Another of Los Angeles’ brick-and-mortar movie theaters is being saved from destruction and disrepair. The Vidiots Foundation, a video store and non-profit based out of L.A., has announced that they are starting major renovations on what will become their new home, The Eagle Theatre in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of the Los Angeles. Expected to take about nine months, the foundation has anticipated a grand opening in the spring of 2022.
Vidiots was originally created as a video store in 1985 by L.A. natives Patty Polinger and Cathy Tauber, and did business in their Santa Monica storefront for over thirty years. As a response to changes in the film landscape, Vidiots officially became a non-profit in 2012, and according to the foundation, their goal is to inspire:
“human interaction around film through preserving, growing, and providing access [to films,] showcasing the work of emerging, master, and underrepresented artists, and producing unique and affordable film events”.
In the wake of rising costs, the original Santa Monica storefront closed in 2017, but has finally found its new home in The Eagle Theatre. Originally conceived for both vaudeville and silent film, the theater opened in May 1929 as The Yosemite Theatre. It fully transitioned to sound in 1930, and operated as an independent movie house under that banner until 1940, when it transitioned to its current name. The theater was repurposed into a church in 2000, but will be restored to its full glory by the Vidiots Foundation, who plan to provide a 250-seat state-of-the-art theater with 35mm and digital projection, along with their classic video store, offering over fifty thousand titles for rental.
Vidiots Founding Members Karina Longworth (You Must Remember This) and Rian Johnson (Knives Out) have committed to helping the organization reach their goal and restore an L.A. landmark, and released a statement expressing their support:
“Given the recent demise or transformation of some of our most beloved places for moviegoing in Los Angeles, it feels more urgent than ever to celebrate and support the rebirth of Vidiots. We hope you’ll join us in helping the women of Vidiots build an inclusive shrine to movies — both projected in a community setting, and preserved on physical media.”
Vidiots is running a donation campaign to help with the $2.5 million renovation, and Longworth and Johnson have pledged $100,000 to the organization, and are matching all donations up to that amount through September 17. The organization has raised over $1 million dollars of its goal, and continues to offer programming, including in-person and virtual events, during its brick-and-mortar transition.
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