The scoop: Movie lover 'shakes the tree' in his quest for a new drive-in

2011-07-17T00:00:00Z The scoop: Movie lover 'shakes the tree' in his quest for a new drive-inPhil Villarreal Phil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Tucson artist Charles Spillar is determined to resurrect a drive-in theater in town.

His quest began in March 2010, when he dramatically rescued two drive-in theater screens on the property that was DeAnza Drive-in, persuading owner Evergreen Devco Inc. to halt demolition.

Since then, Spillar has been building up grassroots support for a new drive-in. The road has been long and harsh, but his dream of opening the self-sustaining Cactus Drive-in remains alive. Spillar has put a business plan together and is seeking $500,000 in donations.

Spillar said he'll use the money for buildings, fencing, a concession stand, restrooms, architectural and engineering fees and the resurrection of at least one of the old DeAnza screens.

His idea is to raise money and spur interest in the program. Spillar is staging a series of "pop-up drive-ins," renting space to show a drive-in movie, screening films on improvised screens, such as the sides of buildings. Spillar would like the theater to operate as a self-sustaining nonprofit operation.

On Saturday night, Spillar was scheduled to screen "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" south of Mercado San Agustin downtown, asking for donations of $10 a carload.

Spillar, who set up a nonprofit company to spearhead the effort, said he's looking for a permanent location for the theater.

"I seldom meet a person that has lived in Tucson that is not excited about our project," Spillar said via email. "We are hoping with this event to somewhat 'shake the tree' and get more people involved financially and as volunteers."

Comcast beefing up high-definition lineup

Comcast subscribers will have as many as 15 more high-definition channels available in September.

According to Comcast spokesperson Kelle Maslyn, the cable provider will add Oxygen, Fox Soccer Channel, BBC America, Galavision, Tennis Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Cooking Channel, Disney XD, DIY, Sprout, Bloomberg, GSN, Sundance Channel, The Movie Channel and C-SPAN, all on Sept. 20.

Maslyn said viewers who currently have one of the above channels in standard definition will get the HD versions when Comcast starts carrying them.

Vinzetta, Basham head east

KMSB Channel 11 sports director Vinnie Vinzetta has accepted a job at KENS in San Antonio, Texas.

"Working and living in Tucson has really been a blessing for me," Vinzetta said via email.

Vinzetta came to KMSB in 2005. The station is not replacing the sports director position for now, but is looking for a sports reporter.

Meanwhile, over at KGUN Channel 9, meteorologist Brian Basham, who arrived at KGUN in 2008, left the station's morning show for WHBQ in Memphis, Tenn. April Madison has replaced him.

KGUN is looking to hire a weekend weathercaster who will also work as a reporter three days a week.

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal, who covers local media for the Star, at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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