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Midnight at The Ken

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

by Joe Landon

There is a special feeling I get in the minutes and hours after watching an impactful movie, and the cinema experience serves to enhance this feeling. By spending two hours absorbing the stylized world in front of you, the real world slips quietly away and you're left with a sort of dreamy sensation. This was not my experience with the midnight showing of Halloween at the Ken Cinema, but it was close. For any reader, who like yours truly is an inhabitant of the PL womb, the drive to Kensington is an obstacle that nearly outweighs the virtues of the theater going experience. However, the odyssey out east can be made more enjoyable by stopping for a small espresso at Gelato Vero, a cafe so soaked in a nostalgic sentimental feeling that I wouldn't shy away from calling it my “happy place.” What I like to think is the closest thing to a European cafe closes at 11 P.M., so be sure to plan accordingly. From there to Kensington is a mere matter of riding the caffeine buzz down “The Boulevard,” which comes complete with neon signs and swanky restaurants. Kensington, the scene of the theater, can be summed up by a brief conversation I overheard between two locals.

“Be careful walking home” a woman in affluent attire said.

“Yeah, because it’s really dangerous around here” a man replied, “especially down here," he added, as he walked towards what looked to be a mini version of the “Wooded Area.”

I was expecting to be put off by the self proclaimed importance of the Ken Cinema, but was pleasantly surprised by the all around grimness of the institution. The bathroom was dilapidated and reeked, the seats inside the cinema were a step above uncomfortable, the soles of my shoes slightly stuck to the floor as a cool draft of air wafted through the room from an unknown origin. The classically wide theater made me reminisce about movies in the old days. I sat in the third row from the front, isolated with my leather jacket and cold hands. I choose such a close seat in a homage to the movie The Dreamers; I wanted to see things first. As a custom, I shy away from horror movies. Halloween had its moments, particularly at the beginning when the stalking POV still seems novel and unsettling. Indeed, I did jump at a few scares, but as the movie progressed, the story descended into a cheese feast. Although the movie was not my cup of tea, it was the movie going experience that gave me an escape from the crushing amount of “work” I should be doing.

Midnight at the Ken is just the right amount of uptown class with downtown cinema, just be sure to bring someone to keep your hand warm.


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