Presidential Debates to be Screened at Galaxy Cinema in Cary

Talking is prohibited in most movie theaters, but at Galaxy Cinema this Friday, September 26, talk will be the main event. The Cary independent theater is opening its doors to a free live screening of the first presidential debate between candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. Tickets for the event are free, but seating is limited and advance ticket reservations are recommended.

The debate watch party is already a sell-out, with more than 270 registrations via Sen. Obama's campaign Web site, www.my.barackobama.com; the Triangle for Obama Meetup Group; and the Wake County Democratic Party. Debate watchers will be seated comfortably in the cinema's Theater 5 screening room, which is equipped with state-of-the-art digital projection equipment.

All four of the presidential/vice-presidential debates will be presented at Galaxy Cinema. The vice-presidential debate is Thursday, October 2; the third presidential debate is Tuesday, October 7; the fourth and final presidential debate is Wednesday, October 15 (the day before North Carolina's new One-Stop Early Voting begins at various polling sites in Wake County). All four debates begin at 9 p.m.; doors open at 8:30 p.m.

Galaxy Cinema marketing director Kim Yaman says it's not unusual to have a full-capacity crowd attend a community event.

"Nearly 300 people attended the live presentation of Sen. Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in August," says Yaman. "We always see tremendous support for community events we offer on our big screens."

Because the theater offers WiFi in addition to digital screening technologies, it can offer an interactive environment for bloggers and others who want to share a big-screen community event with others. The August event, for instance, featured hundreds of speech watchers who blogged and text-messaged the evening away while watching Sen. Obama speak.

Through October 10 (the deadline for voter registration in North Carolina), Galaxy moviegoers are also able to register to vote, thanks to an effort to provide voter-registration and address-update forms at the concierge desk. Between shows and during intermissions for Galaxy's Bollywood films, the theater features slides on its screens that encourage voting and voter registration. It's been a novel yet popular activity at the Cary cinema known for its arthouse films, director Q&A's, Bollywood offerings and other international movies, documentaries, and independent films.

In addition to the Democratic convention watch party, plans are under way to provide film-related forums for other candidates for public office during this historic election season. "We welcome virtually anyone who wants to reach out to our community," says Yaman. "It's easy as pie to host a postfilm discussion or to rent a theater to bring people together to support a cause."

Please keep in mind that the September 26 debate is already filled to capacity (There are only a few left). The other three debates (Oct. 2, Oct. 7, and Oct. 15) have more tickets available for each.

To learn more, contact Kim Yaman at Galaxy Cinema (919-463-9959 by phone, or via e-mail at mygalaxycinema@gmail.com).