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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Photo | AllAboutGeorge