Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sacramento - Changes at the Crest

I'm not a big fan of Sacramento.  It reminds me too much of Texas.  With that said, I've grudgingly come to admit it's not all bad.  Business trips and the Crest Theater are my primary reasons for going to the River City.  I've attended the Sacramento French Film Festival and the Sacramento Japanese Film Festival for the past few years.  It was through an email from the former that I learned that the Crest Theater was undergoing a change in management.

The company which managed the Crest for 28 years lost their lease on November 1.  The owner of the building and his fiancée are running the theater now.  This can be seen from the website.  The old website for the Crest Theater is still valid but it makes clear the old management is out and there is no referring URL to the new website.  I take that to mean they couldn't come to an agreement to transfer the URL.

The change in management raised concerns from Sacramento film festivals.  From what I gather there is lingering hard feelings between the old management led by Sid Garcia-Heberger and the building owner Robert Emerick.  I note that the Sacramento French Film Festival's next event on February 21 (8th Winter French Short Film Screening) is not being held at the Crest.  In addition, the venue for 2015 Sacramento French Film Festival (June 19 to 28) is not listed on their webpage.

Heberger is also affiliated with Trash Film Orgy whose programs have been almost exclusively at the Crest since its inception.  After 14 years, TFO is leaving the Crest.  "While [TFO] will continue to do shows elsewhere, it will never be the same as the Crest" said TFO co-producer Christy Savage in a Sacramento Press article from October.

The situation at the Crest reminds of me of the situation at the Castro Theater several years ago when Anita Monga was let go.

The Crest has a large auditorium on the street level but as recently as 2013 had two additional auditoriums in the basement screening films daily.  The new management is planning on opening the Empress Tavern in that basement space this month  The name refers to the original name of the movie theater on the site (opened in 1912).  The same article states that Joel Goulet (currently manager of the Balboa Theater) will program films for the Crest.

I like the Crest because it is conveniently located.  There is a Hyatt two blocks away where I could take refuge if I was skipping a screening at one of the festival.  I'll keep attending the Sacramento French and Japanese Film Festivals regardless of their venues.  I'll likely return to the Crest if their film programming appeals to me.

I never got to see a TFO screening there.  Their next event is the Miss Trash 2014 Pageant on December 5.  The event will be held at On the Y which is a well known bar in Sacto.

A couple of blocks down from the Crest (1013 K Street) is the Esquire (1211 K Street) which has an Art Deco exterior design.  It wouldn't surprise me if the Esquire was a 1920s movie theater converted into a multiplex.  I've long wanted to stop in there.  I am surprised that it has a functioning 70 mm film projector.  I knew it was an IMAX theater but I assumed it was digital IMAX.  The Esquire is currently screening Interstellar in 70 mm of of only three locations in Northern California.  The others are the Metreon & the Tech Museum in San Jose.  The other films on the Esquire's lineup appear to be digital.

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