When in Syracuse, especially new or returning visitors, it’s important to find an opportunity to check out the historic Landmark Theatre at 362 S. Salina St.

My editor and I popped into the 1928 theatre for a press conference regarding the venue’s plans to kick off their 2017-2018 season starting with a roar. The story will be coming soon to Syracuse New Times, in case this wasn’t known already. A big hint was just put on display.

The Loew Corporation’s original name was Loew’s State Theatre, and its primary purpose was to show (silent) film. Of course, similar to many performing arts centers, the Landmark now welcomes a variety of events through its doors.

The venue was threatened to  close and was considered to be demolished in the mid-1970s, but was saved after Harry Chapin performed a benefit concert and enough funds were raised. In 2010, the theatre underwent a massive renovation, which expanded the stage and backstage areas.

And it’s almost sickening that I would have never had the opportunity to see this place, step foot through the doors, mingle with friends at a variety of events, dance at a prom or step on stage and bask in the wonder of to, maybe, entertain audiences some day in the future.

Wishful thinking, I know.

My editor caught me taking a photo of the ceiling. The angle of my arm spoke differently. What are you doing, taking a selfie, he asked and laughed.

Nah. I’m just taking a picture of the ceiling. I’m amazed every time I step into this place, I said. We then went into talking about the history, which is significantly abridged above.

landmarkceilingI posted the picture to my own and SNT‘s Instagram accounts, respectively in black-and-white and vibrant technicolor. I was having a difficult time deciding what to write about it. The first thing that popped into my head was: Nightlight. Long story short, it stuck.

It was a stupid caption, I initially thought. But, of course, my mind changed the next morning.

A nightlight, by definition, is a small light that plugs into a wall and emits a dim light. This light, of course, helps a person find their way around a room or hallway — most likely while en route to the bathroom — at night.

My parents have a light that is over ambitious when serving its purpose. It’s has a motion sensor. Instead of staying dim or turning from off to a dim light, it shines significantly brighter when that cat you’re taking care of or your own person walks by. It can take the unsuspecting sleepy foot dragger by surprise. It has the ability to emit a beam of energy so strong it can throw Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson against the nearest wall and knock him out cold.

Light protects against and washes away sullenness. A nightlight is comforting to a child, and it’s reassuring to a clumsy adult.

The downtown Syracuse staple is a nightlight in itself, something we can see and take comfort in knowing is there. Acknowledging The Landmark Theatre or the existence of any other longstanding local business yields appreciation and affection. This place is unique, it yells to the sky and with hands up in the air. There are several other and newer places with the energy and drive, but the name isn’t there yet; it takes decades upon decades of consistency and recognition.

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