Public invited to Nov. 20 birthday party for River Oaks Theatre

Although it may be closed for the time being, the River Oaks Theatre and its illustrious history in the city of Houston will still be celebrated when the theater turns 83 years old on Nov. 20. (Staff photo)
Although it may be closed for the time being, the River Oaks Theatre and its illustrious history in the city of Houston will still be celebrated when the theater turns 83 years old on Nov. 20. (Staff photo)

Although it may be closed for the time being, the River Oaks Theatre and its illustrious history in the city of Houston will still be celebrated when the theater turns 83 years old on Nov. 20. (Staff photo)

Although it may be closed for the time being, the River Oaks Theatre and its illustrious history in the city of Houston will still be celebrated when the theater turns 83 years old on Nov. 20, and the public is invited to help celebrate.

The party is being organized by the Friends of River Oaks Theatre, a group formed after the theater was closed during the coronavirus pandemic to fight to keep it from being demolished.

"Over these many years it's been a lot of different things to people, from the cultural aspect to the entertainment aspect, to the aspect of getting together with likeminded friends to watch films together," said Cynthia Neely, one of several co-founders of Friends of River Oaks Theatre. "We just want to see that continue, and to see that continue in its historic architectural form."

The event will run from 7:30-9 p.m. at 2009 West Gray St., Houston. Prior to the event, Friends of River Oaks Theatre solicited feedback from the public for film clips from movies people saw at the theater that left an impression on them. Those clips will be compiled into a clip reel and projected at the party from the Houston History Bus, Neely said. Houston City Council Member Abbie Kamin is also expected to make a proclamation recognizing the theater's birthday.

River Oaks Theatre, which opened in 1939, is known for its art deco architecture and for showing a wide variety of films, including independent and foreign films, over its long tenure in Houston. Houston native directors Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson have lent their voices in support of keeping the theater alive.


The fate of the theater is still up in the air, with owner Kimco Realty negotiating with possible future tenants. Friends of River Oaks Theatre is among the groups vying for the lease and has created a business plan that has been passed on to Kimco, Neely said.

"We have complete faith in our ability to run and operate the theater as a nonprofit," she said. "It has the potential to be magnificent, to return to what we want it to be plus the addition of live art events."

Above all else, Neely said the group's goal is to preserve the building and its use as a movie theater. Even if they do not get the lease, she said the group—which operates as a nonprofit and is in the process of getting its official designation—would continue to work to help make the theater a success however it can.

"We call it the church of film because it provided so many different things to nourish our souls," Neely said. "It’s more than just a building. It’s very important to the community and a part of us."

Since the theater remains closed, the event will take place outside, behind the theater. Guests are encouraged to patronize nearby businesses in the River Oaks District for food and beverages, Neely said.

Learn more about Friends of River Oaks Theatre here.


MOST RECENT

Zoo Lights is a light show within the Houston Zoo that happens every year. (Courtesy Houston Zoo Lights)
9 holiday light displays to see in the Greater Houston area

Check out these nine free and ticketed displays to see through December and January in the Houston area.

Mendocino Farms, a fast casual restaurant known for its wide-ranging and seasonally inspired menu options is slated to open in the M-K-T Heights development Dec. 14. (Courtesy Mendocino Farms)
Mendocino Farms set for Dec. 14 opening in the Heights

A fast-casual restaurant known for its wide-ranging and seasonally inspired menu options is slated to open in the M-K-T Heights development Dec. 14.

Tomball City Council approved a development agreement with Lovett Industrial for 240 acres at Hwy. 249, Rocky Road Nov. 29. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Tomball City Council approves development of 240 acres at Hwy. 249, Rocky Road; JLB Eatery coming soon to Katy and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 1.

HCSO Assistant Chief Mike Lee presents information on the county's new safety policing initiative Nov. 30. (Emily Lincke/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County approves $2.6M program to fight violent crime in unincorporated areas

“We are strategically pinpointing and then attacking crime, and the best part of it is we are doing it hand in hand with the community,” Judge Lina Hidalgo said.

A proposed entertainment zone in Midtown could allow a handful of establishments to sell alcohol that previously could not due to their proximity to a church in the area. (Courtesy city of Houston)
Proposed Midtown entertainment zone could come before Houston City Council in next few weeks

A proposed entertainment zone in Midtown could allow a handful of establishments to sell alcohol that previously could not due to their proximity to a church in the area.

Crust Pizza Co. is opening soon in Montgomery and Willis. (Courtesy Crust Pizza Co.)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: 5 businesses coming to McKinney; Crust Pizza Co. to open two locations in Montgomery, Willis and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 30.

Houston Methodist will use a philanthropic gift to advance its cancer research and care. (Courtesy Houston Methodist)
With $25M gift, Houston Methodist to expand cancer research, care

Houston Methodist will use a recent philanthropic gift to expand its cancer research and care.

A 1,500-square-foot covered outdoor patio will provide resort-style seating for 100 people. (Courtesy Tyler Barrera)
Patio bar Highline Park opening Dec. 3 in M-K-T Heights development

Just over two months after the opening of Mayan-inspired Casa Nomad within the mixed-use M-K-T Heights development on North Shepherd Drive, the same trio of developers are preparing to open a new patio bar next door.

The median home price in the Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto area has risen considerably since last October. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Home sales, costs in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto remain hotter than Greater Austin; Halal Guys opens in Pearland and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 29.

Guests take part in a painting class at a past Mistletoe Market. (Courtesy Midtown Houston)
Local vendors to descend on Midtown for annual Mistletoe Market

Houstonians invited to come out and support local businesses Dec. 10-11 at Midtown Houston's annual Mistletoe Market, featuring 17 local vendors offering handmade, holiday-themed gifts.

Commissioners on Nov. 22 voted to approve a density change to preliminary plans for The Preserve, a neighborhood that city documents said could include 565 single-family homes at the northeast corner of Teel and Panther Creek Parkways. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Neighborhood near PGA Frisco could see larger lots; ERCOT says Texas power grid ready for expected winter demand and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 24.