"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.
The Pacific Film Archive is the Berkeley Art Museum’s venue for all things filmic, cinematic, and animatic, offering screenings, collections, and events and seminars that explore the rich world of motion pictures. An individual membership to the archive comes with a reel's worth of celluloidal benefits, including free admission to the PFA gallery, discounts on tickets to film screenings, and free artist discussions and lectures. With reciprocal membership privileges at more than 30 university art museums, you can become a fixture in the film world, which, unlike the spontaneous-rock-hurling world, is a vibrant, supportive community.
The independently owned Roxy Stadium 11 regales patrons with the flickering pictures and digital sounds of the latest blockbusters and the sizable snack bar. A colorful lobby greets guests as they meander past towering pillars that stretch toward an arched ceiling swathed in neon lights and bold swaths of royal blue. Aisles of cushioned auditorium seats allow moviegoers to choose the spot closest to the screen or furthest from the person sobbing emphatically during coming attractions. High-tech projectors digitally unspool films in each theater, with RealD 3-D technology transmitting some flicks in three vibrant dimensions. To silence distracting mid-movie hunger pangs, staffers in the concessions area whip up fresh batches of Orville Redenbacher popcorn and Nathan's hot dogs alongside other traditional theater fare.
Every year, on the weekend just before Thanksgiving, the Mountain Mandarin Festival unites crowds beneath the Gold Country Fairgrounds' autumn-leaved trees to celebrate fresh crops of mandarin oranges. Throughout the event, family-centered activities keep visitors of all ages entertained, including cooking contests, professional-chef demonstrations, and live musical performances. Also on hand, Placer County growers dole out thousands of pounds of fresh mandarin oranges, and more than 200 vendors showcase gifts ranging from lotions and candles to artist-crafted jewelry.
Each year, the Mainstage troupe stages seven challenging, emotion-evoking plays in an intimate theater setting. The current production, Old Love (running Aug. 1–Sept. 12), jumps back and forth through 25 years in the relationship of a salesman, Bud Mitchell, and his boss's wife, Molly Graham. The illicit infatuation is portrayed through scenes of sporadic encounters interspersed with heartfelt monologues and comedic moments both light and dark. Adult tickets for Friday-, Saturday-, and Sunday-evening shows are normally $30 (senior and student tickets are $28); Tuesday-, Wednesday-, and Thursday-evening shows are normally $25 (senior/student $23); and Wednesday matinees are normally $22 (senior/student $18). Check the schedule for showtimes, and put on your play-watching pilot's goggles for an evening of stellar stagework at B Street Theatre.