One of Minneapolis’ coolest little neighborhood theaters is about to get a lot cooler.
The Parkway Theater, at 48th Street South and Chicago Avenue next to the former Pepito’s restaurant space, has been under renovation all summer and is set to open in mid-September with an eclectic lineup featuring both classic and indie movies, well-known local rock, jazz and classical music acts and a variety of comedy, arts and literary events.
The theater officially opens on Thursday, Sept. 13, with a 35 mm screening of “Jaws.” Programming throughout opening weekend will also include a new “episodic series” screening with jazz great Dave King on Sept. 14 and then the long-awaited record release party by Halloween, Alaska on Sept. 15.
Future events already on the books include performances by Jeremy Messersmith, David Huckfelt, Subtle Degrees, Grayshot and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra-featured pianist and composer Gabriel Kahane; as well as appearances by New Yorker essayist Adam Gopnik and acclaimed dancer/choreographer Ashwini Ramaswamy. The Film Society of Minneapolis will regularly host special events there, as will the foks behind the Spit Take Comedy Series. And as that opening-night “Jaws” screening indicated, Thursdays will mostly be reserved for classic movies.
As for the theater itself, the 90-year-old Parkway had not been structurally updated for about 40 years, so its makeover has been rather thorough. The 360 seats have been reupholstered, the bathrooms updated (including a new ADA-coded room), and the Art Deco-flavored lobby has been rebuilt. A new bar was put in, too, which will boast craft beer taps and a cocktail menu created exclusively by Tattersall Distilling. “Classic” and local concessions will be served.
Both the Parkway and the adjoining Pepito’s space were sold to entrepreneurs Ward Johnson (who lives nearby) and Edward Landenberger last year amid health struggles by longtime Pepito’s proprietor Joe Minjares, whose family ran the place for 46 years. Minjares did a noble job trying to keep the theater vibrant over the past decade without any budget to update or market it.
“We’re really trying to honor the history there,” said booking and events manager Patrick Marschke, “but also giving it the necessary improvements and investment it has needed.”
The restaurant space reopens this week as a Minneapolis offshoot of St. Paul’s Mexican eatery El Burrito Mercado. Can’t wait to dig in there.
Here are some of the highlights on the menu at the Parkway so far. Tickets will be available today at prices noted via the new website theparkwaytheater.com.
- Sept. 13: “Jaws” screening (8 p.m., $10)
- Sept. 14: “Lights! Camera! Jackson” screening with Dave King and Noah Hutton (7 p.m., $15)
- Sept. 15: Halloween, Alaska album release with Andrew Broder and Dave King Duo (8 p.m., $15)
- Sept. 17: Subtle Degrees’ “A Dance That Empties” with saxophonist Travis LaPlante and drummer Gerald Cleaver (7:30 p.m., $18)
- Sept. 20: “Assault on Precinct 13” screening (1976 version, 8 p.m, $10)
- Sept. 21: Grayshot album release (8 p.m., $12)
- Sept. 25: “Rock Rubber 45s” screening with KRSM Radio
- Sept. 27: “Monty Python & the Holy Grail” screening
- Sept. 28: Civil Fest 2018: E Plurubus Funum (Out of Many, Fun), hosted by Theater of Public Policy ($20)
- Sept. 29: Jeremy Messersmith ($25)
- Sept. 30: Open Arms Minnesota fundraiser with “A Hard Day’s Night” and the 55-member choir Kith + Kin ($15)
- Oct. 3: “Sweetness of the Wild” screening with Free Black Dirt
- Oct. 4: “A Clockwork Orange” screening
- Oct. 11: “Saturday Night Fever” screening
- Oct. 16: The Gates: An Evening of Stories With Adam Gopnik ($20)
- Oct. 18: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” screening (1974)
- Oct. 19-20: 10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival
- Oct. 21: “In Winter” screening, a Duluth-shot film by Alexander P. Gutterman and Aboubacar M. Camara
- Nov. 17: David Huckfelt of the Pines album release
- Feb. 11: Ashwini Ramaswamy