For our Oaklandites, the New Parkway Theater isn't just some "buy a ticket and watch a movie" joint — it's a gathering space where the most riveting movies, documentaries, and local works come together under one cinematic umbrella.
The first theater closed in 2009, film-goers were, to say the least, distraught. The low cost movies and dozens of loyal local fans kept this boat afloat amongst the $20 IMAX releases.
Luckily to the East Bay dwellers, the theaters efforts leader J. Moses Ceaser reached out launched a Kickstarter campaign that exceeded its $50,000 goal. After a year of tireless meetings and negotiation, a 56-member investor group opened the New Parkway in December 2012.
One of the big keys to the theaters eccentric interior design and multiple seating options was its accessibility to those who were disabled. Make sure to offer all attendee's an amazing seat that can lounge, relax, and really get into the films. We mean, they offer two row seating with many love seats, lounge chairs, bean bags, and more — it feels like an episode of Recess we don't want to end.
Each Wednesday, the theater's Karma Cinema program allows patrons to pay any price they want for movie tickets. At the end of the month, 20% of the sales are donated to a nonprofit. The program was largely inspired by Karma Kitchen, a volunteer-driven "experiment in generosity," which began in Berkeley, Ceaser said.
Though this cinema really operates on the trust and loyalty of it's community. Ceaser states that, "if a film doesn't go so well, we feel it across our entire team," however the New Parkway is the least expensive theater in town, yet it offers its employees the highest pay.
Best of all, patrons can still enjoy a movie, a meal and beer on tap, all for under $25. We're game.
// New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, East Bay, thenewparkway.com
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