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Chronicle Critic Tips His Hat to Red Vic Movie House

For San Francisco cinephiles, this week brought the sad marquee news that the Red Vic Movie House, California’s only worker owned such establishment, will be closing July 25th. The 30-year-old institution is the latest in a long line of screening facilities to shutter in the Bay Area.

Remembrances are coming down the pike fast and furiously, in a way that has nothing to do with anything starring Vin Diesel. Among today’s repertory house tributes is a heartfelt blog entry from San Francisco Chronicle pop culture critic Peter Hartlaub:

I spent most of my adult life, starting in college, choosing housing based on its proximity to an awesome movie house… It was initally disappointing that the only theater within walking distance of my apartment [in the Haight district] was in a featureless building that looked better-equipped to sell futons. I vaguely recall that the feature playing on the night of my move was a documentary about a girl who had participated in the world’s largest porno gang-bang. “What the hell is this hippie @#$%,” I thought…

But it was a steep uphill from there. What the repertory house lacked in Art Deco glory, it more than made up for with creativity and hustle. I enjoyed some fantastic old movies at the Red Vic–both obvious and obscure.

Hartlaub mentions that he has only visited the Red Vic twice since he moved to Oakland in 2001, but chances are he’ll be checking out the “hippie @#$%” again as Red Vic winds it down latest this month with Touch of Evil, The Last Waltz, and Harold and Maude.

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