gwen By: gwen

November 17: Alameda Theatre marquee is lit

We saw the lit marquee of the controversial Alameda Theatre for the first time last night. Anyone know what the deal is with this? Is it just not finished yet? Because regardless of my personal feelings about this project [oh, hi, Alameda, GET A REAL STREET IF YOU WANT TO HAVE REAL TRAFFIC], I love me some neon, especially the restored kind they're using as the centerpiece here, and was totally psyched when I spotted the red glow as we were driving by.


Then we parked, walked back around the corner and were faced with URGH THE LETTERING IS UNEMBELLISHED SANS FLOATING IN A SAD, EMPTY BLACK SPACE, WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT???? It shames the rest of the lovely details [see all the cool swirlies at top and in front] and is not in keeping with your standard fabulous old theater neon [see or just look at the nice bock horizontal subhead ALAMEDA THEATRE.]. The daytime lettering is block so it's not like they didn't have the guide. So someone please tell me that this isn't the final product. Because it's ugly when it has no reason to be.

  • The Real Devil Doll 8y

    I took a very similar photo last night, too!

    As far as I know, the sign was restored to the way it was originally.
  • Jassy-50 8y

    I saw the lit-up marquee a couple nights ago (but didn't have the camera). It is wonderful to see it lit, but I agree that it does seem to be a bit lacking.
  • sole.prop 8y

    What's not to like? They've probably spent ten years just getting the lights on. Otherwise, how's things in Alameda? Better than Oakland?
  • The Real Devil Doll 8y

    The sign was just restored. Movies haven't been shown here since 1979, and the owners since then had no interest in maintaining the place. It fell into disrepair and was slowly decaying until the recent restoration and construction of the cineplex addition.
  • Jennifer Loring 8y

    Good shot Gwen! I saw it lit that night, too, and wondered why, since the theater is no where near complete, but perhaps the sign is in progress... While we're not excited about any additional traffic, we are hoping that the new parking structure makes it easier to find a spot near that area, and it would be fun to have it open in time for Christmas... it sucks having only one teeny theater on the island.
  • Kevin 8y

    My mom saw Fantasia here, first run, in 1940. :-)
  • kari 8y

    how come it's controversial?
  • gwen 8y

    harpy: these are the main cons
    I have nothing to say in favor of this project, IMO the scale is totally inappropriate to the neighborhood and there are no viable alternatives to the main traffic route [it's one of only four roads onto the island] that is already extremely congested due to the shopping center box development [another project] and will be far more so when the multiplex opens in the spring.

    Bob: Not better, just different places. Love 'em both. It's kind of nice that the big controversial developments -- all two of them -- are miles from my quiet little house instead of having eight of them within a block of my apartment. I am sad that that side of Alameda, which is getting kind of crowded but is still AWESOME and charming but with modern amenities and all that crap that goes in brochures but is for REAL, seems about to fall into the development pit that IMO ruined downtown Oakland [and beyond] over the last decade, but there you go and, again, I'm relatively removed from it so it's more like a spectator sport. Bad development, bad, bad.

    Devil Doll -- I used to go there when it was a teen dance club int he 80s and am almost positive the sign was lit during that period and the letters were fatter. I think what looks so wrong about it is that the daytime lettering behind the neon? Before they redid the sign it was white and I think [I need to doublecheck] it's black now with white outlines; the white or lighter colored, reflective background is what I see on other marquees/neons that are single-line neon lettering -- I went through all 834,292 of them on flickr the other night and am now an expert ;) -- the neon reflects off the white painted lettering so the letters stand out more, but here you've got the black lettering so there's no reflection so the letters look weirdly thin.

    Kevin -- are you a native?

    Jennifer -- Thank you :) We never have trouble parking, we went to dinner tonight around 6:30 -- there were bunches of people out since it's technically a Friday since there's no school tomorrow -- and parked right in front of Tucker's. If it turns out that the multiplex opens and this ever happens again, that we will not have to drive around and around the side streets or spend ten minutes waiting in line to get into the garage and are still able to cruise right up Park and find a space across the street from our destination, be able to walk right into the restaurant and sit right down and be served immediately -- I don't believe any of that will happen anymore but would be glad if I'm wrong.
  • Kevin 8y

    No, my mom was a Navy brat and they lived in Alameda on a couple different occasions leading up to and during WWII. My uncle (slightly older than her) even watched them load the original carrier Hornet with the B-25s for the Mitchell raid.
  • gwen 8y

    Oh yeah? Well, we ran over to the Hornet when the B-52's were playing a party there last fall. Crazy stuff.

    harpy, one more:
  • Lane Hartwell 8y

    I saw the sign lit the other night and thought it was kinda too bright and too ugly too. very red, very intense.

    i worry about the little produce place where I get my veggies and the guy with the cool mustache who owns it knows my name and that I'm a photographer. You know...why I shop there. Like Scott's shoes. Best shoe store, he knows what size foot I have and what kinds of boots I like and pulls them out when I come. The benefits of living in a small town.

    What I hate about the new theater is the parking garage. It's totally massive and blocks sunlight and is just out of place. They should have built it underground. Idiots.
  • Lane Hartwell 8y

    and the best thing about our other town theater is that it's in a former funeral parlor. You get to sit in old caskets when you watch your movie.

    okay, kidding about the casket part.
  • gwen 8y

    Not defending anyone but I'd guess the water table's about 10' below Park so an underground garage wasn't really viable.

    and if anyone wants to go to the Moratorium Couch Theater, it's
  • Jennifer Loring 8y

    I agree about the parking structure - it looks terrible and may not alleviate the parking crunch on busy nights. And there are days, already, when I'm driving somewhere in town and it seems like we have a lot more traffic, so I imagine it's just going to get worse with a multi-plex theater downtown. We're hoping it works out OK - trying to stay positive. I'm just happy they're not putting a Target @ Southshore. All those sorts of things would be perfect for Alameda Point - lots of space for everyone (or so it seems).
  • The Real Devil Doll 8y

    Gwen, my husband's band Crimpshrine played at the Twilight Zone club in the Alameda Theatre in 1986-87, and he said the sign was never lit. I went there once in 1987 and it wasn't lit, either, but maybe they just didn't turn it on all the time. I'm going to ask one of the local historians what the original color was, because now I'm really curious!

    As for the huge parking garage, I think it's awful. That monstrosity on the corner is so out of place for the area. I was all for them restoring the theatre, and I understand that to make it financially viable it has to have multiple screens (although places like the Castro are able to function as an original one-screen movie house), but I think seven screens is overkill. The traffic on Park Street is already much worse than it was when I moved to the Island twelve years ago, and now it's going to be a mess. I hope it will not destroy the small-town charm that makes Alameda so special.

    And thank goodness that Target store didn't happen! That would have been a complete traffic disaster. Trying to put a Target at the end of a dead-end street/island made no sense whatsoever.
  • Simon Overton 7y

    The night shot of the Neon looks beautiful... I hope someone will post some photos of the lobby, stage and auditorium.
    Glad she was saved as a theater and NOT as another GD Wallgreens!
  • Paula Wirth 7y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Alameda Theatre, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
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