The Intetubes are starting to buzz this morning with rumors about San Francisco’s iconic centerpiece of homo life, the Castro Theatre. The cinema, the heart of the self named neighborhood, is rumored to be making some drastic changes in its mandate and day to day operations. changing from a film screening venue to a multi-use space primarily for live entertainment. Noted film critic Roger Ebert tweeted this morning:
Ebert got his information from the blog, The Petrelis Files which claims that most of the staff has been fired. All this info was reposted on Joe.My.God this morning and the comments are coming fast and furious with most people outraged that the theater might change its focus from films to live performance space. This is similar to what happened in Seattle this year to The Neptune in the U District. The Landmark Cinema chain shut the beloved theater down and Seattle Theater Group took over the space converting it into a live performance venue, though the theater was used during the Seattle International Film Festival this year to screen films. While many in Seattle mourned the loss of a classic cinema with a big screen, the changeover to live music has been largely well received.
Meanwhile, on Facebook, San Francisco film historian and event promoter Marc Huestis refutes these claims:
OK… So I have been FLOODED with folks asking me whether rumors about the CASTRO are true. No they are largely untrue, spread by one blogger & unfortunately going viral. Please folks, this is THE PROBLEM with the internet- one person can spread their version of events and a blogger will pick it up and bend things out of shape. Sample rumor -changes MUST be true cuz there are no coming events on CASTRO WEBSITE. I know I have been waiting for almost a month for confirmation by a celebrity for VALENTINES DAY and that’s the ONLY reason I don’t have anything there. Nothing for me has changed and the Castro has been a fine place to do business and create events. Better now than in days past. The CASTRO is beloved- and folks there are well aware of that. It also is a business and like any other business they shift things to try to keep their head above water. And ironic that all the people that trashed me for saying that the nudies in the Castro affect business and that business should not be important are now alarmingly posting about the future of the theatre.
Others are claiming the same thing, that the rumors are either untrue, or greatly exaggerated. Others are convinced this is happening and unhappy that lgbtq landmarks in San Francisco are not being protected. Many in the city still mourn the loss of the San Francisco Eagle to redevelopment in the Folsom neighborhood earlier in the year. A major change to the Castro Theatre would be met with even greater dismay; the theater is a powerful symbol for the queer community and its position so closely identified to martyred gay rights leader Harvey Milk, it would be seen as a loss of cultural and historic identity.
More as it develops.
More developed…The Castro released this announcement via its Facebook Page: