What would summer be without outdoor movies? Except that watching outdoor movies in Berkeley hasn’t really been an option — until now.

Today sees the launch of “Center Street Summer Cinema” — free screenings of movies under the stars in downtown Berkeley on four consecutive Saturdays in August. Berkeleyside is proud to be the lead media sponsor of this exciting new addition to the Berkeley summer calendar.

Center Street will be the place to be on the evenings of August 6, 13, 20 and 27. At least 15 local restaurants — including Alborz Persian Restaurant and Sportivo will serve café-style specials on or near the street, which will be closed to traffic between Shattuck and Oxford starting at 6:30pm.

Movie-goers can come early to dine al fresco while being entertained by performers from the Downtown Berkeley MusicFest. Other fun activities being planned for the events — which are being orchestrated by the Downtown Berkeley Association — include cartoons, short features, face painting, all of which will precede the main movie screenings.

Movies will be projected onto the west wall of the old UC Printing Plant Building, future site of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and the Bank of America parking lot will serve as the seating area for movie-goers (chairs will be available to hire for $5.00 a pop — or bring your own, plus blankets, pillows, someone to snuggle up with… whatever takes your fancy).

“We are delighted to support this community program. When the DBA approached us we realized that the parking lot makes for a natural outdoor theatre,” said Darcy Babbitt, branch manager at the Bank of America.

Councilmember Jesse Arreguín, who first suggested the idea of outdoor movies to the DBA, said: “We are so happy to be supporting this fun and exciting program, which will bring people to our downtown, support local businesses and help build community, while promoting an innovative use of public and private space.”

As to which movies will be shown — that’s largely up to you. In collaboration with the DBA, Berkeleyside is asking you to vote on which four movies you think should be shown at the first Center Street Summer Cinema series.

Choose from a list of 20 movies compiled by the event committee on the Movie Selection Survey — or write in your own movie choice. Go viral, pass it on, ask your friends and family to vote too. The four movies that garner the most votes will be those shown in August — and Berkeleyside will be sure to announce the winning selection.

The “Center Street Summer Cinema” series takes place on Saturdays 6, 13, 20 and 27 at 2219 Center Street starting at 6:30pm — food, entertainment and music will precede the movies which will be shown around sundown. The event is easily accessible by BART, AC Transit, or bicycle. So vote now and get to watch your favorite movies, for free, under the stars.

The Center Street Summer Cinema series is sponsored by the Downtown Berkeley Association, Bank of America, Eco-City Builders, Alborz Persian Restaurant, Sportivo Italian Restaurant, and Berkeleyside. Additional sponsors include HDR Remodeling, Office of Council Member Jessie Arreguin, Office of Mayor Tom Bates, and UC Berkeley Community Relations.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...