I found out some horrible news this past week. One of my favorite places in Memphis is closing at the end of January.
My personal history with Bookstar began sometime in the Fall of 1996. I went there to find a book for a class I was taking at the University of Memphis...
I fell in love with the atmosphere, the quirky feel the building possessed....
(hence the not-so great black/white photos taken with my first digital camera)
But the space has a larger history, outside of myself. It used to be the Plaza Theater from 1952 until it closed in September 1989.
The renovation for a Bookstar kept a lot of the relics from the old movie theater, including the ticket booth outside the entrance, which helped to preserve the fun feel:
"Except for the leveled floor, the main room has the shape and feel of a large theater. A movie screen hangs over the magazine racks on one end of the room, and small projection windows overlook the room from the opposite wall." (commercial appeal article)
It's might seem strange to talk about the bathrooms, especially if you've never been to Bookstar...
BUT bathrooms seem to be known by everyone. I've had more than one conversation about them while discussing the sad, sad news.
(I took this photo of the retro lighting with my first digital camera too)
The best "part" is the sitting room attached to the main attraction.
From my best memory, I'd say the carpet is a dark giraffe print and the vinyl seats are a pale pink--I will be visiting a lot during Winter break.
If I could count all the papers I've worked on in the cafe' while looking out the windows onto Poplar Ave,
Or tell you about the poetry I've read in the aisles,
Or the magazines I've purchased (specifically The Oxford American),
Coffee I've drank, books I've ordered, time spent sitting on the floor in front of the craft section (yarn/knitting)...
It would equal a large number. Geez, so sad.