Letters to the editor

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday December 21, 2022
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Letters to the editor

APE's lack of respect for Castro groups

I'm confused. Is it too late now for the landmark status of the Castro Theatre (that includes preserving the interior and current seats) to be what governs how Another Planet Entertainment proceeds? ["Castro Theatre hearing postponement angers supporters of landmarking movie house's interior," December 8.]

Another Planet Entertainment CEO Gregg Perloff has done nothing but demonstrate his asinine lack of respect for the people and community groups who were here before he entered the picture, and we'll be here long after he's out of the picture. He's nothing but someone hired by the [Castro Theatre owner Nasser] family to maximize the profitability of that space, and his history of cannibalizing similar venues to accommodate concerts instead of movies is already known. He thinks extending the deadline will allow him to railroad his plans as he ignores community input. I hope the San Francisco Board of Supervisors realigns the future of the Castro Theatre to match the thousands of people who love and respect it as the important community resource for continuing to be a movie and performance venue. I performed there as part of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus back in the early 1980s and they've been doing Christmas concerts there since then. And the theater has accommodated other sold-out events like the Mr. Castro Pageant. With proper management, it would be a successful entertainment space that doesn't have to resort to gutting seats and ruining the space permanently.

Doug Shader

San Francisco

Castro Theatre charade

I have been following the ongoing issues surrounding the Castro Theatre from afar. As a former San Francisco and Bay Area resident of some 30-plus years, I am appalled that preserving the historical and physical integrity of the historic Castro Theatre has turned into a charade.

On the one hand, you have residents and activists whose only concern is to preserve the Castro Theatre as a movie house; on the other hand, you have commercial and entertainment interests that want to change the layout and character of the grand movie palace into a broader entertainment venue. Another Planet Entertainment wants to rip out the orchestra seats and flatten the sloped floors in order to accommodate dances, exhibitions, etc.

The most puzzling part of the charade is the involvement of certain elected and appointed officials who seem to be playing games with the public when it comes to dealing with this matter openly, transparently, and honestly. I'm talking about San Francisco city commissions and District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. In recent months, the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District met with Another Planet representatives and was critical of the company, according to information obtained by gay activist Michael Petrelis.

In recent weeks, the city's historic preservation commission postponed action on a proposal that would expand the landmarking of the theater to include the interior. Mandelman has resisted holding a public town hall on the issues regarding preserving the Castro Theatre and he simply refuses to acknowledge the many requests for such a town hall.

It is highly disturbing to me — as it should be to others — when appointed and elected officials are not responsive to the public they serve; it is maddening to me when those same officials seem to be working hand-in-glove with special interests and those with corporate ties and agendas.

I recently saw on a CCTV feed longtime community activist Petrelis at one of the commission meetings during public comment; he was holding a sign that simply put, says it best: SAVE THE SEATS!

I hope that the Bay Area Reporter will take a strong editorial stance on behalf of the Castro community and the larger SF area community in supporting the call to save the seats.

Larry W. Bittner

Memphis, Tennessee

[Editor's note: As the Bay Area Reporter's December 8 article reported, the historic preservation commission postponed action on the Castro Theatre landmark expansion at the request of gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.]

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