The Dirt Daubers.
Maiden Alley Cinema. Corianne Egan
Ten years ago, Maiden Alley Cinema became the only independent movie theater in western Kentucky. Before long, it was one of only four independent art houses in the state.
“It’s nice not working for ‘the man’,” executive director Landee Bryant said. “The independent feel is really there. Everyone likes to know that they are supporting something local and home-grown.”
The cinema celebrates its 10th anniversary this Saturday with a birthday party to mark the advances the theater has made. The party, which will take place at Shandies, will include live entertainment and food.
Maiden Alley has grown from being just a movie theater to also holding entertainment events. The cinema hosts Music at the MAC, which allows bands to come play at the theater as long as they provide some sort of film installation to play along with.
“Our mission will always first and foremost be film,” Bryant said. “But we have this amazing space and we are looking to bring in a diverse audience, and these shows do that.”
Bryant said that while raising money to keep the cinema alive isn’t easy, the best part of being an independent cinema is getting to choose the movies that are shown on the big screen. The budget mainly allows for independent films and documentaries to be shown.
“Next week we have ‘The Tree of Life’ with Brad Pitt in it coming,” Bryant said. “Obscure does not mean boring. It doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting and you aren’t going to like it.”
Compared to other area movie theaters, prices at Maiden Alley are relatively low, about one dollar cheaper for an adult on any given night. Prices have only gone up 25 cents since Bryant took over in 2008.
The entertainment for the night will include music by the Solid Rock’it Boosters and Paducah’s own The Dirt Daubers. For the Dirt Daubers, Maiden Alley has special meaning.
“I used to work there,” Jessica Wilkes, of the Dirt Daubers, said. “They hold a special place in my heart. Not many communities can say they have somewhere as unique as that.”
For Bryant and the hundreds of people who frequent Maiden Alley Cinema each month, the important thing is being able to see quality films and enjoy the experience.
“We have an amazingly open-minded board,” Bryant said. “That, combined with the fact that we can make our own decisions, plan our own events, makes us successful.”
The Maiden Alley Cinema 10th Anniversary Celebration will take place at Shandies at 7 p.m. on Saturday.