Company won’t draw curtains on Isis Theatre name | AspenTimes.com

Company won’t draw curtains on Isis Theatre name

The Isis Theater has been in Aspen for more than a century, and its parent company has no intentions of changing its name despite a terror network bearing the same identity.

Isis, the ancient Egyptian goddess of health, marriage and wisdom, has nothing to do with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, noted Alan Stokes, an executive at the Aspen theater's parent company. And given that the cinema has been in existence significantly longer than the ISIS terror group, there's no reason to change the name, he said, though there have been talks of it.

"We've had discussions about it, but at this point, we feel like everybody understands that because we've been in the community for decades, and this has nothing to with anything that's going on the world today," said Stokes, vice president of film marketing and advertising for Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Theaters Corp., which operates the Isis Theater.

Two weekends ago in Denver, Isis Books & Gifts reportedly was vandalized for the fourth time in recent months.

On its Facebook page, the store said: "The name Isis is that of the Egyptian Goddess of women, marriage, magick (sic), healing and more. However, with our media and politicians constantly using the word to name those in the Middle East who are the source of such horror, some people seem to get confused."

Other businesses have altered their names because of the terrorist group, including the Isis Mobile Wallet, which is now called Softcard. Last week, The New York Times reported that stock in the financially sound Isis Pharmaceuticals fell five points in its the first trading after the Paris attacks, but the 25-year-old company plans to keep its name.

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The Isis Theater opened in 1913 at 406 E. Hopkins Ave., according to the Aspen Historical Society.

Aspen residents Kitty and Dominic Linza owned it for 30 years until 1995. After that, it went through a series of management changes, once declaring bankruptcy, before Metropolitan Theaters took over roughly six or seven years ago.

Stokes said Metropolitan Theaters has fielded no complaints about the Isis name.

"It's just business as usual," he said.

On its Facebook page, the vandalized bookstore also called on people to refer to the terrorist group not as "ISIS" but as "Daesh."

That's the term leaders such as President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande have employed. Daesh is an acronym for Dawlat al-Islamiyah f'al-Iraq wa Belaad al-Sham, the Arabic translation for Arabic state. It's considered an insulting term.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com