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Tivoli’s Jerry Harrington Reflects on a Life in Film

Beloved Cinema Reopens in New Home This Week

Jerry Harrington discusses plans for the new Tivoli at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Jerry Harrington discusses plans for the new Tivoli at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. (Brad Austin | Flatland)
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One suspects Orson Welles would be pleased.

Tonight — six months after the Tivoli Cinemas closed its longtime Westport location — Kansas City’s cornerstone of independent film exhibition reopens in the 500-seat Atkins Auditorium at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

After a special event tonight to thank museum donors — featuring a screening of Buster Keaton’s 1926 silent film “The General” — regular screenings on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday will begin.

“I feel very supported here,” said Tivoli impresario Jerry Harrington during a recent interview conducted on the stage of the Atkins Auditorium. “They’re spending a lot of money to make this a place where movies will look really good.”

A powerful case can be made that no other person has done as much as Harrington to expand the boundaries of local film-goers over the past four decades.

“I love being the guy who premiered all these great movies,” Harrington said.

And now, thanks to the Nelson-Atkins, he can keep doing it. 

Harrington discussed his history in Kansas City cinema, and his hopes for the new Tivoli at the Nelson-Atkins in this installment of Flatland Conversations.

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