owner's blog

In memoriam: An open letter to Bloomington about The Cinemat

To all those who read this page, welcome.

THE CINEMAT was a store with two halves. Half was a live-performance venue in downtown Bloomington. Previously, that half had been a movie screening room. Before that, that half was something of a coffeehouse. (It took a while for us to find its mission.)

The other half of The Cinemat, and its main line of business from its opening on August 30, 2002 until February 15, 2009, was a video-rental store, near the end of the era when that line of business made economic sense. Both halves of The Cinemat were at least halfway decent places, either to rent a DVD or tape or to see a music show.

The Cinemat closed its doors for good on May 18, 2009. It leaves behind its upstairs neighbor, THE FUNNY BONE, Bloomington's first full-time comedy club, which opened in September 2008. The Funny Bone is the new home of The Cinemat's longest performance tradition, ATOMIC AGE CINEMA, which features horrible movies horribly mocked "live" by horrible beings. As far as we know, they're still there every Saturday night at midnight. (The fiends who run AAC are also responsible for the DARK CARNIVAL FILM FESTIVAL.)

The Cinemat was replaced in September 2009 by a pub called THE BISHOP. Our former Renting Room is now The Bishop's barroom (21+ only). In the room formerly known as our Screening Room, The Bishop carries on The Cinemat's tradition of presenting modern music by up-and-coming bands, for patrons 18 and over.

The Cinemat's parent company and its founder and owner Steve Volan, have no ownership interest, nor managerial involvement, in either The Bishop or The Funny Bone. We do, however, wish them the greatest success.

We acknowledge The Cinemat's predecessors in Bloomington downtown video rental, Classic Pyx (2002-2005) and the granddaddy of them all, Classical Film & Music (1986-2001), both formerly of Fountain Square Mall. The Cinemat urges its customers, and any discriminating consumers of the best in movie rental, to go just a couple blocks north of its old location, to PLAN NINE FILM EMPORIUM at 213 N. Walnut Street. Their collection is perhaps the largest if not the greatest ever assembled in the state of Indiana.

We also note the live-performance venues that came before The Cinemat in the first floor of the historic Knights of Columbus building: The Cellar Lounge, The Wild Beet, The Icehouse and RHINO'S (which still exists down the street at 331 S. Walnut). The Bishop carries on their legacies.

As of this writing, we are still selling off the remainder of our movie collection. You can browse what we have left for sale at THE CINEMAT'S AMAZON PAGE. We have more than 1000 titles left from our collection which at its peak numbered more than 5000. We are hopeful that they will all be sold by year's end. (If you have a DVD or VHS tape in your possession with a sticker marked "The Cinemat," it has been legally sold and is no longer the property of The Cinemat. We are grateful that our films found so many good Bloomington homes.)

We want to thank employees Nathan V, Heather D, Steve J; past employees like Michael A, David B, Amy K, Jay M, Mike P, Andrea R, Walker R, Brandon R, George S, and most of all Colleen; and all our customers. They made The Cinemat someplace good and worthwhile for about seven years in Bloomington.

Steve Volan
November 2009

Crazy Steve's House of DVDs

Friday was a crazy day for us. We are busy processing the orders from the many people whose orders we could not complete yesterday, as well as handling people coming in today.

Once again, our entire collection of 5000+ titles is for sale, the vast majority at 50% of retail. The Renting Room will be open 5-9pm through March 31.

Search function is working

Customers may now search our database for films (see button in top menu above). Unfortunately, it is designed only to display titles that are still in stock. We will try to rectify this issue within a day or two, but for the time being, titles that sell will no longer appear in search results.

The Cinemat ceases video rental operations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE • February 17, 2009


Bloomington, Indiana -- The Cinemat has ceased video rental operations effective Monday, February 16, 2009.

The Cinemat Screening Room will continue to be open for events and performances through at least Tuesday, March 31, including this weekend's Oscar telecast. The store hopes to be able to confirm by next week that it will take bookings, and remain open for all shows booked, through Saturday, May 16.

The Cinemat's rental collection of more than 4500 DVDs and 1000 VHS tapes will be made available for sale to the public beginning Friday, Feb. 20. Sale hours will be 5 to 9 pm daily until the collection is sold or until March 31, whichever comes first. The Cinemat's holdings will be searchable at thecinemat.com at that time, and titles which have been sold already will be noted there.

Cinemat members with unused rental credits will be able to put those credits toward the purchase of movies at the credits' full value of $3.60 each.

The Cinemat recommends that its customers continue renting at Plan 9 Video, another independent video rental store two blocks north at 213 N. Walnut St. Their collections have much in common, and Plan 9 will acquire a portion of the Cinemat's collection this week. Plan 9 will also honor Cinemat memberships and rental credits.

The Cinemat opened in August 2002 in the Knights of Columbus Building at the northeast corner of Fourth and Walnut Streets, and ends its rental service after more than six and a half years in business. A variety of factors led to owner Steve Volan's decision to close, including the general downturn in the economy, the advent of Websites like YouTube and Hulu and new technologies like the Netflix Player by Roku.

The Funny Bone, on the second floor of the Knights of Columbus building, unaffected by this change, will continue doing its funny business as usual.

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Oct. 1: The Cinemat welcomes The Funny Bone

Hi all, Steve here to update you on the many changes happening at 4th & Walnut.

The biggest change you may have noticed lately is that we have a new upstairs neighbor, the Funny Bone Comedy Club, which just opened last Thursday, Sept. 25. The Funny Bone is

Help wanted: Screening Room assistant

We have an immediate need for an assistant to help duty clerks with the conduct of events in the Screening Room, who'll help in:

-- setting up the room before an event
-- taking admissions
-- delivering beverages/concessions that have been ordered at the front counter
-- cleaning up/bussing tables after the event.

The assistant may also be asked to:
-- change the exterior marquee
-- put up flyers for upcoming shows in certain locations downtown.

The ideal candidate will have about 10 hours a week available and an alcohol server's permit.

If you're interested, send email to owner@thecinemat.com by Monday, April 14.

Our Calendar is fully operational

Okay, so the newsletters aren't quite up and running yet. But our new calendar is. Just click on the "Calendar" link in the menu just below our logo up there for a complete look at what's coming to the Screening Room in the next few weeks. (Courtesy Google Calendar.)

For more information, or to book an event of your own, call our new Bookings & Promotions number: +1 812 650 4503, or email bookings AT thecinemat DOT com. The Screening Room can be rented for a show for as little as $25!

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Newsletters coming September 17

Stay tuned!

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