Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Long Goodbye or Love and Haight

The Long Goodbye is a Robert Altman film but I am referring to the painful demise of the Red Vic.

It's been a longtime, open secret among San Francisco film lovers that the Red Vic is not long for this world. In the past few weeks, multiple sources have reported the Red Vic is closing on July 26. The news was posted on a KQED blog and SFist. Even at this late date, one of the operators of the theater is holding out hope that "George Lucas or Pixar or somebody really big to step in."

Hope springs eternal but the potential closure of the Red Vic just isn't moving me off the needle much. The Red Vic is suffering because not enough people go there and I am less guilty than most. As I posted, I saw 10 films there in 2010; good enough for 8th place on my 2010 list.

However, the Red Vic and I have a cool relationship. Unlike the Roxie, the Red Vic is not conveniently located along my commute. However, the PFA is very out of the way for me and the Castro is equally inconvenient. Whereas the programming at PFA and the Castro excites me enough to take a special trip, the Red Vic's programming largely leaves me luke warm. The Roxie, the Castro and Sundance Kabuki host the film festivals I like to attend, the Red Vic seems to eschew festivals.

When Viz Cinema ceased daily operation, I truly felt like I had lost a something valuable and wished I had gone more frequently (even though I did see 41 films there in 2010). The impending closure of the Red Vic is not evoking the same sense of loss in me. It's like a casual acquaintance passing; you feel bad but the emotional impact is not as strong as when a close friend of family member passes.

I have a discount admission card for the Red Vic. It has one punch left on it so I'll be saying my farewell to the old gal before July 25. If it is the end, I thank the Red Vic for all the experiences and wish there had been more of them. July 25 is the Red Vic's 30th anniversary so it was a good, long run.

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By the way, what happened to the negotiations between the San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) and the landlord of the Clay Theater? Several months ago, Landmark Theaters announced it was closing the Clay. Landmark only operates the Clay. The building is owned by someone else. Landmark was going to cease operating the Clay and speculation was rampant as to what the landlord would do with the property. A last minute push by SFFS was enough to convince Landmark to continue operating the Clay while SFFS and the landlord negotiated terms for SFFS to operate the Clay. Several months have gone by and I haven't heard any news. I doubt Landmark will operate the theater indefinitely if negotiations have stalled.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Nice post, Dan!

Actually, this July 25th will be the Red Vic's 31st Anniversary, and the close of their 30th anniversary year.

Though the VIZ is not bringing back daily operations yet, it appears they're testing the waters with another classic Japanese film series featuring two films apiece by four directors: Hiroshi Teshigahara, Yasujrio Ozu, Akira Kurosawa, and Shohei Imamura. 6 of 8 films will be shown in 35mm prints. I've never seen the Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice or Vebgeance Is Mine so I'm very glad they're bringing those in that format.

According to the Landmark publicist, the Clay will be screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight the last Saturday of June and July. Then it will screen Red Vic staple The Room the 2nd Saturday of August, September, and October. Seems to bode well for the Clay's immediate future, but not for the Red Vic's.