Sunday, September 15, 2013

Amazing Juxtaposing of the Old & the New in Silver Spring

Today (September 15, 2013) is a fascinating day in Silver Spring.

Purely by happenstance two events are going that on the surface have nothing in common. Yet, these two simultaneous events offer an amazing juxtaposing of the old and the new in Silver Spring.

The Silver Theatre turned 75 years young yesterday, September 14th.  Through the years this theatre has provided the Silver Spring community a gathering place like no other. To understand what movie houses meant to America in 1938 when the Silver Theatre opened its doors is to capture an essential sentiment that – in part – shaped the ‘Greatest Generation’ a few years later. Movie houses were where you went to refresh your body and mind. The news-reels provided that visual mind-imprint that we now take for granted; but back then it was more than novelty. It was innovative, chick, hip, and all those cliché words that say: “interesting and fun.”

Oh, if the Silver Theatre could talk!... How many of today’s Silver Spring residents dreamed up their ideas for this community as they sat there watching movies during their youth!?... How many activists concocted their actions at watering holes after attending a great premier there!?... And, how many film enthusiasts lamented the decline that accompanied its decay before the American Film Institute came to the rescue barely a decade ago?

Today the AFI is celebrating the Silver Theatre’s 75 Anniversary as this great Institution enters its second decade in the heart of Silver Spring. There will be free showing of the same movie that was shown when the Theatre first opened, Warner Bros.’s Four Daughters. The showing will be accompanied by the same news-reel and cartoons that were shown before the movie. More info:

Today in downtown Silver Spring we also come together to celebrate with our Ethiopian community in the third Ethiopian Festival.

No successful urban place in the USA remains static over the years. For an urban place to be relevant, economically viable, and socially vibrant, it must change with the realities of the times. Successful urban places embrace change and weave it into the fabric that defines the community. In Silver Spring today, the presence of the Ethiopian community is a tremendous asset to our economic and social fabric.

We are fortunate to have one of the most successful public spaces where our community gathers to celebrate, Veterans Plaza. Today, this wonderful public realm will be transformed into a joyous festival where we can come together to partake of ‘all things Ethiopian’ in a uniquely Silver Spring way. More info:
For beautiful pictures of last year’s event, visit;

This juxtaposing of the old and the new in Silver Spring truly bodes well for our community. As we celebrate our heritage and our past today while looking forward to a vibrant future, I wonder with awe how in 2088 we will look back 75 years (to today) in Silver Spring; what will be our memories; what will be our stories?... Somehow, I have a good feeling about this!

enJoy today in Silver Spring!

Reemberto Rodriguez, Director

Silver Spring Regional Area

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