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Rolling with Ragtag

Monday, February 18, 2008 | 9:42 p.m. CST; updated 1:34 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Steve Ruffin, center, along with Ragtag employees and volunteers, begin moving boxes, filing cabinets and other items from the basement at the old Ragtag Cinemacafe off Tenth Steet to the new Ragtag at 10 Hitt Street on Monday. The new Ragtag will have two theaters.

COLUMBIA — Taking up an entire lane on Tenth Street, five men pushed a large black metal cooler to the new Ragtag Cinemacafe location on 10 Hitt St.

Maneuvering through cars, pedestrians and an occasional brick wall involved not only strength, but also strategy. Puzzled pedestrians didn’t know what to make of the scene but stopped to watch.

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“This was the hardest and biggest thing we had to move,” said volunteer Mike Rowson, after he helped wheel the cooler down Broadway. “We were able to lift the lighter cooler into a truck, but this one was just easier to walk with than to lift.”

Volunteers brought pickup trucks and a dolly to assist with the move. Co-owner Paul Sturtz sent out a mass

e-mail to the Ragtag listserv, and 15 volunteers showed up during the 5 to 8 p.m. moving time. Most have been going to Ragtag for years.

Memories flooded back to Ragtag board member Holly Robertson.

“I was here before we even had a loan, before there was even a wall here,” Robertson said. “The best memory I have is the way it would feel on a cold night, when the windows were all steamy and the place was just packed.”

Volunteers moved the bulky items first. Perishables and smaller stuff will be moved later. The theater should open later this week, but because of possible complications with the move, there is no set date for when the first official movie will be shown.

“We have to first get an occupancy permit from the city,” Robertson said. “Right now it is up in the air. Just keep watching the Web site.”

Ragtag plans on hosting a grand opening after the True/False Film Festival.

Fans were satisfied with the old but are ready for something new.

“I liked the old (Ragtag) but as long as they still have their beer, wine and popcorn, then it is fine by me,” Rowson said. Robertson looked around the packed-up theater.

“It is really hard for me to say good-bye,” she said. “I was here when it was an empty space. It is really trippy to see it now.”


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