Help Preserve Local Architecture

Michael Schiess There’s no denying the beauty of the Alameda Carnegie Library’s interior. This view could be available for the public to visit once more if the Pacific Pinball Museum can raise enough money. A fundraiser next Thursday gives you a chance to help them do it.

Carnegie Library’s best hope is PPM

Local residents often note Alameda’s historic architecture as part of the reason they enjoy living here so much. One particular gem hiding among so many Victorian-era buildings is the long-vacant Carnegie Library at the corner of Oak Street and Santa Clara Avenue. Just one block from bustling Park Street, indeed, directly across from Alameda City Hall sits a building of particular historic value filled with some dusty paperwork, rarely visited by anyone.

This building’s best hope for revitalization and full public access is the Pacific Pinball Museum (PPM), which will host the Carnegie Philanthropic Flipout Fundraiser at the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex next Thursday, Oct. 29. The proceeds from this event will go toward the museum’s restoration of the historic Alameda Carnegie Library building, which could house the museum’s extensive pinball collection of historic games.

Far more than an arcade, PPM has dedicated itself to education through pinball, and the organization has plans to renovate the former library and honor Andrew Carnegie’s donation to Alameda by reopening the building for the public to visit, meeting all the compliance standards that have kept it shuttered.

The Flipout opens at 5:30 p.m. and the entertainment starts at 6:30. During the first hour, guests

may purchase beer, wine and snacks at the theatre concession stand, mingle with other pinball fans and admire auction items. A special PPM Carnegie T-shirt will be available for sale by donation. Costumes encouraged.

Entertainment includes the debut of the documentary Balls A Poppin’ — The Banging Art of the Pacific Pinball Museum, by Aracelli Frias and Konrad De Ruttié. This 45-minute film will take the viewer on a behind-the-scenes look at the PPM and the role it plays.

"We are very excited to present the story of the passionate group running the PPM and their struggle to preserve the art and history of such an important, yet often discounted, slice of Americana," said De Ruttié. "Balls A Poppin’! should appeal not just to those curious to learn what the museum is all about, but also to seasoned pinball aficionados, who will delight in the positive light cast upon their favorite pastime."

The evening includes a live auction where guests will get to bid on an original Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy electro-mechanical pinball machine plus several framed, vintage pinball backglasses. The machine will be on display at the theater a week prior to the event so stop by and play a game.

After the auction, the lights will dim for the screening of Tommy, the rock opera written by Pete Townshend and featuring classic rock band, The Who. It was 40 years ago that director Ken Russell collaborated with The Who to bring their 1969 album to life. Please note that while the movie is rated PG, there are scenes and topics which may not be suitable for younger viewers.

"It is so much fun to bring Tommy back to the big screen for this event!" said PPM Executive Director Michael Schiess. "It is truly a classic pinball film with a great score and we are thrilled to be showing it at the historic Alameda Theatre."

PPM is currently located on Webster Street and houses some 90 machines for the public to play. Moving into the Carnegie Library will allow the museum not only to triple the number of machines on display but will provide more classroom and exhibit space. A short film about Richard Conger’s collection of 1930s and ’40s pinball machines will demonstrate how well the Carnegie building will complement this project.

Alameda Theatre is located at 2317 Central Ave. Tickets are $20 per person at or visit for more information. More on Balls A Poppin’ can be found at