It's not just a landmark, it's a destination.

Downtown business owners start a film series as part of a plan to bring more shoppers to the area.

By Joyce Rudolph

Published: Last Updated Tuesday, June 17, 2008 10:15 PM PDT

Glendale merchants are coordinating a summer film series at the Alex Theatre in hopes of bringing more people to the downtown area, while raising funds for local charities. 

“The Untouchables” kicks off the series tonight with a VIP reception at 6, catered by Damon’s Steak House. The series is co-sponsored by the Downtown Glendale Merchants Assn. and Massage Envy Spa.

“We’re very, very excited about it,” said Helen McDonagh, owner of Massage Envy Spa and merchants association board member. “It’s important the first film is a success to create momentum so the rest of the season is a success.”

The merchants association started talking in the spring about doing events that bring the public to downtown Glendale mid-week during the summer, she said.

“With the Americana opening, we want some focus on the downtown area,” McDonagh said.

Proceeds from the first film will go to the Glendale Police Foundation’s Community Police Partnerships Unit to raise money for equipment to help patrol the downtown area in a more environmentally friendly way with bicycles and Segway self-balancing scooters, McDonagh said

“As merchants, we feel that having a police presence in the downtown area will help keep it safe,” she said. “And bicycles and Segways make them more accessible to the area instead of patrol cars.”

By getting the police out of their vehicles, the merchants are hoping the alternative transportation will save on gasoline and the environment and keep police officers physically fit, McDonagh said.

“I think it is a blessing, truly, for the association to be willing to do that, and we are very, very grateful as a [community policing] unit, and as the Police Department,” Glendale Police Lt. Gary Montecuollo said of the Community Services Bureau, which oversees the downtown policing efforts. “The partnership is what makes community policing work.”

The next film in the series, “American Graffiti” on July 30, will raise funds for Glendale Kiwanis Club’s Ducks 4 Kids program and Glendale Arts, a new organization that runs the Alex Theatre and brings all the city’s arts organizations under one umbrella, McDonagh said.

The film series was a way the Alex Theatre could partner with the merchants association, said Elissa Glickman, director of marketing and resource development for the Alex Theatre.

“We saw this as a good way to partner with the local businesses, as well as raise some seed money for the new organization,” she said.

The merchants association has been trying to use events such as this to market the mid-Brand business district, Glickman said.

The Downtown Dash, summer concerts and other events help to bring people back to the boulevard and shows off its major anchor, the Alex Theatre, she added.

“And it’s a way to give back to the charities that give back to our community,” she said.

“All the charities work hard and do great work in the community, but these are some of the charities we work closely with on an ongoing basis.”

“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” on Aug. 20 will benefit Glendale Healthy Kids and the Glendale Arts program, McDonagh said.

Proceeds from “The Great Race” on Sept. 17 will benefit the Glendale’s Relay for Life and Glendale Arts, she said.

The merchants association and Massage Envy Spa are raising $10,000 through sponsorships to pay for the film rental, Alex rental and projectionist, so that all proceeds from ticket sales will go to the causes, McDonagh said.

Sponsors are still needed to donate money, and in exchange the merchants association will give them exposure by projecting slides advertising their businesses on the screen before the movie starts, McDonagh said.

And Massage Envy Spa is offering everyone who buys a VIP ticket a 30-minute massage gift card, she said.

For more information on sponsorships, call McDonagh at (323) 620-2835.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login