About This Project

For more information about the content of this site, please see the Introduction.

Developed by writer and designer Gordon McAlpin in partial fulfillment of an MFA thesis in Graphic Design at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, this project aims to present a history of the Twin Cities movie theater industry in its most turbulent era, during the transition from silent to sound cinema.

There are several key features to the Turn Out the Stars When You Leave site:

The Essays — The narrative unfolds over an Introduction and five essays, each covering a major theme or event. I hope to add more reels over time, in order to flesh out the narrative further. At present, the essays focus on the 1927 Twin Cities movie theater labor strikes.

This site uses Chicago-style citations (the standard for media studies), but with side notes rather than footnotes for ease of reference.1 You can ignore all the citations if you just want to read the essays, of course.

The Collection — All of the articles and images cited in the essays can be found on this site in the collection. Dozens more articles and images—some tangential to the narrative, some not—are also included. By exploring the archive, you can experience the narrative presented here on a whole new level. Or, you can skip the essays entirely and discover the story on your own.2

External links are indicated with an off-site link icon. Most off-site links will lead to another digital archive where you can continue your exploration. Books unavailable digitally link to the title’s WorldCat page, to help you find a copy at a library near you.

Tag Pages — Dates, people, organizations, and other significant factors in the narrative, such as  or the , are tagged, which link to tag pages offering a little general information about their subjects that may help readers draw their own connections between different parts of the narrative.

A complete list of the sources, figures, and tags can be found on the Index page.

About the Website

The construction of the Turn Out the Stars When You Leave website was built based on many hours of research, experimentation, and revision. My methodology and research are described in detail in my MFA thesis paper (PDF, 379kb).

This site is powered by WordPress and presented with a custom version of the Underscores starter theme called “Academia,” adding a grid based on the 960 Grid System. The theme incorporates a modified version of Side Matter by Christopher Setzer for the presentation of side notes.

The site also uses the following plug-ins:

About the Author

Gordon McAlpin lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with his fiancée Karyn and their cats Dipper and Mabel. He has an MFA in Graphic Design (Interactive Design track) from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities; this project was created in partial fulfillment of its requirements.

From 2004–2006, Gordon created Stripped Books, a series of non-fiction strips covering book- and comics-related events in comics form. From July 2005 through April 2017, he wrote and illustrated Multiplex, a comic strip about working at a movie theater. His interest in film lead to an interest in movie theater architecture, particularly the “movie palaces” of the 1920s and 30s, which in turn lead to an interest in the movie theater industry of the same era.