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