The Picture Palace: Cremorne’s Historic Orpheum Theatre

Little Aussie, Sydney 2 Replies
http://www.orpheum.com.au/tourrex

Sydney is full of multiplexes and cinematic “experiences,” but I love that the movie theatre in our neighborhood is something special.art deco theatre that makes me feel a little bit out of time every time I attend.

The Hayden Orpheum Theatre was originally built in 1935. According to the history on the website, it fell into serious ill repair by the 80s, and the site was even turned into a dodgy shopping mall and gym. It was purchased in the mid-80s and eventually returned to its original purpose with the original art deco charm. (More history here).

http://www.orpheum.com.au/history
I love going to the Orpheum because it is eye candy everywhere you look: gorgeous light fixtures, ornate mirrors, dramatic stairways.
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Over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting my share of charm with a couple of Orpheum adventures.

On a very rare occasion, we put the Hushpuppy to bed and I sneak out for dinner or movie with actual adults. On one such blessed night a couple months ago, a friend invited me to join her for a movie as part of the Sydney Film Festival. This film was in “the big theatre,” which I have only been in once before for the This American Life broadcast. Lucky break, I finally got to be there for the quintessential Orpheum experience, the pre-show playing of the Wurlitzer pipe organ. The organ goes up and down through a trap door on the stage, and a most jaunty fellow plays pre-show once or twice a week. How’s that for a sprinkling of fairy dust on your cinematic experience?
(The movie we saw, Thanks For Sharing, was well worth seeing, if you have the chance. Never mind the strange premise or the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow is in it. Mark Ruffalo, Pink, and some rather clever dialogue … good stuff, even without a pipe organ entrée).
Recently, I’ve gotten up my courage to take Hushpuppy along with me to the fortnightly* Mums and Bubs movies. For $10, we have a good excuse to leave the house and I actually get to see a real life grown-ups movie. Baby sits in your lap or hangs out in a baby carrier or, in  perfect world, falls asleep (not my child, mind you, but perhaps other people’s most perfect children). It’s a bit a lot noisy, and both times I’ve had to pop out to attend to some baby business, but overall it’s an awesome idea. The whole thing is pretty casual and seems to attract approximately half of the baby-mums on the lower north shore. My only gripe is that they don’t have a single changing table in the restrooms that I’ve found. Now, I don’t expect every establishment to cater to me, but it seems like this would just be good manners if you’re inviting oodles of babies in for 2+ hours at a time on a regular basis. Otherwise, though, the whole experience is something of a sanity saver for this mother.
Hushpuppy, getting ready to “watch” her first movie, Man of Steel
*Yes, my American readers, “fortnight” is something that people really say here. It’s not just how long people go visiting for in Jane Austen novels.

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