Thursday, May 28, 2009

An Heir to the Parkway?

By Nate Seltenrich
Thu, May 28, 2009 at 12:06 PM

A group of investors based in the Midwest has submitted an offer to take over Oakland's Parkway Speakeasy Theater, reported the Chronicle this morning. Motion Picture Heritage, the Indiana-based umbrella group to which the new investors belong, is dedicated to preserving independent community movie houses, at this point primarily in the Midwest. "The hopes and aspirations of Americana are not found in multiplexes," Motion Picture Heritage manager Bill Dever told the Chron. "It's found in places like the Parkway." The connection between the Parkway and MPH was sparked by longtime Parkway programmer Will Viharo and fostered by Oakland City Councilwoman Pat Kernighan. "We're all wanting the same thing here - to reopen the theater," she said. "So now we're down to talking brass tacks." The biggest impediment to the Parkway becoming the MPH's first West Coast theater? A long list of necessary repairs, including plumbing and electrical overhauls -- and neither the current landlords nor the new investors are flush with funds to throw in that direction. If the deal goes through, only one question remains: will they still sell pizza and beer?

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