Serving the bootlegger


When I was in my early teens, Montreal had a bubbly cinematographic energy. Downtown, projectors magnifying and casting frames on giant screens could practically be found on every block. Bruce Lee’s Dream had materialized, Kung Fu had…borrowing a term that did not exist at that time, gone viral. One could not step outside without seeing kicking and punching. Of course folks were just playing around, nobody really got hurt. Life is like that, the masses see a Star wearing…For instance, let’s take Elton John with is Huge Funny Glasses, yes you got it right, sales went through the roof, thousands were storming the street looking like aliens. When it came to Kung Fu, my favourite site to watch a movie was on the Corner of St-Catherine and Papineau. Unfortunately, technology gives birth to winners and losers. Abba even wrote a song about it: “The winner takes it all.”

Years went by, then someone invented the VCR. Suddenly, massive buildings the size of the Majestic Theatre started shutting down left and right. These old brick Ghosts remained dressed with plywood and posters for years until city management decided to stamp them “Gone With The Wind.” Get it? Oh, never mind.

Nevertheless, my Kung Fu memories lived on. My favourite spot withstood the test of time. After years of abandonment, rumours had reached my ears, apparently an Evangelist had purchased the property and gave it a face-lift. I thought that was pretty cool, you don’t know how it feels to drive by somewhere and imagine yourself sitting in the past, eating popcorn while Bruce kicks the hell out of 20 fighters simultaneously.

More years went by, according to the grapevine, there was a man in town building a solid reputation, a man of God. I did not know who he was or where he was, but everywhere I went I heard the name Alberto Carbone. So one day I decided to investigate, to my surprise, it happened to be the one who purchased a piece of my memories. Yet he was preaching in the Old Theatre.

So one day I decided to go check him out, to see if he was really that great. I walked through the doors, sighs escaped. It was as if I saw my 70 years old father wearing a 20 years old face. It was magic.

Do you believe in destiny?

I could be wrong but I believe it was on that same day, Alberto made a speech take nearly knocked my socks off.

To sum it up, it went like this;

“Show me where you put your money and I will tell you who you serve.”

When I heard this, I had spent every single night in a bar for over 20 years, drinking my money away. So basically, I was serving the bootleggers. So when Alberto was asking for money to pay for the maintenance of such a huge building and change lives, should we have labelled him as someone who takes advantage of his audience? Not really, the majority of humans, like me, spend their money foolishly and that is why they end up broke.

So when someone unique comes along with high hopes and big dreams and suddenly begins to show results, is it not normal to open our wallets to support good deeds instead of opening our wallets for Beer?

Empower Network use the money to change lives, the leaders are not getting drunk at the corner Tavern, so I feel very good about supporting the movement. Hey! If I can change just one life before I die, then I will rest with a smile on my face.

Ok Gang, It’s time to hit the sack.

The land on which the office building-theatre complex now stands was leased to Karl Hoblitzelle from J. M. Nix, who had purchased it in 1920 from the Enterprise Company of Dallas. The land came with the curious deed restriction that, until April 5, 1928, "'neither aforesaid land nor any building or improvement or any part thereon shall be used or occupied for theatrical, motion picture, or amusement purposes at any time...'"[2]

Sufficiently exceeding the listed time restriction, the theatre's opening on June 14, 1929, in many ways symbolized a progressiveness with which San Antonio wished to identify. The city actually deemed the month of the opening "Prosperity Month," celebrating the recent era of development Texas was experiencing. In size, the Greater Majestic was second in the nation only to Atlanta, Georgia's Fox Theatre, and it was the first theatre in Texas to be fully air-conditioned, something that alone was a major attraction in the 1920s South. Advertisements heralding "'an acre of cool, comfortable seats'" were "further emphasized by the snow which topped the letters of the theatre's name,"[3] prompting society women to wear fur coats to the June opening.[4] The 4,000-seat theatre was filled to capacity for opening day entertainment, which consisted of the musical film, Follies of 1929 and live performances by Mexican Troubador Don Galvan, "The Banjo Boy," the "Seven Nelsons" acrobatic troupe, Eddie Sauer and his "Syncopaters," and the Father of Country Music, Jimmie Rodgers, who himself received 18 curtain calls.[5] Each week, the program offered included a new film and a new line-up of star performers. In 1930, the Great Depression caused the Majestic to close for several weeks, until it was able to reopen "because Americans were turning to movies for escape." The Majestic provided that escape with a schedule of films and live entertainment through the 1940s and 50s.[6]

Theatre features included a huge cast-iron canopy covering the sidewalk, a vertical sign 76-feet tall topped with "a strutting peacock ... walking as a huge ball rotated under his feet," and a cave-like single-story lobby that included copper lanterns, ceiling murals, and an aquarium filled with tropical fish.[7] Inside the theatre's auditorium were stuffed birds perched on balconies or frozen mid-flight via ceiling wire, replicas of well-known Greek, Roman, and Renaissance sculptures, and specially treated cypress treesbrought from Spain and placed on upper-level niches. The Baroque tendency to decorate with mask-like faces is exemplified by carvings alongside the stage and under themezzanine balcony, and in direct translation of atmospheric theatre design, the Majestic's blue ceiling "cloud scape" disguises the interior dome as an evening sky in conjunction with a cloud projector and small bulbs simulating stars. The bulbs are actually positioned according to consultations with experts at the National Geographic Society, who instructed the designer as to the positioning of the real stars on the night of the theatre’s opening