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Theater opening put off 2 weeks

The installment of a sound system delays the opening of the rehabbed Britton Cinema 8.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 29, 2002

BRITTON CINEMA ON HOLD: Originally scheduled to re-open today, the old Britton Plaza movie house on Dale Mabry Highway is now tentatively scheduled to open April 12.

Tony Koudouna, vice president of operations for new owners Entertainment Film Works, said the Atlanta-based movie chain has spent about $400,000 renovating the theater. Among the finishing touches delaying opening is the installment of the sound system, Koudouna said.

Britton 8 closed a year ago after struggling in the new era of 20-plus megaplexes and stadium seating. But Entertainment Film Works hasn't retrofitted Britton Cinema 8 with steeply graded auditoriums and lavishly-themed lobbies. Their specialty is buying failed six-to-10 screen theaters, renovating them, and re-opening them to serve the megaplex refugees.

"These smaller theaters are the backbone of the industry," said Steve Pritzker, spokesman for Entertainment Film Works. That may or may not be, but Koudouna said Britton Cinema 8 will likely have lower ticket prices than the bigger, new theaters.

Undercutting the competition? "That's a word I don' like to use," Koudouna said with a laugh.

* * *

GALAXY RECORDS CLOSED: The Henderson Boulevard record shop had one record that locally no other had:

Nearly 18 years in the same spot and no changes in ownership.

When it recently closed, a title was relinquished. Tampa's best source of Latin music was no more. From a dance-head's perspective, Galaxy stocked both kinds -- salsa and merengue -- but also had folk music from all over Latin America, Latin jazz, plus American dance and rock.

This much about the shop won't be missed: streetside parking spaces, which left the tails of most cars in peril.

* * *

IF THE SHOE FITS: InStyle's March issue features Mark Schwartz' $275 laser-printed, heeled slides in an article titled, "When your wardrobe needs a shot in the armoire."

Last August, the magazine called his $595 croc sandals "must haves." Katie Couric wears Schwartz sandals in the Jan. 14 issue of People magazine.

Until now, finding Schwartz' shoes required a trip to New York, to his shop at 45 Spring St., and a few other boutiques. Soon his footwear will be on the shelves at Koko and Palenki at International Plaza, right beside Kate Spade, Christian Lacroix, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Moschino. Schwartz is known for eclectic fabric -- Chinese burlap, laser printed suede, real skins.

- Times staff writer Amy Scherzer contributed to this report.

-- Do you know something that should be Everybody's Business? Call Michael Canning at 226-3408 or e-mail him

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