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Book Release and Film Show Event:
LEFT IN THE DARK: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres
Thursday, October 21, 7pm, $5 admission
â€œImpresariosâ€ at the Balboa Theater with Julie Lindow, R.A. McBride, Gary Meyer and Melinda Stone!
A Night About the Moviegoing Experience
A fun evening for lovers of movies and theaters on Thursday night, October 21, 7pm at the Balboa. A program featuring authors who contributed to the beautiful new book about movie theaters, LEFT IN THE DARK: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres. The bookâ€™s editor, Julie Lindow, will introduce photographer R.A. McBride who will present an illustrated presentation about the theaters of San Francisco and launch an exhibit of her photos in the Balboa lobby. Melinda Stone and Gary Meyer will talk about their chapters in the book. Sing-a-longs, prizes and theater games will be part of the celebration that includes an entertaining program of rare shorts, cartoons and trailers about the moviegoing experience.
Admission is only $5.00
Dish Give-Away, Sing-Along, Bingo, Ten-O-Win!
Photography exhibit by R.A. McBride, Slide Show, Readings and Stories!
Short Films Program:
THOSE AWFUL HATS by D.W. Griffith
BOSKOâ€™S PICTURE SHOW by Friz Freleng and Hugh Harman
TEN-O-WIN by Christian Bruno
MOVIE PESTS by Pete Smith
BACALL TO ARMS by Robert Clampett and Art Davis
MINNIEâ€™S YOO HOO by Walt Disney
Rare Previews of Coming Attractions and Surprises
The program will be followed by a reception and book signing.
3630 Balboa Avenue
San Francisco, CA
LEFT IN THE DARK: PORTRAITS OF SAN FRANCISCO MOVIE THEATRES
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 for $39.95.
The book is now available for purchase at bookstores and the Balboa Theatre.
Published by Charta Art Books, distributed by D.A.P. (Distributed Art Publishers).
10 x 8 cardstock cover, 59 photographs, 168 pages, 11 chapters
A few years ago studios were going to finance the shift to digital because they admitted they would save over a billion dollars a year in prints, shipping and storage. Other advantages would include no more costly to replace scratched or damaged prints and the ability to replace a film should they decide to edit it after bad reviews and audience reaction.
But the greed of exhibitors anxious to have 3-D resulted in a turnaround where distributors sat back and watched an theater owners rushed to pay their own $150K per screen. There is a virtual print fee distributors pay exhibitors but for an indpendent operator like myself, with the 2 screen Balboa in SF, it doesn;t pencil out.
At Showest this year Disney’s Mark Zoradi told an big audience of exhibitors that “we look forward to the day in the near future when we will no longer make 35mm prints of films we release digitally in 3-D.”
In other words if you don;t convert so you can play 3-D, you can’t show future UP or G-FORCE sequels.
There is no doubt that digital equipment has built in obsolescence and that standards will change in less than 10 years.
because they admitted a savings of over a billion dollars a year in prints, shipping and sotorage
A few years ago studios were going to financ
The Berkeley City Council approved it and I have seen the plans. About 650 seats with traditional seating in the center and platforms on the sidews and back for table seating with a dance floor in front and extended stage. It is a great use for the theater.
I programmed the UC from 1976 through the mid 90s.
At the Balboa Theatre in San Francisco we have posted:
“We employ DESTRUCTO-CELL ….please turn off your cell phones to prevent them from self-destructing when they ring.”
In a nice frame is a cell phone that has partially exploded with a severed (rubber) finger on one of the phone keys. A note states that phone self-destructed during the 7:15 showing of Amelie on June 12, 2001.
It is an attention-getter, generates some laughter…and some concern.
I was in New York recently and before a play on Broadway a very real sounding cell phone ring went off, but loud. You could see people turning around to find out who had such an offensive cell phone. Then a voice came over the loudspeaker reminding us why we should turn off our phones (or at least put them on vibrate).
I have seen various clever approaches. I work with the Telluride Film Festival and we instituted a strict policy against cell phones and recording devices. One of the best received intros I did was when I had the house manager call my cell phone while I was welcoming the audience. I answered it, a little embarrased, and said, “Yes, I am just about to ask the audience to turn off their cell phones. Thanks.” I then asked them to join me as I turned mine off.
Sadly, there are people who will not turn them off or even silence them. A patron at Telluride said to me, “I’ve taken it into my own hands. If I see someone using a cell phone during the show, I nicely but firmly ask them to please turn it off now. If they don’t I ask again so that their other neighbors hear my request. Peer pressure works.”
During an advance screening of KING KONG at the Metreon (famous for young people talking to friends in the same theater via cell phone), the middle hour of non-stop action seemed cell phone free but as soon as things stopped for some dialogue, the little blue glows lit up all over the 550 seater as people checked their email and presumably sent text messages about what they’d seen. I find this equally distracting as those lights are bright and illuminate everything around.
As to paging people, I remember the Uptown Theatre and Kay-Von Drive-In in Napa, California (both Blumenfeld Theatres) used a slide to page people. It would come on screen stating “Dr. Harry Jones – You have an urgent phone call in the lobby.” They would also put on a slide, “The snack bar closes in 10 minutes.” This was a useful reminder and a lot less disruptive than a verbal page ——don’t you hate it on an airplane when they make announcements during an important dialogue scene rather than freeze the show (some do that).
What a sensible solution that today’s video projectors in so many places could be used for.
The UC Theatre in Berkeley might work. Great old theater sitting empty near UC campus.
I live here and have dedicated most of my career to saving neighborhood theaters. I wish I could support Prop. L but I must say loudly “L No!”
As co-founder and partner for 22 years of Landmark Theatres it was a great joy to save and restore dozens of theaters including the Oriental and Downer in Milwaukee, Minneapolis' Uptown, LA’s Nuart and Rialto (S. Pasadena), Mayan in Denver, UC Theatre and California, Berkeley, Tower of Sacramento, Neptune in Seattle…and many more.
Currently I operate the 1926 Balboa Theatre in San Francisco which I rescued nearly 4 years ago and I have done feasibility studies and consulting on numerous projects including the Empress in Vallejo (it is happening), completed BAM Rose Cinemas in Brooklyn and the Uptown in Napa (coming slowly but it will be stunning when finished with the help of Francis Ford Coppola and others).
As a member of the non-profit San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation (and the national historic theater organizations) I have watched as a group of dedicated volunteers have worked hard to save theaters in San Francisco by bringing landlords and potential operators together.
Along comes Save Our Theaters. It sounds really good. But once you read the details it becomes clear this isnâ€™t the way to go about saving theaters. I first became aware of this when my customers came in worried that the Balboa was closing.
“What are you talking about? I’d ask.
"I was approached by a person collecting signatures to get a measure on the ballot. He told me that the Balboa and Castro were about to close and this would save them.”
The paid professional signature gatherers even tried it at the Balboa and we asked them to leave.
This proposal would take approximately $10 million a year away from hundreds of local non-profits plus general services such as Police, Fire, Health and Parks& Recreation. Every independent theatre operator, Landmark Theatres, dozens of film festivals, film organizations, filmmakers, the Mayor and (first time ever) every Supervisor, all political parties, every newspaper, etc. etc. has come out against it….and they all believe in saving neighborhood theaters.
There is no real plan though a lot of promises have been made. There was no attempt to create a coalition among the local film community. In fact a frightening character assassination of the Neighborhood Theater Foundation appears on their website.
In the past week we have seen our signs removed or covered over with “Yes on L signs all over the city, in violation to city campaign laws.
And this weekend it was reported that Jeff Hardy, a film consultant who was brought in to get things credible, has departed.
We love our old theaters in San Francisco but Prop. L isnâ€™t the way to show it.
I urge you to visit http://www.NoOnL.com and watch what Sean Penn has to say.
What a shame if this goes fallow. I spent a year developing a feasabilty plan, marketing and business plan for the city of Vallejo. During this time Litwin bought the property, held events and proved doiwntown Vallejo had great potential with the charming old cinema being used as a performing arts center. The city council approved a loan to do the upgrades but I don´t what kinds of shenanigans have recently occured. I´ll try to find out more.
The Metro lease is for sale for asking $4 million. Alexandria was $7million. Regal hopes for sales to redevelop the property.