINMENT
Richard Gorelick and The Baltimore Sun | August 5, 2014
A burger restaurant will open this fall at the Senator Theatre. The full-service eatery, Clark Burger, will be operated by James Clark, a bartender and manager at Little Havana, a popular waterside restaurant and bar on Key Highway. Little Havana partners Marc Gentile and Scott Donnelly are backing Clark in the Senator venture, but they won't be involved in the restaurant's operations, according to Gentile. Owned by the father-and-daughter team of James "Buzz" Cusack and Kathleen Cusack Lyon, the Senator theater reopened last fall after 18 months of renovations to the original auditorium and lobby and the addition of three smaller screens in adjoining buildings and the annexing of former commercial property on York Road for use as a restaurant.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Chris Kaltenbach | chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com and Baltimore Sun reporter | March 31, 2010
Towson University and its radio station, WTMD-FM, have withdrawn their proposal to turn Baltimore's historic Senator Theatre into a studio and performing arts center. The request to withdraw the proposal came from Towson officials shortly after noon Wednesday, said Kimberly Clark, executive director of the Baltimore Development Corp., the quasi-public agency that will decide who operates the 71-year-old movie house. The city took over operation in July after then-owner Tom Kiefaber could not keep up with mortgage payments and the theater was put up for auction.
FEATURES
By Jaclyn Peiser and The Baltimore Sun | April 18, 2014
Men's Journal magazine thinks very highly of Baltimore's Senator Theatre. It is included in its rundown of  the world's top 20 movie theaters.   The Baltimore landmark has been around for 75 years and has hosted film premieres from native sons John Waters and Barry Levinson.   Men's Journal explained that the theater "still maintains much of its history charm (including its original terrazzo floors in the lobby, and it has been cited by many individuals and organizations - including National Trust for Historic Preservation - as the country's quintessential independent theaters.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley and Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | July 21, 2010
It really was the last picture show. Baltimore's most passionate advocate of historic movie houses stood before the stage last night, and addressed a standing room only crowd of about 1,000. His voice cracking a little with emotion, he said, for the final time: "I'm Tom Kiefaber, and welcome to the historic Senator Theatre ." Kiefaber, 58, ended his at times controversial career at the Senator's helm — and the family history of 71 years of continuous operation — by presenting two free public screenings Wednesday of " Star Wars: A New Hope," the George Lucas classic about Jedi warriors fighting against seemingly insurmountable odds.
NEWS
Jacques Kelly | February 8, 2013
The sight of a few ladders outside the Senator Theatre did not prepare me for the scope of the restoration project that is transforming this Govans-Belvedere Square landmark, a Baltimore treasure being taken apart and reassembled. There will be three newly constructed boutique theaters, too, making a four-screen complex. The $3.5 million infusion of much-needed capital improvements comes not a minute too soon. The 1939 movie house is a favorite address of many film fans, but let's face it: The beloved Senator was shabby.
BUSINESS
By Edward Gunts, The Baltimore Sun | April 22, 2010
Baltimore's historic Senator Theatre would be leased to new managers and continue to operate as a setting to see first-run movies, under a recommendation to Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake from the Baltimore Development Corp. The development agency's board of directors voted in closed session Thursday to recommend that a group headed by Charles Theatre owner James "Buzz" Cusack and his daughter, Kathleen, be allowed to lease the York Road landmark for up to 40 years and renovate it for continued use as a movie theater, according to BDC President M.J. "Jay" Brodie.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Chris Kaltenbach chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com | March 23, 2009
A foreclosure auction of Baltimore's beleaguered Senator Theatre has been set for 10 a.m. April 20 at the Baltimore City Courthouse, 111 N. Calvert St. Baltimore's 1st Mariner bank, which holds a mortgage of some $900,000 on the 70-year-old North Baltimore landmark, announced earlier this month that it would be foreclosing on the theater, after owner Tom Kiefaber had missed several months of scheduled payments. Kiefaber closed the theater March 15, saying he could no longer meet payroll.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | June 22, 2010
The city of Baltimore wants the Senator Theatre's former owner, Tom Kiefaber, out of the theater by Sunday. Kiefaber, who has booked the "Twilight" franchise film "Eclipse" to open two days later, believes the city is giving him a "shove out the door," he says in an open letter to Chief Solicitor Larry Jenkins. He is not going without a fight. He writes that he might "remove and protect" the theater's sound and projection equipment. Kiefaber has been running the Senator on a month-to-month basis since April 13, according to a licensing agreement with the city.
NEWS
August 27, 2010
Despite the Monumental City's monumental fiscal and other problems, the Gucci liberals who purportedly govern it and their state and federal counterparts have decided to provide $1.25 million in loans, grants and tax credits to well-connected insiders to renovate an old movie theater, which no doubt will screen only films favored by the high-brow set ("City panel approves deal for Cusacks to run the Senator," Aug. 26). As a resident of the northern suburbs, I suppose that I should be grateful for the availability of this facility, which is much closer to my home than the downtown theme park where I might otherwise go for entertainment.
NEWS
By Colin Campbell, The Baltimore Sun | November 6, 2013
Former Senator Theatre owner Tom Kiefaber is accusing state Sen. Joan Carter Conway of assault after an incident last week that ended with him in handcuffs at the auction of his former home. Kiefaber recorded a confrontation with the Baltimore lawmaker and posted it to YouTube. The video shows him walking outside the Orkney Road house and approaching Conway, who pushes the camera away before walking off with two men. "I told him: 'You can keep that camera out of my face,'" Conway said.
NEWS
Dan Rodricks | October 19, 2013
The Senator Theatre is like your favorite old aunt — the busy, independent one who never married but who loved her nieces and nephews and spoiled them with candy and fantastic stories. She dressed like a Hollywood starlet, with rhinestone glasses and lots of lipstick. She always looked glamorous and classy — several notches above Hon. She was all that, and for the longest time. Then, you noticed things, troubling things — a ripped sleeve here, a stain there, a run of bad-hair days.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun | October 10, 2013
The searchlights shone, the crowds teemed and a movie unspooled again Thursday night at North Baltimore's Senator Theatre , as the city's most beloved cinema house, refreshed and expanded, reopened after 18 months of darkness. And the crowd loved it, with people smiling as they scanned the restored mosaic encircling the lobby, wandered through the Senator's three new screening rooms and posed for pictures inside the restored 700-seat main theater. "Are you kidding? This is amazing, beautiful," said native-son director John Waters, whose 1988 film "Hairspray" was the (re)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Julie Scharper and Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun | October 9, 2013
After 18 months of darkness, the lights at the Senator Theatre will shine again this week. A new art deco chandelier gleams inside the landmark movie palace. Carefully repainted acrobats and Harlequin clowns prance along the lobby's circular mural. And, for the first time in the Senator's 74-year history, theatergoers will be able to watch movies on not one, but four screens. Residents and film fans expect the $3.5 million renovation - which involved more than $1.6 million in public loans and grants - to invigorate the Senator's North Baltimore neighborhood while introducing a new generation to a theater that glows with the glamour of the golden age of cinema.
ENTERTAINMENT
Richard Gorelick and The Baltimore Sun | October 4, 2013
When the Senator Theatre reopens to the public on Friday, moviegoers will be able to get popcorn and Raisinets but not calamari and chardonnay. The Senator will reopen with standard movie house concessions, but the previously announced Bar Zini, a 100-seat Mediterranean restaurant that was to be run by the chef David Sherman (Nasu Blanca) will not be part of the new Senator. And there are no firm plans in place for a restaurant operation at the theater. "We will focus in earnest on finding an operator once the theater opens," said Kathleen Lyon, a co-owner of the theater.
ENTERTAINMENT
Richard Gorelick and The Baltimore Sun | October 3, 2013
Beginning Oct. 10, the merchants at Belvedere Square will begin staying open until 10 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The later hours coincide with the re-opening of the Senator Theatre, the long shuttered movie house located just across York Road. Atwater's, which recently acquired a license to sell beer and wine, will be among the merchants staying open later. The cafe won't be turning into a mega-bar.  Its offerings will consist of four draft beers and four draft wines, which will change with the seasons, according to owner Ned Atwater.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Chris Kaltenbach and Michael Sragow and Baltimore Sun reporters | April 1, 2010
Towson University and its radio station, WTMD-FM, have withdrawn their proposal to turn Baltimore's historic Senator Theatre into a studio and performing arts center. The request to withdraw the proposal came from Towson officials shortly after noon Wednesday, said Kimberly Clark, executive director of the Baltimore Development Corp., the quasi-public agency that will decide who operates the 71-year-old movie house. The city took over operation in July after then-owner Tom Kiefaber could not keep up with mortgage payments and the theater was put up for auction.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | July 25, 2013
The Senator Theatre and its adjoining small-plates restaurant, Bar Zini, will be authorized to sell alcohol when it reopens in the coming months, after a Baltimore licensing board voted Thursday to approve its application. The Rosebank theater, closed since April 2012, is undergoing more than $3 million in renovations, including the addition of the nearly 100-seat Mediterranean restaurant, according to co-owners Kathleen Cusack Lyon and her father, James "Buzz" Cusack. The theater will expand to four screens with room for 770 guests.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | July 24, 2013
A major step forward in the Senator Theatre's renovation could take place at Thursday's Liquor Board hearing. The board will vote on the Senator's application for a beer, wine and liquor restaurant license, and co-owner Kathleen Cusack Lyon says she feels confident the application will be approved. Lyon - who owns the Senator with her father and Charles Theatre owner James "Buzz" Cusack - says the Senator has the support of various community members and groups, including the Belvedere Improvement Association and Councilman Bill Henry, who says he plans to attend the Liquor Board hearing as a sign of support.
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