5 Question Friday With Josh Evans from Narrows 8 Theatres

narrowsI grew up in Tacoma. I went to Wilson High School. And when I went to the movies, I went to Narrow Plaza and the Narrows 8 Theatres. Unfortunately as movie theaters evolved the Narrows 8 did not. Soon thanks to lack of stadium seating and subpar sound system, Narrows 8 closed down. Since then, it’s sat empty. But there are a group of people trying to change that and bring Narrows 8 back to University Place and Tacoma, but they need your help. I contacted Josh Evans about this and he was more than happy to share his vision of what could become the best movie theater in Tacoma. Here’s Josh:

1. What is JRE Digital Cinemas?

JRE Digital Cinemas Inc. is a family owned corporation legally formed in the state of Montana November of 2013 and relocated to Washington March 2014. Our ultimate goal is to offer affordable entertainment to the masses. My name is Joshua Evans and I serve as CEO for the company, taking the vision of all of our share holders (myself, my father Martin Evans, Mother Pamella Evans, Brother Daniel Evans and our sister Sarah Evans) and forming a solid plan to see that vision become a reality. I originally had the idea so form a company with my family when I returned from Connecticut in 2012. Having operated a 10 screen sub run theater in a competitive market against a Regal Entertainment Cinema I learned valuable information about the cinema exhibition industry and gained insight into what creates a working business model in that industry. My former business partner and I were not able to make our cinema in Connecticut a success because we were under capitalized and the transition to digital projection was well underway. Unfortunately, the finances to make the transition were just not available to us at that time.

I originally showed interest in the former 8 screen first run theatre located on Mildred street in University Place Washington, I believe in June of last year. I had talked with my family and we decided to form a corporation for the purpose of eventually re-opening this cinema. We discussed the cost of the renovations and the level of funding needed, at that time we had no idea of the condition of the building, furniture or equipment in the building. We later found out that the building has been all but gutted by the previous operator.  Our main focus was to revitalize this cinema, create a locally owned and operated location that would be a benefit to the community and surrounding businesses. I Know first hand what losing a destination draw like a cinema can do to surrounding restaurants and local businesses that rely on that foot traffic for revenue. I knew that other businesses on Mildred street had to have been suffering and seen a decline in businesses since this cinema closed. With that in mind we started piecing together a plan to reopen the cinema and help to bring back those lost customers to the area, thus, JRE Digital Cinemas Inc. was born. The name is derived in memoriam from my late sister’s initials: Jennifer Rae Evans (JRE).

 

My father Martin has been on disability for most of my life, struggling with Multiple-sclerosis and still trying to earn enough money to support our family. Right now they live on a very tight fixed income and each time dad has attempted to re-enter the work force he ends up losing that battle due to his illness. He needs something that can be flexible enough so that when he has episodes of MS he doesn’t have to hit the pavement yet again. Employers love my dad. He is intelligent, hardworking, and dedicated but the limitations of his body make it difficult to stay productive at a full-time job. We, in part, wanted to form this company so that he can be involved in something that can provide certain flexibilities and still remain a productive member of society and provide for his family. So when you ask what JRE Digital Cinemas is I have one simple answer: it is Desire, Passion, and Love. Desire to provide for one’s family and take care of the people who love and support you. Passion to provide the community an entertainment destination that families and people of all income levels can enjoy. Love of our community, family, and loyal customers.
 2. What’s the current status of the Narrow 8 Theatre?

We have researched the location, condition and funding requirements to make this dream a reality. We believe the local community will support this theatre when it reopens. It needs a lot of work! The building currently has no concession counter, seats, screens or equipment. Most of the carpet has been damaged or removed. We would need to install new digital projection. As far as the project itself, we need help and I’m not afraid to reach out to the local community for that help. We need to secure funds of at very minimum $50,000 in order to secure funding to repair the interior, replace seats and to install new equipment. Our goal also includes upgrades to the auditoriums including “retro-fit foam risers” (http://www.stadiumseating.com/solutions.php) to provide for stadium style seating. We have put together a rough estimate for building repairs and upgrades and have come up with a number that will allow us to accomplish all of our goals. The total funding required to get the cinema open is around $750,000. We plan to reach out to the local economic development organizations within pierce county and also at the state level. We also plan to utilize SBA backed loans but the required “Down Payment” needed would be in the 10-15% range, and cannot be borrowed, meaning, we can’t simply ask one lender to loan the funds needed to secure financing from another lender.

We fully believe it IS possible to make this project a reality. If the community would rally behind us and support our Indiegogo campaign, or a wealthy community member wanted to be a partner in our venture we could secure the required funds. We hope by getting our vision and story out to the public supporters of this project will come forward and help us out.
3. What’s different about what you want to do to the Narrows 8 Theatre?

The thing about operating a cinema in a competitive market is you HAVE to offer something unique compared to other theatres. What we have in mind is fairly simple: we plan to be a community hub. A locally owned and operated cinema involved in community activities, offering support to other local businesses all while keeping the consumer in mind when making business decisions. We want everyone in University Place and surrounding areas to feel like this is their theatre not some chain that won’t take the time to hear your feedback or get to know you by name.

We also plan to have a few things not commonly found in major chain theatres. We want to bring different ideas to light at this location like self-serve drink stations, free refills on soda, and even a coffee shop located inside the lobby offering fraps, blended coffee drinks and smoothies. We also offer traditional movie concessions at much lower prices than most chains and unique treats you probably wouldn’t find in most cinemas.

We want to reach out to the local community and hold events at our cinema. A few things that set us apart in Connecticut included hosting a film and music festival featuring only Connecticut films either filmed in Connecticut or directed by a Connecticut resident and showcasing only Connecticut based bands and musicians. We also hosted a launch party for a group of film students who had produced a full feature film. We offered a venue for them to show the film to potential distributors and backers to get the film on contract for distribution. This type of community involvement is usually only seen at local cinemas with a connection to the community.

Let’s talk a little more about “affordability” and what that means for the Narrows 8 Theatre. Ticket prices will be $6.00 matinee (before 3pm) and $10 evening, 3D films would be $8.50 matinee and $12.50 evening. Every Tuesday will be “DiscountTuesday” offering ticket prices at $6.00 all day (3D would be $2.50 additional). Concession deals like a “$3.00 Any Size Popcorn” would be a regularly occurring promotion and our boxed candy would also be lower than most first run theatres. At times in our previous cinema we had candy deals, $2.00 a box during peak times throughout the year. Local movie goers can expect to see punch cards similar to what you would find at a drive-thru coffee shop where ticket purchases would earn you FREE movie passes. We are aggressive with social media deals and coupons as well as free movie pass giveaways . Group ticket prices for large groups like childcare facilities, non-profits, schools, and summer youth programs have always held a top priority in our business model. In short, our “uniqueness” comes from operating a full-scale first-run cinema as a small, local business, and for the community to treat it as such.
4. How can people interested in this project help out?

First and foremost the easiest way to help is to spread the word about us. Tell everyone you know and then tell them again! You can reach our facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Narrows8Theatres or follow us on twitter at:https://twitter.com/narrows8theatre.

Secondly, we have an online crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo. Contributors can essentially “pre-purchase” products and services anywhere from coupons, movie passes, t-shirts to collector’s merchandise and on-screen advertising space. The link to the campaign is https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/narrows-8-digital-theatres or you can visit www.indiegogo.com and search for “Narrows 8 Theatres”. Place a small contribution of $5-$5,000 and once we have reached the end of our campaign we will start delivering the contribution “perks” and get the ball rolling to get the theatre open.

Lastly, if you would like to discuss becoming an equity partner or even just to drop me a line about the theatre please email me at jevans91775@gmail.com.

5. What do you see as the future for Narrows 8 Theatre?

We see a successful venture between the community and ourselves. We plan to grow with the industry and constantly improve the cinema going experience for patrons of the Narrows 8 Digital Theatres. We want to become an integral part of the community backed by the support of the people. We plan on being involved with local issues, events, and programs. We see ourselves as a viable business, creating jobs and providing tax dollars for the state and city to fund much needed projects. We see a place where patrons can go and feel safe, comfortable, and a part of something great.

We love getting to know our customers on a personal level, what a difference it makes in customer service. It’s almost funny how a person reacts when they visit a movie theatre and see the owner behind the counter making popcorn or maybe tearing your ticket or even cleaning theatres after shows saying: “Thank you for coming to our theatre! We hope you enjoyed your movie! See you next time!”

We look forward to seeing each and every one of you at the Narrows 8 Digital Theatres!

I’d like to thank Josh for taking the time to fill us in on his vision and I hope readers will help out. This is a project that deserves to be funded.

As always, if you or someone you know would like to join me for 5 Question Friday, let me know at jackcameronis@gmail.com

-       Jack Cameron

Fifth Tacoma Homicide of 2014 Richard Salzman

ME_arrivesLast Friday night 49-year-old Richard Salzman had an argument with his wife over the phone. His wife chose to stay at a family member’s house. The next morning his wife returned home in the 1900 Block of S. Mason Ave. and found no sign of her husband. Their 16-year-old-son said he’d left the night before on his bike. At some point on Saturday when there was still no sign of him, his wife reported him missing to the Tacoma Police Department. On Tuesday when Richard’s wife started talking about organizing a search party her son told her what happened after her phone call on Friday.  He told her that heard their argument and confronted his father. He said that his father shoved him. His son then hit him in the head with a cane killing him. He then put Richard’s body along with a cut up bicycle into the compost bin behind the house. His mother had him call the police and tell them what happened. We’ll likely never know for certain what exactly happened in Richard Salzman’s final moments. What’s clear is that a domestic dispute got physical and now a husband and father is dead. This is Tacoma’s fifth homicide this year. Neighbors say they’re shocked by what happened as well they should be. Unfortunately domestic disputes can become deadly all too quickly. As always, the comments section is reserved for those friends and family who knew Richard and want to share anything about him or just share your condolences. –          Jack Cameron

Third and Fourth Tacoma Homicides of 2014 Denyse Marshall and AJ Geissler

tacoma_houseLast Thursday at a house on South 19th and L Street in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood there was a loud argument that had turned violent. A 37-year-old man was convinced that a coworker and roommate was romantically involved with his live-in girlfriend. He beat the roommate with his fists and a chair and also assaulted his girlfriend. Police arrived and found a 25-year-old man named AJ Geissler bloodied and injured. They arrested the 37-year-old and took him to jail.

The man they arrested was no stranger to the law. In the last two years alone he’d been arrested four times for domestic violence though only charged in one of those cases. Before that, his ex-wife had gotten two restraining orders on him in 2008 and 2010. In 2012 another roommate got a restraining order against him after an assault.

The Tacoma Municipal Court had not finished reviewing the case and since he had not been charged, he was released from jail on Friday.

Hours after being released from jail, the man returned to the house on Friday and assaulted three individuals at the house. He killed AJ Geissler, the man he’d assaulted the night before. He also killed 59-year-old Denyse Marshall, his girlfriend’s aunt who was staying at the house while she went through a divorce. He also wounded a third person.

Denyse and Joseph are the third and fourth homicides Tacoma has had this year. This is as low as the homicide rate has been at this point in the year since I started writing about Tacoma’s homicides. Of course this does not lessen the impact by family and friends devastated by the loss of these two individuals.

Their killer has been arrested. Unfortunately no amount of justice is going to bring any real solace to the grieving friends and family of the victims. Sudden losses like this are catastrophic. Denyse Marshall and AJ Geissler were citizens of Tacoma deserving of a full life that was cut short. What we can do now is remember Denyse and Joseph and share any memories we have of them.

The comments section is reserved for friends and families of the victims.  I moderate and approve all comments before they appear. I am sorry for your loss.
– Jack Cameron

Morning In Tacoma

This photo is actually a combination of six photos I took from my phone yesterday morning using my phone. It was taken from the office building I work in.

This photo is actually a combination of six photos I took from my phone yesterday morning using my phone. It was taken from the office building I work in.

5 Question Friday with Creative Colloquy’s Jackie Casella

ccOne of my favorite things as a writer is the fact that I don’t have to rely on anyone else. It’s a solitary thing. So I’m not exactly known for joining or participating in writer’s groups. I prefer to sit and type away my stuff then send it out there. But recently I heard about a new local site called Creative Colloquy. It is run by an acquaintance of mine named Jackie Casella. I had a short story that didn’t have a home and so I submitted it to the site and now people can read it whenever they like. (Here’s a link.)

 

In addition to the site itself, Jackie puts on a monthly reading on the last Monday of the month. This month, I’m one of the readers. I asked Jackie to join me for 5 Question Friday but then my week got very busy and I didn’t get a chance to give her the questions until Thursday night. Jackie stepped up and got back to me right away. So I’d like to give her a special thank you for that.

Here’s Jackie to talk about Creative Colloquy:

1.What is Creative Colloquy?

The short version: Creative Colloquy is a “submission based literary site” with a focus on Tacoma and South Sound scribes paying special attention to writers of short stories, essays, and excerpts of novels. But really “colloquy” by definition means to pow-wow, or open up a dialogue so our events play an instrumental part of that. It was born from the desire to create a platform for writers to share their work and build relationships with those of like minds. Writing is typically something done as an isolated individual but connecting with those who understand the struggles or process I think can be really inspiring and necessary to the creative process. Plus it’s just plain fun.

 

2. How can someone get involved in Creative Colloquy?

The easiest way to get involved is to submit! We publish our favorite submissions every other Monday and have so far featured immensely talented and diverse content. Another great way is to attend our events. Each final Monday every month we meet at B Sharp coffee house at 7pm. Festivities begin with a line-up of 5/6 authors we’ve published on the site reading from their works immediately followed by an open mic. The dynamics of the event pretty much guarantee performances from a variety of genres and experience levels. Other events are in talks to occur over the summer and some really cool things happening by fall that we aren’t quite ready to announce.

 

3. What’s been the most interesting thing to come out of this project so far?

Any time artists gather in one place it’s interesting. The stories that are told among a group of scribes especially so. I think the most interesting thing is seeing the diverse community coming together at the events. We’ve been joined by young college level novices attending their first open mic to established published authors, playwrights, actors and so on covering so many different genres. Witnessing those interactions can be interesting. The level of support has been ridiculously amazing and leaves me feeling pretty fortunate to have begun this adventure.

 

4. What’s something you want to do with Creative Colloquy that hasn’t happened yet?

We have been in discussion of adding some texture to the site. A podcast is something we are uber excited to do and we have some fun ideas to open a dialogue and entertain our audience. I’d really love to begin doing dramatic readings with actors performing larger pieces and getting crafty with a set design that mimics a huge pop-up book too! There have been some other seeds planted that include a panel discussion at UPS and highlighting local women storytellers with a Tacoma group working towards a living women’s museum and maybe even some children themed events for the minis out there.

 

5. What would you like to see for the future of Creative Colloquy?

I’d love for CC to gain non-profit status in efforts to promote literacy. I daydream about dramatic reading events for schools and festivals and a bookmobile cruising around town. We’d really love to release a “best of” print version maybe twice yearly for distribution too. That’s more of a when not if and HOW we are going to fund the project when it’s time.

For now we are just having a great time reading local talents stories and connecting at the events. It’s been really amazing having folks turn out that aren’t necessarily in our “circle” and building those relationships based on our literary love.

 

Once again I’d like to thank Jackie for participating in 5 Question Friday. For more information about Creative Colloquy or just to check out some local writers, go to http://creativecolloquy.com.

You’re also welcome to attend this month’s Creative Colloquy reading at the B Sharp Coffee House on Monday April 28th at 7pm. The B Sharp Coffee House is in downtown Tacoma at 706 Opera Alley. Featured readers include Alec Clayton *narrated by Christian Carvajal, Titus Burley, J Anne Fullerton,
David Mucklow, and me.

-       Jack Cameron

Second Tacoma Homicide of 2014 Jayceon Thomas

JayceonThomas

On April 11th, a father brought his 8-month-old son into Mary Bridge Children’s hospital. The child had stopped breathing. Doctors noticed signs of abuse and contacted the police. A day later, 8-month-old Jayceon Thomas was dead. Jayceon’s death is Tacoma’s second homicide this year.

Jayceon’s father was not with him at the time of the abuse and is not a suspect at this time. My thoughts go out to the family of Jayceon. As always, the comments section is reserved for those close to Jayceon to share memories of him with the rest of us who never had a chance to meet him.

All homicides are tragic but the death of someone so young is especially difficult.  Here’s hoping that the Jayceon’s killer is brought to justice and that his family knows peace.
– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With The NEW Poison Apple’s Jooley Heaps

poisonappleThis week is a first. After three years of doing 5 Question Friday we have our first three-time participant. We’d stop asking her questions if she’d stop doing awesome stuff. Jooley Heaps once ran a wonderfully strange shop in downtown Tacoma called Poison Apple. Sadly, the location wasn’t very conducive to massive sales. Since then Jooley and Poison Apple has existed by vending at various local events. But now Jooley and Poison Apple have a new home. And their grand opening is TODAY. Here’s Jooley to tell you more about it.

1. Poison Apple is back. What can you tell us about the new location?

We are now located inside Freighthouse Square, across from Sasquatch Cinnamon Rolls. Our new neighbors at The Giving Place and Vapor Works have also been very kind to us. Past the food court is Justin Winter at American Ritual Tattoo and his girlfriend Michelle. And of course my old pal Pete Lira is moving in this summer. Everyone has been very welcoming and it is exciting to start our new retail adventure here.

 

2. What’s different about Poison Apple this time around?

What we did this time was fuse together what worked for us before- a mix of rock and roll, punk, horror, etc with pop culture and a throwback to the vintage culture I adore. We have a great selection of kitsch items, clothing, shoes and all sorts of colorful fun items that can only be found here

 

3. How can people help out Poison Apple?

Thanks to social networking sites like Facebook many people have shared our event. I believe this location will be a good fit for us because there is daily walk thru traffic which what was a major issue with Pacific Avenue.

 

4. What’s your favorite thing about running Poison Apple?

My favorite thing about Poison Apple is that it is a colorful vision that we made happen. I have a dedicated crew in Jason Emmett and Jennifer Walter, and we each bring something to the table and all complement each other. While wearing ‘handerpants’ of course. I’d definitely say that there is nothing out there in Tacoma like it, and it makes me smile because it’s hilarious and always evolving into more.

 

5. What do you hope for the future of Poison Apple?

As far as the future- aim high! We are about to also start our busy vending schedule so of course the more events the merrier:) and I’d love to have success with the shop and possibly open a second location. Like I said. Aim high:).

 

I’d like to thank Jooley Heaps for participating in 5 Question Friday and for bringing Poison Apple back to Tacoma. If you or someone you know is interested in joining me for 5 Question Friday, let me know at jackcameronis@gmail.com

-       Jack Cameron