WASHINGTON -- The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities is expected to announce plans to sponsor a four-week run of David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" at U Street's financially troubled Lincoln Theatre starting Dec. 21. It's the first time a film has been shown at the theater in the recent past.
The news, reported by DC Mud and called "a Christmas miracle" by Washington City Paper, follows an announcement in November that the theater would officially change hands from the U Street Theatre Foundation to DCCAH on Dec. 31. The commission has been operating the theater temporarily in the meantime, and plans to install an artistic director shortly.
The Lincoln Theatre has held an exalted place in D.C. history. Opened in 1922, it was once a fixture on U Street (known famously as "Washington's Black Broadway") and played host to jazz legends like Duke Ellington. It was converted into a movie house in 1927, but eventually fell into disrepair following the 1968 riots.
Since then, the Lincoln's story has been a bit more difficult to pin down. It's had its share of money problems: In 2009, it didn't bring in enough money to pay everyone on its payroll and in 2010, the theater was dark for more than half the year. This year, a request for $500,000 in emergency funds fell through.
In October, HuffPost blogger Robert Bettmann, the board chair of D.C. Advocates for the Arts, wrote that an increase in general arts funding "would enliven the city and could help salvage the bottom line of theaters like the Lincoln."
Washington City Paper's Ally Schweitzer disagreed, stressing the Lincoln's issues are far more complicated. New management and a strong public relations strategy, she believes, are what the theater needs.