Best Movie Theater: A big-hearted big screen for B movies
There is something so unpretentiously awesome about the Parkway -- the comfy couches, the pizza and beer, the battered Art Deco interior -- that it's become a hangout destination in and of itself, the East Bay's cozy rec room. The fact that it shows movies at all is a bonus: a pleasant mix of second-run studio films, lesser-known art films and documentaries, and whichever obscure mad scientist, zombie, or beach bikini party resident B-movie buff Will Viharo has unearthed for his "Thrillville" series. The theater shows its Bay Area love by trying to provide a little something for everyone: the Local Filmmakers' Showcase for arty types, Sunday Salon for community groups who screen films about local issues and then host discussions afterwards, African Diaspora Cinema focusing on African and world culture, the famous Baby Brigade showings for folks with tiny tots, Sunday Family Night for folks with larger tots, and (free!) Audience Appreciation Nights for the rest of us cheapskates. Also excellent: The coming-attractions announcements are as undeluxe as possible -- homemade video shorts in which the staff just sit on a couch and heckle each other as they read through the upcoming films and dinner specials. After all, a theater which charges only $5 admission for most shows knows that it'd rather have us by the heart than by the wallet.