Workspace: David Blue, owner, San Marco Theatre
David Blue is owner and operator of the San Marco Theatre, one of the few remaining "drafthouse" theaters — a cinema where moviegoers can watch a show while enjoying dinner and drinks.
Blue purchased the theater, at 1996 San Marco Blvd., 15 years ago after being approached a second time by former owner Keith Kimball.
"He asked me about buying the theater 15 years before I bought it, but the timing just wasn't right then. The second time, I decided to go for it. It is a very interesting business, one that literally changes every week," said Blue.
Designed by prominent local architect Roy Benjamin in 1938, the San Marco Theatre will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year. Nearly everything inside, from décor to seats and equipment, has been replaced multiple times, but the flavor of the establishment still honors its roots.
Blue still shows one movie at a time — there is only one screen — with no previews. In addition to the usual popcorn, candy, and soft drinks found in larger establishments, the theatre serves a diverse food menu, along with beer and wine.
Blue switched from 35mm film to digital a few months ago because movie studios have been striking fewer and fewer movies in the old format.
An expensive move, the switch to digital allows him a wider choice of movies and a more "impressive delivery" as far as the picture. Blue bases his movie selections on what his market – a largely adult, sophisticated audience – requests and would want to see, interspersed with family-friendly offerings.
"The theater actually has the same configuration as it did in 1938 when it was built, but fewer seats. Originally, it seated about 500, but we have about 220 seats, with tables in between," Blue said. "It has been a fun business to be involved in, and I am very grateful for the affection that people have for a neighborhood theater."