El Paso, TX

July 18 - July 28, 2024 • El Paso, TX


Free Plaza Theatre tours return March 8

March 4

Free public tours of the historic Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Centre return at 12 noon, Tuesday, March 8. The tours, which are sponsored by El Paso Live and the El Paso Community Foundation, resume after being on hiatus since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tours will be available every Tuesday at noon, with exception on event days, and registration is recommended. Availability is first come, first served. Those interested may reserve a spot by calling 915-544-0600. Groups of 20 or more may make special arrangements by calling ahead.

Tours are conducted by El Paso Community Foundation staff and volunteers. Tours last about an hour and include stops in the lobbies, foyer, and the star-lit “courtyard” auditorium, where the theater’s original Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ is often featured. The tours also include the Philanthropy Theatre and Alcantar Sky Garden in the adjoining Plaza Theatre Annex.

“We’re very excited to welcome patrons into our historic theatre, for free,” said José Garcia, President, and CEO of Destination El Paso, which manages the theater for the City of El Paso. “The El Paso Community Foundation staff provides a detailed and rich history during the tour – perfect for visitors and residents alike.”

“The Plaza Theatre is a crown jewel for downtown. The tours offer important historical insight into all our community: lessons in grit, perseverance, and especially philanthropy,” said Eric Pearson, president of the El Paso Community Foundation, which restored the Plaza in partnership with the City of El Paso in 2006. “The Plaza Theatre should inspire everyone about possibilities, and it underscores the importance of the arts in economic development as well.”

The Plaza Theatre opened on September 12, 1930, as a single screen atmospheric movie palace, designed by Dallas architect W. Scott Dunne. The interior design of the 2,050-seat theater emulates a hacienda from the 17th century Spanish Colonial revival period.

The theater was closed for more than 20 years before reopening on March 17, 2006, following a $42 million restoration by the El Paso Community Foundation and the City of El Paso. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with national significance.

The Plaza Theatre is operated by El Paso Live, a division of Destination El Paso. For information about the Plaza Theatre and its event schedule, go to elpasolive.com or call 915-534-0600.

The Plaza Theatre is the home of the El Paso Community Foundation’s Plaza Classic Film Festival, which celebrates its 15th year July 28-August 7. Watch for announcements about this year’s festival coming soon.

PCFF hosts 'Border Lords III' premiere Dec. 23 at Plaza Theatre

December 2

Get ready for more underworld intrigue as Shade Records, R-Unity Films, and the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival present the world premieres of the El Paso-made Border Lords III: Bloodlines and short film Macy Gray. Writer-director Billy Townes announced details at a news conference at City Coffee and Bar.

“Premiere Night at the Plaza” is at 7 p.m. Thursday, December 23 at the Plaza Theatre.

A private red carpet VIP event will precede the screenings.

Tickets for the Border Lords III/Macy Gray premieres are $10, on sale at the Plaza Theatre box office and Ticketmaster.com. Call 915-231-1100 for more information.

Writer-director Townes continues the saga of the Cortez crime family, whose leader, Gino Cortez, is behind bars. It’s the perfect time for the emerging Guzman syndicate to attempt to take over the El Paso-Juarez underworld. The noted El Paso pianist and filmmaker directed from his own script, based on a story by producer Mark Love and Townes. It was shot in El Paso, Las Cruces and Los Angeles.

Border Lords dates back 20 years. Townes and Love created the first installment as part of a test of video software. It was released in 2002. Border Lords II: Dark Secrets followed in 2010, and was screened at this year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival as part of the Local Flavor showcase. Border Lords III was four years in the making.

Macy Gray, by local filmmaker Rafael Prieto, focuses on a tough young female boxer who must battle her own demons before she can enter the ring for a very important fight. Prieto, who was Townes’ film student at El Paso Community College, filmed it in El Paso.

Watch the Border Lords III trailer here.

Give the gift of a Plaza Classic Film Festival Pass

November 26

Passes for the 2022 edition of the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival are now on sale!

For a limited time, we’re knocking off $25 from the price of a Festival Pass.

Normally, a Festival Pass sells for $200. But it is on sale for $175 — a $25 reduction — now through 11:59 p.m. Friday, December 31, 2021.

The 15th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival will be July 28 through August 7, 2022 in and around downtown El Paso’s jewel, the Plaza Theatre.

To buy a pass, click here. Or call us at 915-533-4020 during normal business hours.

Don’t forget that we are partnering with El Paso Live to show free holiday movies at the Plaza Theatre as part of the sixth annual WinterFest. Forthcoming titles include Home Alone, Elf, The Polar Express, It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually and Die Hard.

Click here to see the schedule. They’re free. No tickets are required. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Have a wonderful holiday season. We’ll see you at the movies!

Pictured: Richard Garven at the Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ during PCFF 2021.

Free Holiday Movies return to the Plaza Theatre

November 4

The Nightmare Before Christmas, Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, Die Hard (yes, Die Hard!), Frozen, and The Polar Express are among this year’s FREE Holiday Movies at the Plaza Theatre, presented by the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival in partnership with El Paso Live as part of the City of El Paso’s sixth annual WinterFest.

This year’s free film series features 11 movies over six weekends from November 21 to January 2. It includes the R-rated films Love Actually (language, nudity, adult situations) and Die Hard (violence, language), both making their Holiday Movies debuts.

The schedule is:

November 21/Sunday
1 p.m. — The Nightmare Before Christmas (PG)
4 p.m. — National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (PG-13)

November 28/Sunday
1 p.m. — A Christmas Story (PG)
4 p.m. — Home Alone (PG)

December 5/Sunday
1 p.m. — Elf (PG)
4 p.m. — The Polar Express (G)

December 18/Saturday
2 p.m. — It’s a Wonderful Life (PG)
7 p.m. — Love Actually (R; language, nudity, adult situations)

December 26/Sunday
1 p.m. — The Santa Clause (PG)
4 p.m. — Die Hard (R; violence, language)

January 2/Sunday
1 p.m. — Frozen (PG)

In true Plaza Classic style, organists will perform on the Plaza Theatre’s original, restored Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ before each movie.

Masks are strongly encouraged. The seating area will be disinfected after each show.

WinterFest runs November 20 through January 2 in downtown El Paso. El Paso Live’s WinterFest Ice Skating Rink and Texas Gas Service Warming Tent will be in Arts Festival Plaza. It opens from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. November 20. The rink’s hours will be: 4-9 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays; 4-11 p.m. Thursdays; 4 p.m.-12 a.m. Fridays; 12 p.m.-12 a.m. Saturdays; and 12 p.m.-9 p.m. Sundays through January 2. Sessions are 50 minutes. Cost is $8 to skate; $5 for 5 and under.

Go to epwinterfest.com for details.

The Plaza Classic Film Festival returns for its 15th year July 28-August 7, 2022.

Discounted Festival Passes will be on sale November 26-December 31 at plazaclassic.com/tickets.

Go to plazaclassic.com for more information.

KVIA profiles film historian/collector Jay Duncan

October 14

ABC affiliate KVIA aired a 3-minute 21-second piece on noted El Paso film historian and collector Jay Duncan on Tuesday’s 10 pm newscast, shortly after the network aired the special A Night in the Academy Museum special, which focused on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science’s expansive new museum in Hollywood.

Many people know Jay from his years hosting movies on local TV, codirecting the It! Came From the ’50s sci-fi festival and founding the Sunset Film Society. He’s also a member of the Plaza Classic Film Festival’s program advisory committee, and can be seen during the festival introducing movies and giving lectures as part of its free Film Talks series.

Click here to watch Jay’s interview with KVIA’s Jerry Najera.