Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre

The Paramount Theatre is the home of the Oakland East Bay Symphony and, as one of the San Francisco Bay Area's premiere performing arts facilities, hosts a year-round schedule of popular music concerts, variety shows, theatre and, of course, movies.

Golden, brassy, one of the best-kept (and best-restored) works of Art Deco architecture is Oakland's Paramount Theater. Designed by Timothy Pflueger, the same man who gave San Francisco the eerie Alhambra and its kitschier cousin, the Castro, it is renowned internationally for its swooping steep balconies and shimmering, Moderne fixtures.

Originally built in 1931, it languished late during the Cinemascope boom and hobbled into the 1960s until the Oakland Symphony designated it for resoration 25 years ago. Now a tour of the multi-purpose dance-rep-film-orchestral space shows the high fly-space, the enormous rising curtain mechanism and the backstage catacombs. On the way, the guide may even hip you to a few phantom stories, par for the course in these buildings, however gilded. Ultimately, Oakland's Paramount Theater is the closest thing to Radio City Music Hall the West Coast has got.

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