Star Wars at McMenamins Bagdad Theater
Thursday 9 March 2017 — Category: Outings
As I explained when I first began my McMenamins Passport adventure, when collecting the 100 “location stamps” you generally don’t need to make a purchase to get a stamp. But there are a handful of exceptions. At the Crystal Ballroom and its little sister, Lola’s Room, as well as at the Bagdad Theater and Mission Theater, you have to buy a ticket in order to get a stamp. Well, 4 out of 100 isn’t too bad!
There is a cheap way to get the first two of these stamps. Simply take the (mostly) daily 2:00 PM tour of the Crystal Ballroom complex in downtown Portland, and you can get the Ballroom and Lola’s Room stamps for free. I did that in October 2016, as you can read about in Exploring the McMenamins Crystal Blocks. In addition, according to the official Passport rules, it might be possible to attend free events at these four venues in order to get the stamps.
Now I had narrowed it down to only two movie tickets to purchase. The problem is, I don’t particularly like movies, mostly because they are too violent or too immoral, or both. So it is a rare movie that I would want to see in a theater — especially when I would have to drive 90 minutes to Portland to see the movie for a Passport stamp.
Fortunately, the Sequel Trilogy and Anthology Star Wars soft reboots are bringing some movies to the silver screen which I would actually be eager to see. I’ve been a huge science fiction fan since childhood, and Star Wars has been part of my psyche since I saw Episode IV back in 1977 — hey, 40 years ago this year!
Recently I have posted a couple of articles recounting how I went with my young-adult son to see Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens at McMenamins Grand Lodge and Star Wars: Rogue One at McMenamins Edgefield. Both movies were great, but I liked Rogue One a bit better. Neither of those theaters require a ticket purchase in order to get a location stamp.
During January 2017 I had been hoping to see Rogue One again at the Bagdad Theater after a visit to the Japanese Garden, but snowy weather foiled my plans. Later in the month I was checking show dates and times at the Bagdad when I discovered, to my consternation, that that very day was the last day Rogue One would be at the Bagdad. In addition, it was National Popcorn Day, which is a great day to go to the theater and enjoy a bag (or more!) of that quintessential American delicacy.
In light of all this, I decided to make a special trip to Portland that day. Because I had business in Silverton that afternoon, I aimed for the 7:00 PM showing. Instead of the usual route from Albany north on the I-5, I took backroads to Silverton, and then more backroads to Southeast Portland’s Hawthorne District via Oregon City.
By the time I arrived at 6:00 it was already dark — life in January in the Pacific Northwest. Parking was a challenge because SE Hawthorne Boulevard was packed out, and the surrounding area is narrow residential streets, but I managed to find a spot a few blocks away.
As I alluded to above, the theater is not the only venue in the Bagdad Theater and Pub building. Because I visited only the theater portion, I am planning on returning later this year for a mini pub crawl so I can enjoy food and drink, and get my Passport stamps, at the Bagdad Theater Pub, the Back Stage Bar and the Greater Trumps bar.
I took a total of 27 pictures at the theater; the best 11 now have a home in the new McMenamins Bagdad 2017 album. Future photos from my next visit will be added to this collection.