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CIVR Blog: Avalon Theatre

Photo courtesy Santa Catalina Island Company

Avalon Theatre at the Catalina Casino
Santa Catalina Island Company

Don’t forget to see a movie on Catalina Island

Ask for a list of must-dos when you visit Catalina Island and that list will vary depending on the interests of the person who answers. One item that will frequently appear on many of those lists tends to surprise new visitors to this Southern California destination.

On the mainland, going to the movies means visiting a homogenous multi-plex, where there is little to identify the theater, let alone the city. At Avalon’s movie theater, however, you’ll be watching the latest flick in one of California’s most distinctive landmarks – the Catalina Casino Building.

Don’t feel self-conscious if you walk in and immediately gasp in wonder. Even those of us who’ve lived here for years still find ourselves in awe of the Avalon Theatre and you’ll often see half the audience staring about in wide-eyed wonder. Fantastic murals depict early California, Spanish explorers and whimsical creatures and exemplify the artistry of the early 20th century. Bas relief faces peer from the frames above doorways and lights twinkle in the massive ceiling, reminiscent of Catalina Island’s spectacular night sky. Over the stage, Venus rises from the sea, in a dramatic homage to Boticelli.

No matter what the movie, the drama on screen frequently pales in comparison to the architectural wonder of the Avalon Casino, making it a must-do part of any visit to Catalina Island.

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