Can you "hook up" at The Grand Cinema?

By Rev. Adam McKinney on December 7, 2011


It's been part of the dating dogma for many a year that the perfect place to meet someone is in a non-threatening, low-pressure environment. The usual examples are grocery stores (weird) and museums (weirder).

Why not get to know new people in a place that's both fun and rewarding, like The Grand Cinema in downtown Tacoma?

Alright, I may be laying the theater's match-making ability on a little thick, but only by a little bit. In my time as a volunteer (and, later, as a projectionist), not only did I see a number of friendships and romances form in the lobby, but I eventually met the people who would later introduce me to everyone I would become friends with in Tacoma. I understand that - if you're new to Tacoma, or any city - it can be hard to make friends. While I was born and raised in Tacoma, in 2004 I knew hardly anyone. On a whim, I began volunteering at The Grand Cinema, and it turned into one of the richest and most enjoyable periods in my life.

Here's how it works: Volunteer shifts range from two to four hours. For each shift you work, you receive a free pass to come see a movie. Tasks include making popcorn, serving concessions, running cash registers, taking tickets and cleaning up the theaters after movies finish. Typically, rushes last about an hour; you have the rest of your shift to hang out and talk with your fellow volunteers. If you ever want to get away, you can duck into one of the movies for a little bit, but it's fun to get to know the people you work with.

Now, I know calling The Grand an "arthouse" may conjure up images in your mind of snooty people with upturned noses, but the volunteers that make the Grand Cinema tick run the gamut, from high school students to senior citizens, liberal to conservative, serious to silly, and everything in between. Their unifying quality is the desire to keep a worthy entity like The Grand Cinema up and running, and to have fun in an environment that encourages creativity.

It's a happy coincidence that the Grand Cinema consistently plays the best movies in town. Perhaps you can take advantage of the free passes you receive as a volunteer and take a new friend out for dinner and a movie.

[The Grand Cinema, 606 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, 253.593.4474]