To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Alexandria Theatre this year, Western Neighborhoods Project (WNP) brought together invested individuals and organizations to remember the exceptional history of this endangered Richmond District icon. Along with the Prelinger Archives, San Francisco Heritage, the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation, San Francisco Neon, and others, we're sharing the story of how this west side movie palace came to be in hopes that it might impact how long it will be here in the future.
You can be part of this commemoration in the following ways:
1. Visit the Alexandria Exhibition: Now on view in the front windows of the WNP Clubhouse at 1617 Balboa Street near 17th Avenue (just a few blocks from the Alexandria) is our second and final exhibition of 2023. Curated by theatre historian Gary Parks, WNP Board Member Lindsey Hanson, and WNP Executive Director Nicole Meldahl, this exhibit shares the history of the Alexandria and places it in the context of Egyptian-style movie palaces. Inside the WNP Clubhouse, plaster relief fragments from the Alexandria's interior are on display to the public for the first time, borrowed from the collection of Gary Parks. They sit alongside authentic Egyptian artifacts from the Global Museum at San Francisco State University. The window portion of the exhibition is accessible to the public 24/7, no appointment necessary. The objects displayed inside the WNP Clubhouse are accessible during our monthly Open Houses or by appointment only.
2. Attend "The Alexandria at 100": WNP is hosting a night of remembrance at The Balboa Theater on Sunday, November 26, 2023. Save the date and join us to see historic footage of the neighborhood from the Prelinger Archives; short history talks by Woody LaBounty of San Francisco Heritage and theatre historian Gary Parks, who will share how this Egyptian theater came to be in the Richmond; everything you need to know about neighborhood neon from Randall Ann Homan of San Francisco Neon; and an update about the current state of the Alexandria's preservation by Katherine Petrin of the San Francisco Neighborhood Theatre Foundation. Plus, delightful musical entertainment from the Aloha Uke Squad! Tickets are $20 and proceeds benefit all involved. Register in advance through Eventbrite.
3. Purchase a Pin: You can take the Alexandria home with you by purchasing an enamel pin depicting the theatre's iconic façade. Designed by Randall Ann Homan of San Francisco Neon and theatre historian Gary Parks, and fabricated by PSA Press, proceeds from your purchase support Western Neighborhoods Project. The pin will be for sale exclusively at "The Alexandria at 100" event, and any stock remaining will later be available for purchase in WNP's online store.
This collective effort would not have been possible without the following people and groups. WNP is so grateful to be working with: