Joyce Theater

New York, New York | C.1941

Photo Credit: Jessica Hriniak

The distinctive Art Moderne building at 175 Eighth Avenue on Manhattan’s West Side has long served as a prime venue for leaps and launches. Since 1982, it has been home to the Joyce Theater—a premier venue for dance in New York City. Serving as the city’s base for more than four hundred domestic and international traveling dance companies, the Joyce’s program celebrates a spectrum of dance styles and traditions.

The Elgin Theater, which occupied the building before the Joyce took over, opened as a cinema in 1942. The Elgin was unremarkable, until the fateful hiring of Ben Barenholtz as manager. In 1970 the Polish immigrant invented the “midnight movie,” showing Alejandro Jodorowsky’s surrealist western El Topo into the wee hours to a sold-out house seven nights a week for six months (at which point John Lennon persuaded the Beatles’ manager to buy the rights to the film).

The midnight movies continued, and Barenholtz refined his eclectic taste and ability to eye young talent. He began distributing films, turning the Elgin into a breeding ground for some of the great pioneers of independent American film culture. His work led to the release of the debuts of David Lynch, John Sayles, and the first two Coen Brothers movies.

While its name and artistic medium have changed over the years, the long-standing tradition of the Joyce continues to honor the patronage of New Yorkers, as well as their appreciation of art with a twist.

Included in AWA, The Postcards 👇

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