Screening Room

220 Jones Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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This converted storefront opened around 1967 as one of the first theaters in San Francisco that showed hardcore porn. (Numerous other “storefront” theaters would open in the late-1960’s and 1970’s throughout San Francisco and several other cities.) Initially, the program would consist of 16mm silent loops with a record providing musical accompliment, but eventually 16mm full-length features would take off.

In 1968, theater owner Alex DeRenzy exhibited what was the first full-length hard porn feature, a “documentary” called “Pornography in Denmark: A New Approach”. This feature, premiered here, grossed $25,000 in its first week in exhibition (It would eventually gross over $2 million.)

The success of this theater would lead to De Renzy operating other theaters in San Francisco for a time: North Beach Movie(another storefront theater), Presidio (converting this neighborhood art theater into a porn house), Centre (a Market Street second-run house converted into hard porn), and briefly the Regal on Market Street (converting from grindhouse to porn house—he operated it for about a year before the Mitchell Brothers took over—Incidentially, the Mitchells started their O'Farrell Theater after seeing how successful the Screening Room was doing.)

De Renzy, also a prominant pornographic filmmaker between 1967-early-2000’s, would run the Screening Room until the early-1980’s, when it converted to gay porn and later gay live shows under the name of the Campus All-Male Theater. By 1986, it had been renamed Savages Theatre, still screening all-male XXX films

An operator changed the place to a female strip club called Chez Paree, which met some opposition from a pastor who is operating a religious school next door. It then operated as a ‘gentleman’s club’ known as Pink Diamonds. Around 2010 it became a sex club named the Power Exchange.

Contributed by scottfavareille

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

robertgippy
robertgippy on July 8, 2005 at 6:30 am

The Screening Room was a interesting place. You paid your ticket and walked into the lobby with stairs to the left that led to a room with couches. Another staircase, which led to the basement, is where DeRenzy made his movies. The main auditorium which was quite spacious had around a couple of hundred seats with a huge movie screen. The Screening Room then converted to porn, and renamed Savages. It stayed Savages for a few years then turned into the Campus Cinema.

Rosealle
Rosealle on May 2, 2008 at 5:37 am

I was a cashier at this theatre, under the management of porn director Alex De Renzy. We got raided one night, the SFPD loaded us in the van, there was nothing to hold on to, and they were turning corners about 30 miles per hour slamming all of us around, they then raided the OFarrell, that’s how i met Jim Mitchell. Then they raided the Roxie (Roxie was porn then) on 16th street, but they left the follies theatre on the same block alone. We were all released the next day. Feinstein was Mayor, and when i saw her walking down market street with her beastly friends, she waved at me and I flipped her off. Feinstein authorized those raids to try to get San Francisco “rid” of porn, but failed.

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on February 18, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Yet another controversy going on—The most recent use was as the Pink Diamonds strip club. It was forced to shut down as its operating permit was yanked because of continuing problems with violence & shootings involving some of the patrons. Currently, the Power Exchange, a sex club, wants to move its operations here and the San Francisco City Academy (the religious schol down the street) is trying to block it.

According to one atricle in the SF Weekly newspaper (several months ago), the building is owned by a current San Francisco City Supervisor.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on February 18, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Not quite the movie palace.

DiscoSurvivor
DiscoSurvivor on August 15, 2010 at 12:05 am

>> De Renzy, also a prominant pornographic filmmaker between 1967-early 2000’s, would run the Screening Room until the early 1980’s, when it converted to gay porn and later gay live shows under the name of the Campus All-Male Theater. By 1986, it had been renamed Savages Theatre, still screening all-male XXX films>>

Some of this is inaccurate. It was not called the Campus in the early ‘80s. I was a cashier/projectionist there in 1981-1982. When I began in 1981, the theater was called The Screening Room and had been for some time. It was then a run-down porno theater catering mostly to old men. A few months into my employment, new owners, or at least new managers, from Chicago, came in and did a makeover, trying to transform it into a “hot” club that would attract a younger, trendier crowd. (This only partially happened; who wanted to go down to the dicey Tenderloin, when you could go to Folsom or Castro St. sex clubs, where the fee was also cheaper?) The place was repainted all in black and neon orange and renamed Savages. Live strip shows were held on the smallish stage below the screen. I often worked the lights from the projectionist booth upstairs. At the premiere of Savages, the porn star Richard Locke came and did a live show (and gave a safe sex talk — probably one of the first-ever). The basement was renovated and turned into a sort of sex club, with a maze, a wrestling pit with bleachers (for the “cock fight” wrestling matches), a giant bed, slings, etc. Most of the staff was wacked on meth and/or MDA. I must be the only one who didn’t die from aids or overdose.

seymourcox
seymourcox on May 2, 2011 at 9:42 am

Mid-1982 … the Screening Room Cinema tried to change its image (as pionted out above) and attract a younger patronage. A well publisized gay extravaganza was presented with three popular gay screen stars live on stage. Also for this show five fresh new strippers were brought in for this program. One extremely handsome stripper named Tex stopped the show when he caused more of a sensation than the porn stars, and he really raked in the tips too. Such a large SRO crowd caused the fire dept to raid the theatre midway through the performance for violating fire hazard rules by packing in so many men.
(Shortly thereafter Tex starred in a couple of porn movies under the name Danny DelaRosa, but for one reason or another his stage appeal didn’t translate to film)

hdtv267
hdtv267 on May 31, 2013 at 5:28 pm

A much needed update required here. After some “unpleasantness” the Pink Diamonds closed.

The Power Exchange sex club (formerly from Otis Street in SOMA) now makes it’s ‘home’ here. I’d guess it has been doing so since sometime in 2010. Seems to be still going strong today, as there was a Yelp review posted up on 5/30/13.

I’ve not been there since the Campus days- partly due to it’s location and it’s newer incarnations aren’t my “thing”

steviebcass
steviebcass on February 26, 2014 at 8:26 pm

“Hello, and thanks for calling the All New Campus Theater, home of the renowned Varsity Strip Squad and featuring the hottest and horniest performers on the West Coast. They are Live on stage and in the audience, all nude, all hard and all for you! The Campus Theater is located at 220 Jones Street in downtown San Francisco. Maybe you’ve tried the rest but isn’t it time you tried the BEST? For the absolute BEST in all male entertainment, the All New Campus Theater! See you here!”

steviebcass
steviebcass on February 26, 2014 at 8:34 pm

@Lost Memory: Hey where’s the photo with the Campus displayed on the marquee? :(

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