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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Last Picture Show: Beloved Parkway Theater -- With Pizza, Beer, Second-Hand Couches -- Goes Dark

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 9:59 AM

click to enlarge Show's over
  • Show's over

The Parkway Theater -- the second-hand movie paradise known for its embrace of coupling beer and cinema while seated on a Salvation Army couch -- has long been one of the only destinations that can induce San Franciscans to gleefully leave the confines of the city and head east to Oakland (a locale too many city dwellers view solely as the backdrop for a 24-hour rap music video).

Sadly, that particular avenue of pleasure has run dry. The theater's management has announced that this Sunday's shows will be its last.

The cinema's fare, like the folks who paid cut-rate prices to get in, was eclectic. Your humble narrator has especially fond memories of taking in a kung-fu film festival, Walk the Line, Spellbound, and Super Bowl XXIX within its friendly confines. When unmitigated good times meet an unprecedented bad economy, it seems the latter holds the day.

The last picture show at the movie house, incidentally, will be The Wrestler and "Oakland's Tight Night: Que Viva La Lucha with Carne Cruda -- live!" downstairs with the upstairs theater showing Revolutionary Road and Let the Right One In.

You can read the somber letter from theater management after the jump:

Dear Loyal Supporters:

This is a sad but true message from Kyle Fischer, CEO of Speakeasy

Theaters, and Catherine Fischer, President of Speakeasy Theaters.

After more than twelve years of serving the great cultural crossroad

of Oakland, the Parkway Speakeasy Theater will be closing at the end

of business day this Sunday, March 22, 2009. From African Diaspora to

Thrillville to lesbian fashion shows and educational porn, the Parkway

has offered an eclectic array of movies and events. It was the first

theater in California to offer food, beer and wine service in a lounge

style movie theater. With a nudge or a push from the community, there

was little programming the Parkway theater would not try in order to

better be a community center and a safe haven for diverse ideas. The

Parkway brought Baby Brigade for the shuttered and abandoned parents

of newborns, the first international black gay, lesbian, bi-sexual,

transgender film festival and Sunday Salon, a free event for cultural

and community enhancement. We, at the Parkway Speakeasy Theater, are

deeply proud of the Parkway and will profoundly miss serving its

community. Thank you for your patronage.

Programming at Parkway will remain as scheduled this Friday and

Saturday, March 20 and 21. Stay tuned for special announcements about

this Sunday, the final day of operations.

The Speakeasy Experience lives on at the Cerrito. Most special events

booked for Parkway, including regular attractions like "The Rocky

Horror Picture Show," will be moving there. Stay tuned to our web site

and this newsletter for updates.

Please direct all inquiries to Kyle Fischer, kf@speakeasytheaters.com.

Messages should be brief and pertinent, out of respect for this

difficult reality, but will be appreciated. This is a tough time for

all of us.

Cheers.

Photo | AllAboutGeorge

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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