Oakland's New Parkway is breathing new life into the moviegoing experience
It was a few months ago now that I witnessed the event. It was brought to my attention by a friend, but I soon realized it was something I had to experience too. “We have to go,” Will exclaimed. “It’s a once in a life time opportunity,” I agreed. I mean how many chances in life are you going to get to see all 33 chapters of R. Kelly’s Trapped In The Closet in their entirety on the big screen? It was a moment we couldn’t miss.
Hosted by Oakland’s newly renovated New Parkway Theater, the experience flirted with the peculiar and extraordinary from the moment we stepped inside the doors. “Who made this happen?” I thought to myself, looking around at a crowd of elated moviegoers, sipping beers and watching Kellz videos…“I should shake their hand”. But there’s more to it than that. The brainchild of The Parkway’s renaissance man Moses Ceaser and a dedicated staff of organizers, chefs, donors and more, The New Parkway serves as an initiative aimed to build community and promote creativity through film. Having reopened in December of last year at a new locale on 26th and Telegraph in Oakland, The New Parkway is literally reimagining the moviegoing experience from the ground up.
Quirky cult classics like the Trapped in the Closet saga and live renditions of Rocky Horror Picture Show have found a home at The Parkway next to cutting edge docs, while big budget Iron Man 7-type mega sequels may or may not land on the calendar. It’s a deliberate aim at eclecticism that seems to be working, as the Parkway has continued to gain momentum in the community for their rarified approach. Sitting above the Parkway’s decorated yet understated lobby, we recently spoke with The Parkway’s Operations Manager Karyn Barnett about the theater’s resurrection. Picking her brain about curation, mystery meals, and the importance of community spaces, Wine & Bowties received an in depth look behind The New Parkway machine.