Latchis 4 sign for party

Latchis hotel sign

Party of the Decades to Kick Off Latchis Restoration Project

Come celebrate the Party of the Decades at Latchis 4, 50 Main Street, on Friday, December 7, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., during Brattleboro's First Friday Gallery Walk. The Latchis 4 will become the Latchis Café for the evening, transformed into a cabaret from an earlier era -- Rick's Café of "Casablanca" fame -- and the public is invited to enjoy food, drink and surprises inspired by the classic movie.

Main theater in its heyday

The main theater at the Latchis complex in its heyday.

Sponsored by Brattleboro Arts Initiative, the Party of the Decades will kick off a series of fundraisers to help underwrite the Latchis Restoration Project of the historic Latchis Theater in Brattleboro, VT.

"The Latchis has been an asset to the community, playing to appreciative audiences, and making memories ever since it opened in 1938," said Pam Matweecha, president of BAI. "This next phase of the restoration will mobilize support to raise $930,000, so that our children and grandchildren have the same chance to make great memories of their own."

Celebrating the past, present and future of the Latchis, the party will feature an entertainment revue from the decades. Throughout the night, live music from the '40s, '50s and '60s by the Latchis 4 House Band will be accompanied by readings of true Latchis stories performed by several of Brattleboro's finest actors and highlighted by favorite old movie clips from the same years. Making up the Latchis 4 Band are Stephanie Petkanas, vocals; Becky Graber, piano; Paul Jensen, guitar; Wim Auer, bass; Ben James, drums.

Closeup of mural

One of many original murals in the main theater

A cash bar of wine, champagne and classic martinis will accompany a variety of hors d'oeuvres inspired by the movie "Casablanca" and prepared by Thirty 9 Main.

Suspense will build toward the end of the night as door prizes are announced, including a night for two in a mini-suite at the Latchis Hotel. Local businesses, including Adivasi, Evan James Limited, Sprout, Windham Wines, Thirty 9 Main, and the Latchis Theater, have also generously donated prizes. During the evening, everyone will be invited to fill out a form for a chance to be a winner.

Pam Taylor, interior designer for A Candle in the Night, will be transforming the space in the spirit of the film, and Carley's Florist will provide the exotic plants. Jerry Goldberg, Executive Director of the Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce, will act as Carl (Rick's Cafe manager played by S.Z. Sakall). Other members of the Brattleboro Arts Initiative Fundraising Committee may be dressed up to add to the ambiance and fun. Following the party, the movie "Casablanca" will be screened.

Latchis Restoration Project: Community, Culture & Commerce Campaign

Evening view of classical detailing

An evening view of the theater's classical detailing

When the Latchis family announced their intention to sell the building, Brattleboro Arts Initiative (BAI) in partnership with the Preservation Trust of Vermont and hundreds of individuals, businesses, and institutions purchased the Latchis building and its businesses in 2003 for over 1.5 million.

Over the last five years, BAI has invested more than $350,000 in essential repairs, upgrades, and safety systems. The next steps will be to create a new 99-seat venue for performance and cinema, restore the marquee, improve lighting, highlight street-level architectural details and retire purchase loans.

Jim Maxwell, BAI board member says, "The creation of the fourth theater will allow a greater number and variety of live performances on the Main Stage. It will offer more venues and dates to local non-profits for fundraisers. Independent and art cinema films will be able to run alongside first-run films that will generate new income to support operations and arts programming."

Under BAI's stewardship, more than 100 live performances and events in the 750-seat Main Theater have brought thousands of people to downtown Brattleboro. And The Latchis has enabled local non-profit organizations to raise more than $50,000 in fundraising events. In a typical week, nearly 3,000 people come through the doors at the Latchis.

For more information about The Latchis Restoration Project and/or the Party of the Decades, see or send an email message to:

Copyright 2007, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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