The Parkway Theater is doing family movie nights featuring board games paired with children’s classics like “The Jungle Book” (1967). Owner Aaron Stubna is operating a series of “Spaghetti Westerns” - Italian-made Westerns from the ‘60s - with actual spaghetti.
“You can’t go to Cinemark and see an old-fashioned Western and get a spaghetti meal,” Stubna says.
In November, the Parkway will have a gnocchi-making class followed by a screening of “Big Night” (1996), the movie about two brothers (played by Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub), attempting to run an Italian restaurant.
“You’ve just got to get creative if you’re trying to pull people back into these little theaters,” says Stubna. “You’ve got to give them a reason to come back out.”
Offering viewers something extra is what it’s all about.
Pretty much everyone who has heard of Ed Wood has already seen his movies, so Hollywood Theater’s extra attractions - and gathering of other fans - is important. For something completely different, there’s Devine’s Scopitones.
“I’ve been collecting these for years,” Devine says. “This is like a life-changing bit of cinema here. They’re basically the first music videos, from the 1960s, made for the Scopitone machine. They were made for France, Italy, some in Vegas - video jukeboxes that used 16mm film that you put money in. It was a little naughty for that time - girls in bikinis and underwear - that nobody would think twice about today.”
Writer-director-producer Joss Whedon has a lot of fans who follow everything he does, from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003) to “The Avengers” (2012). But it’s the short-lived outer-space Western TV series “Firefly” - and its film accompaniment, “Serenity” - that have inspired the greatest devotion.
The group Can’t Stop the Serenity has been hosting “Firefly”/”Serenity”-theme parties and screenings for nine years, and their latest was a few weeks ago at the Hollywood Theater.
Starting hours before the movie, they played carnival games, had trivia contests and raffles, and Sean Faust performed original songs about the “Firefly”/”Serenity” universe. The screening of “Serenity” was just a small part of the evening.
Events by Can’t Stop the Serenity raise money for Equality Now!, a charity that Whedon publicly supports. The group works for protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls around the world. The Pittsburgh group raised $1,100 at the recent event.