Live Acts Replacing All Movie Shows
[UPDATES: See below, please.]
[UPDATE No. 3: My Deep Throat source is revealed here.]
Ladies and gentlemen, it is with deep sadness that I inform you of an era coming to an end in San Francisco. The venerable Castro theatre at the end of this year will no longer regularly show films and many staffers were fired this week.
After catching the press screening this afternoon of "A Separation", an excellent Iranian drama that is the Islamic Republic's official entry for the foreign language Academy Award, a local film industry source spilled the bad news about the Castro theatre. For professional reasons, the source has requested confidentiality.
Here are details of the bad news for our cherished single-screen movie palace, owned and managed by Don Nasser.
Come January regular movie programming will be a thing of the past. No more almost-daily films shown. Word is that the enormous screen will shrink for an occasional film festival, but nothing is firm about the screen or a solid commitment to festivals.
The Castro will transform itself into a live performance venue, that is supposed to bring in more profits for the owner than movie showings. To better accommodate the needs of musicians, singers, comedians and the like, the small backstage area along with the stage and screen will undergo significant redesigning.
Most of the theatre's management and consulting teams have been let go, and not one gay person remains in a senior position.
Listening, slack-jawed I might add, to the source deliver the depressing news it crossed my mind to ask if there was hope Supervisor Scott Wiener might help restore and save the movie-going component to the Castro.
My source scoffed at the notion Wiener would sweat over the loss of the theatre as we now know it. We didn't go near the third-rail subject of the psychological blow to the area. There will be time for that in the future.
Seems to me turning the Castro from a low-priced film temple into a higher-priced live performance venue would equal fewer folks coming to the gayborhood. Reducing reasons for visiting the area will diminish its already-battered vibrancy and displease the struggling merchants.
I am so sorry my gut fear has proved true. Back in April when I blogged about the Castro being shuttered eight-nights that month, hope was that it was an aberration, but in August the sad sequel, another eight-nights of darkness were on the calender. The fear was that so many closed nights could lead to no more regular almost-daily movies.
I didn't have the heart to write about the December Castro calendar, with the third month of eight-nights of no movies, when it was announced because I recalled other months this year when the theatre was shut just four or five nights.
The coming soon page for the Castro usually has a couple of items listed for the following month's highlights, but not today as witnessed in the screen grab above.
If Don Nasser has different information than what I was told today, I'd be happy to hear it and write that what I heard was wrong.
[UPDATE #1: Folks have written to me to say what I was told was incorrect information, and I have emailed and left voice mail for my source, asking the source for clarification. Hope to have a response from the source this morning and will update/amend this post.]
[UPDATE #2: I've conferred with my source and they stand by the changes reported last night that will eventually take place over the next year or so at the Castro. The source maintains the owner is headed in a live performance direction and stands by the information shared with me. The source's identity will be made public at the appropriate time. I have also reached out to Walt Von Haufe, the publicist for the theatre and hope to hear back from him soon.]