The Closure of Hollywood Bar & Filmworks
Downtown Adieu Packs Punch
Indy Tax Dollars? The Real Purpose
IRS says Pacers Crushed Hollywood Bar & Filmworks
City Played Hardball with Hollywood Bar & Filmworks Owner
Professional Sports Teams Do Not Have Positive Economic Impact
Fieldhouse Feud Results in Tax Refund for Theater Owner
It's Official: IRS Says the Pacers Had a Catastrophic Impact
More of Former Downtown Business Owner Gets Disaster Relief Caused by Pacers
Look Into Claims Made by Owner of Closed Theater
I Hope Some Kind of Investigation is Going On!
Below are some of the 5,000 emails and letters of support and concern I received after closing. My original essay and more comments are still posted. If you are in the minority and don’t think this was a real problem, read those comments or email me and I’ll send the studies and other comments. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
After serving overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, my fellow soldiers and I often talked about returning home and “hanging out” at Hollywood Bar & Film Works. I can not tell you the disappointment we each felt once it was brought to our attention that the memories we were creating in our minds through those exhausting days in Afghanistan would never become a reality. Speaking as a soldier who fights for the rights and freedom of our nation, it saddens me deeply when our government CHOOSES to turn their backs on the “average Joe” to support the pockets of either themselves or a friend of the family. I just wanted to personally tell you thanks for the great business and service you brought to Indianapolis. I am happy I had the chance to create great memories of downtown with Hollywood Bar & Film Works. Sad to see you go. -Malika
So mad to hear about your situation and closing our favorite movie theater. My brother is a reporter for the local AP and he has always said Mayor Bart is a snake…. and we are lifelong democrats. I am sorry I voted for Melina Kennedy and glad she lost. On a trip back from the airport thru downtown my brother-in-law pointed out how great the new stadium is looking. I wanted to scream. Indianapolis won’t be a world class city until it embraces arts and culture and the uniqueness of small businesses like yours instead of driving them out! Good luck and thank you for showing us wonderful movies in your beautiful theater. -Bruce
I was an employee at the Hollywood in Indianapolis. I would like to start off by saying that I loved working for you. It was the best time of my life and even months after closing I am still saddened that I no longer work for you. I don’t think any of your former employees will be able to find another work place that can compare. There were women there that were pregnant and they supported their families by themselves. I honestly I think Heather would still be there today if you had not closed. She was so lonely after Hollywood closed that she took her own life. -Elizabeth
My wife and I would like to thank you for the 15 years that you stuck with downtown. I work on a daily basis with the City on public bid/spec for municipal projects and have been amazed at the waste of taxpayer dollars on those city projects. Your two articles have opened my eyes to other wasteful corrupt areas of our (local) government and I applaud you for bringing it to public view. Good luck on your future endeavors and should you ever run for office, give me a call, I would be glad to support you. -Name withheld.
Just read most of the monograph you wrote: The demise of Hollywood Bar & Filmworks. My dad owned a business on S. Delaware, and his dad before him. I sold it to the CIB to make way for Conseco Field House. You are a hero for making your views known and writing so eloquently about them. Your writing should be mandatory reading for high school economics students. -Kim
I am writing to thank you. First, I appreciate the establishment you created and all of the good times I had there. Second, I want to thank you for leaving your website up and running. Albeit lengthy, your write up was informative and inspirational. I agree that Indianapolis has slowly squeezed the life out of its own downtown and the loss of Hollywood is just another example. Thank you for not going silently. -Matthew
My boyfriend and I have come over for Valentine’s Day for the last 3 years and a couple of other times in between. We enjoyed it, and I was really looking forward to coming there in a few weeks, but to my surprise when I went to the website it had said that you were closed. I am not from Indianapolis so I did not know. We drive over from Richmond, IN by the Ohio border. Thanks for the memories. The food was great, the drinks were great, and the atmosphere was great. We will miss coming to Indy. -Erin
Dude - you got the hammer out. Sorry, I work in the hospitality industry and I have to stay under the radar, so I’m not putting my name on this, but a lot of dysfunctional things I have observed with downtown Indy over the years suddenly make sense now that you have shined the light on them. I only hope some reporter will have the cojones to put things out there the way you have. The IBJ did it with the church of God Extension and the Star did it with the library construction; why can’t they do it with IDI? But as far as Hollywood Bar & Filmworks and getting this IDI report out to the public, will it happen? Probably not, but well done. Hate to see you go! -Anonymous
I read your lengthy narrative of all of the politics and corruption on IDI and CIB headed by Tamara Zahn and Melina Kennedy. This helped to explain so many mysteries. I always wondered why parking downtown was made either difficult or costly if the downtown wanted to compete with businesses in the suburbs. Unfortunately, only for the sport franchises and the parking interests. We also wondered how so much money could still be owed on the Hoosier Dome when all of the money from the restaurant surtax and event profits were going to pay off the debt. “Enron” is the right word to apply to what has been going on. I think Mitch Daniels had some insight into the corruption at CIB and wanted to keep the tax revenues to pay for the new stadium from going into “The Mayor’s Slush Fund”. Finally, I want to thank you for giving us insight into the real character of Melina Kennedy. She is not to be trusted. I hope voters get the message before it’s too late. Thank you for having the courage to tell us your experience with city organizations run by these dishonest and corrupt people. Maybe the media will be shamed by the fact that you scooped them on a story that they miss or ignored. -Brian
How about it Indy Star, WISH, WXIN, WTHR, WRTV??? I heard the WIBC interview! Was the whole downtown parking issue buried in favor of the Mayor’s interest???? All this recent talk about Peterson’s “LEADERSHIP ABILITIES” we’ve recently heard now sounds highly questionable!!! -Anonymous Indy
Are you serious? The press seriously and comprehensively looks into anything with the Peterson administration? I agree with you 100%, but it isn’t going to happen. Watch for the opening of 300 East in the Julia Carson Building soon! -R.P.
I am quite saddened to hear that Hollywood Bar & Film Works has closed! I grew up in Indianapolis and have many wonderful memories of nights spent at your theater. After traveling extensively over the country I have never found a theater experience as unique or enjoyable. Not even in ACTUAL HOLLYWOOD CALIFORNIA, where I currently live! You provided your patrons excellent food and drink, comfortable leather chairs, “stadium” seating, reasonable prices, and a safe haven for smokers. It was the perfect movie-going experience without question. The loss of Hollywood Bar & Filmworks is truly a loss for Indianapolis. It made me PROUD to sit in your theater and be greeted by “Bob and Tom” among other local celebrities on screen. It made me feel like this was INDIANAPOLIS’ theater and nobody could take that away from us. I can’t tell you how many countless people over the years I’ve bragged to about “The best theater in the world” and it’s home in downtown Indy. Hollywood Bar & Filmworks has always been my “must do while in Indy” selling points for first time visitors and that’s a pretty exclusive club! For what it’s worth, your theater was ALWAYS something for me to look forward to each year when visiting my home town. Sadly, as the city changes, each year I have less and less reason to come home…or even call Indianapolis home. I just wanted to thank you for serving local Indianapolis community so well for many years, and for giving me such great memories! You will be missed!! -Kevin
We have been going to Hollywood every week since you first opened. Our date night has always been at Hollywood which always included the best pizza in town. Not sure what to do now that you’re gone. Your establishment has spoiled us so much that we can’t go to a regular movie theater anymore. Some of your employees have become great friends over the last 15 years and we will miss them so much. I enjoyed bringing Christmas gift bags for all of your employees. We were glad to see that you had the guts to say something about the unfair parking situation and the non-support of local businesses in the downtown area. We support everything you said. We have been in mourning for 2 weeks now and still don’t know what to do on date night. Thank you for 15 wonderful years of great movies and delicious pizza. You were the BEST movie theater in Indianapolis, by far, and we will miss you. -Steve & Launa
Hollywood was not just a place to see a movie; it was a place to talk, love and live. When my son was finally 18 I was able to take him there to relax and really enjoy dinner and a movie…after he moved out, I went with “gal pals”. Most recently that was the only place my sweetheart and I went because it felt like home…we would go about 3 times a week…We were even at a pre-movie show when another patron proposed to his sweetheart!! Well at one point, one gal behind us said…”awww that is “our song”…”and her friend tried to get her to look at the screen instead of talking. On the screen was “Mary…” then another slide said “will you marry me?” It took a few minutes for her to realize it was (for) her. He came upstairs with a box in his hand, the house lights came up and everyone below stood up and cheered…she was in shock of course and said yes. Now where else can that happen? Where ever you go, we would like to know and rejoin our “family” at the movies. -Cindy
I can’t tell you how saddened I was to hear that my beloved Hollywood Bar & Filmworks closed. This was by far the greatest place in Indianapolis not just to take the out-of -towners but anyone you knew. The good service, excellent food, and fun atmosphere were keys that led to this great small business success. It seems that the Mayor directly forced you out of Indianapolis. All I can say is that man is a fool for letting such an integral part of downtown life go. You were the business I touted when friends said “Indiana is stupid - there’s never anything to do”. I would always retort, “Well, have you ever been to Hollywood Bar & Filmworks?” Your business and all the joys it gave will be missed and I will look for you whenever I get the chance to travel near Chicago. Unfortunately, I live in Indianapolis where apparently if good times that aren’t part of a major sporting event they are frowned upon. -Ed
I was so disappointed to hear that one of my favorite places in Indianapolis closed. I want to thank you for years of enjoyment. I started going to your movie theater when my kids were little and they could enjoy the (Saturday morning) movie. I have just started having my first grandchildren, the oldest is 2 and we were planning to visit your establishment and start the tradition with another generation. My heart is saddened that I won’t be able to enjoy the same great times in your movie house with my grandchildren as I did with my children. -Eleanor
There are so many people that LOVE Hollywood. My friend and I went there together at least once a month to relax after work and our trip last week didn’t happen. I bought my brother gift certificates last year to Hollywood and he was ecstatic. There is NO place better than Hollywood to watch a movie. My friends from out of town loved going there and were all very upset to find out that Hollywood had closed. -Cherise
I went to your website today and to my amazement you are now closed. My husband and I enjoyed going to Hollywood for years now. We had our first date there and now have been married for 2 years. In fact, most of the wait staff knew us and would already know what we were going to order. We had a baby 8 weeks ago and hadn’t been to the movies in about 5 weeks. We were looking forward to visiting you on Friday, but we will have to find something else to do. I read your statement on the website today and completely agree with the parking situation. There were many times my husband and I would drive down to see a movie and parking was way too expensive and we could not justify paying $20 for parking to see a movie. I do hate that parking problems have caused you to close Hollywood, but we completely understand. I just wanted to send our support and let you know that Hollywood will be missed. -Jason & Nicole
It was a breath of fresh air to read your newspaper articles. Nothing like honesty and bare facts. Our illustrious Mayor has done some dirty underhanded things to a lot of people and has hurt and is hurting a lot of good people. I’ve been involved in some meetings and am appalled at the way he gets things done. He is ruining public safety. I am a retired Marion County Deputy Sheriff and our retirees are losing insurance benefits etc., the active officers are losing much more. Sheriff Anderson is just a puppet of Peterson’s. The officers have no one to stand up for them. Thank you for standing up and being heard. -Jane
Hollywood Bar & Filmworks was one of the really great features of Indy and it is a great loss. Thank you for all your information about what went on with the Mayor and Melina Kennedy. I own a small business. Our local politicians have their heads so far up Simon’s back side its unreal! What happens to the little guy…you guessed it; we get screwed again and again. -Shell
Hello…my name is Linda and I want to thank you for your email to give people like me a chance to speak to you. Words cannot express how sorry I am that Hollywood closed. I didn’t know you were closed until my sister told me after I suggested we go see “The Departed” there. The first place we thought of was Hollywood - how ironic. When she told me it was closed, it was as if someone had taken a knife and stabbed me in my stomach. I am so crushed and I hope you will receive this email in the heartfelt way it is being sent to you. I remember when Hollywood opened; I cannot tell you how many visits I made downtown. I remember when you expanded and I was so happy for you. Sometimes I’d come early just so I would have time to linger over the posters. Then there were the birthday parties, get-togethers with friends for a night at the movies, or just by myself on margarita night. I ran into the same problem you mentioned that others ran into, parking downtown during special events. I’m very disappointed. - Linda
I was aware of the parking problem – hell, that’s why WE don’t come downtown! However, knowing that a fantastic place like Hollywood Bar & Filmworks has closed makes me so sad. This should have NEVER happened! I’m on disability-hubby doesn’t make a lot - we’d make a real treat of a rare night downtown. We’d come to your place, eat, drink, & be merry! We could almost always find a free spot on South Meridian St, or sometimes even a good handicapped spot! Not anymore. We could go to a comedy club downtown, but there’s something missing if we can’t afford to eat or even have a soda because what extra money we had to spend went to over priced parking. So there ya- go; another voice telling the powers that be that they’ve priced us right out of an area we support with our taxes, but do they listen? We’ll miss your business -it was such a great place. I’m sorry you got (pardon me) screwed! I hope another city will appreciate what you have to offer-our loss is their gain. And three cheers on laying it all out in the Star!!! -Diana
Reading your comments on the lack of support for your business by the IDI or the city of Indianapolis, I could certainly empathize with your situation. You are correct, all too often when people gain “power” through the government they often use their economic clout to wait you out hoping that you will run out of money and give up. I can only hope that through the election process we can put people in office that can stand up for what is right and just honorable for all the citizens. -Rick
I seem to recall a news article regarding the city’s condemnation of some parking facilities. The stink seemed to be that the city was condemning them, then transferring control to the CIB, then to one of their hand picked pet organizations to “manage.” The transference of property from one private party to another through governmental discourse is very disconcerting. You are correct in your assertion that the city should provide discounted parking. This would encourage businesses and customers to frequent the downtown area. The parking problem downtown is so bad that I have chosen to keep my business away from there – where the parking is free. -Steven
I’m so sad to hear that Hollywood had closed. It was always on of my favorite places to go for a special night out with the friends, and it was one of the best places to take-out-of-town guests, to show them the good side of Indianapolis. My friend Sam used to go often and indulge in the most exquisite chocolate martinis ever. It was such a wonderful place with such wonderful memories. You’re right, my friends and I don’t LIKE Hollywood, we LOVE it. Also, I appreciate your very informative posting on the website. I’d had a suspicion the downtown situation wasn’t as rosy as the government and newspapers said, and I never had enough information to put together the whole picture. It’s a shame that something so stupid as parking and greed can scuttle all the progress you entrepreneurs have made downtown. Thank you for fighting the good fight. -Kathy
I just heard the tragic news. I’m heartbroken! I haven’t lived in Indy since the late 90’s, but I make the annual trek back for a Colts game and a dose of Hollywood. I had our bachelorette party there the night before our wedding. Wonderful fond memories (even if the marriage wasn’t!). I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go to Hollywood anymore. -Michele
I’m finally getting around to writing my farewell to Hollywood Bar & Filmworks. Even though it’s been months since you closed, my friends and I still catch ourselves saying “let’s wait until it comes to Hollywood to go see that”. It was our place to go to see a movie we weren’t sure we’d really like because, well, anything was good at Hollywood. -Shannon
Say it ain’t so. It is like waking up from a horrible nightmare. I know there are worse things that can fall upon us as human beings, but I have been going to Hollywood for along time and my sanctuary has closed. I tried to visit at least once a week. I have brought friends, family, bosses you name it. I have brought co-workers from Israel and a friend from Japan. I have brought my girlfriends parents there to try and break the ice. I even invited my entire crew from the fire department. Melina did not get my vote and I will also remind my friends that when Mr. Peterson is up for re-election of the same. -Name withheld for obvious reasons.
As a long time customer and someone who misses seeing movies at Hollywood Bar & Filmworks (it was the only place I went to see movies) I just wanted to let you know that the city has had its bond rating dropped, apparently others have noticed how this city is run. -John
I am utterly at a loss for words. I just finished reading the article about why Hollywood is closing and I am truly angry. I was going to introduce two of our best friends to Hollywood this weekend. My heart breaks for everyone involved. We have pretty much stopped going downtown due to the cost of parking. The garage next to your building used to be the only garage we would use and when the prices started changing and going up, we just started finding other places to go. I do hope that you know how much joy you have brought to so many people in the past 15 years. -Shyla
As an Indianapolis area native living in Louisville, KY, I make frequent trips to Indy with my friends. I just heard about the closing of Hollywood Bar & Filmworks and while I don’t usually write letters like this, I was moved to act. After reading the website I understand that you closed because the city of Indianapolis doesn’t value small businesses or the customers they bring to downtown. I implore you; don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Don’t give up on the people of Indianapolis and those who visit, we should not lose the great entertainment and dining experience that is Hollywood Bar & Filmworks. While I don’t live in the state, I’m still a Hoosier, please don’t give up on us. -Kevin
My first trip to Hollywood Bar & Filmworks was to see “The Wizard of Oz” on the big screen. It was something I’ve enjoyed every year since with the Munchkins. I made sure that my friends and I went once a month or so and always when you had a visitor in the house. That always made it special and you’ve got to love the chance to get an autograph. So I’m sorry you’re gone. You’ll be sorely missed. We just need to take a trip to Chicago! -Terry
I have been a yearly member of the Hollywood Bar & Filmworks for so many years, probably the year you opened. It has always bugged me how they jacked up (parking) rates for special events. Hollywood was my favorite place to go downtown and is for my entire family. We are very sad about the news. -Linda
Very well written article on your website. I have lived in the Indianapolis area all my life. The parking issue is definitely bad. I usually end up parking in the mall because it’s $1.50 but why wouldn’t they make it $1.50 in every parking garage all over the city. More people would come downtown more often. Now we have to search for parking on the street and if it was a game night forget it. There is hardly any parking available unless you want to pay the price of parking for special events. I had made Hollywood a tradition. Thanks for the memories!! -Jane
I strongly agree with (you on) the parking problems. I always feel that Indianapolis government does not care about their own people. Every time there is a game, don’t expect me to come downtown. That’s how much of shame it is. I have always felt that Indiana is such a backward state. That’s how I see downtown in the next 5 years. I can see myself getting out of Indiana around that time too! -Christine
I was there the last night Hollywood was open. You know it’s been some time since Hollywood closed its doors and it never feels the same here in Indianapolis . Really, downtown just doesn’t have the same magic. I just wanted to express how great it was having it here for 15 years. It really was more then just a place to see a movie, it was like an old friend. -Jeffrey
I took the time read your ad today and just want to tell you I admire your guts and the strength of your convictions. I know all of the players in a peripheral way and the details you describe confirm a lot of my previous suspicions, especially about IDI. Good Luck with this fight. It would do the city a lot of good if Zahn or members of the current administration addressed the issues you raise. Good luck. This is what citizen government is all about. -Joe
If any part of Ted Bulthaup’s claims are true, shame on the Mayor for his conduct and (shame)on the “investigative” news persons in Indianapolis. And shame on the public, especially those of us, like me, who know we have been affected and have never voiced objections. It does seem as though the current thinking is to make downtown a great place for just sports fans and to hell with the taxpayers, but if we don’t hold our government accountable we have only ourselves to blame. -Sheila
I feel compelled to comment about Mayor Peterson's monthly call-in appearance to Jeff Pigeon & Terri Stacy live on WIBC the other morning. It seems the Mayor suddenly started having trouble hearing, but only after Pigeon
asked him about Hollywood theater's closing and what was in the mornings paper..
The Mayor was unaware the theater had just closed and that Bulthaup had run his own goodbye letter to the public as a full page ad, placing the blame for his and other business closings squarely on the Mayor's shoulders.
When Terri jumped in and repeated the question, the Mayor said he couldn't hear her, (hello, hello, can you hear me now)? After some odd clicking noise, the Mayor apologized and said he would call Jeff & Terri back from another phone in a moment and hung up. This provoked laughter and disbelief in the WIBC studio and from the listening audience and that part of the segment was replayed on air throughout the day to further chortles and phoned in comments.
Of course, since the Mayor never called back the ridicule only increased as the day wore on.