Off The Wall Cinema
15 Pearl Street,
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The Off The Wall Cinema described itself as a “Coffeehouse of the Arts”, but film is the art that they put most of their energy into. The more obscure the film, the better. On any given day you might see silents, short subjects, rock concert films, documentaries, or animation. Their annual “Magic Movies” animation festival was especially popular.
The atmosphere was relaxed, like being in someone’s living room with a hundred or so friends. Instead of popcorn and candy, they served coffee and excellent baked goods. Sometimes an art exhibit hung on the walls.
Off The Wall opened in 1974 at 861 Main Street in Cambridge’s Central Square. In 1979, they tried moving to a theatre across the river in Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace, but the audience didn’t follow them. In September 1980, they returned to a new Central Square location at 15 Pearl Street, which had formerly housed the left-wing 100 Flowers Bookstore.
Off The Wall closed as a venue in August, 1986, although they continued to occasionally present programs in other venues for a couple more years. 15 Pearl Street became a senior citizen center, which it remains today.
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