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The Alternative

thirties, the golden age of motion pictures. The building was all white and in the
swirling light became dazzling in its whiteness.
At street level, many of the small solar-electric cabs arriving at the theater were
competing for space. They inched their way through the heavy traffic. Their tinny
horns raised a cacophony of protest as elegant and distinguished men and women
descended from them into a flood of digital cameras flashes.
A police cordon stood protectively around the courtyard. There seemed to be good
reason for this added precaution. The activity in front of the theater contrasted sharply
with the squalor on the opposite side of the street. Across from the splendor, the
shop and store widows were boarded over; sealed against another element which
had moved into the area. They had no business there--except survival. Dirty children
played in the littered gutters, while in the shadows, their faces lit by the miraculous
spectacle, transient slum dwellers stood -- watching.
Inside the movie palace, the lobby was jammed as the smart black-tie crowd
milled about, calling greetings to one another. Though many of the gowns were last
years haute couture, most of the ladies had managed to take a hitch here, and add an
accessory there to give at least a semblance of high fashion. Movement was difficult
as the crowd flowed up the wide staircase to fill the balcony mezzanine. It was a
pleasant, balmy night. and many decided to gather in small groups in the spacious
courtyard. They sipped champagne as waiters moved among them with hors
d’oeuvres. The throng laughed and chatted, glad to be out on the town after so many
months of social inactivity. Washington’s elite were enjoying themselves.
Jim Paulson, UPN correspondent, clad in formal attire, stood in the center of the
brightly lit courtyard, Suddenly the cameraman threw him a cue and Paulson began
his coverage of the event.
“Good evening. This is Jim Paulson reporting from the courtyard of the old
Orpheum Theater in Washington, D.C.. Once a giant of the Orpheum circuit the movie
house has been closed for years, But it’s certainly open tonight for the world premiere
of THE Movie!
“Most of our nation’s leaders and other celebrities are just arriving to enjoy the
limelight and glamour of this premiere atmosphere. The guest list must include
nearly all the Washington establishment, with only the President missing from the
glittering crowd of political luminaries and their ladies.
“We’re here because it’s news, and because this is just about the only bright spot
anywhere these days. Pantheon films, producers of THE Movie brought along their
own power. In fact, due to the shortage of both power and food, they were required o
supply everything in order to bring the presentation into Washington.
“THE Movie is billed as the most extraordinary motion picture event of all time.
Reportedly, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent. But on what? Who are
the stars? Another mystery. And why the odd title? About all we were able to gather is,
it’s in a new process of 3-D and there’s even talk of the fourth dimension! In spite of
all the ballyhoo, it’s not costing the politicians or taxpayers one thin dime.
Presumably, just a generous gift from the film’s producers.
“Be sure to tune in tomorrow to UPN’s noon news for a complete review.”
Paulson signed off with a blurb to continue watching as UPN anchorman, Jesse
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