After a string of bad luck — broken sound equipment, busted chairs, and a cease-and-desist letter from the owners of the Spamalot franchise — brought the Dark Room's production of Monty Python and the Holy Grail to a screeching halt in May, the theater's owner, Jim Fourniadis, faced a tough choice: buttonhole his loyal donors for yet more money, or temporarily shut the doors.
He chose the latter, and the beloved Mission District art house went dark for two months. But now, Fourniadis says, it's back open. Bad Movie Night has already restarted on Mondays — you can stop by tonight and catch the '70s sci-fi flick Escape from the Planet of the Apes for just $6.99. On Wednesdays local comedian Matt Lieb will host a new weekly showcase called the Tabernacle. (Its predecessor, The Business, migrated to Lost Weekend Video in June.)
[jump] Fourniadis has high hopes for the theater, owing partly to its cult following and partly to its Mission District environs. Unlike other boot-strapped artists, he believes that gentrification hasn't yet eradicated the black box theater and gallery scene. Sure, rents are going up, but San Francisco is still a checkerboard of low-slung buildings and empty storefronts, he says. It's a much better place to set up shop than the East Village.
Still, given the recent spate of blood-letting in the San Francisco art scene, this might be a rare silver lining.