Friday, June 14, 2024
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Castro Theatre was jazz hot in the pouring rain

On a very rainy night with storm warnings galore, the San Francisco LGBTQ+ community came out in droves Sunday, Feb. 4 and filled the Castro Theatre as we gathered to temporarily say goodbye to the landmark theatre which has been our safe haven for decades.

Another Planet Entertainment has decided that the old girl needs a facelift to broaden its appeal to more than just moviegoers so the theatre will undergo a makeover, opening in hopefully a year as a multi-purpose venue, great for film retrospectives and film festivals as well as live concerts—with even the return of a brand new organ which also has shown its age over the years. Organist David Herarty played before the show, fixing the breaking organ simultaneously. He too said he looks forward to a return with a new organ. (He’s still talking about the musical instrument.)

Another Planet Entertainment has decided that the old girl needs a facelift to broaden its appeal to more than just moviegoers so the theatre will undergo a makeover, opening in hopefully a year as a multi-purpose venue, great for film retrospectives and film festivals as well as live concerts—with even the return of a brand new organ which also has shown its age over the years. Organist David Herarty played before the show, fixing the breaking organ simultaneously. He too said he looks forward to a return with a new organ. (He’s still talking about the musical instrument.)

The final night, for now, was co-sponsored by SF Oasis, complete with its owner Drag Laureate D’Arcy Drollinger hosting many of the opening moments as well as doing a dragged-up version of the song Le Jazz Hot, from the film Victor/Victoria which was screening that night.

Photos: Kevin M. Thomas

Drollinger kept in step with the tune, considering the original performer Matthew Martin, who has been present for many of the Castro preshows, got stuck in Palm Springs due to the weather as did movie star and Oscar nominee for the film Lesley Ann Warren, who sent a video for us to screen in her absence and gave us some behind the stories. 

Other talents Like Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, Snaxx, Laurie Bushman and Toby Moore also had their moments to shine and pay tribute all the while the audience was waiting for the screening of the 1982 classic Oscar winning film Victor/Victoria, all given some props to involve themselves in the show and some dialog to clap back at certain iconic scenes.

Although the rains caused endless blackouts in San Francisco, the Castro remained light and full of joyous albeit soaked audience members who wanted to pay tribute to our Home for entertainment and of course watch the groundbreaking film. In 1982, it was shocking to see a major Hollywood film have drag queens, gay lead characters and even same-sex dance scenes.

Throughout the evening, we were reminded of how important the Castro Theatre is to all of us and promised that it will be back and better than ever.

Many worry that films won’t be shown there anymore. But it has been promised that is not the case. But by opening it up to other events, it can help the theatre stay in business. Screening an old movie just can’t be profitable for a 1400-seat theatre.

It will take film festivals and live concerts to keep the Castro alive. So let’s all plan to come back and support its return.

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Kevin M. Thomas

Kevin M. Thomas, or @ReelKev, is an arts blogger and entertainment reporter. In addition to his own website, www.reelkev.com and ReelKev YouTube channel, Kevin used to be the LGBT arts writer for Examiner.com and contributes to progressivepulse.com as well as a semi-regular on San Francisco's cable TV show, "10 Percent."

Kevin M. Thomas has 157 posts and counting. See all posts by Kevin M. Thomas

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