Friday, October 10, 2008

Cedar Story

Due to illness and technical difficulties, my posts have been a little delayed. But, this one is worth the wait.

In honor of our 20th Season, Magnificent Maggie and Angel of Rock proudly present “Two Decades Backstage: Behind the Scenes at The Cedar.” During the season we will bring you 10 installments exposing a side of The Cedar that you’ve never seen before. Be sure to check the back for updates.

Once upon a time in 1948 a movie theater opened on the West Bank. Because no one could think of a better name, its location on Cedar Avenue led to its title of the Cedar Theater. It has a nice ring to it, right? “Cedar Theater.” Although the marquee only hinted at the sorted affairs that occurred on and off screen, its reputation alone soon brought droves of eager, albeit awkward, patrons.

It was later discovered that in addition to showing films of questionable content, the Cedar Theater also served as a regional meeting place for the Midwestern leg of a secret society during the Cold War. Yes, it looked like a theater from the outside, and before anyone was clamoring for stadium seating and removable arm rests, theater patrons still complained that the floor was too flat for a proper viewing experience. The society’s goal of converting Minnesota’s crops into rocket fuel ultimately failed, but they came up with some fantastic casserole recipes along the way.

Cedar lore holds that society members were also the first to move chairs aside to indulge in fits of uncontrolled dancing, a tradition that The Cedar continues to inspire in even the most modest Minnesotans.

As Cold War fears subsided and the technological minds of the 1980s concentrated their brainpower elsewhere, the society relocated downriver to try their luck at harnessing the power of the great Mississippi. Without the society shouldering their portion of the building rent, it only took three letters to seal the movie theater’s demise. V-H-S.

In the late 1980s, the Theater was reclaimed by a group tired of dancing to Prince at the “Hub of Hell.” These free spirits wanted a safe haven where they could let loose and expand their cultural horizons, man. And so, 20 seasons ago today The Cedar Cultural Centre was born.

Watch for the next installment of Two Decades Backstage: Behind the Scenes at The Cedar

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