By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Oct 18, 2007 at 10:13 AM

Now that the Oriental turns 80 -- or more accurately, turned 80 in July - it's got me thinking about when I moved to Milwaukee nearly 25 years ago and the Oriental was an oasis (which means I've been an Oriental patron for almost a third of its lifetime!).

That was back in the day when the Oriental was one, big, astonishing and breathtaking theater and the same words could be used to describe its printed schedule, which listed different films for nearly every day or every couple days.

There were themed double features -- like "Cat People" and "The Man Who Fell to Earth" which both featured David Bowie, for example -- and week-long events, such as a marathon of Kubrick movies.

Buying a 12 screening pass for $20 or whatever it was felt like a quick and easy way to a film education.

I saw obscure music movies about reggae music and punk, I saw all the Kubrick films, I saw "Metropolis," I saw Italian realist films, I saw risque French films, I saw "A Clockwork Orange" more than once.

While I don't question the changes made at the Oriental in the intervening years -- after all, the world and the movie business have changed -- I do miss the days when you could go in, bask in the unaltered splendor of Milwauke's last surviving movie palace and see some of the world's quirkiest movies. Unless you waited a day too long, in which case you'd have to see another of the world's quirkiest movies.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.