Left in the Dark: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres

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Left in the Dark: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres celebrates twentieth century movie theatres and moviegoing through lush full-color fine art photographs and personal essays that offer both scholarly and literary appeal. Julie Lindow, editor of Left in the Dark, will introduce the book. Authors Katherine Petrin and R.A. McBride will present a "then-and-now" slide show with commentary. Left in the Dark will be available for purchase. There will be a book signing following the panel discussion. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

R.A. McBride’s vivid portraits of the Castro, New Mission, Balboa, and many other theatres illuminate the role of the movie house as a great social nexus. McBride gained rare access to the interiors of closed theatres, picturing them empty and allowing the grandeur of the architecture to take center stage. Casting the theatres as characters within the city’s cultural landscape, scholars and film exhibitors, including Rebecca Solnit, Eddie Muller, Chi-hui Yang, and Gary Meyer, among others, uncover a wondrous variety of forgotten or never-before revealed histories. As society retreats from public life into the anonymity of multiplexes and personal entertainment technologies, our moviegoing heritage becomes ever more significant and inspiring. San Francisco is fortunate to be one of the world’s most vital moviegoing cities and to have so many of its historic movie houses still standing. By drawing a continuum from past to present, Left in the Dark offers hope that even as these landmarks crumble, the spirit of cinema thrives.

To sate an interest in San Francisco movie theaters, explore the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection's online database of theatre images.

San Francisco movie theater resources available in the San Francisco History Center and the Art, Music & Recreation Center.

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