The Paramount’s local owners are film enthusiasts Melodie Garneau, Becky Kephart and Helen Goulden. The trio said they’ve worked hard to create a comfortable place to foster community for film students, movie buffs and local artists.
“We all really wanted to include the coffee shop and cafe component,” said Kephart, a former film student at Watkins College of Art, Design and Film in Nashville. “It’s just like making a film, it’s very collective, and it’s not about any one of us. It’s about the community.”More than 150 guests attended the grand opening Aug. 10 and 11. Visitors enjoyed coffee, wine, appetizers, desserts (homemade pies by Pie Junkie) and, of course, fresh popcorn — old-fashioned theater style. On the first night, special guest Bradley Wynn, a local historian and expert on Film Row, gave a historical presentation on the area and its buildings.
Miss Brown to You, the duo of Mary Reynolds and Louise Goldberg, provided the musical entertainment.
“We’re really excited about the space — and a regular place to play downtown,” said Reynolds. “I am really happy to be a part of this. It’s such an incredible facility.”
Said Goulden, “We want to be a gathering space not only for film lovers, but for the people who live or work on the west side of downtown.”
On Saturday Aug. 11, The Paramount buzzed with excitement as its curtains opened for the first time. Until the silver screen flickered on, no one in the audience knew they’d be watching the 1950 noir classic Sunset Boulevard. The crowd broke into applause.
“Everything was spectacular, and we can’t say thank you enough to our friends and family who helped and all those who came,” said Garneau.
The weekend was only a glimpse of what’s to come. The Paramount plans weekends featuring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart films and, in October, a “Monster Month” that would include screenings of Godzilla and Frankenstein.
The venue also will host indie and student films, sing-alongs, poetry nights and guest speakers.
The Paramount OKC has successfully united history and fine arts with one admirable intention: community.