And, Action

Since reopening, each week at Osio Theater has been busier than the week before – a trend that could help avoid the financial pitfalls of the former Osio Cinemas.

It’s back from the dead. Osio Theater, the reincarnation of the defunct Osio Cinemas, reopened May 27 under new management, infused with $76,048 from a Kickstarter campaign.

A trio of people are largely responsible for running it now as Le Prince Cinemas, LLC: Jirko Senkel, Shaneen Kirkpatrick (both former employees, and engaged to each other) and Brandi Lamb (owner of Cafe Lumiere, located inside the theater).

It looks much the same. They repainted the formerly rusty ochre interior into a soothing and neutral eggshell white, cleaned all the seats, installed new carpet, and put in new sinks and waterless urinals in the restrooms. All six theater screens, lined with lush red upholstery and reflective lighting, are running; one can be rented out for events with a Blu-Ray-capable projector on hand. (July 22-23 is a beer dinner with PigWizard, Firestone Walker Brewing and Forage to Pantry.)

The website is clean and functional, with a calendar of upcoming events, movie times, trailers and more. They’re selling memberships which net all kinds of benefits. But one new development rouses Senkel’s normally stoic bearing: online ticketing. Now, customers can go to OsioTheater.com to buy tickets in advance for specific seats.

“You don’t have to stand in line,” he beams. Or jockey for good seats.

Tyler Markley, a 24-year-old who lives in Salinas, works part-time at Osio, where employees now wear any kind of shirt they want, as long as it sports a movie theme. Markley has rocked Return of the Jedi and ’80s cult movie Labyrinth.

The new owners have launched a Friday-Saturday “midnight movie” series (it actually begins at 11:30pm), screening old classics.

The regular rotation of movies come from the same pool of indie, art, cult, classic and foreign film fare as before.

Senkel says they are open to suggestions about the movies they pick up, are in talks with local organizations about doing more live events, and are looking into reprising a dinner-and-a-movie deal with neighbor Crown & Anchor.

There is room for improvement. On a weekday afternoon, the walkway to the theater from Alvarado Street was dotted with dried bird poop, blown leaves and plastic debris, and the two sidewalk poster marquees looked dilapidated – one of them was empty, the plexiglass broken.

Many hope the promising stuff is enough to keep the sequel from reprising the pitfalls of the original.

OSIO THEATER, 350 Alvarado St., Monterey. Open daily. $7-$10. 901-3119, www.OsioTheater.com

Walter Ryce has been an arts writer, calendar editor, culture columnist, sometime photographer, and one-time web content coordinator for the Monterey County Weekly. He began working at the paper, which is based in his hometown of Seaside, in 2007.

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