Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Numbers remain high at AFI

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About 200,000 people came to The American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in 2006, Ray Barry, the theater’s deputy director, told the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board Monday night.

Nearly 200,000 people walked through the theater’s doors in 2005. In 2004, slightly fewer than 150,000 people visited the theater.

More than 20,000 middle school students also have participated in the theater’s educational programs, Barry said. The theater works with schools to develop lesson plans and discussions to accompany films. They also have ongoing programs with Montgomery College in which films are introduced and then discussed by a college instructor, Barry said.

The Silver Theatre, a 1938 art deco movie house designed by John Eberson, closed in 1985 but underwent a $20 million rehabilitation as part of Silver Spring’s downtown redevelopment. Once a 1,100-seat movie house, the building now features one historic theater and two stadium-style theaters, as well as a café, office, meeting, reception and exhibition space. It gets some funding from the county for operations, but also relies on fund-raising to have money for its education and community programs.

Give the gift of glitz

Prom jewelry is being collected by Beltsville resident Marisa West to donate to young women who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. Last year, West gathered 3,000 prom dresses for Katrina victims.

Donations can be left at Alchemy, 8025 Georgia Ave., through April 1. They also can be mailed to West at P.O. Box 710, Beltsville, MD 20704. For information, e-mail

Cabaret CD release party March 23

A cabaret CD release party for local songwriter Mary Morton will be held 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 23 at Mayorga Coffee Factory, 8040 Georgia Ave. The event is free. Call 301-864-2751.