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Blockbuster dream: Movies at historic theater

The Boulder Theatre is a magnificent piece of the city’s history. As the first building in Boulder City with air conditioning, it provided reprieve from the heat for the dam workers. And I think it’s time for the building to be returned to its previous use. Bring back summer movies at the theater.

As I write this column, it’s 107 degrees outside, and we’ve already seen highs of 112 degrees. We’ve reached the point where taking my kids to the park isn’t a reasonable option; they’re far too young to spend an extended amount of time in the baking sun and triple-digit heat. And let’s be honest, I don’t want to be outside for that long, either.

Despite owning nearly every toy known to man, playing at the house day after day gets boring for kids. Indoor activity options are few and far between in Boulder City (though shout-out to the Boulder Bowl for being a consistently solid option). How amazing would it be to have a large air-conditioned space with child-friendly entertainment available just minutes away from home?

Now, I’m not proposing that the Boulder City theater show the newest summer blockbusters. That’s far too expensive and logistically complicated. But perhaps it could operate its one screen and show older, easier to obtain movies. Think of a long weekend “Back to the Future” triple feature or a midnight showing of “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” (OK, that one’s for the grownups.)

Put on any beloved Disney movie and let every kid in town scream-sing along at the top of their lungs. Add some fresh popcorn and you’ve got yourself the ideal summer afternoon.

I understand that what I’m asking for is probably a pipe dream. The theater is privately owned and currently operates as a performing arts space (and prepandemic short film festival location). I don’t actually know what it would take to screen movies there regularly or what the financial implications would be. And I know firsthand that the work that goes on behind the scenes of any operation is often far more complicated than anyone on the outside could comprehend.

But there is a part of me that wonders if it would be possible with enough community support. Would local teens be willing to work in the theater over the summer, taking tickets and serving popcorn? Are there residents interested in a summer side gig of screening films?

Heck, I’d be willing to pitch in organizationally if this was even a remote possibility.

I’m interested in hearing what others have to say about this idea, especially those who have been in Boulder City long enough to remember when movies were still regularly screened at the theater.

Perhaps I have a heightened sense of nostalgia when it comes to this town, but the image in my head of walking with my kids through the wrought iron gates of the Boulder Theatre and sitting them down with little popcorn buckets to share what was once for me a peak summer experience fills me with so much joy that I’m motivated to try and make it happen.

The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.

Kayla Kirk is a lactation educator in the Las Vegas Valley. She holds degrees in psychology and perinatal education from Boston University and the University of California, San Diego. You can find her hanging out in the local coffee shops or hiking with her husband and two children.

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