Does another planet still want the Castro Theater?

The entertainment company behind the proposed renovations to the Castro Theater says it has committed to the project, despite rumors to the contrary.
Amid rumors of disinterest, Another Planet Entertainment, which currently operates the theater, told The Examiner last week that it still intends to embark on a full-scale renovation of the historic theater in San Castro’s neighborhood. Francis.

“Another Planet remains fully committed to the restoration and revitalization of the historic Castro Theater to ensure its viability for this and future generations, including an ongoing commitment to its cherished place within the LGBTQ, film and other communities,” Another Planet spokesperson David Perry told The Examiner. “We look forward to continuing our work with the theater owners, the Nasser family, and the City and County of San Francisco as we move forward.”
The proposal has drawn the ire of some locals, who fear Another Planet’s renovation will strip the building of important historical elements. They also worry that the company’s management of the theater will result in less LGBTQ-focused programming and divert its focus from movies.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who represents Castro’s district, told The Examiner his “impression is that they’ve been surprised by the magnitude of the opposition and are weighing their options.”
“They didn’t follow through on some of their commitments to neighborhood organizations,” Mandelman said. “They’ve largely kept their door closed, they’ve had minimal theater programming, they’ve basically stopped engaging with the community and with me.”
The next few weeks should bring clarity.
The city’s Historic Preservation Commission is set to hear a proposal to expand the theater’s historic designation on Feb. 1. If approved, the designation would include – and therefore protect – the building’s orchestra seats.

The most controversial physical aspect of Another Planet’s plans are its proposed changes to remove orchestra seats and place tiered levels atop the current sloping ground. It’s a change that Another Planet says would be better suited to live events, but naysayers allege it would ruin the movie-watching experience.
Another Planet says it supports the broader landmark designation, but disagrees that the seats are an important historical feature of the theater.

The Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Commission are, respectively ?? is expected to decide on historic designation and overall renovation plans in mid-March.

In addition to the seating issue, many have expressed concerns about the future theater’s commitment to LGBTQ programming, which has long been a staple given its location. Another Planet claimed that it is “committed to an eclectic program of film, music, comedy, private and community events, and LGBTQ+ content that is assertive, diverse, and always mindful of the historic neighborhood in which it lives. “, according to its website.
The theater celebrated its 100th anniversary last year and is in need of a facelift. Another Planet, which also manages the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco and the Fox Theater in Oakland, announced in January 2022 that it would undertake renovations of the Castro Theater, although ownership would remain with the Nasser family and Bay Properties Inc.
These plans quickly caught the attention of Castro residents and the larger San Francisco community that has yet to disappear.
Mandelman suggested that Another Planet likely underestimated the “international constitution” of people who urged him to maintain his commitment to showing movies.

The supervisor said he hopes Another Planet can both show movies and hold live events in the theater in a financially viable way. If not, he said he “hoped there would be other actors who could do it.”
There has been speculation that Alfonso Felder, executive vice president of the San Francisco Giants, may be interested in the building. Felder co-founded the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation, which works to support and preserve the city’s historic theaters.
Emails from Mandelman staff related to the theater were obtained via a public records request and posted online by Michael Petrelis, an activist opposed to the renovation. In an email, the Mandelman staffer wrote seeking Felder’s contact information.

Felder told The Examiner that he and Mandelman only had a casual conversation about The Castro — a natural topic given the former’s history with community theaters.
Mandelman clarified that Felder “does absolutely no play” for the theater.

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