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Movies feature fun, friendship at Bloomfield Township Senior Center

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 9, 2016

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BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Remember all those afternoons you spent as a teenager at the movie theater with friends?

Guess what — that experience is even more fun when you’re older.

That’s what keeps more mature cinema fans coming back to free movie Fridays at the Bloomfield Township Senior Center. For several years, the center has hosted films every Friday afternoon and, according to Bloomfield Township Senior Services Director Christine Tvaroha, the tradition has only gained in popularity.

“It started with one movie a month, but (guests) would come and give us more and more suggestions. So we had to expand it to do a new movie every week,” said Tvaroha.

According to Jean Campbell, the new recreation coordinator at the center, movies are selected based on that week’s category.

“On the first Friday of month we do movie classics, like Oscar-winning films,” said Campbell. “Then on the second Friday of the month we do movie musicals, like ‘The King and I’ and “Cabaret.’ Then on the third Friday we do movie mania, which is more recently released films. Then on the fourth Friday we show documentaries.”

Tvahorha said the documentaries are always a popular event because, in the well-educated community of Bloomfield Township, residents enjoy learning about a variety of topics.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a little whimsy.

“I’m actually considering for this month doing half documentaries and half science fiction,” said Campbell. “I think there’s a big window of opportunity for science fiction.”

The movies are shown on a large screen with an advanced sound system in the community room. Beverages are served, along with hand-popped popcorn.

“I pop it myself, and it makes the entire building smell wonderful,” Campbell laughed.

While the films are free for residents ages 50 and older, nonresidents of the same age are asked to pay the center’s $2 drop-in fee.

So why no big-ticket movie prices like other theaters might have? Tvahorha said the center has a secret movie connection — the Bloomfield Township Public Library.

“We don’t pay anything for the movies because we partner with our wonderful library,” she explained. “We borrow films from them, and they have a fantastic selection. They’re so good about giving us suggestions. They’ll let us know, ‘Hey, these are the hot movies coming out that we’ll have.’”

“Our DVD collection is one of our most popular collections,” said Tera Moon, assistant library director, in an email. “About 40 percent of what gets checked out each month is media, which includes DVDs. We have a really extensive collection — feature films, documentaries, TV series, children’s movies — you name it. DVDs go out for a week and are free to those with a valid library card, and we are so happy to share our collection with the Bloomfield Township Senior Center.”

Each Friday can draw anywhere from 10 to 40 moviegoers on average, and Campbell said it’s fun to overhear the murmuring between guests as they leave a showing.

“There’s a nice camaraderie. They come in and greet each other and talk a lot about the films,” she said. “People very much pay attention to the year the movie was made in, how many minutes it was, what category it was, like comedy or romance. Sometimes they’ll do their homework on it.”

And after all, that really is the point of the movie afternoons — to get folks chatting and enjoying each other.

“Being together with people is so important,” said Tvaroha. “We absolutely are here to help people with Meals on Wheels, transportation, fitness classes. But you need to keep up those social connections at every age, and movies are a good excuse to come by (the senior center).”

Movies begin every Friday at 1 p.m. For more information, visit www.bloomfieldtwp.org and look at Senior Services under the Services tab.

The Bloomfield Township Senior Center is located at 4315 Andover Road in Bloomfield Township.

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