Like the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting, Tacoma’s Proctor District thrives and functions as the quintessential American village—walkable, convenient, and complete, with a lively retail core, schools, churches, fire station, restaurants, library, services, a farmers market, and more—a gem within the larger city. And if Proctor had its own official town hall, that might be the historic Blue Mouse Theatre.
On balmy summer evenings or rainy November nights, it’s a community gathering place. Outside, friends and neighbors visit with each other while waiting to step up to the box office window, where General Manager Susan Evans will offer a cheery greeting and joke around as she hands them their tickets. The old paneled doors open and the warmth of the lobby and smell of popcorn wrap around you like a hug. Above it all, those little blue neon mice just keep scampering across the marquee, at least for now. But they are in danger.
Concerning this icon of the community, the word on the street in Proctor is “Go digital or go dark.” Like every small, vintage theater across the country, the Blue Mouse faces the high cost of digital conversion. During 2013, it will become far more difficult, if not impossible, to obtain 35mm film versions of movies as the digital format sweeps the market. But converting to digital projection equipment can cost $75,000-$100,000 or more.You can help to save this 89-year-old treasure by participating in the KICKSTARTER campaign set up, in partnership with Tacoma Neighborhoods Together, to raise funds for the conversion. This Kickstarter page includes a great video about the Blue Mouse. The theater’s loyal fans are already chipping in and at last check, I see that fewer than 200 people have already contributed over $11,000. But it will take much more. With the minimum contribution set at just $1.00, everyone can help, at least a little. Won’t you, please?
Now Good Life Northwest has its own Facebook Page.