After two months of reimagining and remodeling, The Palace Theater at 818 Georgia Ave. will reopen Wednesday with a new identity and focus.
The front will be a storefront/bar/art gallery featuring local art from underserved artists, jewelry and various knickknacks. In the back, the former Palace Picture House has been transformed into a multiuse event space that will host select film screenings, live music, trivia nights, comedy shows and other events.
Owner Rose Cox said she wants visitors to be overwhelmed by art and love when they walk in the door.
“I want people to be shocked at first—the pure shock of something beautiful, that feeling of there’s so much art in here you have to stay for hours and drink a beer,” she said.
The reopening is dubbed Bad Romance: An Anti-Valentine’s Day. Beginning at 11 a.m., guests can mingle in the front of the building. Live music and tarot card readings begin at 7 p.m., followed by a screening of “Teeth” at 9:30 p.m. and a sneak peek of upcoming comedy events.
Admission is free. Beers and beer cocktails will be available.
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Flashlight Shows will return as well. Partner is scheduled for March 10, and Weaves will perform April 22.
Cox said movies were the original catalyst for the theater, so she wants to continue offering screenings. The Sunday Slashers series will focus on the history of punk rock with a screening of “The Damned: Bet You Wish We Were Dead” at 8 p.m. Feb 25.
“We’re keeping everything reasonably priced (about $5), but the movies are the most expensive because I have to pay the distributor,” she said. “Our movie tix are around $10, but if I can get it for cheaper, I’ll put it on cheaper. We’re not going to jack anything up.”
WTCI will continue PBS at the Palace screenings Thursday. The free screening of a Lorraine Hansberry documentary will be at 6 p.m. Fancy Rhino will present a screening of “Dayveon” with director Amman Abbasi at 8 p.m.
A selection of proceeds from upcoming events will benefit Bazar, a collective of women with the mission to showcase mostly female-identifying artists from throughout the Southeast.
The organization will seek to make the art gallery “an immersive exhibition experience … with … many mediums at many different price points.”
“It’s going to be a unique store in the fact the lobby is also a bar,” Cox said. “It will be art from the ceiling to the floor. I’m trying to make it represent 80 percent female or female-identifying and marginalized groups.”
Cox started Bazar following the demise of the former Palace Picture House in December. After their lease ended, Cox went back to the owners of the Tomorrow Building and renewed herself.
“I just kind of woke up one day and said, ‘I’m going to make it bigger,'” she said. “I’m kind of trying to get ahead of the concept and hope that it works here like it does in other cities. I’m kind of rolling the dice, but I think there are enough people here who love the arts.”
She said she couldn’t have done it without the “boss babes” of Bazar, who will help with operations and the vision. Cox will be executive director, and Alecia Vera Buckles will serve as curator and creative director, alongside board members Jaden Ralph and Meri Wright.
Cox said she also wants people to enjoy the space during the day.
“When I was here before just stocking beer, people would stop by and ask what was here,” she said. “There’s a lot of foot traffic. We eventually want to do pizza by the slice and host lunchtime screenings.”
The gallery will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.