Join the push to save the Tivoli

Film buffs across Kansas City are rallying to help save the Tivoli Theater in Westport.

The Tivoli is a Midtown institution – started by Jerry Harrington in 1983. But in order to stay in business, the theater needs to raise $130,000 by Dec. 12 to  covert its three projection systems to digital technology.

Harrington took the helm of the Midtown theater after working at its predecessor, the Bijou, and taking over there.

He graduated from film school in 1978 and, when he came back home to Kansas City, stumbled into work at the Westport theater.

“I was an insane movie goer,” he confesses, admitting he was seeing two or three movies a day.

The first Tivoli was a cramped 104 seat  affair in a former shoe store. Harrington also ran the popular Tivoli video store from 1988 to 1998.

In 1992, when a theater operation in Manor Square closed, the Tivoli moved to that three-screen venue.

But recently Harrington faced a big decision. Movies are no longer being made for theaters in 35mm format. He was faced with the need to convert the three screens to digital technology – at a cost of $70,000 each.

Like so many other theaters, Harrington has turned to the online crowd funding site Kickstarter for help. He’s already done some of the conversion, so he signed up on the site to attempt to raise $130,000 by Dec. 12. Under Kickstarter rules, if he doesn’t raise the entire amount, he won’t get any of the money and the theater will close.

The campaign went live Oct. 30 and almost immediately, money started coming in for the cause. So far, the campaign has raised more than $62,000 of the $130,000.

“People have been very supportive,” Harrington says, and he’s hopeful the campaign may succeed.

We’ve posted the link to the Kickstarter campaign at the top of our page, and we invite Midtowners to do what they can to help the Tivoli stay in business. 

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