Five hundred and forty-one

An update on the Metro Theatre – one of the few remaining old-time adult cinemas in Canada

Going to the Metro Theatre is one of the most popular things I did and also one of the most referenced in my blog.  It was an experience I will never forget and not necessarily in a good way.  I would almost go so far as to say it haunts me.  I can remember the cashier’s words of caution, the smell, the feeling of being a complete outsider in a world I sometimes wish I never entered.  Here’s an excerpt from my blog post of my experience there:

We entered the grand theatre to the image of a black leather corseted woman in white makeup and a top hat on the big screen (this I later found out from my date, as I was too petrified to even pay attention to what was on the screen).  The vinyl seats are peeling and sticky.  The musty smell is strong.  I am creeped out.  It’s dark, but I can see about four men scattered around the theatre.  All is still when we enter and we take a seat on the side.  My date sits like a coiled spring ready to defend me.  Then there’s movement.  The men are moving towards us.  We hear belt buckles clink.  It’s been five seconds.  I tell my date we have to leave – NOW.

I also went back and took some more photos of the outside of the building for photography month, which are posted here.   Everyone loves to ask me about it.  I guess as humans we are curious of what goes on behind the red door with the “POSITIVELY NO ONE UNDER 18 ADMITTED” sign under a picture of a woman holding a snake.  It’s a view into a world foreign to many of us.  And hey, everyone has their own things that make them happy.  I try to keep an open mind and not judge.

The Metro Theatre has recently appeared in the news because two entrepreneurs have plans to turn it into an indie, art house, foreign film hub four nights a week.  There will still be porn shown during the day, but after a bit of a makeover and a “really detailed sterilization process” (quoted from one of the entrepreneurs on the cbc website), starting August 24th you can go see one of four screenings per night in the two cinema rooms.  They will also be holding special events on the weekends.

It’s an interesting sell, considering there will still be the porn on during the day.  I would not want to be the cleaners for that place.  And as one woman commented on blogTO’s article about the changes at the Metro, “just beware all you ladies in spiked denim cut offs – it might be wise to bring your own seat cover to avoid accidentally impregnating your butt.”  It’s a little extreme, but I can imagine a lot of people feeling that way.  I admit to bringing a plastic bag just in case I needed to cover the seat when I went.

In defence of the building itself, it is a beautiful old cinema from the late 1930s, and with a makeover could look quite spiffy.  I also go back to my original point of why so many people want to hear about my experience there: curiosity.  I have a feeling there will be a large group of people curious about the building with the posters of old porn stars on the front.  If they are suitably impressed and can get over the idea that someone was possibly touching themselves in the seat a few hours earlier, maybe they will go back.  I might have to go, if only to get over my traumatizing experience and associate a historic building with beauty and art instead of the creeps.

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