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Now Playing: A Silver Screen (or 7) For the Arts District

Finally, a local indie theater that's five minutes away and leaves the big blockbuster crowds behind.

The last movie I saw in theatres was Drive three months ago at the Los Feliz 3, a roughly 20-minute trip from my front door to finding street parking on a good day. Before that, I can’t remember the last time I went to the movies.  

Sure, there’s Burbank’s AMC theatres, but big blockbusters, obnoxious mallrats and a packed Saturday night crowd equate to a stressful situation for me. And at least one obligatory back-row commentator never fails to show up at every opening night, giving the audience a play-by-play analysis of the movie.

Then there’s the task of getting out of the apartment. What’s the weather like outside? Should we call friends to join us? If yes, when’s a good show time for everyone? If not, when’s a good show time that we can manage to not be late and still find center-room seats? What can I wear that’s presentable to the general public? But more importantly, how long will it take to get there, and how much of a headache is parking?

If by the first few questions I haven’t talked myself out of what is a fun night out to most people, I’m certainly giving my social life a run for its money by that last question. I’ve found with age comes not only wisdom, but also an increase in blood pressure when it comes to dealing with people in public places (and I’m only in my 20s… what will my 30s hold?).

I don’t consider myself an arthouse snob, but my apprehension to crowds and neutrality toward mainstream chick flicks and action epics might make me seem as one. So when the began construction seven months ago after years of planning, I eagerly awaited a movie night where I could stay local and hang out in my own neighborhood.

As of last week, the $7.5 million project still needed a sidewalk and the theatre's stadium seating was still being installed, according to the Daily News. Its sign was finally being mounted last Friday, and the indie cinema opened its doors to the public on Wednesday.

The real test is whether NoHo 7 won’t suffer the same fate as many other short-run businesses have in the past. Phil’s Diner had re-opened for business less than eight months when it of the new theatre’s opening.   Laemmle recently to its Sunset 5 location in West Hollywood last month, so until Sundance Cinemas opens in its place, perhaps indie theatergoers will make the trek north over the hill to support NoHo 7 and its surrounding restaurants. 

The residents of the Arts District and nearby communities seem to be keeping the live theatres afloat, so there’s the hope that arts enthusiasts will frequent indie movies too. On a Thursday morning, pedestrians heading to the Metro station stopped to check out the film schedule and showtimes and admire the theatre’s new red and white signage. One driver heading south on Lankershim Boulevard took advantage of the empty street and nearly stopped the car to check out the new addition to the Arts District.

This weekend, I'm hoping to grab a bite at test the screens and enjoy what has been : an arthouse theatre for the NoHo Arts District.

Roberta December 23, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Jinjer, thanks for sharing parking info I was wondering about that.
Jean December 23, 2011 at 06:31 PM
We went yesterday to see the Descendents. They were having sound issues. But I guess they have to work out the kinks. I was actually picking up my dropped popcorn because I didn't want to dirty the clean floor. LOL I've been waiting for this theater to open and am so happy to have it in our neighborhood! Yippeee!!!!!
Jay Hughen December 23, 2011 at 06:57 PM
Had marked my calendar for opening night weeks ago and walked over on Wednesday to catch GWTDT in the big room, which seats 250ish. (Peeked into a couple of smaller rooms that seat about 100 as well.) Surprised that there were only about 10 of us for an 8:00 showing. Hope that people are just ramping up their enthusiasm as they get word of mouth and notice the theatre in showtime listings. Interestingly, Laemlle's does allow a tv-style commercial (only 1) before the previews. Amusingly, the trailers for The Iron Lady and the new Ghostrider played back to back. An accented Meryl Streep and a flaming Nick Cage providing neat bookends of Laemlle fare.to come. Also, I (happily) plunked down $100 for the Laemlle member card as my own personal 'welcome to the neighborhood' message.
Laura December 23, 2011 at 07:55 PM
I too have been turned off from going to the movies in recent years, for all of the reasons you describe. I'm thrilled to have an indie house I can walk to, and will take up the movie-going habit once again. Think I might spring for the member card too.
Zombie Joe December 24, 2011 at 01:53 AM
Good to know! Thanks!

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