‘Save the Rio’ fundraiser in its final hours

Online fundraising campaign ends at midnight tonight

There’s little more than 12 hours left in the Save the Rio Theatre crowdfunding campaign and, in spite of suffering a head injury, owner Corrine Lea said she is feeling optimistic.

After a trio of events over the long weekend, the campaign started its grand finale, a 30-hour telethon, at 6 p.m. Sunday. The telethon, which runs until midnight tonight, features non-stop entertainment of all sorts.

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“I was there last night and it is just so much fun,” Lea said. “It’s just such a great atmosphere because everyone who shows up are just real hardcore Rio fans and everyone is kind of spread out in the theatre almost like it’s their living room and everyone there is just ready to roll with whatever’s happening.

“It went from your typical kind of comedy things to burlesque then we had this Beatles tribute band that was amazing,” she said. “The Fab Four had everyone up dancing. And we keep watching the campaign up on the big screen.”

For those who can’t make it to the theatre, the telethon is being livestreamed on YouTube. The link to the Indiegogo campaign is here.

The campaign kicked off its final push on Thursday with an art auction at the Beaumont Studios. The event raised more than $7,000, but just an hour in Lea fell down a flight of stairs and had to be taken to the hospital.

“I had to go to the emergency, spend the night in the hospital because I actually fractured my skull, which is like crazy timing,” Lea said.

“I’m doing this last final push with a fractured skull, concussion. I can’t go at quite the same pace, I have to take more naps and all of that but fortunately I’m still clear headed and focused, but also my staff and everybody on the campaign is fantastic so they’re all chipping in with whatever I can’t do.”

Next up was Kevin Smith’s two sold out shows Friday night, which raised a total of $50,000, just a month after the filmmaker suffered a massive heart attack, which he addressed in the two-hour show, along with sharing stories about his life including his time living in Vancouver, attending Vancouver Film School and his devotion to the Degrassi series.

“That man can talk, oh my Lord,” Lea said. “He’s very generous with his time, too.”

As of noon on Monday, the online campaign was at more than $330,000 of the $1-million goal. That total included some of what was raised over the weekend, with more being added later in the day. Lea also said she’ll be making an announcement at the telethon at around 11 p.m., just before the final performer, C.R. Avery, takes to the stage.

A total of roughly $3 million is needed to put down a deposit to finance a mortgage on the property. Lea said she’s had a lot of interested investors reaching out, adding that things were also looking positive after a meeting with Vancity bank.

The push to save the Rio got going in earnest in late January, when news of the 80-year-old East Van venue’s sale appeared in a real estate brochure. Lea’s offer to purchase the property from current owner Leonard Schein was accepted in mid-February and the deadline to get all the funds in order is April 7.

With files from John Kurucz

@JessicaEKerr

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