Cleveland's Variety Theater, once a thriving Warner Brothers playhouse, movie house, and live music venue, is now in ruins. Local preservationists The Friends of the Historic Variety Theatre, who purchased the Spanish gothic-style property for $1.1 million in 2009, are working to bring the 1927 building back to life. In an interesting move intended to raise awareness (and funds), the organization invited photographer and activist Seph Lawless, known for his images of the deteriorating side of America, often taken without permission, to shoot photos of the theater in its current dilapidated state.
If all goes as planned, the theater will be getting a massive, $12 million renovation. The organizations plan to use the theater and rent out the building's eight storefronts and 13 second-story apartments. The renovation is part of a larger plan for the redevelopment of Cleveland's once bustling Lorain Avenue, of which the theater would be the centerpiece.
Lawless, a fairly mysterious fellow who goes by a pseudonym, photographs all types of spooky abandoned spaces, like the great deserted malls of America. He has compiled 70 photos of the theater into an e-book.
· Artist and activist Seph Lawless shares pics of abandoned and dilapidated Cleveland theater slated for big renovation [NY Daily News]
· All Abandonment Issues posts [Curbed National]