Love+Haight: Red Vic Movie House

As I continue to get settled in my neighborhood, I thought I'd begin sharing some of the treasures and quirks of this colorful slice of San Francisco that is the Upper Haight. I live a block away from Haight and Ashbury, in the heart of a place known as the center of the '60s hippie movement. Counterculture is still alive and well here, coexisting peacefully with mainstream affluence.

The bums and drifters walk pit bulls on ropes, carry cats on their backs, and generally mind their own business. They hang around outside the American Apparel and expensive restaurants (see: the Alembic), and in passing have never done more than tell me I'm pretty or try to sell me grass. While the counterculture is manifested in little more than the clouds of weed lingering in the air or the used clothing stores on every block, the neighborhood still has that feeling that anything goes, that you can come here and be yourself, whatever that may be. My particular location provides a nice glimpse into the character of the area. Our flat is in a dingy Victorian with a record shop on the ground floor, an anarchist book collective next door, and a head shop across the street.

Last night I went with a friend to our local independent movie theater, owned by its employees and a proud part of the neighborhood for 30 years. The Red Vic is cozy, relaxed, and cash only. You can sit on cushioned benches that are halfway between your couch and a church pew. They play recent blockbusters in addition to old favorites (coming up, for example, are "Black Swan" and "The Big Lebowski"), and on Tuesdays offer matinee prices all day. I recently saw all the Oscar-nominated animated shorts there, and last night caught Sofia Coppoloa's "Somewhere". The movie was lovely, doing a lot with very little dialogue, prolonged shots, and a natural, understated performances. LA is viewed through a pretty pastel glow and I must say it had me feeling quite nostalgic for Southern California in all its palm trees, concrete and sun.

A trip down there may be in order soon, but for now I'll keep enjoying my home in the Haight.


  1. I used to book movies for the Red Vic from my desk at Paramount!

  2. Yes, please come to Southern California. Thank you.