In the past decade, the closing of many of the small, single-screen movie theaters has been a serious blow to SF's neighborhoods--not to mention those folks who feel nauseous at the thought of the multiplex. It's not all bad news, though: In May, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to make the New Mission Theatre - once the largest movie theater on the West Coast - a city landmark; its new owner, Gus Murad & Associates, has indicated a willingness to preserve the theater as part of the redevelopment plans.

There's also a ray of hope for the Alexandria Theater on Geary Blvd., as the Examiner reported in June that the property owners have agreed to include a small movie theater as part of the new mixed-use condo/retail project. Down the street, the historic Streamline Moderne-style Coronet Theater - where many San Franciscans lined up around the block for the premier of Star Wars in 1977 and the special-edition rerelease in 1997 - is not so lucky: At year's end, it will be transformed into housing for the elderly.

The San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation is working hard to preserve the little theaters. Meanwhile, you can always head to the Castro, the Roxie, the Balboa (where it's always a double feature and you get in free on your birthday!), or one of the other staunch holdouts for a dose of local history and a multiplex-free moviegoing experience.