Live … from the Toby

January 23, 2008
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The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Tobias Theater will be renovated and reopened thanks to a $1 million gift from the Randall and Marianne Tobias.

Announcements of specific programs for “The Toby” are still forthcoming, but IMA reps say it will be used for a film series as well as high-profile speakers and performances that fit with the institution’s art, nature and design push.

So while we wait for an official word on fall offerings, I ask you: What should a theater on the grounds of an art museum be presenting?

There has been some criticism that the IMA’s Summer Nights movie series was too populist. (As much as I like “Caddyshack,” should the IMA’s resources go to screening it?) But how far in the other direction should it go in programming?

What would you pay to see on screen at the IMA? Who would you like to see speak there? And what can this new space to make a real difference in the city’s cultural life?

Your thoughts?
  • There were a number of films I saw in classes years ago that I'd LOVE to see on a large screen, works of high artistic meric like L'Age d'Or or The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari or modern-day works like The Fountain. Imagine getting the chance to see 2001: A Space Odyssey again on a large screen?
  • This theater can definitely make a difference. Keystone Arts on the north side plays it very safe when it comes to film selection. Keystone Arts on the south side shows some great lesser-known films, but isn't exactly a premier location or venue. Both are quite out of the way for those of us living in the inner city, or on the opposite side of town.

    This theater should become the hub for true arthouse films.

    I would like to see documentary works like the recently release Helvetica, contemporary art films such as those by Matthew Barney, and the myriad classic/rare art films that haven't seen the light of day for years.

    I also hope Heartland, Indianapolis International, and other local film festivals are able to take advantage of this space.
  • I agree with the above posts in what I would like to see. I have been disappointed in IMA's choice of movies for the Summer Nights program. I liked it better when they went with more classic films. We saw Vertigo there one summer and that was great. The incentive for me to attend that event is to see a movie on a large screen that I normally wouldn't get to see that way. I think it's sad that many generations of people are missing out on classic films and IMA has a great chance to promote them.
  • are they replacing the seats? They were getting a bit tattered and butt tiring when Civic was in there.
  • Yes, Ty.
    According to information from the IMA, the upgrades include:

    * Increased handicapped accessibility
    * Enhanced sound system to include surround sound
    * High-definition digital rear projection and 35 millimeter and 16 millimeter film capacity
    * A new film screen and curtain
    * New seats
    * New fixtures, carpeting and wall treatments
    * New lighting controls
    * Added concession area
  • At today's prices, I don't see how they can do all that for a measly million dollars.
  • I thought the movie selections were OK but hope it's more like other art museums around the country that might have mini-festival type screenings, such as French New Wave films over the span of a couple weeks, or films from the Middle East, or the Boston Museum of Art had Tom Tykwer films (Run Lola Run, etc.) for a weekend once. Old movies would look great on the big screen (like Hollywood Bar & Filmworks, RIP, used to do) but as an art museum I'd like to see some older art-y films. Just my two cents a few days later...

    No matter what they show, I hope to at least check it out once in a while, and would even get a membership for the free films. Also hoping to attend at least one of the outside movies this summer because friends recommended the experience after seeing Say Anything last year.
  • I meant to say:

    No matter what they show, I hope to at least check it out once in a while, and would even get a membership (if it meant there would be) free films (included in the membership). Also hoping to attend at least one of the outside movies this summer because friends recommended the experience after seeing “Say Anything” last year.
  • Since I work at the IMA, I'm glad to hear many of you are looking forward to the Toby. I noticed this thread had some discussion about Summer Nights, and we now have a poll open on our blog to invite the public to vote on some of the films for this summer's line up. The poll closes on Feb. 8. You can leave other comments about Summer Nights on our blog too.
  • Here's the link:

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