Showing 3 comments
I lived three blocks from the Music Box from 1995 to 1997. During that time I loved the Music Box. It was a real treat to attend movies there on snowy weekend days or even just to walk past and see the marvellous detail in the theater facade and connecting building and storefronts. This is a real success story in the world of theater preservation!
I live two blocks from the Alhambra Theater and am thrilled that it has been preserved — albeit as a health club. However, for those of you not in the area, I want to assure you that the conversion was extremely sensitive. In fact, the theater could easily be converted back to its original use with a very high percentage of its original detail in place. It is a delight to walk past the theater at night as it lights up the neighborhood. Its red minarets and marquee are a real focal point. And it is even a pleasure to work out in the club. As a preservationist, I would much rather see this kind of adaptive re-use of theaters than the out-and-out closure and demolition that has been the fate of so many great theaters in San Francisco and beyond. I attended one movie at the Alhambra one week after moving to San Francisco in 1997 — Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion. While it was a thrill to see the theater, it was obvious that the previous renovation was fading.
As a recent transplant to San Francisco in 1997, I was delighted to find the Royal a few blocks away from my new apartment on Pine Street. I saw one movie there, “Face/Off” with John Travolta. Of course, I was much more interested in the theater than the film. But my access to the theater was short-lived as it closed very soon after that. Within a year, the homeless were camping out in its terrazzo entryway. In fact, I was convinced to leave the neighborhood when I passed a heroin addict sitting in front of the former ticket booth with a needle hanging out of his arm. I was terribly upset when I saw it had been torn down. What a senseless loss!