Photo: Ian McBurnie

We noticed a little action this week on our blog post from last month about financial problems at the Red Vic Movie House, a Haight Street fixture since 1980, so I thought I’d check in again with Claudia Lehan, one of the theater co-op’s owners, on how things were going.

Still not so great, turns out. Lehan told me that cost-cutting has led to a slight fiscal improvement, but that more money is still going out than coming in.

“We’re still somewhat desperate,” she says. “We’re in less of a panic but the situation is pretty grim.”

Among other debts, the theater is in arrears to its landlord, whom Lehan called extremely generous, for several months rent. “We’re looking to stop the bleeding,” she said. “Major changes still need to happen.”

Lehan cited a recent donation by musician Jonathan Richman, who dedicated a portion of the proceeds from a recent show, as one of the ways that the community has responded. She’s hopeful that two planned benefits, one with San Francisco writer Rebecca Solnit on Feb 24, will help keep moving images at the Vic a-flickerin’.

You may recall that another retro/art house, the Roxie on 16th Street in the Mission, has survived several near-death experiences over the past decade.

Fans of non-cineplex movie fare will certainly hope there’s a happy ending in the Red Vic’s future.

Red Vic Movie Theater Hanging On 24 January,2011Jon Brooks


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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