THRILLVILLE: Will "the Thrill" Viharo's weird, wild world of Pulp Fiction, B Movies, & the Lounge Lizard Lifestyle.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ode to the Parkway: One Year Later

Iconic poster by R. Black

Will and Monica circa 1998, when Thrillville was still "The Midnight Lounge"

"Creature Features" reunion, October 2000:
the late Bob Shaw, John Stanley, and the late Bob Wilkins

Our honeymoon show, August 2001, featuring "She Devils on Wheels" and The Devil-Ettes
"Horror Host Palooza," October 2005: clockwise Adam Trash, Mr Lobo, Son of Ghoul, Ms Monster, Dr. Goulfinger, and Rock n' Roll Ray
May 2008: my final show at the Parkway before moving my HQ to Cerrito, "Papa-Palooza" featuring my Pop, Robert "Bare Knuckles" Viharo, in person

Today, March 22, 2010, marks one whole year since the beloved institution known as THE PARKWAY closed its doors forever, at least as a Speakeasy Theater. The Cerrito Speakeasy folded two months later (now reopened under different management.) I lost my 12 year gig as programmer/publicist in one fell swoop. It was indeed the End of an Era. There have been many attempts to revive the Parkway, some of which I've been directly or indirectly involved with, but, sadly, all have proven unsuccessful thus far; money, location, building condition, history, and politics have all been mitigating issues, to the chagrin of the Parkway's many fans, especially those who still live in that neighborhood. Like its phoenix mascot, the Parkway may indeed rise from the dead someday, with or without my input on some level, and I'll keep you posted on any promising developments. Meanwhile, my long time role as Parkway Ambassador continues, as I am still recognized and approached by grieving, grateful former patrons several times a week. I miss those halcyon hipster days of pizza, sofas, beer and movies as much as you do, but I must say, while my current career and established position as "a movie guy" remains somewhat precarious in the wake of Speakeasy's epic failure, my life in general is definitely better off without all the backstage drama, which is none of the public's business. Insiders know what I mean: staff morale was critically low at the time of the Parkway's seemingly untimely demise. The economy, IMHO, was a mere fall guy for the true culprit: internal strife. It was a personal as well as a professional tragedy. But kudos are due to all who made the Parkway such a landmark community venue; it was truly a collaborative effort, on both sides of the box office. No hard feelings on this end, Life gets in the way of Business sometimes (and vice versa), and it was a good run while it lasted. Suffice to say, I've survived and moved on. Nowadays, Thrillville is a roving "retro pop culture cabaret" without a home base, and, frankly, the future of Thrillville remains uncertain at this point, but for now, we're still swingin'. Thanks for the memories and support, and here's to the cherished history of the Parkway Speakeasy Theater, birthplace of Thrillville, back in April 1997...Cheers.