"Ornate" and "sweeping" only begin to describe the Crest Theatre, whose rich history extends back to 1912, when it was opened as a vaudeville house. Within its gargantuan auditorium, plush seats perch in subtly curved rows while elaborate lights and a sea-blue ceiling wash the space in ethereal hues. Moviegoers settle into the elegant confines to take in both new and classic films, reading the subtitles in a whisper to stuffed animals that forgot their glasses. Out in the lobby, a richly patterned carpet and bronzed floral motif cover the sprawling space as visitors belly up to the bar and snack on high-quality goodies.
The dazzling, art-deco exterior of The State Theatre sends moviegoers back in time to Hollywood’s heyday. The elegant 1934 theater eschews the big-budget productions and 3D infomercials of today’s movie industry and instead screens classic films and indie features. On opening nights, The State Theatre often hosts Skype Q&A sessions with the directors and other filmmakers.
At The New Parkway Theater, viewers nestle into love seats or lounge on cozy couches while munching on comfort food and popcorn, a weekend viewing party writ large. If its owners had their way, the biggest difference between a friend's house and their theater would be the size of the screen. Conceived as a community space, New Parkway's colorful cafe and couch-filled screening rooms encourage showgoers to make friends, sitting with strangers and striking up conversations with particularly interesting throw pillows. An ever-changing schedule reinforces the space's sense of discovery, constantly cycling through indie darlings, classic flicks, and second-run blockbusters.
The menu of comfort food comes out of the kitchen and straight to the seats, letting viewers chow down during flicks. Prepared with locally sourced ingredients, options include burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, and spicy fries. Beer and wine selections all come from brewers and vintners within 100 miles of Oakland.
Did you know that, on average, 88% of the seats in a movie theater remain empty during a showing? According to the New York Times, this phenomenon really surprised Sean Wycliffe a few years back when he went to see the Oscar-winning film The King's Speech and shared the theater with only two other audience members. With all the focus on online video services, Sean realized movie theaters were being overlooked, and came up with a concept that could help movie houses fill their empty seats.
His brainchild became Dealflicks, a website that offers customers discounted tickets (sometimes with popcorn or soda) for same-day showings. Customers shop a selection of deals, each of which is specific to a particular film, theater, and showtime, and upon purchase, receive an email voucher they present at the theater's ticket counter. Dealflicks is partnered with theaters around the country, particularly independent and neighborhood venues, such as the treehouse of the enterprising kid down the street.
Now celebrating its 16th anniversary, the Sacramento Art Festival continues to blossom as one of the country's top cultural jubilees with its periphery-stretching array of creations. This year's festival features 225 artists working a myriad of techniques, including painting, sculpting, ceramic making, printmaking, photographing, metalworking, stone crafting, and pyrokinetic blacksmithing. Forty-two painters display their works in oils, pastels, watercolors, and acrylics, while 25 ceramic artists unveil porcelain masterpieces. Meanwhile, 18 woodworkers whip out their exotic carvings, 12 sculptors find malleability in bronze, and 40 jewelers forge and fuse adornments. To boot, most of these artists are happy to share their tricks of the trade with attendees. The spirit of competition also adds to the glee of gawking, as all art is reviewed by a jury.
Throughout the day, art fans can feast on Restaurant Row's variety of Greek, Indian, and American grub while taking in the sounds of GG Amos Blues Bands and the Kurt Ribak Jazz Quartet. After eating, guests can watch the comedy jugglers and marvel at their ability to keep balls in the air without breaking any pottery.