Archive for the family Category


Posted in Art, • Wood Dickinson Sites, Climate Change, Faith, family, Fear, God, Humility, Love with tags , , on 04/07/2016 by wooddickinson

4289975I get up this morning and I’m greeted by a news story on the radio about Ted Cruz making an unfortunate campaign stop in the Bronx. A man named Rebel Diaz yelled, “He is anti-immigrant. He denies climate change. He’s a right-winged bigot and he’s not welcomed here.” Wow.

I’m an artist and writer. The freedom to create work that may express a certain viewpoint is critical to me as it should be to all Americans. Expressing one’s opinions is part of the social discourse of our lives. Without this, we simply lose an entire part of who we are as individuals. Mr. Diaz has a right to his opinion and a right to express it in a peaceful manner. So does Ted Cruz. You may not like what Mr. Cruz has to say but vitriol is never a proper response. Respectful discourse is at the core of what we Americans are.

We as individuals must respect the views of others. We don’t have to be open to listening but we must act with respect. I think so many of us use our loud voice so we don’t have to truly listen to another’s views. I mean listening is dangerous because if you really listen and seek to understand (not agree) to another person’s feelings, thoughts, ideas you might find that you have to rethink your own views and maybe, just maybe change them.

For those who don’t know here is the first amendment to the constitution of the United States-

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

No where in this amendment does it say I have the right to scream and disrupt public assembly. What it does say is that we have the right to assemble as a group to protest and give voice to our political beliefs but it must be done peaceably.

You don’t need a law degree to understand the constitution. It’s very plain. For instance, like it or not, the second amendment says we the people have the right to keep a well regulated militia as well as a right to keep and bear arms. Don’t shoot (pun intended) the messenger.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Agree or not this amendment guarantees two things. #1 we can maintain a well regulated militia (army) and #2 we as individuals have a right to have a gun and use it when needed as long as its use isn’t in violation of the law meaning the commission of a crime. What it doesn’t say is that individual states have the right to control my ability to do so.

As an artist I feel all of the rights guaranteed in the constitution must be protected. I may not like it but when you chip away at one part you chip away at the whole. No good comes from that.

Remember our Declaration of Independence says –

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

What that means is we the people are in control not our government. Remember that we fought a war to gain relief from oppression by England.

I’m just sayin’

And there we were

Posted in • Wood Dickinson Sites, Book, Cape Cod, Chicago, Church, Faith, family, God, Home, Hope, Humility, Kansas City, Love, Patti Dickinson, Poetry, Road Trip, Writing with tags , , , , on 02/02/2014 by wooddickinson

Had a wonderful weekend in Chicago with my wife Patti Shea.
Made me think of this:

“And there we were, in a kind of harmony;
and the evening was so beautiful, that it
made a pain in my heart, as when you
cannot tell whether you are happy or sad;
and I thought that if I could have a wish, it
would be that nothing would ever change,
and we could stay that way forever.”

-Margaret Atwood

Up too Late on Christmas Eve

Posted in • Wood Dickinson Sites, Book, Clouds, Color, Faith, family, God, HDR, New York City, On Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on 12/25/2013 by wooddickinson

FlyLast night I went to see Frozen with two of my daughters. Got home about midnight a bit wired so I sat down and wrote and edited on The Robin Randle Stories. Next thing I know it’s 3 AM! Wow. Now today I’m still working on Robin’s little story but need to call it a day. It is Christmas.

The update is, Robin’s getting close to finished. Some of the transitional scenes near the end are giving me fits but hey, that’s what writings all about. Right? Never give up, Never surrender. You just keep going till the damn thing’s beat you to death! By the way, this photo here is one I took flying to New York in 2005 I think. Just found it and it spoke to me. Post production time on this photograph, three hours. Just sayin’. Oh, and if you want to be a writer, make sure pounding criticism is one of those things that doesn’t bother you.

I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas. Let the light of God’s love shine in your heart.


The Touch

Posted in Art, • Wood Dickinson Sites, Faith, family, Fear, God, Home, Hope, Humility, Kansas City, Love, Need, Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , on 11/06/2013 by wooddickinson
like a whisper
my hand plants in yours


scared you’ll pull away. 

no I pull, no risk, can’t risk

when you sleep sometimes, I steal a touch,

placed my hand upon your back
only for a moment.
sometimes you reach out to me
take my hand
I feel life unfolding like a breath
knowing it will be gone soon.

what is it that makes your touch so powerful?

only you

it holds me in fear and awe,

i wish for it

that you will snuggle toward me in the night
needing me

like air.

11/5/2013 – fairway, kansas

Movie Days

Posted in Art, • Wood Dickinson Sites, Color, family, Fine Art Photography, Home, Journalism, Kansas City, Movie Theatres, Photography, renegade pictures, Road Trip with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 12/12/2012 by wooddickinson
This is one of the most innovative and fun theatres I ever dreamed up. Then I got to build it.  It was called the Northrock 14. It originally was next door to the original Northrock theatres in Wichita, Kansas. The reversed style auditorium was a concept that came to me when I was at a workshop in a live performance theatre. As you can see the projector is in the center of the auditorium and has a large glass window showing off the equipment inside much like the old Imax theatres use to do. The auditorium is backwards in that the wide part of the room is at the front and the small end at the back. It isn’t a box. It’s also backwards from a conventional live theatre auditorium. You enter the auditorium from under the screen. I built a larger version of this type of complex in Tulsa, OK.
Funny, John Hartley the past owner of Dickinson (bought it from me) built his Palazzo Theatre in south Overland Park, Kansas using the same type of design concepts then went ahead and took credit for the concept and design. In actual fact TK Architects worked with Dickinson and John was the construction manager. I spent hours poring over the plans trying to bring the concept to life.
I never learned if this concept design had a place in Exhibition. That’s still a question but I had a lot of fun and really, the auditoriums were awesome. Huge screens and super sound systems. The complex was at 3151 North Penstemon Street  Wichita, KS.
Unfortunately like many things done to the demise of Dickinson Theatres, Hartley closed the complex in late October of 2012. Probably had too. Hartley was notorious in running theatres into the ground. Here is part of a patrons comment  found on the Internet;


Tips for Northrock 14 Theatre

Doesn’t Recommend
November 22, 2009
The dirtiest theater I’ve ever been to. I took my 4 year old to the 11:30 Sunday showing of “Planet 51.” When we walked up, the trash bins outside were OVERFLOWING with trash and the parking lot looked like there had been a party in it last night. It was obvious no attempt was made to clean up from the time before. We walked inside and the carpet was filthy and it was dark and smelled like a urinal. I mentioned to the kid selling me tickets that the front was a mess, and he apologized and said they would get it cleaned up. We bought out tickets and went to the concession stand to buy popcorn, and of course, the floor was sticky, the counter was filthy and there wasn’t an adult working to be found. Just a bunch of high school or perhaps college kids, and they weren’t too enthusiastic to help us out. We finally sat down (the theater was so dark you couldn’t see anything, which was probably a good thing, judging by the sound of crunching under our feet) and waited for the movie to start. And waited, and waited. The projector showing commercials before previews locked up, so we were stuck watching the same logo flash before our screen. FINALLY at 11:45, some kid shows up in the projection room and starts the movie. Now we get to sit through trailers….Halfway through the movie, my daughter has to go to the bathroom. Of the six stalls in there, four had out of order signs on them. The other two were filthy, sticky floors, etc. The toilet paper dispenser was broken, and there was in industrial sized roll of TP on the floor. I picked it up, it was wet, and when I turned it over, it was moldy! We moved to another bathroom, it wasn’t much better, only three working stalls, The trash was overflowing. About that time, we had had enough, and left. I noticed as we left, that NO ONE had made an attempt to clean up the trash out front. I will NEVER go to this theater again, and I’m going to tell everyone who will listen not to go there either. Not worth the health risks and for what you pay to attend a movie, I at least expect a working toilet with mold-free toilet paper!!! —  From Citysearch 

_______________________________________________________________Northrock 14 Theatre To Close

The Northrock 14 Theatre at 29th and Rock Road is set to close as Dickinson Theatres Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The theatre has been leasing the space from Occidental Management after it sold the building in January.
“It was not going to be a long-term tenant anyway, so, we’re just moving forward with our plans to convert the building into Class A office. It hasn’t impacted any of our plans or proformas for the building,” said Chad Stafford, president of Occidental Management.
According to our news partners at the Wichita Business Journal, the Overland Park-based movie theater chain hopes to have a reorganization plan soon, but in the meantime will close theaters in Wichita, Oklahoma City and Blue Springs, MO. Another Dickinson location in Leavenworth recently closed.
Northrock 14 customers were saddened by the news but said they expected the closure after seeing less attendance at the theatre.
“It’s sad for the economy. It’s sad for the people who are working there. Sad for me ’cause I can’t come here to see a movie. I’ve got to go somewhere else. Most of the places are more expensive,” said Nancy Bye, customer.
The theatre will like close its doors by the end of the year when their lease ends.
Dickinson Theatres currently operates 18 locations across 7 states. reported this story on Monday, September 24, 2012 – staff photograph

Northrock 14 to be office space by BILL WILSON

Wichita office developer has a contract to purchase the Northrock 14 Theatre, with plans to close the struggling movie house and develop 95,000 square feet of office space on two floors.Gary Oborny, CEO of Occidental Management, said he hopes to close later this spring on a cash deal for the theater, owned by Overland Park-based Dickinson Theatres.
Terms of the purchase were not disclosed, but Oborny said the office conversion project, slated to open in the third quarter of 2012, will carry an $8 million price tag. “Each floor will be 47,500 square feet of Class A at a two-floor minimum in a contemporary style,” Oborny said. “We’ll cut windows in the building, redo the outside in a pattern a little bit different than our other design, renovate the parking lot and landscape.”
The theater will be the second building of what Oborny envisions as a 200,000-square-foot, three-building Class A office complex at 32nd North and Rock Road, including the company headquarters at 8111 E. 32nd St. North.
That building, renovated in 2008, also was a Dickinson movie theater. Oborny said it has 6,000 of 84,000 square feet remaining. Tenants include Corporate Lodging.
Plans call for a third building between the headquarters and the theater, with between 20,000 and 30,000 square feet of office space, Occidental president Chad Stafford said. “We’re next to Rock Road, next to K-96, so the convenience of getting here from 96 just to the north allows all our different employees, customers and vendors to really get here from anywhere in Wichita in 18 minutes,” Oborny said.
He said he has several large tenants on the hook for the new office facility, including some interested in as much as 40,000 square feet. Lease rates should range between $19 and $20 per square foot, about $2 under the city’s going rate for Class A space. The theater’s closing date is up in the air, Oborny said, and will be tied to the purchase closing. No general contractor has been selected, but Wichita architect Ron Spangenberg of Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture will design the new facility.
John Hartley, president of Dickinson, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
The market for Class A office space in Wichita is showing signs of life, said Stan Longhofer, director of Wichita State’s Center for Real Estate.
“Very clearly in the market right now, there’s some good product and there’s demand for it,” he said. “There’s average product and there’s not a lot of demand for average product. “People are always going to be interested in high-quality space, and since he can demonstrate what he’s done with similar projects, that’s a positive for him.”
Northrock’s closing leaves Warren Theatres as the sole Wichita movie operation, other than the Starlite Drive-In.
Nonetheless, Warren Theatres owner Bill Warren said the Northrock closing has no bearing on his business plans.
“They aren’t a competitor. Haven’t been for a long time,” Warren said. “Entertainment is my competitor — baseball, basketball, events, things like that.” Wichita Eagle – to read more here

Northrock 14’s parent company files bankruptcy By Dan Voorhis and Jerry Siebenmark

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story had an incorrect date of Northrock 14’s opening.
Once the east side’s premier movie theater, Northrock 14 will close, following a decision by its owner Dickinson Theatres to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Overland Park-based Dickinson is trying to reorganize to save the company, but has petitioned the bankruptcy court to allow it to break the lease on the Northrock 14 building and close the business down. If the court grants the request, the company could be out of there within 30 to 60 days, said attorney Sharon Stolte of Stinson Morrison Hecker. Stolte said there was no clear time frame for closing Northrock 14, and that Dickinson could shut down its theater operation in Wichita at any time.
The theater building at 3151 Penstemon in northeast Wichita is owned by Occidental Management, which bought the building in 2011 with plans to convert its 95,000 square feet into Class A office space. Chad Stafford, president of Occidental Management, said Monday the bankruptcy filing was not a surprise, and he described the theater’s lease as a “temporary arrangement. It was an interim solution, not anything long term that we were banking on.”
Stafford said Occidental’s plan all along was to start converting the theater building into office space in 2013.
“That’s the same track we’re working on,” he said. Dickinson, which filed its bankruptcy papers in Kansas City, Kan., said it had $2.2 million in assets and $7.6 million in liabilities. According to court documents, the company operates 210 screens in 18 locations in seven states. “Some of these locations are expected to be closed prior to confirmation of the (reorganization) Plan, but the remaining business operations will be stronger,” the company said in court documents. The company cited competition, fewer box office hits in recent years, and higher licensing fees from film distributors as reasons for the bankruptcy, according to court documents.
The closing of Northrock 14 would signal the end of Dickinson’s long-running battle with Bill Warren for local movie-goers loyalties. Dickinson opened Northrock 6 in 1987, and instantly dominated the east-side movie scene. Warren started a few years later with the second-run Palace, then opened his own plush $10 million first-run theater at 21st and Tyler in 1996, splitting the town between east and west. In 1998 Dickinson came back with the $10 million Northrock 14, futuristically decorated in purple, pink and black with a touch of neon and a reflective ceiling. It opened to large crowds. Warren fired back by adding eight more screens at his west-side theater a year later.
Dickinson’s then-owner John Hartley sought unsuccessfully to build an 18-screen theater at Maple and Maize Road in 2002, and the company’s fortunes began to dim. At the same time Warren continued to expand, opening his large east-side theater, then a downtown theater. He has continued to upgrade and expand his properties since.
Northrock, during the same time, became less competitive. On Monday, Warren said he didn’t run Dickinson out of Wichita. “It has not been a well-run company for 20 years,” he said. “You can see it’s pretty obvious the customers have rejected their business model.” But Warren didn’t gloat about the departure of his once-bitter foe.
“It’s not good for the industry, it’s not going to help us,” he said. “It’s too bad.” – Read more here


My thoughts – When I ran Dickinson Theatres I would create a white paper at least 4 times a year. That paper detailed our ability to serve the patron, present a perfect show, keep the theatres clean, safe and well staffed among other things. John Hartley would receive a copy of this document along with everyone else and he hated it. The white paper was one way I could measure our effectiveness at motion picture exhibition. When I left Dickinson that all left with me. The Dickinson Theatres I could go to free (until John took my pass away) was getting run-down, dirty, poorly staffed and etc. I started going to AMC. What a pitiful statement on the operation of Dickinson Theatres. The last family member to be involved with Dickinson won’t even go to a theatre with his name on it. I felt John hated the “Dickinson” brand and would have dumped the name if he could have. I wish he had. I still get asked if I’m involved with Dickinson and I’m very quick to reply NO!
So here I am 13 years out from my sale of the company and Dickinson’s 1st bankruptcy and two of the most wonderful theatres I ever built, and attended are gone. The SouthGlen 12 and Northrock 14. I told John (and this upset him) that the chances of a company making it after bankruptcy declines with each year. I told him he wouldn’t make it 20 years. He didn’t.
Scars of war I guess. Show business is truly like no business I know. Today’s crop of exhibitors know nothing about showmanship. Frankly, the film companies don’t either.
If you are interested in old theatres here are a couple of websites to get you started: •
Photographs of the Northrock are by Wood Dickinson 


Posted in • Wood Dickinson Sites, Black and White, family, Photography, Road Trip with tags , , , , , , , , on 11/28/2012 by wooddickinson

I came across this photo today. It is a picture of me at 9 and my brother Kent at 15. It is August 1962 and the location is somewhere in New Hampshire. This is all I know. Not sure who took the shot. Probably my mom. Also I don’t know why my late brother Scott isn’t in it. Mysteries. What I want to think about is how does this photo make me “feel.” The original is a 3×3 inch faded color print. There aren’t any markings on the back except my mom’s handwriting.

Big Brutus

Posted in 100 in 365, Art, • Wood Dickinson Sites, Color, family, Fine Art Photography, Photography, Road Trip, Tractor with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10/18/2012 by wooddickinson

I took this photo several years ago while on a road trip with two of my girls. I’d always wanted to see this monster but not something you do with the wife and kids in the car. Big Brutus. Once a force of nature clawing coal from the south-eastern Kansas land, until 1974 when we learned even something as mighty as this machine can come to an end. I understand that there was another earth mover even bigger called “Big Muskie” in Ohio but it’s gone now. Another piece of our history blown away with the dust and dead leaves.

You know the road trips I use to take with my kids are some of the most precious memories I have. I have eight children so to spend three or four days with just one or two was a wonderful way to connect. We’d listen to old-time radio programs (Superman/Shadow) while driving and eat at McDonald’s a lot. The great thing about little kids is their main attraction is the swimming pool and a movie. Easy to please they put up with all my wandering to places no one would ever really just plan to go to. We’ve seen everything from Amelia Earhart’s childhood home to the Seneca Spooklight also known as the Hornet Spooklight. A place I wanted to go to since I heard kids talking about it at lunch while in the sixth grade.

I recently came across this photograph and for the first time saw the elements of the what and why that brought me to that place. I took the originally ordinary travel photo and attempted to use it as the foundation to create a feeling of nostalgia mixed with faded uselessness and times passed. Maybe better. Maybe not. This machine seems out-of-place in a world filled with Facebook, Twitter and texting. That was part of what impressed me when I saw the negative.  When I shot this picture Twitter wasn’t born yet.

Assignment for the week: locate machinery not in use (of any kind) and create a piece that gives off the “feeling” of the machine in space and time. Post them here. I’ll comment.

Remember – Not all who wander are lost.

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