My Favorite Places: The Rose Theatre, Port Townsend, Washington

I do love a good theater and these days “good” theaters are getting more and more difficult to find. What now passes as a good theater is some place that has 16 movies to choose from, seats that rock and full ear-shattering sound. The Rose is not one of those theaters.

Here is where I am going to sound like a snob: Going to a multiplex should be something you do only when you have to, like getting a colonoscopy. Maybe part of my problem with multiplex movie watching is that I feel like a cow being taken to slaughter when I go. Crowd in this line, walk down these increasingly narrow halls until you come to a room where advertisements disguised as entertainment play between movies, advertisements that I paid ten dollars to watch.

The Rose, on the other hand, is a personal experience. You can buy tickets online if you want to guarantee yourself a seat, but you still have to get your ticket from the little ticket box before entering the theater itself. There are two screens: The Rose and the Rose Bud. I am not sure how many seats there are in either theater, but one of them probably holds about 50 people and the other one holds around 150. Most of the movies are independent films and foreign, but they also show blockbusters. For example, right now the two movies playing are The Hunger Games and Pina.

The Snack bar at The Rose.

The snack bar is small, efficient and has some of the best popcorn in the world. The prices are nearly as ridiculous as most theaters, but don’t fret, the popcorn is worth it. Order the medium-sized popcorn in a large bag. Take the 2/3 filled bag to the seasoning bar and start adding stuff. I like the parmesan cheese and yeast mix (if you have not had yeast on your popcorn add it to your bucket list).

Once I am fully supplied, I head into the theater and find my seat. My seat is easy to find because no one ever wants to sit in the front row. At the Rose, the front row is not 25 feet below the screen, so I get all the benefits (no one in my line of vision+leg room) of the front row and none of the problems.

Then the best thing happens, a member of the staff comes out and welcomes everyone to The Rose and gives a mini-lecture about the movie. They don’t say, “Tonight your movie is about a crazy ballerina,” they add something to your movie going experience. Sometimes the information is about the director, sometimes it is about an actor, and sometimes it is about the writing/production of the movie. Then they remind you to turn off your cell phones and ask you to pick up after yourself, in other words, they treat you like a human being with a brain. (I have never seen anyone texting during the movie or heard a phone ring.)

After the movie, stroll Water Street and pick up a slice of Waterfront Pizza. Sure the place looks like a hole in the wall but if you have functioning taste-buds they will thank you. If you are really feeling daring and it is a nice day, pick up a couple slices, grab a Port Townsend Amber Ale and head to Chetzemoka Park.

So if you are in the northwest corner of the United States, head to Port Townsend and take in a movie at The Rose Theatre. It is one of my favorite places.

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