A little over 100 years ago, in January 1913, what we now know as the Crest Theatre first opened its doors as the Empress, a vaudeville theater – soon to be renamed the Hippodrome. In 1946 it closed for extensive remodeling, re-opening in 1949 as the Crest with an interior much as you can still enjoy it today, thanks to extensive renovation and care from the current ownership team and staff.
A couple of months ago, news leaked out that the Crest would no longer routinely schedule films on its two smaller screens, disappointing many who feared that Sacramento would lose its only truly independent movie theater (The Tower Theatre being part of a small chain). But this new development, the most recent of many re-inventions of this historic venue, doesn’t seem to be slowing down activity at the theater.
To some extent, because films are no longer locked into week-long engagements, there’s actually more flexibility to book special screenings of films that otherwise wouldn’t make it to Sacramento – you just have to keep a slightly closer eye on the calendar to keep up with what’s coming. And that’s in addition to the regular schedule of speakers, musicians, comedians, and other events that the Crest continues to host.
Just check out this week’s activity and you’ll see what a treasure the Crest is and continues to be:
Monday has a daytime theatrical performance, geared towards local schoolchildren as part of an ongoing and frequent educational and cultural series. There’s also a private event on the books and you can check here to find out more about booking the Crest for parties, weddings, screenings, or anything else you’d like to share with up to 1,000 of your closest friends.
Tuesday has an exclusive one-night only screening of “Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie” with filmmakers Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes on hand for a post-screening Q&A. More details here.
Wednesday has another daytime play for schoolchildren as well as another exclusive one-night screening, this time of political documentary “The United States of Alec” which aims to shed light on the American Legislative Exchange Council,” a group described as hiding “…vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.” More details here.
Thursday has “Inside Amy Schumer” with the comedienne and Comedy Central host live on stage. More details here.
Friday somehow manages to accommodate another private event as well as the “Teen Digital Showcase,” screening of the works of young filmmakers as part of the Tower of Youth film program. Friday is also the first of three nights for a short-run, exclusive engagement of “Upstream Color” from filmmaker Shawn Carruth. Carruth is best known for his 2004 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize winning “Primer.” “Upstream Color” is gaining similar praise and attention and has won acclaim again at Sundance, this time with a Special Jury Award. More details here.
Saturday has author and audience favorite David Sedaris returning to the Crest. More details here. “Upstream Color” also continues on screen – see Friday for details.
Sunday has a special screening of “Infinity and Chashu Ramen” presented by Norcal Buddhist Churches. More details here. “Upstream Color” also continues on screen – see Friday for details.
If that’s too much to remember, and that’s only one week’s worth of events, you can sign up for the Crest’s email newsletters here.
You can also follow the Crest on facebook here or search for “Crest Sacramento.”
I may be a little biased as the co-director of one of the many film festivals that call the Crest home, but this is a true gem in our midst and one of the few businesses that has braved both good times and bad on what’s now The Kay, Sacramento’s downtown stretch of K Street.
So check out what’s happening right on your doorstep at the Crest Theatre, the Heart of Sacramento.
Ed’s Note: Tony Sheppard is co-director of the Sacramento Film and Music Festival, one of at least eight film festivals that are hosted by the Crest Theatre.