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Music Box Theatre makes for great movie-going

Published: Monday, April 8, 2013

Updated: Monday, April 8, 2013 18:04

Music Box

Courtesy of the Music Box

Music Box Theatre

Last week the world lost Roger Ebert, a connoisseur of journalism and a pioneer in the film critic and screenwriting industry. While the movie theater will never quite feel the same, moviegoers will always head out to kick back, relax and watch the big screen. 

 Even amid rising ticket prices there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere.

The Music Box Theatre, located at 3733 N. Southport Ave. in Lakeview, certainly speaks to that atmosphere.

The theatre was opened in 1929 and cost $110,000 to build. Designed in an Italian and Spanish architecture style, the Music Box is currently the largest theater space on a full-time operation in the city, according to It’s also cited as the premiere venue for independent and foreign films.

Upon immediately walking in, patrons are hit with beautiful, old architecture—the kind of workmanship that only classic Chicago buildings offer. Dim lighting and the smell of popcorn give off aromas of childhood and nostalgia. One can hear live piano music - Yes, live! A spotlight shines on the pianist who plays while the audience take their seats and wait for the show -a classic tradition.

The architecture and star-like ceiling create an atmosphere unlike any other. The seats aren’t particularly comfortable and are all on one flat level, which makes someone blocking your view that much more annoying.

The theatre usually shows independent and foreign films, but also offers classics such as the monthly showing of the “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. It also offers event with special guests in person or via Skype. For example, on April 16 there is an expected showing of Sundance Channel’s new original series “Rectify,” with a Skype Q-and-A follow-up with the cast, director and producer.

More upcoming events include the showing of “Upstream Color” and “Primer,” with an appearance by director Shane Carruth and critic Scott Tobias.  There is also an expected feature of “Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal,” and “Violeta Went to Heaven,” which was Chile’s 2012 submission for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards.

So the next time you’re in the mood for the movies, give the Music Box a shot. It is a staple in Chicago movie theater history and as Siskel and Ebert coined best “Two thumbs up."

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