Newcomers to St. Louis probably don't know that before Loop master builder Joe Edwards renovated the Tivoli, it had fallen into a ghastly state of disrepair. The last days before its doors were boarded up made for hardy cinematic excursions. If it was raining outside the theater, it was raining inside, too. If it was cold outside, it was best to wear a heavy parka throughout the feature presentation. So for those with a sense of history, the Tivoli today is an extreme before-and-after shot -- much more compelling than those hideous "health" ads in the Post-Dispatch
. Shiny golden and silvery gewgaws all around, plush arena seats, even a cozy little court in the lobby with tables and chairs to sit and munch and jabber with other cinephiles -- it sure beats shivering in the dark while confronting some obscure, bleak German flick. The personality traits of the staff are sometimes more entertaining than the films, combining adorably hip and surly with sincerely sweet and pleasant. They serve up a damn fine all-beef hotdog to go with those obscure, bleak German flicks, which you now watch without your coat.