My Rookie Roxy Mistake

by Travis Mateer

I began this final month of 2021 excited at the prospect of showing off a final cut of Engen’s Missoula just a few blocks from where the Missoulian building WILL eventually be transformed into condo towers, but that is sadly not going to happen.

Despite signing an agreement on December 1st to rent the Roxy’s largest theater, I received the following email on December 3rd about “over booking”.

There are a couple important things to note about this email. First, it came late in the day on a Friday, so I was unable to speak with anyone on the phone until Monday. Second, there is NO OFFER to find me another date.

By the time I finally spoke with the Rental Coordinator on Monday, it was obvious there had been some additional thought given to the justification for cancelling me. Not only did they “accidentally” over book the theater, but I was also accused of PROMOTING the viewing!

You see, I had ordered printed invitations, and I referred to these invitations as “marketing materials” in my email response. The problem, it was explained to me, is that the use of promotional materials magically transforms the event from a PRIVATE showing to a PUBLIC one, and that’s a big no-no.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have paid the extra $50 bucks to put ENGEN’S MISSOULA on the marquis for the day. That might have tipped off the establishment of my plans. What a rookie mistake!

Since I’m a big fan of providing educational opportunities, I’m sharing my mistake for any future documentary makers intent on exposing local corruption in their own backyard.

When I finally got on the phone with Mike Steinberg, the head honcho at the Roxy, I educated him about my other attempt to secure a venue. Mike didn’t see how that related to our issue. Maybe that’s because Mike is still adjusting to a smaller market since proudly claiming to have been fired from Hollywood.

Yep, Mike got to use the popular TELL US SOMETHING platform to share his enthralling tales. Here’s a little more context from the bio:

Mike Steinberg became a film director after studying film at Webster University, where he oversaw the Webster Film Series for 10 years. He moved to Montana and was the director of the acclaimed Big Sky Documentary Film Festival before deciding to lovingly re-invent the Roxy Theater as a place that inspires educates and engages diverse audiences with incredible programming.

I bolded the EDUCATES part because that SHOULD BE a shared value between Mike and I. Like I said, I’m ALL ABOUT educating people.

For example, Mike probably doesn’t know this, but TELL US SOMETHING started off as Missoula Moth, hosted by 4&20 Blackbird contributor, Patrick Duganz.

Such a small town! And, to further emphasize that point, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is RIGHT NEXT DOOR to me at the ZACC. And yet, despite that proximity, I haven’t had a chance to ask them about whether or not Mike’s departure was amicable.

I guess I’m just too busy trying to find another venue with enough guts to show something critical of our emperor and his enablers.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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10 Responses to My Rookie Roxy Mistake

  1. webdoodle says:

    Mike is scared that Engen will send some bureaucrat down and assess a penalty or fee on him. For many years Engen used the sidewalk special improvement districts (SIDs) to hammer anyone critical of him. For instance I remember an unfortunate fellow who lived on a corner lot that got hit for $15K. Engen used this specific stick so much however, that people started talking about it, and eventually the local news wrote about it, and the city council had to restructured the way sidewalks fee’s are assessed.

    Engen’s got many other tools he can use though: fire code, health code, electric code, etc. Usually these are only assessed during new construction, remodel or when ownership changes. For the Roxy, the big one Mike has to worry about is the Missoula County Health Department, which can do unscheduled inspections at a moments notice. The Health Department is Engen’s attack dog, as they not only can assess fees and penalties, but they can shut down the Roxy for repeated food code violations. Engen has used this to financially haze many business owners out of Missoula that were critical of him.

  2. Greg Strandberg says:

    Is this the same shit-hole theatre that got bailled-out with $167,000 in taxpayer money to stay open?

  3. Ghost of Christmas Past says:

    There’s still that unanswered question to who burnt the original Roxy down no one has answered.

  4. TC says:

    The 1994 fire at the Roxy was deemed accidental cause (by MFD/ Insurance). There is no “there” there. In addition, it was differently owned in a very different Missoula when that happened; back then there was no worries of a Gentrification Cabal working to change our town. There was no “there” there.

  5. TC says:

    To expound on the Fire tip; many of you are too recent to know. Back in the day Missoula used to have a major fire about once a year. During the 90’s there was the Mansion, the Roxy, and Superior Hardwoods. There was another half dozen that would have qualified except for the efforts of the Missoula Fire Dept. They were all deemed “accidental” by MFD investigators/Insurance (in parlance accident means unintentional).
    During the same time there were fires in the old Planned Parenthood, in the South Hills Lesbian house, in the Wilma, in the Elks, in the Apts above Charlies, et al. All of those were intentional (arson). The City knew the difference. Sometimes a fire in the laundry room of the old Pov is not intentional – just shitty maintenance.
    So long story short – if you (Ghosty) werent there and part of it; if you dont know shit about shit; maybe dont throw out something that confuses issues. Thanks

  6. TC says:

    And lastly, speaking of the Pov and their personnel; when someone kills themselves in your facilty (especially by shooting themselves in the head in your laundry room) and all you can do is call 911.
    Yep – maybe you 60K social work degree is worthless bullshit.
    But yeah – you can “empathize” and hand out hugs!
    You do You Pov!

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  8. Grace says:

    Nice, use their words against them to expose their contradictions and hypocrisy. They hate that! I’m rooting for your film to be shown soon.

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