Happy National Drive-in Day!

Today is National Drive-In day. June 6. Why today? According to New York Film Academy, the first patented drive-in opened on June 6, 1933 by Richard Hollingshead in New Jersey. Smack in the middle of the Great Depression. Which just goes to show you that no matter how hard economic times a society falls on, there is always money for entertainment, especially revolutionary entertainment such as the drive-in. Before them, people were packed into crowded theatres, now the experience was shifting into cars. Cool, right? 

One of the upsides to drive-ins was that they were more accessible for the whole family. Even people of today can relate to packing into a tight row of theatre seating with a group of 6 or 8 people. Drive-ins were great for families that had noisy kids that needed to sprawl out with lots of space. 

The Drive-Ins started in the 1930’s, but it took until the 1950’s and 1960’s for them to reach the height of their popularity, as car sales sky-rocketed in the booming decades, so too did the drive-ins popularity.  

In Windsor, The Skyway Drive-In opened on April 30, 1948. Clearly, the owner was a visionary who could see the future popularity of drive-ins. The Skyway was operational until 1985, probably falling victim, much like the Odeon’s and other cinemas of the 20thcentury, to the massive popularity of the revolutionary VCR.

Another, was the Windsor Drive-In located at 5444 Walker Rd. It opened in 1950, and was also owned by the Dydzak family. Later, the Twin Drive-In opened on September 22, 1966. The Twin was located on the current site of Silvercity; I find it comforting to know that the location has a long history of movie screenings. 

After the 1980’s mass demolition of drive-in’s, cinema’s, and the like, there have not been many independent’s popping up, save for the odd civic night of nostalgia, but nothing like a fully operational business that serves the community, until August 7, 2015, the Boonies Drive-In theatre opens, just outside of Tilbury. Still operational this season, the drive-in features current releases and a selection of classics.

It seems funny that drive-ins were once advertised as being for the whole family, indeed they were; but one resident remembers saying, “you’d drive away from the drive-in and there would be a pile of empties left on the ground.” They marketed to a late-night crowd as well. Whatever your experience at a drive-in was, you probably remember it fondly with a sense of nostalgia for the by-gone unique era of cinema viewing. 

Clearer than the drive-ins in my memory are the video stores of Windsor: Jumbo, Applause, Eye on Video, and of course Blockbuster, but even the selection at your neighbourhood convenience store was usually stacked with the latest hits and a few notable classics. 

We celebrate National Drive-in day because of all the many innovations in cinema viewing over the years – 3D, IMAX, etc. The drive-ins were the most unique and treasured. The notion of going out somewhere to an event and having the party happen inside of your car almost seems like a hyper advanced sales gimmick for car advertising. The cars themselves, were much more appealing back then as well, perhaps a spacious old Chevy Caprice would be more comfortable than a tight row of theatre seating with strangers, and certainly more appealing than hanging out in a modern vehicle. Currently, the party is happening inside, on our screens, and its anti-social. 

Are you as likely to get a group of cars huddled together under a free wi-fi bubble to watch Netflix? Unlikely. Probably not. The modern revolution in cinema is that of the plush viewing environment: 7.1 surround sound, massive I-MAX screens, and recliner seating in amphitheatre style viewing rooms. The modern chains of cinemas are indeed the great cathedrals of the revered kings and queens of the worshipped stars of Hollywood. We revere them in our lives through our Instagram following and magazine reading and we worship them in the modern luxury theatres, making them idols.

For more local drive-in reading, click here

Building the Industry Locally by Growing Talent: Film Camp for Kids

Photo courtesy of Film Camp for Kids.

Amanda Gellman is Chairwoman for the Windsor Centre for Film, Digital Media and Creative Arts, and she wants to do something really special, she’s trying to build a film industry in our beloved Windsor. One of the most exciting things by far happening in the construction of this industry is Film Camp for Kids.

“It takes 30-40 years to build an industry, it all starts with growing talent. Many of our programs look at the needs of growing talent in the young.” Says Amanda Gellman. 

Film Camp offers several week-long workshops where students work in small groups to make a short film from conception to finished product. Kids learn basic elements of planning, writing, lighting, designing, shooting, and editing a movie. They do it by a deadline, on a budget, using the resources available. They use their creativity, and learn quality filmmaking skills in the process by working together as a team. 

After a family and friends viewing night serves as a premiere, student films are posted to the camp’s Youtube channel, where a growing number of student films can be viewed. Students are being exposed to the full spectrum of the film production experience, and what is most important of course, is that they are doing it right here on location in cinematic Windsor.

Film Camp for Kids is a part of Windsor Centre for Film, Digital Media and Creative Arts. The Centre is operating 10, 000 square feet of prime real-estate in downtown Windsor. 4, 000 of those square feet are taken up by Hub 691. The remaining 6, 000 square feet are occupied by the successful Film Camp for Kids, which has plans to expand again in 2020. 

Currently, Film Camp’s 6, 000 square feet facility features a multi-room studio, a Green screen room and set, an Art room for painting and more, and Costume room, as well as the filming equipment, lights, camera’s, and the kids of course, supply the action. 

A tour of the current downtown studio. Courtesy of Film Camp for Kids.

“Our kids get practical experience out on location, most programs work in a studio, we go out … they learn how to behave on a shoot location or at a business. We’ve shot at City Hall, coffee shops, hotel lobbies, board rooms, and parks,” Says Gellman of the student experience. 

Since its inception in 2012, Film Camp has had 350 kids at their programs, 90% of those kids have been back multiple times. Film Camp’s goal is to grow talent, and they are doing it, not just with students, but also the instructors.

As of 2019, Film Camp has offered 75 summer jobs in seven years. “The goal remains to grow talent, so we offer those jobs to film students to help grow their talent.” Says Amanda Gellman. 

The prices for the Film Camp are: $200/week and $175/week for multiple weeks. 

For a week long training camp in visual arts and film, that’s a fair price. Similar camps in Toronto or even Detroit are going for around 5 or 600 /week; which is truly one of the benefits of growing a big industry in a smaller market. 

Movies, if you haven’t heard, is big industry. They are at the forefront of audiovisual storytelling in the multi-modal millennium. As viewing options are still expanding, there is no limit in sight to the potential for movies as an artform to reach people. These artists are pioneers of creativity and digital media, and Windsor’s growing them by the heap. You know what they say about Essex County and growing things – from grapes for wine to students of film, this is a good place to grow. 

Windsor offers it all, and with Film Camp for Kids feeding students into the Film and Media programs at the University of Windsor, the cinematic ball has started to roll into the next 30 years. Stay tuned. 

Windsor Kindness Rocks

My favorite activity is to take a long walk through nature. I enjoy the natural world, its earthy aromas, rich colours, and wildlife surrounding my senses and aura.

Recently, I’ve been discovering painted rocks, often with inspirational words painted across them. Indeed, the first painted rock I discovered was a heart shaped pebble with the words “Be You tiful” painted neatly across it. You circled for emphasis.

I felt like I was being told right then at that moment that just being you is beautiful. I was moved by feeling the presence or even a sense of contact with an energy that connects all living things. Ever feel like the universe is winking at you?

Scrolling through Instagram #hashtags while placing other unrelated rock pics of mine, I discovered #windsorrocks and one such person that has been placing several painted rocks in local parks. I met Kayla at Ojibway Park to discuss her rocks.

Kayla, sitting at Ojibway Park with a batch of her kindness rocks.

Kayla has been placing rocks since 2005, but not to this extent. “It wasn’t until the last few years, primarily here [Ojibway Park], that I really started to place them.” She says of her experience. 

Why spend time painting rocks to hide at parks for unsuspecting strangers? Kayla says it’s because “everyone struggles, everyone has bad days, finding a message of positivity on those days can be really powerful. I think we all need those messages here and there. Sometimes people are struggling and they may feel alone…and finding a rock can be a message of ‘you matter’.” Kayla says.

We are all made of energy and that energy emits vibrations sometimes called frequencies out into the universe. What we put out into the universe via our thoughts and actions matter.

Around 2005/6 Kayla found a rock that she saw the shape of a heart in, and believed it to be a powerful sign. She painted that rock and it sat with her over time before thinking, “what if I left rocks around with messages on them? I laid a few here and there during those years.” From those few rocks Kayla is now finishing them in batches and has an Instagram following.

Kayla uses an Instagram account windsorrocks1 to post pics of rocks that she has hidden in the area. People that find rocks are then encouraged to post to the hashtag #windsorrocks to share. She says, “people find them, they post it and share that moment and that connects me to them.” The Instagram following is growing steadily, but perhaps the most significant impact it’s having is encouraging others to join in and place their own rocks.

Kayla says, “I know of a lady and her kid that found out about the rocks, and she wanted to go [place rocks]; so, she went out and found some rocks brought them home and painted them.” Those actions that inspire children to use their creativity and be aware of their effect on humanity create the most beautiful ripples for our future; and indeed, they are critically important and do matter.

Kayla has received personal messages back about her rocks. One individual messaged her saying, “thank you so much for that rock, it came to me at a very sad time, I’m in Windsor for a short amount of time, and I’ll be leaving soon.” Kayla speculates from context that this person was grieving and reliving some childhood stuff.

“This is why I’m doing it, it’s for people it’s for spreading that kindness around to give messages to people that are struggling. It’s important to have those messages out there for people” because as Kayla adds, “you just never know whose picking that rock up and what they’ll do with that message.” 

The power of intention suggests that painting a specific message on a rock and hiding it for somebody to discover means that the rock will now attract the person that best needs to receive said message. That is the magic of the underlying connectivity of ripples spreading through the universe. “Everyone impacts everyone’s life somehow. Everything that you do impacts another person’s life, in some way that you may know or you may not know.”

Kayla used to always place them at Ojibway, but not a lot of people may make it to this park; now Kayla thinks, “the rocks should be near people that may be struggling.” Kayla tries to go to different parks so that she can spread the message further. “I always try to place them in spots where, I think, ‘that’s pretty cool that you picked that up’, it’s not just sitting on the path. I want it to be tucked away in nature so that you’re embracing nature and really seeing it.”

Kayla takes inspiration from personal stuff, friends, and family. There are some cool designs available online and she takes inspiration from them as well. Recently she’s finished one, ‘you must relish life’ and that has taken her the most amount of time to complete, but the one she is maybe most proud of. Many of Kayla’s rocks show a depth of artistic skill, which makes them fun to look at as well as inspirational. 

Kayla spends up to 3 hours a night sometimes, and over 10 hours a week on these rocks, “even on weekends when I’m home I’ll spend a good amount of time, and thinking what can I do next.”

“I do them in batches, I leave them to look at and be proud of, and then it’s like okay let’s get these out people need to see these. But there’s still some that I’ve had for over a month.”

Another batch of Kayla’s lovely kindness rocks.

A common theme in Kayla’s rocks is feeling good about yourself, or to use the parlance of our times, mental health. Rocks with messages of, “Be Unique”, “Be Yourself”, “I am Enough” or “You are not your mistakes” and “Love is Love” across the Pride colours suggest feeling good about oneself as an individual is critical to achieving strong mental health. “We all struggle. Once we acknowledge that, it will take a lot of the stigma out of mental health.”

How can we start to break free of daily distractions and embrace the world around us? One way, Kayla says is to, “be attentive to nature”. If we can be more attentive to nature then maybe we can be more attentive to the rest of humanity. 

“If you see someone’s upset, maybe go ask them about it. The gesture either way tells them that people care.” 

Kayla says proudly of her rock painting, “this is for the other people out there that are struggling. If I can help someone with these rocks, then it’s worth it. It makes me proud to be that impact.”

In the meantime, how can we all help Kayla spread the message? Kayla says “find some rocks, paint them, and start hiding…” the rest is usually outside of our control. If you’re on the fence thinking about this, Kayla says, “just do it.” How can we encourage the movement locally? “There have been ideas of having a rock painting night.” That would certainly encourage community participation, and assure people that there were rocks out there to be found.

The next time you are out walking about, pay a little more attention to your surroundings, you might see the answers you’ve been waiting for right there in front of you. For me, I’ve been moved to action and I already have the following rocks ready to hide in some meaningful spots along trails I’ve walked. I hope to find some of yours along the way.

Happy Rock Hunting!

Bob Jackson Remembers the Odeon, Invitational Preview.

The Odeon cinema that stood for 30 + years at the edge of Canada is remembered today as a highlight of a by-gone era in Windsor’s social and entertainment history. In the 1960’s, Windsor had an establishment of successful cinema’s operating including several theatres and a few popular drive-ins. Each of these venues featured something that set itself apart from the others. Attached to the already swingin’ Holiday Inn on Riverside Drive, the Odeon cinema was no exception. 

Photo courtesy of Yelda Aslan. I love the message on the sign. It really dates the photo and shows what an impact that particular cliffhanger had on everybody. Thank you, Yelda Aslan

The Windsor Star stated in 1967 that the new Odeon was “equipped with the latest in sound, screen viewing and comfort facilities”. It was a technical advancement from what was currently available maybe in say like the Park, or even the Palace, and probably the drive-ins. The Odeon lobby offered ‘unobstructed’ panoramic views of the Detroit skyline, “also available to those patronizing the main dining room, restaurant and cocktail lounge of the Holiday Inn and many of its 265 rooms.” Indeed, the new Odeon had everything including, “approximately 640 yards of rich Axminster broadloom carpeting [providing] a luxurious atmosphere”. The theatre then set itself apart by hosting an invitational preview one day ahead of its public grand opening. 

Bob Jackson, a local resident of Windsor and avid film-buff was invited to the invitational preview held Tuesday Oct 3 1967. Jackson remembers, “I was 19 years old and I got the invitation in the mail. I dressed up in my three-piece suit. Everyone was dressed to the nines. We all waited as a group, and then went up the stairs to the promenade.  It was a gorgeous theatre, it really was”. 

The Odeon, thank you to Tim Nolan for supplying the photo.

Remember, this is 1960’s, the economy is booming and people were generally more social than today; especially where watching movies are concerned, there was still only one way to see a movie in 1967. It was a time in our culture where people were going out. Opening a new luxury theatre to service that industry seems cause enough to host a gala event like the invitational preview. For Windsor, it was just a small glimpse of what was coming a year later. 

Imagine, having a gala like this, and the following year the world premiere of The Devil’s Brigade is held at the Vanity. What a time to be living in Windsor! Bob Jackson remembers the event, “they had searchlights, and the stars of the movie were there. The red carpet. I was across the street, because you couldn’t get near it, it was blocked off, but everyone was screaming. I saw the limos pull up. It was pretty cool, man”. 

“I saw a lot of movies at the Odeon, but I remember Wait Until Dark  the most. If you ever get the chance to see that, it’s worth it”

“The theatre business was big, big, big. I used to go to the movies constantly. I am still a movie buff, but I just don’t go. It’s too costly, the food-court is ridiculous! So, I stay at home.”  Jackson laments over a social culture in decline and blames cell phones and rising costs for everyone staying home. “Windsor was great back then, it’s not the same, we had the Elmwood where we saw big name stars play, I saw Sammy Davis Jr. and Tom Jones.” 

As Windsor evolves into a new millennium, we see less citizens are going out, and increases in Netflix memberships as they slowly hook everyone in. Why do we not go out anymore? Because we can watch Wait until Dark on our phone, computer, tablet, or i-device. What about the social aspect of making connections or supporting local business? We can follow you on this and like you on that. 

As we digitize our experiences and business’ it makes sense that the need for a physical setting will diminish. Does that have implications we may want to consider? Possibly, if you’d like to attend a gala event like this again one day, better have some place to host it. 

Bob Jackson, at his home in Windsor.

The Odeon never would see the millennium as it burned up in flames that caught the attention of all Windsorites in April 1999. The last thing to go before the riverfront was made over to the glorious public space it has become today, now featuring a truly ‘unobstructed’ view of the Detroit skyline. 

Twenty years later, the Odeon cinema is still remembered for its impact on those of us that remember living life socially and physically as a part of our history. (lucky enough to have been born before the millennials.) Even though none of us are probably willing to trade what we have now for it back, the Odeon was a great place to go when we did go to those places. 

The Windsor Film Society

The Windsor Film Society is something that every film buff in Windsor will want to know about. Outside of Silvercity and Devonshire’s small Classic Films Series, Windsorite’s do not really have a lot of options for seeing older movies. WIFF, and the newly devised WIFF365 which seeks to show movies at least once a month at the Capitol, tend to screen foreign and independent content, not necessarily old and classic. What about the movie buffs that want to see old classic movies on the big screen? 

The Windsor Film Society has just the ticket for such a Windsorite. Theodore Bezaire and Mike Stasko, two popular local filmmakers themselves, formed the Society out of their own passion for movies. Theodore remembers fondly the independent theatres of Toronto – The Bloor Cinema, or The Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles Ave, and would like to create a similar experience here. “I just love watching movies, outside of my house, on a big screen.” Says Bezaire. “Right now, it’s a hobby between just Mike and I, we’re the two guys running it in the hopes that we can build it up, and bring in those audiences every month.”

It is not just about nostalgia for a by-gone era in cinema though, it’s about trying to create a community discussion about film in hopes that it will grow over time. “We do a lot of stuff with the University, because they do have a film program, so we market a bit towards them, these students are interested in films and seeing films in that environment.” The WFS is presenting linked films as a series. The current theme is “Women in the Director’s Chair”. Their last screening featured Sarah Polley’s, Stories We Tell and hosted a discussion with local filmmaker Kim Nelson afterward. They hope to have something similar for the next one. 

“I’d like to get that conversation going more in Windsor,” says Bezaire. If you would like to be part of that discussion, the next screening by the Windsor Film Society is The Babadook, on Feb 26 at the Green Bean Cafe. Be sure to check it out. 

The other part of that love of movies and desire for conversation about them is that Bezaire is also a filmmaker. In 2013, he directed the feature length film, The Birder. In 2006, Bezaire directed Things to Do, which he co-wrote with Stasko. He recollects, “my first feature we did shortly out of film school. It did really well for us, it played at Slamdance, the independent little brother of Sundance. It got a positive review in Variety. It opened a lot of doors for us here in Canada. It got a deal with Mongrel Media, a Canadian distributer for films, and we were in every Blockbuster across Canada.” 

The success of Things to Do, led to The Birder. “With that one, we wanted to step it up with our cast, do something a bit bigger. We brought in Tom Cavanagh, Fred Willard, and Academy Award nominee Graham Greene.” -again, shot in Windsor; and again – more projects in various stages of development ensued. For instance, The Control, “we’re working on distribution on that one now, and most recently, Boys vs. Girls, written and directed by Mike.”– and yet again, these were also shot in Windsor, “we’re trying to shoot more features down here…one of Mike Stasko’s goals as a professor is to give his students opportunities so they can gain some professional experience on a set.”

If you’re like me, you’ve already heard rumblings such as these about the movies in Windsor; but don’t get so excited and start thinking that Hollywood productions are on their way into town – they are not. According to Nick Shields in a recent CBC article, we don’t really have the infrastructure here yet to support them. Bezaire is optimistic that it can be done though: “We’ve had amazing experiences shootings our films here in Windsor. It works for us as local filmmakers, but it may be difficult to bring bigger films to the area…There’s definitely challenges, but maybe we can overcome those challenges.”

As for the infrastructure, Bezaire says, “We definitely need work in that area, but it is getting better. That’s part of what Mike’s trying to do with the University students, so it’s not the first time they’re walking onto a feature set, they understand the process, they understand the workflow, and are not as green as they would be otherwise.”

Giving students experience at making movies is a positive thing for their artistic growth. From that experience they will be better equipped to direct their own first features after leaving school. If there’s two things Essex County is doing really well, it’s growing things and making movies. With the cultivating of youth through these experiences, as well as others that are available, it’s imaginative to wonder what the future film industry may look like one day in Windsor.  

If you have thoughts that you’d like to share, you can always feel free to leave a comment below and start some conversation about movies here in Windsor.

Presenting the Talented Local Make-Up Artist: Monika Preteroti

Monika Preteroti

Monika Preteroti has been doing make-up professionally for almost 6 years. From being the friend in high school that everyone asked, “can you do my make-up?”, to working in beauty shops, with theatre groups, and now running her own successful business, Monika says, “it’s kind of been something I’ve always done.” Like most artists with a passion, her interest actually stems from a much younger age. “When I was little, I used to dig around in my grandma’s make-up closet and lock myself in the bathroom a lot of the time and play with her make-up, so that’s where it really first started.”

Monika was able to eventually find work that allowed her to really learn about the trade. “I was working in New York…and I was able to get a holiday gig at Sephora, and that’s where I finally started to learn for real what make-up was all about and how to apply it properly and what I was doing wrong”. After laying the foundation, Monika says it wasn’t until she moved to Windsor and began working at the Sephora in Devonshire Mall that she fully realized how much she wanted to be a make-up artist. 

“I actually failed my first test and I was absolutely devastated when that happened. So, I worked extra hard afterwards to really learn as much as I could because I finally had that lightbulb moment where I was like, “this is what I have been wanting to do it – allows me my own freedom, it allows creativity, it allows me to play with colour. I booked another exam and I passed the second time.” 

Monika has a wide range of influences that reach beyond the make-up industry alone: “my two favorite visual artists actually are Jackson Pollock and Salvador Dali and they don’t do anything inside the box, right, so it brings out my creativity because there are really no boundaries when it comes to make-up. You literally can do anything with any product.” Within the make-up industry, Monika cites Kevyn Aucoin as a meaningful influence. “He was one of the first big make-up artists to actually make a name for himself before social media was even a thing.” Monika recommends his books as containing basic information every make-up artist should know, and count them as life-changing for her. 

Monika has worked extensively with theatre companies here in Essex County: Windsor Light, Bravo Ballet, Leamington Little Tomatoes, among them. “I’ve had a lot of fun doing make-up for the theatre community. It’s a completely different approach, you over-exaggerate everything because you have to be able to see it from the audience.” Among the shows that Monika has to her credit are: Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Seussical The Musical, The Little Mermaid, Jesus Christ Superstar and several others. “It allows me to play and have fun and learn more because honestly when it comes to make-up you just never stop learning, there is always something new to grasp when it comes to knowledge or technique or application.” Monika is currently working with ACT, they are putting on The Wiz in March at the Capitol Theatre. 

Monika is just one example of the ambitious artists that are available to the burgeoning movie industry in Windsor. “I’m always looking for a new challenge and a new experience. I’ve always been curious about movies, and would love to be involved with them.”

There is a stigma in our culture that the beauty industry is vain or materialistic. Monika will hear none of that: “make-up is enhancing someone’s already present beauty. It’s something to make someone feel a little more confident to step out of their comfort zone and feel like they have that superhero cape on. I’ve seen people go from a shy little girl to a confident queen, just from having their make-up done. It’s one of the most rewarding feelings knowing that I made someone feel beautiful and confident. It is so many things, but it’s not the vain industry that people perceive it to be.”

Monika has lived all over including Toronto and New York. She has lived in Windsor for a total of 12-13 years, and for the last 7 and a half years straight. What draws artists to Windsor? “The local arts scene in this city is just blooming. There is always something new to see and always something new to experience. It always helps to see someone else’s creativity for you to want to build on your own. We have so many talented musicians, artists, and make-up artists, hair stylists, and so many people in the Art community. The talent is absolutely endless here, and it’s such a close-knit community and everyone vibes so well off one another.” 

Now that Monika is settled in Windsor, and with so much experience, and success starting to flood in, what’s next? She has several short terms goals including to have her name become very well-known within the bridal community. As for long-term goals, she’d love to own her own make-up line. “It would be a dream come true to be able to create my own make-up and to be able to put my name on something that I love and believe in, and have put all of my favorite touches on it.” 

Monika is a mobile artist who looks forward to having a home studio in the near future. “Having a home studio in general is so important for what I do because that way you get to create that personal space for your clients that makes them feel extra pampered. I want to give them a place where they want to go.”

The process of opening this business has been a lengthy one. “It has taken a lot of patience. Building the clientele has really been the challenge: Getting your name out there, making sure you’re putting things out there that people actually want to see, making sure that you are up to date on all of your social media, making sure that you are putting out enough content that people will stay interested. That’s a big challenge for someone who’s not a huge online person; I do think that I’m slowly getting the hang of it. I am getting better at my content and posting things that people want to see, I’m also getting better at my craft the more that I work at it. I’ve set a high standard for myself, I want people to ask you, ‘who did your make-up?’

At MMBeauty, you can receive bridal service packages for brides and bridesmaids, full facial make-up application services including eye lash strips. “I use a lot of Sephora products, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Too Faced, Make Up Forever, Urban Decay, I especially love learning about new brands and supporting indie and smaller brands.”

Visit Monika Preteroti for professional make-up application, an inviting atmosphere and a bubbly personality for that one of a kind and personal experience. Her busy time is the summer wedding season, with Halloween being extremely busy and Christmas as well. Trust that when you leave her studio, you will feel like the best version of yourself. To Windsor, Monika would like to say, “the best make-up you can wear is a smile.” 

For booking, please refer to the following contact information:


(519) 817-5536

And be sure to like and follow on 

Facebook: @MMBeauty_Windsor

Instagram: MM Beauty Windsor

A Brief History of Windsor Cinema Review

Over the 20thcentury, Windsor was home to almost 20 movie theatres of various size and success. A few of them, for the better part of that century, had a glorious run in this city and were staples of the local entertainment culture; two of them – The Olde Walkerville Theatre, and the Capitol Theatre, still have movie screenings in some form to this date. Their resiliency is incredible in the current online streaming culture of the day. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular ones from last century. 

Roughly the former site of the Odeon. At least this space has been converted to a scenic walking trail along the glorious riverfront.

The Empire, The Palace, The Vanity, The Kent, and The Odeon (to name just 5, there are more) were at one point operating at the same time, these five cinemas were all mere minutes apart and operating within the city core. The Empire, Palace, Vanity and Odeon were all downtown, and The Kent was on Ottawa St; operating just down the street from it was the Park Theatre. Such success is emblematic of a time when movies were viewed one way, on the big screen. Their commercial success allowed not just for larger theatres to operate downtown, but also smaller theatres in individual neighbourhoods, such as the two on Ottawa St. and the Royal Theatre on Sandwich St. to operate as well. It seems like a vibrant time in this city to be so full of movie-going options. 

Operating just a few blocks south of the Palace on Ouellette Ave. was the Vanity Theatre, opening in 1937, and closing in the late 1980’s. This building would later be several failed nightclubs, including its final incarnation as the Blind Dog, and demolished in 2016. Notably, Vanity Theatre once hosted a world premiere of The Devil’s Brigade in 1968. With such cinematic glory in its past, it’s tempting to believe such glory will return this century. 

The Vanity Theatre once occupied that empty space. A world premiere once happened right on Ouellette Ave.

In the other direction, take a left on Pitt Street West, and on top of the current parking lot for the Federal Building, once stood the Empire Theatre. The Empire opened on December 5 1918 and proudly advertised to be ‘Windsor’s lowest price theatre’ – wouldn’t it be great if we saw more proclamations like this today? Wouldn’t it be great if we saw more theatres today? 

Current parking behind the Federal Building.

The Palace will likely be the theatre and building most readers remember. It ran for nearly a century, eventually closing the doors permanently on Jan 7 2012 to make way for the new Windsor Star building. It originally opened in 1918 as the Allen Theatre, a national chain. Simon Meretsky bought it in 1923 and for nearly 30 years it was home to great vaudeville acts and Hollywood movies. From there, it carried on under several franchises – Famous Players, Odeon, I remember it most clearly as the Cineplex Odeon when I was growing up here in the 1990’s. Though it changed hands many times and opened under so many different names, it was always the Palace, a beautiful charming relic of the past, and for most of us, our favorite place by far in Windsor to see a movie. For more information on the Palace’s storied past, please see here: https://windsorstar.com/life/a-history-of-the-palace-theatre

In addition to these larger theatres, there have been several other smaller theatres over the years: Regent Theatre, Super Cinemas, Temple Theatre, Imperial Theatre to name a few. Older perhaps than even those are The Windsor, and the Wyandotte theatres.

There is not a lot of information known about these cinemas, so I reach out you, the cinematic Windsor community. Do you remember these theatres? Please use the Contact form to get in touch if you would like to share your stories with us. The rest of the cinematic Windsor community will greatly appreciate such a unique treasure. We look forward to hearing about the past from you in the future. 

Big City Lights 2

Windsor’s Jackson Park is again lit up with festive Christmas lights and designs for the holiday season. This year’s festive opening featured a speech from the mayor making this feel already like a much loved civic event. Train rides, hot chocolate, face painting, and other attractions – like guys on stilts and guys in Santa suits – all added cheer and excitement to the celebration of the evening.

Along the trail you’ll see cinematic trees. This one reminds me of the Cat in the Hat.

These remind me of planets in our solar system, orbiting our Christmas season with cinematic grace.

well, no comment.

Happy New Year!

Five Great Things About Windsor

Intimate Neighbourhoods

Windsor is comprised of many smaller neighbourhoods all woven together to form one tightly knit little city. In any one of them you’ll find lovely walking routes, neighbourhood parks and green spaces, the beautiful architecture of schools built in the early 1900’s, and a community of citizens that know and support each other. Sound like something out of Mayberry? Windsor is that perfect size city, small enough to be intimate, large enough to escape into; it is a big city with a small town vibe. The first question you ask when you meet someone in Windsor is, “Where did you go to school?” – We know all the schools, we know people that went to those schools, and we love connecting the dots about how we all know each other. Welcome to Windsor, baby!

The River

The riverfront features a 5 km walkway that’s lined with sculpture art, parks, memorials, lush gardens and premium seating views of the Detroit skyline. Visit the flocks of geese that stalk the area with their goslings, and be amazed by their majestic flight as they float or soar along the banks. The festival season literally ignites with one of the finest fireworks displays cracking, bringing on average over a million people to both riverfronts. The river has a romantic energy all year round befitting a Woody Allen movie; don’t be surprised to see steamy windows on cars parked at the river on warm nights.


In Windsor, the restaurants are as good as it gets and feature a bit of everything. A little Italy hosts fine Italian dining and lights up Erie St. with a buzz. Award winning pizza is available from local Armando’s and Johnny Piez. Rino’s, Bubi’s, and Motor Burger have all been featured on the hit television show “You Gotta Eat Here”. Windsor also boasts undiscovered neighbourhood gems all over the place like Marco’s. Downtown highlights include several pub dining options like The Loose Goose and locations like The City Grill and The Bistro At The River. Windsor’s restaurants are as diverse as its neighbourhoods are with worldly options like Mazaar Lebanese Cuisine, Hikari, Sushi California Japanese Restaurant, Marathon Ethiopian Restaurant, and Shawarma Palace to name but a few to satisfy your tastes. Yes, there is something for everyone here.


One of the reasons there are so many places to eat in Windsor is because there is so much to do in Windsor for entertainment. Who doesn’t love dinner and a show? Perhaps the largest venue is Casino Windsor, but that is merely the tip of the iceberg. Windsor is home to sports teams like the Express and the beloved Spitfires. It has several options to see quality theatre including the WSO, Windsor Light Music Theatre, Korda Artistic Productions, the Purple Theatre Company, University Players, and Windsor Dance Experience. Venues like the Colosseum and WFCU Centre feature topnotch concerts and shows as well. Film festivals, parades, museums, aquatic adventure, and so much more one could write a book on Entertaining Windsor.

The County

Just a quick drive south, the county of Essex has so much to offer visitors and locals alike. Award winning wineries lace the area from Amherstburg through Kingsville in a stunning drive along the shore of Lake Erie. Wine not your thing? Stop at several farm fresh vegetable stands throughout the county and buy local quality food.  You can experience a bit of the nineteenth century historic settlements like John R. Park Homestead and Fort Malden, or watch the sun set over the lake in a beautiful blaze of color.

Windsor Cinema Review

In my lifetime, I can recall several cinemas that are no longer with us. I saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with my family at the old Forest Glade Cinemas. I remember the Lauzon Parkway Cinemas, the Palace downtown of course and the old Devonshire Mall, too. There was also one on Riverside Dr. at the old hotel across from the old art gallery. All of them operating at the same time. It all seems crushingly long ago.
Clearly, Windsor has a long standing movie going enthusiasm for it to support so many theatres all at once.
The modern era of movie going is crowded as more people herd to fewer locations. It is an overwhelming sensory experience that is distracting. Perhaps that’s why we didn’t notice or seem to care that the current concession pricing is deplorable. Even more sickening is the way larger sizes are pushed on you at a “value”, a trend that encourages modern excessive consumption. What a Capitalist thing to do, eh – open a big cineplex with a lot of screens, drawing all of the business to you shutting down local independent cinemas in the process, and then raise prices sky high once they’ve cornered the market.

What happened to the simple charm of lights around colourful movie posters. Or the chatter of excited movie goers squawking about their experience – now we’re too busy tweeting about it to engage in the conversation. Call me old fashioned or 20th century, but I prefer those settings that are intimate and more conducive to friends hanging out or couples on dates.
Although Windsor does not have a full-time independent movie cinema, there are still plenty of alternatives to Silvercity and Devonshire.
The Olde Walkerville Theatre sometimes shows movies. For instance, on Sat May 19 2018, they are showing Ashes of K – this should be of interest because it was filmed in the Windsor Detroit area. They also have a film fest coming in June.

Outside of WIFF, you can also see WIFF365, every second Thursday  of each month at the Capitol Theatre. The Chrysler Theatre as well sometimes shows movies. I recall seeing The Only Living Boy In New York there as part of last years WIFF. Occasionally, you will see slightly older family favourites such as The Nut Job or movies with newly minted classic status such as Ghostbusters or Raiders of the Lost Ark at Devonshire – and kudos to Devonshire for screening them.

Apart from these, however, Windsor really does not have an old fashion movie cinema dedicated to showing older movies. Larger cities such as Toronto still have several to offer. Do you think Windsor needs a movie cinema? Post to comments to share your thoughts and experience.