The Forest Theater art installation was installed at 7:30am and taken down at 1:00pm on January 16th.
“My name is Leslie D. I used to come here when I was young. I think it would be good to see this place open back up. Thank you.”
“Good is God”
“Rent out for parties, weddings, birthday parties, reunions”
“I will be a theater…vote”
“This one idea represents all ideas, love yourself, amen!”
“Just would like to see the Forest Theater open again.”
1902 Martin Luther King Boulevard is no stranger to change. Homes occupied this site prior to the construction of the theater, while the building itself has gone by a host of names: “New Forest Theater,” “City Lights,” “Knight’s Forest,” “Forest Apollo,” and most recently, “Black Forest Theater.” The “New” Forest Theater opened to the public on July 29, 1949 as Interstate Theater Company’s “largest and most magnificent suburban theater in the Southwest.” The vertical green tower atop the three-sided marquee lit up the night and could be seen up and down Forest Avenue; the interior was lavish, its walls covered in murals. As the neighborhood shifted from a predominantly Jewish to African American community, the whites-only theater was closed in 1956, only to be reopened a month later as a “deluxe theater for Negros.” In the 1960’s the theater hosted concerts from the likes of Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown and Gladys Knight. In 2003, Erydah Badu took ownership of the building, renaming it the “Black Forest Theater,” and bringing in acts such as Snoop Dogg and Prince before its doors shuttered again in 2008. Today it beckons for new life.
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.