Left in the Dark: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres

posted by RAMcBride on September 22, 2010 at 7:57 am

Book Release and Events:
Photographs by R.A. McBride
Edited by Julie Lindow
Literary essays by: Rebecca Solnit, Katherine Petrin, Melinda Stone, Eddie Muller, Liz Keim, D. Scot Miller, Gary Meyer with Laura Horak, Elisabeth Houseman with Joshua Grannell, Sergio de la Mora, Chi-hui Yang, and Sam Sharkey.

Available now at www.leftinthedark.info http://www.leftinthedark.info/ for $39.95. The book will be available for purchase at bookstores in September 2010. Published by Charta Art Books, distributed by D.A.P. (Distributed Art Publishers). 10 x 8 cardstock cover, 59 photographs, 168 pages, 11 chapters

Left in the Dark: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres celebrates twentieth-century movie theatres and moviegoing through lush full-color fine art photographs and personal essays with both scholarly and literary appeal. R.A. McBride’s vivid portraits of the Castro, New Mission, Balboa, and many other theatres illuminate the role of the movie house as a great social nexus. McBride gained rare access to the interiors of closed theatres, picturing them empty and allowing the grandeur of the architecture to take center stage. Casting the theatres as characters within the city’s cultural landscape, scholars and film exhibitors, including Rebecca Solnit, Eddie Muller, Chi-hui Yang, and Gary Meyer, among others, uncover a wondrous variety of forgotten or never-before revealed histories. As society retreats from public life into the anonymity of multiplexes and personal entertainment technologies, our moviegoing heritage becomes ever more significant and inspiring. San Francisco is fortunate to be one of the world’s most vital moviegoing cities and to have so many of its historic movie houses still standing. By drawing a continuum from past to present, Left in the Dark offers hope that even as these landmarks crumble, the spirit of cinema thrives.

Praise for Left in the Dark:
“This book is absolutely wonderful!! I had the greatest time reading, or rather, immersing myself in its sense of celebration. It not only evokes the spirit and experiences of another era, but shows that they are definitely alive today, even in these grim alienated times. In that sense the book is as politically important as it is entertaining, informative, and revelatory. I am going to give copies of it to everyone who carries the torch for a more humanistic collective society and see if we can re-enliven that quality of spirit and community."
Jerry Mander, Author: In the Absence of the Sacred; Four Arguments for the Elimination
of Television; The Case Against the Global Economy

“McBride’s well-crafted photographs provide a valuable record of a disappearing institution as well as an insightful look behind the scenes at the mechanisms and structures that create the visual experience we call cinema.”
Sharon Lockhart, Artist

Events: Follow us through our new Facebook page, or at www.leftinthedark.info http://www.leftinthedark.info and keep informed about upcoming San Francisco Bay Area Left in the Dark events: October 10, Space Gallery; October 12, City Lights Bookstore; October 13, Camerawork; October 20, Mechanic’s Library; October 21, Balboa Theatre; October 24, Vogue Theatre; October 27, Moe’s in Berkeley; October 28, Green Arcade; October 30, Pacific Film Archive; December 4, Exploratorium; and more throughout the Bay Area. We look forward to seeing you on the road!

Comments (6)

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on September 22, 2010 at 11:36 am

Perhaps there would be many of these now closed or destroyed cinemas still in operation today, had San Francisco ‘the city that knows how,’ provided more parking garages and lessened the so overdone number of yellow; trucks only, or white; no parking zones.

I wasted more gas and time racing around the blocks desperately searching in vain for an empty parking stall, often giving up and not seeing a movie!

Remember MGM’s Louis B. Mayer’s proclamation? “Every empty theater seat cost’s money.” TELL THAT TO YOUR CITY PARKING DEPARTMENT, because theaters bring people into town and that puts tax dollars back into the city bank account!

ChiBob on September 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm

I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of this book and have slowly been going through it. For those of us who remember these SF theaters before they were torn down, this book is a wonderful document to a vanished era. The essays, the crisp and colorful pictures of the theater interiors, and the overall production design are all first rate.

terrywade on September 23, 2010 at 8:45 am

Love this new book with great color photos of the inside of the UA Coronet(a Todd-AO house) before the wrecking ball came. Now It’s time for the New Mission Theatre(on the cover) to re open before It’s to late. Julie & R. A. McBride did a super job going into many of the SF Theatres to show us what is left. My pre sample ‘Left in the Dark’ book came 3 months ago from Julie and I have showed it to many eager movie theatre fans in the Bay Area that will now have their own copy to look at soon. Don’t miss this new book to add to your movie theatre photo book collection. My friend Jack Tillmany who has done many local SF & Oakland movie palace books and is now working on his third B&W classic book on the ‘SF Peninsula Movie Theatres’ will realy like this new color theatre book. Thanks again to everyone that got involved in the production of ‘Left in the Dark’

JohnRice on September 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Available on Amazon now for $28.76, 28 per cent off list price with free shipping and no sales tax in most states. I just put in my order and am extremely looking forward to receiving and reading it. Great to hear that Mr. Tillmany is working on another of his excellent volumes on Bay Area theatres too!

chiropracticmarketing on September 24, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Any1 seen the movie “the Dark”?

that movie left me feeling a bit puzzled….. what the hell happend in the end?

chiropractic marketing

JohnRice on September 28, 2010 at 4:39 pm

I received the book yesterday from Amazon. Beautiful photographs by R.A. McBride combined with well written essays about movie going and theatre operations in San Francisco by several noted authors. My only reservation is that the theatres in the photographs (all interior shots) are not identified on the individual pages. You have to go to the back of the book for a list of photographs to ID the theatre.

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