March 4th, 2014


The End of An End of an Era


In the next month the sprawling Studio 28 twenty-screen multiplex will be torn down. It was just condemned, 5½ years after it closed. There were no buyers for the building, which once drew moviegoers from all over West Michigan.

We saw a lot of movies at Studio 28 over 16 years, especially enjoyed the huge auditorium screen in Theatre 1.

They rebuilt Theatre 1 and had a grand opening with reserved seating for Jurassic Park on 11 June 1993 -- we were coming back from a vacation and it was early enough to catch a movie and a hot dog dinner at Studio 28, but nothing appealed until we found out we could get special tickets for the next week. Though they apologized for the lack of carpeting, the new seats were great and it was a packed house. The new Dolby sound system made the scrape of the Jeep along the concrete terrifying and the roar of the T-rex deafening.

We first saw Titanic in Theatre 1 in December 1997. Sat in Row D for all three Lord of the Rings movies at midnight, the last on 17 December 2003. And still in Theatre 1 for The Second Ending of Star Wars on 19 May 2005. (Really, Episode III was after Return of the King? Huh.)

And I think it was after seeing Apollo 13 that we hung around for a rare glimpse of Mir + Space Shuttle one summer night as a bright star coming over the horizon far above us. Two guys in a Security car stopped to find out why we were loitering -- we said we were waiting 19 minutes for Mir. Twenty minutes later, they stopped by, excited that they had seen it, too.

And now, just like Mir, Studio 28 is about to go.

When Studio 28 opened on Christmas Day 1965, it had only one theater. It expanded to 20 theaters in 1988, making it the largest multiplex in the world at the time. At its peak in the late 1990s, it drew in more than 1.7 million customers each year.

But the theater closed in November 2008 due to dwindling attendance — down more than 75% from peak figures — and increasing operational costs.

Since then, it has become a target for vandals.
And now it is shattered glass and leaking roofs. Shattered dreams.

Thank you, Studio 28. Thanks for so many memories.

Dr. Phil

UPDATE: The Loeks Theatre chain is giving away bricks from Studio 28 to anyone who wants a memento. Demolition starts Wednesday 12 March 2014.

Mardi Gras!

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Despite the weather and the neverending winter, the calendar continues to churn on towards spring. Daylight Saving Time change this weekend, Lenten season, Easter.

So today is Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. And that means Mrs. Dr. Phil and the annual wearing of the Mardi Gras shirt:

Bought in the late 80s for four bucks on sale at Hit or Miss, during a road trip to Lansing with librarians at Michigan Tech. Not only that, but one of the daughters of family friends in Wisconsin showed up with the same top! So there were at least two in the world. And one still survives to party on. (grin) (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

We finished our annual Feast of the One True Pączki -- prune filled with powdered sugar -- on Sunday. Not to worry, Mrs. Dr. Phil came up with a special baking project:
So, a few months ago I picked up a bottle of red wine from a local vintner. Had I been paying attention, I would NEVER have made this impulse purchase: you may love Concord grapes, but I've NEVER been a Welch's fan. It's just me. As soon as I opened the stuff, I knew I wouldn't be drinking it. But I'm too cheap to ditch a whole bottle of wine. Then P. spotted this 'Red Wine Chocolate Cake' recipe -- the perfect solution!

I have to say, the batter compares favorably to chocolate pudding or good mousse!

Photos at 11....
Well, we forgot to take pictures last night and two dozen or so went off to the GVSU Library today, but pictures and magnificent cupcakes were made tonight.

Not a New Orleans King Cake, but a wonderful mix of flavors and three-layer cupcakes all the same! The sprinkles really make it Mardi Gras. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

The recipe I'd found in The Grand Rapids Press was for a Valentine's Day Red Wine Chocolate Layer Cake with whipped mascarpone. Didn't have the right size cake pans AND it's tough to transport a layer cake, especially with part of it cut out -- hey I wanted some! So it became cupcakes. And the recipe clearly stated ANY red wine -- we figured it had enough cocoa to compensate for even Concord grape red wine. Mrs. Dr. Phil reports that the parchment paper cupcake papers worked magnificently. And though the local stores didn't carry marscapone, she found a substitute online.

Monday we had these with a terrific slow crock pot chicken soup with noodles, tonight a stir fry with green beans and ginger. Yum. Oh triple-layer yum.

And how did you indulge on Fat Tuesday?

Dr. Phil