When The Flicks opened with a single screen in 1984, the closest thing Boise had to "art house" cinema was the occasional screening of "Woodstock" or "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at one of the local theaters.
The Flicks screened a double feature on its opening night: "Casablanca" and "The Return of Martin Guerre."
The theater was packed on opening night, but dead the next.
"An American classic and a foreign art film," said owner Carole Skinner.
"I had put so much effort into marketing for the grand opening, that I don't think people realized we would also be open the next day."
Boiseans caught on, but it took some time. The theater lost money for the first seven years, said Skinner, who worked more than full-time for no pay.
The theater kept its doors open. These days, it's generous with others doing good work. The Flicks is known for community outreach, including benefit screenings for nonprofits - Agency for New Americans, Canyon County Animal Shelter and Boise Bully Breed Rescue, and Soroptimists International, to name a few. The Flicks has hosted Gay Pride Movie Night during the annual Pride Week for the last 20 years.
Statesman reader Wally Smith nominated the theater as an icon:
"Boise is richer for the cultural dimension The Flicks provides us. It's a community of staff, volunteers and patrons who enjoy Carole Skinner's out-of-the-mainstream but prize-winning selections from film festivals we'd never otherwise see on a big screen."
The volunteers Smith noted are 36 people who take tickets in exchange for seeing movies for free. There's a waiting list for ticket duty.
The Flicks' beginnings are grassroots. Carole and her husband, Rick, have always been movie buffs. Back in the 1980s, Rick was a member of a local club called "Films that don't come to Boise."
Club members bought an old 16 mm projector and rented space in places like the Y and the synagogue to screen movies like "My Dinner with Andre," "Swept Away" and "Diva."
The club grew and the Skinners decided to open The Flicks.
The theater has racked up its share of awards including the Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1997.
646 W. Fulton St.
Anna Webb: 377-6431