Tony Longval, the manager, maestro and dreamer behind Avondale Estates’ Towne Cinema, holds his final concert next Saturday. He sat mostly in silence Monday night as city commissioners approved a conditional use permit for Please Rock Me, LLC to take over the 94-year-old landmark, which it probably won’t reopen until next spring.
But after the meeting Longval told the AJC he had three possibilities looming, and he hopes to remain in Avondale Estates.
“I’m looking at a building in town where I could have a small bar and live entertainment,” he said. “Then there are two places outside of Avondale asking me to come run their [venues]. Right now I can’t say where any of these places are because of disclosure agreements.”
The Towne Cinema, essentially the city centerpiece, sat vacant for nine years before Longval reopened it in August 2015, after a painstaking 14-months renovation. He offered a wide variety of music, films from independent directors, school-aged plays, dance recitals and everything in between. Though attendance escalated in recent months, and though he has acts booked into next July, ultimately the rent became overwhelming.
“It consumed me for four years, doing the renovating, cleaning, booking and lining up private events,” Longval said. “It’s just too big for one person to do everything. It looks like this new company comes with deep pockets.”
Please Rock Me own two clubs called 37 Main Rock Café, one in Buford and the other in Gainesville, Ga., which offer music (it appears mostly heavy metal tribute bands) and food. The conditional use permit for Towne Cinema said the company plans on keeping it “the same as the existing performing arts venue with live music and a bar.”
“I hope the new people keep the community aspect,” Longval said. “We had a lot of schools using our place, and P.T.A. groups. “Just seeing the energy and the life when those kids get on stage, I hope that’s something that isn’t lost.”
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