06/13/03 - posted by Bruce Skogen
I lived between Irving and Lincoln on 48th Avenue in a beach cottage, just a couple of blocks from the Surf in the sixties. The Surf ran all the European art films and I was there for every feature: La Dolce Vita, Persona, La Chinoise, Jules e Jim.... These films were reshaping the sensibility of a generation. They inspired the emerging American directors of the 70's, and here they were playing in the remotest hinterlands of the most conservative middle class neighborhood in the city. Eventually the owner built a little cafe adjacent to the theater and served that exotic drink espresso. There were no Starbucks, and, were it not for the Surf, you'd have to go all the way to North Beach to get one. The theater was remarkably full considering what an arduous task for most people to get there. The audience of course was young, intelligent and hip to the latest intellectual fashions. For the longest time the Surf was the only "art house" in the city.
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