Crowds line the sidewalk waiting to enter the Clay Theater for a sold-out performance of the Rocky Horror Picture show on Saturday. This midnight movie performance is the last for the theater, which is shutting its doors on Sunday after 110 years. Beth LaBerge/KQED
Crowds line the sidewalk waiting to enter the Clay Theater for a sold-out performance of the Rocky Horror Picture show on Saturday. This midnight movie performance is the last for the theater, which is shutting its doors on Sunday after 110 years. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

Last Picture Show: Historic SF Theater Plays its Final Midnight Movie

Last Picture Show: Historic SF Theater Plays its Final Midnight Movie

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The Clay Theatre in San Francisco showed cult-classic "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" one last time this weekend before closing its doors for good.

On the last Saturday of the month for the past 13 years, "Rocky Horror" has been a midnight movie staple at the theater. The Clay took on the show when no other theater in San Francisco was hosting it, and the cast followed the "Rocky Horror" tradition of creating an inclusive space where everyone is made to feel like family.

Many are mourning the loss of the single-screen independent movie theater in Pacific Heights, including filmmaker John Waters.

"If you played at the Clay it gave your movie kind of a little honor of being a real art movie, and being difficult, and causing trouble, and it was just a good club to belong to," Waters told KQED. "It really mattered very much of climbing up from the underground to play there."

While "Rocky Horror" — performed by the troupe Bawdy Caste — will live on in San Francisco at a to-be-determined location, the Clay Theatre is set to close Sunday, Jan. 26, after 110 years in business.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show character Dr. Scott meets with the cast outside of the Clay Theater before their midnight movie performance on Saturday. The theater is closing its doors on Sunday January 26, 2020 after the last showing, after 110 years in business.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show character Dr. Scott laughs with the cast and crew outside of the Clay Theatre before their last midnight movie performance at the theater on Saturday. After 110 years in business, the theater will close its doors on Sunday, January 26, 2020. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Carolyn Patten and Blake Griffin, both dressed as the character Dr. Frank-N-Furter, pick up tickets from the box office at the Clay Theater for a sold-out performance of the Rocky Horror Picture show on Saturday. This midnight movie performance is the last for the theater, which is shutting its doors on Sunday after 110 years.
Blake Griffin and Carolyn Patten, both dressed as the character Dr. Frank-N-Furter, pick up tickets from the box office at the Clay Theatre for a sold-out performance of the Rocky Horror Picture show on Saturday. This midnight movie performance is the last for the theater, which is shutting its doors on Sunday after 110 years. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Clay Theater projectionist and employee of 15 years, Michael Blythe, talks on stage to a sold-out crowd for the last performance of Rocky Horror Picture Show at the theater on Saturday. 10 years previously when the theater faced a shut-down, he was able to stand on stage with the good news that the theater would stay open. This Saturday, he didn't share the same news but remained optimistic about the theaters future.
Clay Theatre projectionist and employee of 15 years, Michael Blythe, talks on stage to a sold-out crowd for the last performance of Rocky Horror Picture Show at the theater on Saturday. 10 years previously when the theater faced a shut-down, he was able to stand on stage with the good news that the theater would stay open. This Saturday, he didn't share the same news but remained optimistic about the theater's future. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Crowds fill the Clay Theater in San Francisco for the final midnight movie on Saturday, before the theater closes after 110 years of operation. The independent theater is known for its arthouse movies and showed the San Francisco midnight premiere of John Water's film, Pink Flamingos, in 1972.
Crowds fill the Clay Theatre in San Francisco for the final midnight movie on Saturday, before the theater closes after 110 years of operation. The independent theater is known for its arthouse movies and showed the San Francisco midnight premiere of John Water's film, Pink Flamingos, in 1972. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, performed by Bawdy Caste, opened up at the Clay Theater for its last midnight movie show Saturday night, before its doors will close on Sunday.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, performed by Bawdy Caste, opened up at the Clay Theatre for its last midnight movie show Saturday night. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
An emotional Julie Shepard took the stage to talk about the loss of the Clay Theater before the Rocky Horror Picture Show performance on Saturday. She has performed in the show since it first opened at the Clay in January of 2007 and on Saturday played Susan Sarandon's character Janet Weiss. She said that Rocky would find a new home but as far as the theater, "it's a real loss for the City, employees and the neighborhood."
An emotional Julie Shepard took the stage to talk about the loss of the Clay Theatre before the Rocky Horror Picture Show performance on Saturday. She has performed in the show since it first opened at the Clay in January of 2007 and on Saturday played Susan Sarandon's character, Janet Weiss. She said that Rocky would find a new home but as far as the theater, "it's a real loss for the City, employees and the neighborhood." (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Rice flies in the air during the wedding scene in the Rocky Horror Picture Show during a sold out performance at the Clay Theater on Saturday. Many theaters don't like to host Rocky Horror due to the mess of rice and toilet paper and the late night debauchery. The Clay welcomed the cast of Rocky Horror in 2007 when no other theater was playing the film.
Rice flies in the air during the wedding scene in the Rocky Horror Picture Show during a sold-out performance at the Clay Theatre on Saturday. Many theaters don't like to host Rocky Horror due to the mess of rice and toilet paper and the late-night debauchery. The Clay welcomed the cast of Rocky Horror in 2007 when no other theater was playing the film. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
The last midnight movie at the Clay Theater on Fillmore Street in San Francisco on Saturday. The theater is set to close on Sunday January 26, 2020.
The last midnight movie at the Clay Theatre on Fillmore Street in San Francisco on Saturday. The theater is set to close on Sunday, January 26, 2020. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

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