INT. MEXICAN RESTAURANT - NIGHT
I was waiting tables in a Mexican restaurant when the moment of resolve got hold of me. As surely as I was attempting to balance two plates of enchiladas, one black bean and guacamole quesadilla and a side of stuffed peppers, I knew I would open a movie theatre in Port Townsend.
I studied filmmaking at the University of Southern California. After a brief sojourn to Montana, I returned to the Northwest as a young husband, a young father and a young aspiring screenwriter. Like countless other urban expatriates, our little family settled in Port Townsend because of its proximity to and desirable distance from that Big City across the water.
Having grown up on a healthy diet of quality programming at the original Harvard Exit Theatre in Seattle, I longed for good movies and a neighborhood cinema that fostered a sense of community. And Port Townsend - in myriad ways - showed every sign of supporting a theatre as I envisioned it.
More than seven years after that moment of resolve, the Rose Theatre re-opened in the summer of 1992. The community came together not only to finance it, but to apply the final touches of paint.
That was nearly fifteen years ago, and I find it just as difficult today to answer the question, What makes the Rose unique? The obvious answer would be the careful selection of movies and our stellar customer service. But the writer in me - still aspiring - needs a deeper answer, just as character requires motivation.
In his wonderful essay, "Here Is New York," E.B.White wrote of three New Yorks: the natives who give it solidity and continuity, the commuters who give the city its tidal restlessness, and the settlers who give it passion. It is the third group, White explained, "that accounts for New York's high strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements."
Port Townsend, in a modest way, lives and breathes by the same recipe three thousand miles from that dizzying, vertical metropolis. The west may no longer be wild, but we still appreciate our landscape, and on the tip of this peninsula, surrounded by nature’s tidal restlessness, we write, we paint, we tango and collectively we watch dreams unfold at the Rose.
After all, it is the people and the stories we create that make this city and this jewel of a cinema unique.
Rocky Friedman, owner