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Buy Local: Tower Theater a SLC Gem

A one-screen theater might be unheard of today, but the lonely gem of the Tower theater in Salt Lake City convinces you that focusing on a solo flick is a memorable experience. The ambiance inside matches its character after the traditional marquee draws you in. Located at the popular 9th and 9th section of city, the Tower Theater boasts independent and obscure movies and films, which are often hard to find. Sharing the neighborhood with popular shops and restaurants only adds to the reasons to buy a ticket.

The vintage interior reflects the history of the theater and transports patrons to another time. The Tower Theater is the oldest operating theater in Salt Lake and according to manager Stephen Simmons independent and foreign films are the most popular screenings. The Tower specializes in repertory cinema, showing classic films. Simmons adds the Tower is, “sticking to their guns by staying with 35mm film while many theaters use a digital format.” The theater celebrates the tradition of movie houses and the communal experience of catching a show.

A small lobby area filled with shelves of videos for rent and a ticketing desk greet visitors from the front entrance. You may even get lucky and have a run in with the resident theater cat, Gary Moonshine. Gary was adopted from an animal shelter and has become the popular house cat of the Tower. He has a large fan base stopping in just to say hello, and he is often seen sitting on the lobby furniture and wishing moviegoers a good night. A relaxed snack area sits behind the ticket desk, footsteps can be heard throughout the building, as older floors and steps creak with pressure, and steep narrow staircases navigate down to the restrooms. An overall charming and compact design set the scene.

Silver doors lead into the screening room, opening to an undersized display as compared to the imax 3D monsters we are all getting used to. The reduced stature is perfectly fitting and much more inviting to watch intimate stories play rather than blockbuster action. The seats are a deep green and many of them proudly bear commemorative inscriptions of anonymous donors. Patrons can donate to the nonprofit organization to help restore the theater and keep the minor repairs covered.

The coffee shop located next door to the theater and lively street offer many pre or post screening outings. Movies show daily and schedules can be found online or by calling the Salt Lake Film Society. Support independent and local film by choosing the Tower, whose tickets come with a chance to meet Gary Moonshine and a browse through a distinctive film library.


876 E. 900 S.
Salt Lake City, UT 84106

+Melissa Hempel

Photo Credit: Salt Lake Free Press

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by Contributing Writer / Melissa Hempel (May 18th, 2012)
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