Friday, January 31, 2014

Castro Theatre Hosts Lesbian Tech Summit in February

This invitation was a surprise to receive this week from Chris Cassidy of the Hustle Labs public relations outfit:

I'm working with the wonderful folks at Lesbians Who Tech, and they wanted me to offer you a press pass for their upcoming summit.

Lesbians Who Tech is hosting its inaugural summit in San Francisco's historic Castro Theatre on February 27 and 28. Sponsored by Google, the Lesbians Who Tech Summit will bring hundreds of members from the organization's eleven chapters across North America and Europe. 

What surprised me is that our iconic theatre is hosting such an event because it seems such an inconvenient site, unlike say a hotel conference hall or suite of meeting rooms. The theater had muddy acoustics, I don't imagine the lighting will be great for note-taking and the seats lack surface space to put one's notepad or laptop and other electronic devices.

Another way I look at this is as a creative way for the theatre's owner to fill the seats and turn a profit. Curious about this summit being the first of its kind at the theatre, I asked Cassidy what she knew:

To my knowledge, it is not just the first conference dedicated to queer women (and allies) in tech, but also the first tech conference at the Castro Theatre. To be sure, though, I'd have to circle back with the folks there.

The November edition of the Castro Courier reported on the history and restoration of the theater's cherished organ, and this sentence stood out:

The owners of the Castro Theatre are very excited and supportive, partly because they envision the theatre as moving more toward a performing arts center than just showing movies.

This echoes what I was told in December 2011 by Bill Longen, the former booker for the theatre, about a radical shift in focus for the venue.

I'm looking forward to checking out the lesbian tech summit and will learn first-hand how well (or not) the Castro Theatre holds up as a site for conferences.

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