A Ridge Too Far?

Ok, I’ll bite, in a stream of consciousness kind of way. As an actual movie theatre the building itself is unremarkable both architecturally and as a place to enjoy movies in. It’s value is more intangible. It’s longevity has bred memories, and memories become culture. But whose culture and whose generation? I, like many born and bred in Vancouver, have memories of The Ridge, some of them even fond. The long-running animation festival, the film festival and just regular old movie flicks, etc.

And that, I think, is the demographic upset about its impending demolition.

Let’s do a thought experiment. Pretend we have the power to save it. How long do we preserve The Ridge? Because it’s not the Pyramid of Giza…at some point it will come down. But when?

20 years? 50 years? 100 years? 1000?

Lindsay tweets later that the West Side is “culturally sterile”. I’m not sure I buy that entirely. There are many kinds of culture and the “foodie culture” is well-represented. But in terms of the arts I suppose that’s true. But the arts is also changing. There will probably always be a form of theatre – where human beings get up on a stage and perform for other human beings. And live music will always exist. But how much longer will “film” – a 2-dimensional image projected on a screen – last? I think the end of the line for this format is well in sight. So-called “3-d” films are not a game-changer. Some sort of art transmitted via virtual reality will be the future and it will be here sooner than we know. And it will likely not require specialized buildings and certainly not buildings like The Ridge. (And yes, it could be a shared experience, perhaps even more so than physically occupying the same room as an audience of a movie).

I don’t think film as we know it today has 20 years left.

But I also sympathize. Because this too is true…

Personally, I’d be all over this.

A friend of mine who returned from a sojourn in Toronto had what I think was a great insight into the culture of Vancouver. Cities like Toronto have “inside” cultures. People go “inside” for their social life: Other peoples’ houses, bars, theatres, and so on. It is by nature highly social and friendships are quick. Vancouver has an “outside” culture. People go “outside” for their social life: Hiking, kayaking, skiing, etc. It, by nature, is if not solitary then done in small groups that share the same interest and required skills to participate in that activity. It lends itself to cliques. And this is one of the reasons people feel alone in Vancouver.

Not sure what that has to do with The Ridge…but I said this was stream of consciousness.

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