Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Saturday night at Sundance 608: Cute little Zen garden, mediocre movie, lousy prices

The Zen garden beneath the stairs to the second floor restaurant at Sundance 608 was a nice touch. "After the Wedding," the movie we chose, was a kind of Danish mashup of "Scenes from a Marriage" with "Days of Our Lives," and it wasn't very good -- even at the UW Cinematheque, where films are free, it would have seemed a bit overpriced. But the screening room was intimate and comfortable, the projection and sound were excellent, and we had a good time.

The only sour note was the $3.00/ticket "reserved seating fee" which we wrongly thought we could avoid by buying tickets in person just before the show. Nope. I was misinformed -- and our ticket tab for two on Saturday night was $23.50. All the seating is reserved, and there is always a fee except for the noon showings on weekdays -- though it varies with the time. Check with theater for details.

Our theater wasn't very full. There's something really surreal about paying a reserved seating tariff to go into a half-empty theater. Who needs a reserved ticket when you could have your choice of almost any seat in the house? I think Sundance looked at all those condos going up around Hilldale and misjudged the local market. Madison is an affluent city, but not one where all that many people want to spend big bucks to go to a movie.

Maybe Sundance needs the money to pay their Zen master to rake the sand and keep the garden looking pristine and soothing for moviegoers. But heck -- for the cost of Saturday night's show, I could almost have bought my own table top Zen garden, complete with sand and miniature rakes.


Nonanon said...

I may just be a crank, but I am annoyed by the entire Sundance theater scene. Primarily because I don't think this city did a very good job of supporting the Westgate theater (or really even the Orpheum), which have been doing a great job bringing in different films for a reasonable price and in good basic surroundings. Sundance 608 just seems to me like another "bigger, better" option that will be neither bigger nor better (just like, ahem, another little project downtown known as "Overture.")

Goodness, I am bitter today.

Madison Guy said...

It's all about condo magnets.