Not surprising, given the kind of theater the Varsity has tried to be. Who was it trying to cater to, really? The people who just put arthouse films on their Netflix cue? Students who don't go see independent movies at all unless they have Michael Cera in them? Out of towners that want to see an indy flick but don't know where/how to park in Chapel Hill?
But brainstorming with a friend, it took us approximately 5 minutes to come up with about a billion other business models that would work, most of which involve being creative and flexible:
- Sell beer and wine
- Partner with any of the 4 pizza places on Franklin to sell pizza
- Show blockbusters on one screen, AND
- Show 2nd run movies for 1 or 2 bucks, AND
- Show indy flicks, AND
- Show movies college students would see. You can't ignore the fact you're on Franklin Street.
- have local film groups host screenings and split the door with them, thereby avoiding buying or renting prints, and maximizing the power of social networks (friends with screenings talk their friends into coming): Flicker Fest, Hi Mom, Full Frame, A/V Geeks, UNC Communication Studies, UNC Journalism, Duke Documentary Studies; UNC student groups - Carolina Production Guild, STV, ScreenArts, CUAB film board. For cryin out loud there are SO MANY people in this town that make a living doing media. Partner with them!!
- Have multimedia festivals
- Have regular film festivals
- Host bands that want crazy film projections
- Have non-film events, or film + events - bollywood dance festivals ala The Galaxy
- host plays and performances like Devra says above
- turn it into a visual co-op, nonprofit, experimental social entrepreneurship model
etc etc etc.
Just think "value added"!! With a million ways to watch films at home for way cheaper, you have to figure out ways to create an experience that is unique and lots of fun, which doesn't strike me as all that hard to do if you're willing to think outside the box.
Now will someone please steal these ideas and keep the Varsity open? Thanx.
"If you don't feel guilty for the advantages you enjoy that have been taken from the black community, you should."
Ned, I'm curious: what is it exactly that you suppose feeling guilty will accomplish? Pretend I'm a white person who works every day of his life to reconcile the disparities created by racism (historical, contemporary, institutional, personal, etc...) but feels no guilt about circumstances that placed me in a position of privilege - instead I use that privilege to correct social ills. Is my work invalidated by my lack of guilt? Am I worse for society than a white person who DOES feel guilt but doesn't work to correct racism? Do we not wish that MORE people in privileged positions were paying MORE attention to race issues?
I'm very skeptical that guilt ever accomplishes anything positive, and we're going to need a lot of positive work if we truly want to reverse the course of historical racism.
I think the interesting thing about the Ruckus angle hasn't been talked about yet: Why did UNC offer Ruckus in the first place? To stem the tide of "illegal" P2P downloading and protect themselves and students from the uber-litigious RIAA. The big media businesses are now placing more and more blame on the network admins that "facilitate" P2P, so UNC felt like it had to protect itself by offering a "legal" alternative. The irony? That, if Jon's claim is true, the RIAA helped drive the nails into Schoolkid's coffin.
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