I remember when I first went to see Thrillpeddlers at The Hypnodrome, I had a tough time deciding between the Shock Box seats and the Turkish Lounge. Did I want the romance of being in our own little two-person cubby with extra effects or the comfort of lounging on carpets to watch the show? I went with the Shock Box, laughing when suddenly air squirted on to me, tempted to close the curtain and contain my date and I. I had only been living in the city a little while at this time and I fell in love daily with all of the quirks of San Francisco; this theater was one of those falling-in-love things.
But alas, San Francisco is a city of transience, and we are in a time of flux. Thrillpeddlers just announced that they’re losing their home at The Hypnodrome. Their future is unclear at this time. And folks who want the chance to have that unique quintessential San Francisco experience with them there, or who have been to the theater in the past and want one last blast for nostalgia, only have a few more opportunities to see shows there before the end-of-February closing.
First up: Naked Dudes Reading Lovecraft
“Marvel at some of San Francisco’s finest avant-garde actors and actresses, reading excerpts from H.P. Lovecraft’s finest works while displaying 100% visible sexy bits!”
Sat., Jan. 28, 2017 – 8:00 pm Sun., Jan. 29, 2017 – 2:00 pm & 7:00 pm
And Then: Amazon Apocalypse
Amazon Apocalypse, “Scrumbly Koldewyn’s new musical tour of Brazil and all things Samba! It’s part Fellini, part Antonio Carlos Jobim and always part Thrillpeddlers realness” was slated to run Feb. 23 – April 15, 2017. With the sudden news of the theatre’s closure, Amazon Apocalypse will be presented as a semi-staged concert for 3 nights.
Feb 9-11, 8 pm.
And Finally: Farewell to the Hypnodrome
“Bid adieu to our beloved theatre with custom made variety acts and song in this Valentine’s Day benefit final performance.”
Valentine’s Day, 7 and 9 pm
Get Your Souvenirs
There will also be a rummage sale on The Hypnodrome on 2/25-25 from 12-5 each day, where you can get good prices on set pieces, costumes, props, books, odds and ends.
It’s hard to say what’s next for Thrillpeddlers at this juncture. In addition to Amazon Apocalypse, they had already scheduled a revival of rock musical Cybererotica for a late spring run so they have projects, just no space. The sales from these last shows and the rummage sale will assist them in relocating. In this time of difficult rental space, who knows where they will go.
But the Thrillpeddlers have moved before. They launched in 1991 and didn’t move into The Hypnodrome until 2004. At that time, they only expected to be able to stay two years, so it was completely unexpected that the move didn’t happen until now. Artistic director Russell Blackwood shared in a statement,
“In October 2016 I celebrated the 25th anniversary of directing my first Grand Guignol horror one-act play, The Laboratory of Hallucinations upstairs at 30 Rose St. across from Zuni Café. Right off the bat I knew that San Francisco would provide a singularly ideal home for this theatrical genre.
After several years of sporadic producing, including the American Premiere of Clive Barker’s Frankenstein in Love at the Bindlestiff on Howard St. in SF, Thrillpeddlers co-founder Daniel Zilber and I produced the first of 17 Shocktoberfests, a full-length bill of one-act Grand Guignol plays, sex farces and fetish variety acts. After those first three annual Shocktoberfest!!productions at The EXIT Theatre and one at The Odeon Bar, the future of our cash-strapped itinerant company was unclear.”
And of course, as Peter Lawrence Kane wrote over at SF Weekly, “have been a spiritual successor to the famed Cockettes” who first performed in North Beach and at one time took their act all the way to New York City. So it is likely that in some form the show will go on … we will just have to wait and see how that turns out. That said, it’ll never be quite the same as seeing Thrillpeddlers at Hyponodrome so take the last opportunity if you can!