Making Saturday nights at The Strand

Published 6:00 am Sunday, June 3, 2018

Saturday nights at The Strand should be a given in Vicksburg. And I have not been the patron I should have been considering all the fine times I have had there.

Several years ago I brought Mrs. Lucia Hawkins to see a celebratory film of her childhood friend here, the late, legendary Beah Richards, and Ms. Lucia, well into her 80s then, was dressed to the nines and applauded by late-night patrons at Rusty’s who saw and sensed her significance though they didn’t know her name.

Then when Daniel and Lesley brought Charles Burnett home for a week-end showing of his classic films, I had the chance to chat with him and and cheer for him at the end.

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I was at a live and lively performance at The Strand celebrating Michael Neal, still in high school then, who did the portrait of Peter Crosby, the only black sheriff of Warren County, the official portrait now.

So I’ve been there often, but not nearly enough.

And a week ago, Lesley invited me to that Saturday’s showing of a movie called “The Last Suit.” I had never heard of it, but boy am I lucky I saw it! It was just beautiful. $5 beforehand, and $7 at the door. And I went with friends from New York.

Now earlier that week, I had joined with Lesley and others to ask the Zoning Board not to approve a request to sell daiquiris on Washington Street. I thought it didn’t make sense to do that; to offer drinks for walking downtown. Almost every establishment already there is there for eating and drinking. So a sidewalk daiquiri is redundant at best. Where would you go that you’d want one? There isn’t all that much here.

Which brings us back ‘round to The Strand!

It’s the only place downtown, and even in the city, where you can go see a great film! For a sitting room to talk before and after the movie. For free popcorn (and paid drinks) as well. And simply for meeting people. When I lived in Chicago, we took our movie cues from Siskel and Ebert. We sought their advice and we followed it. We spoke to them on the street.  They could tell us to go, but they couldn’t make it come. We paid prime for it when it came.

Here we have access, comfort and convenience, and next-to-nothing to pay. Other than places to eat, drink, and gamble, we have the Park and The Strand. So why lessen their value? Why compromise them?

In the interest of full disclosure, I have asked Daniel and Lesley to bring “Black Orpheus” to The Strand. And they have told me they will. I think it’s the most beautiful movie ever made. And I’m grateful that I live a few blocks from people who are willing and can do that for me.

So what’s it to be, folks? That beautiful, exquisite, enlightening legend?

Or a drink on the main drag in town?

Yolande Robbins is a community correspondent for The Vicksburg Post. You may email her at