- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Opening night of the Dupont Circle area's Visions Cinema/Bistro/ Lounge Thursday was a cross between the Academy Awards and a fire sale.

The former Embassy Theatre on Florida Avenue NW, newly converted into a two-screen happy happening place, was "one of the few empty building sites in the city not being taken over by a CVS," in the words of one of the hundreds of founding members invited for a VIP reception.

The dress code certainly varied. One man was spotted in a tux. A hired hand in a business suit wandered through the crowd introducing himself as Forrest Gump and offering up a box of chocolates. David Snider, whose business card reads "digital journalist," filmed the long line of arriving guests for a simulcast on one of the auditorium screens.

Vintage stock of old French movies played later. Next door, in the second room, a Latin band raised the decibel level to earsplitting heights.

The fire-sale aspect was simply the fun of getting in for almost-free (a bargain for people who were not early investors or founding members of the project). After the long wait, drinks flowed from three bars, and there was a tasty buffet supplied at "below wholesale" by Lebanese Taverna restaurant.

"This is beyond my wildest dreams," said wildly happy visionary Andrew Frank, owner of Sirius Coffee, who is responsible for making the city's only art-film/feature movie house a reality. "We want to make the whole activity of movie-going an event."

"The layout does indeed make you feel part of a family," said Burt Maggio, a founding member who is president of the ThinLinemedia.com production company. "And it's a perfect location to premiere an original film. Only don't expect to see Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger."

"I want to support the neighborhood," said Dupont Circle resident Andrew Oros, who added that he used to visit the old Embassy every week. "I'm only happy that Visions is not a chain."

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