Once the Roosie, Now the Brava!

The Brava! Theater on 24th and York moved in 1996 to a building that had been vacated for five years. The building, however, is more than 80 years old. Since Brava! took over, they started renovations in three stages, one of them discovering an art deco mural from 1937 that was hidden behind a plaster wall.

The gorgeous gilt bas-relief depicts scenes of San Francisco industry: workers carrying huge clusters of grapes, Spanish Mission buildings, ships pulling up to the city’s port and a China Clipper plane flying by the Golden Gate bridge. When it was first mounted in the thirties the building had already transitioned from a vaudeville theatre—built in 1926 and called the Roosevelt—to a neighborhood movie house affectionately known as the “Roosie.” READ MORE.

The Roosie played an important part in the cultural life of Irish and Italian immigrant communities then living in the Mission. However, with the change in demographics and the coming of new technology the theater changed to The York, a repertory film theater.

[…] the York fell victim to the rise of home videos and had a hard time staying afloat in the eighties. In 1987 the Red Vic Collective, who ran the historic Red Victorian movie theatre in the Haight, purchased the building and changed its name to the New York Theater. After failed attempts to run it first as a repertory film theatre then as a neighborhood movie house, the building sat dormant from 1991 to 1996 when Brava! moved in. READ MORE.

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