Logan Crow believes he is onto something that can celebrate, enhance and preserve interesting cinema in his home city of Long Beach and the city he is now working in, Santa Ana. Now the leader of Long Beach Cinematheque just needs to get the communities of Long Beach and Santa Ana to share his vision.
For five years, nonprofit Long Beach Cinematheque has presented 150 special screenings at the historic Art Threatre on Fourth Street, on mobile screens in LBC parks, churches and on basketball courts and even up against the walls of old buildings in town.
During all that time, Crow's organization has never had a permanent home, a cinema it could call its own to program. Cut to the owners of Fiesta Twin theater on another another Fourth Street, this one in downtown Santa Ana. The operator who for the past several years was presenting English-language films in Spanish (and Spanish-language films in Spanish) was out, Crow was told the end of last year. The Fiesta Twinsters turned to him in hopes he could help nurture indie and interesting cinema in Santa Ana's growing arts district.
Crow's idea is Frida Cinema, “a community-based, mission-driven” arthouse theater that “exists for the love of cinema, and the cultural enrichment of a local community.” And by finally establishing a base for his cinematic organization, Crow sees endless opportunities in both towns, up to and including cross-pollinating film scenes and festivals in both relatively urban centers, which after all are only a short trip on the 22 apart. When there's no traffic, of course.
One thing Crow tells me he was not expecting was resistance … in Santa Ana and Long Beach. On the Orange County side of the border, there was talk of further gentrification, although I don't know what kind of pompous douche would bring that up.
More understandable, perhaps, was a feeling of abandonment by Long Beach scensters, who are distrustful of any Orange County-based concern trying to operate in the LA County port town. Why, just on the publishing front, one need look no farther than the departed District weekly, the new Orange County Register daily newspaper in Long Beach and all those critics who accuse OC Weekly of trying to Orange Countify Long Beach with our coverage of a town we truly love, honor and visit more than we do Irvine.
Anyway, the tug-of-war Crow finds himself in the middle of has been among the challenges that has held up earlier plans to roll Cinematheque films at the old Fiesta Twin by September. Toss in the need for a new digital projector (see the Kickstarter campaign–PUH-LEEZE!), and Frida likely won't be showing off her cinematic unibrow until January.
It'll be a shame if Frida Cinema does not fly, because if Crow is right about bolstering cinema in both towns with his grand plans, we will all be the richer for it. And if he is wrong, we will be no worse off than we are now, so why not support him?
Crow is looking forward to building the kind of partnerships in the O to the C that he has in the LBC. With Santa Ana needing more going on downtown at night to keep people there longer, it seems like embracing Frida is a no brainer.
Check out what's keeping him hopping in Long Beach currently. Cinematheque joins the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Long Beach Convention Center to screen the runaway Oscar winner The Artist July 30 on the Long Beach Arena rooftop–with the original live score written and performed by the Balboa Amusement Company Orchestra.
Cinematheque and Friends of Bixby Park once again present summer screenings of family films in the Cherry Avenue park, with Mary Poppins popping up on Aug. 18 and the sun coming out for Annie on Aug. 25 (and at night). The film organization teams with Cal State Long Beach for Halloween season showings of Rosemary's Baby and Eraserhead on campus separate nights in October. And speaking of Halloween, Crow's group is helping the electronics duo Toaster Music organize and solicit submissions for the inaugural “Guts & Bolts Short Film Festival” to run during the Cinematheque's sixth Long Beach Zombie Walk Music and Art Festival.
Learn more about everything they have going at lbcinema.org. And get behind them, fer chrissakes, all of youse!