Castro makeover for MILK begins

This week, constructions crews are painting and removing signs and awnings and two Castro businesses closed making way for the new Gus Van Sant film “MILK”. (Read more about the film at towleroad and the Bay Area Reporter)

Here at GayCities, we call San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood home. As we walk in the neighborhood everyone is talking about the changes the film crew is bringing. People who lived here in the 70s are telling the story of “the way things were” and even our local homeless people are commenting about the changes.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting updates and photos. Here’s the first batch:

Harvey Milk Film Crew
Parking on part of Castro St. is limited to the film crew

First American Title closed shop late last year and now is serving as the office for the film crew and the home furnishing store “given” has closed until Spring. “given” occupied the space that was Harvey Milk’s camera shop and where he held his neighborhood political meetings.

Set Constuction at Harvey Milk's Camera Shop
“given” tells its customers about the closure

Set Constuction at Harvey Milk's Camera Shop
Construction crews outside of Harvey’s shop

Set Constuction at Harvey Milk's Camera Shop
Construction is already far along, the store looked quite different only a few days ago.

There was a wall where there is now an opening between the ladders and the walls have been covered with a new soft tile surface.

The Castro Theatre is also getting a makeover. The theatre has been a bland tan color for as long as we can remember. The film has prompted the theatre to restore the paint job to it’s 1970s glory and highly colorful palette.


Castro Theatre Repainting

We’ll be sure to grab more pictures as the neighborhood continues to put on its costume for the film. And, of course, we’ll try to snap a few shots of Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, James Franco, Emile Hirsch and the rest of the cast.


  • mongoliangirl

    In ’89 I was 21 and, by chance, caught the ’84 documentary about Harvey Milk. It was amazing to see such a documentary being shown on a southern Missouri television station. Though I cannot say I’ve ever been anti-gay, I had been raised around serious anti-gay sentiment and had lots of questions about gay rights at the time. Thank goodness that southern Missouri station took the risk of showing that documentary and, therefore, took a risk on me. I admit I cried my eyes out and realized I had been asking the wrong question all along. The question, I discovered, is NOT, “Should (whatever group) have equal rights?” The question IS, “Since we all have equal rights, how can I be part of making that fact a reality?” It is true that a 90 minute documentary can change a life. I cannot wait to see the movie! Thanks!