The long-awaited reopening of local cultural institution Vidiots will finally happen on June 1, with sneak preview events for members and supporters in May.
Opened in 1985, Vidiots video store was based for more than 30 years in Santa Monica before closing in 2017, with an archive of physical media that grew to some 50,000 titles. The new Vidiots space at the Eagle Theatre in Eagle Rock was originally opened in 1929 as the Yosemite Theater and has among its many incarnations over the years been an adult movie house and a church.
The revived Vidiots space, located at 4884 Eagle Rock Blvd., will include a 271-seat movie theater, capable of 35mm, 16mm and digital projection; a beer and wine bar; and a micro-cinema and community space along with the reopened video store. With the nearly 11,000-square-foot venue, Vidiots is looking to become a vibrant cultural hub for the communities of Northeast Los Angeles, with screenings, special events, workshops and other gatherings.
"We're overjoyed to finally see our dream of bringing Vidiots back to Los Angeles," Vidiots founders Patty Polinger and Cathy Tauber said in a statement. "We could not have accomplished this incredible feat without the loyal and steadfast support of a community truly devoted to cinema and creating a space for new generations to be inspired and enlightened by the arts, and where they can fall in love with film as we have."
A lineup of programming for the theater space will be announced in the coming weeks, with the plan to operate seven days a week. Partnerships are in the works with the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, IFC Films and Shudder, the Filipino American creative collective A Bunch of Savages, KCRW, Lionsgate, Jordan Peele's Monkeypaw Productions, MUBI, Outfest, Women in Film and the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
Much of the work in funding the project has come from individual donors, and it's still possible to become a founding member until the public opening in June. (Among other fundraising efforts was a lemonade stand put on by two Eagle Rock sixth-graders that raised around $300.) Thus far, Vidiots founding members include Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass, Jen and Jay Duplass, Lake Bell, Jess Wu Calder and Keith Calder, Mary Elizabeth Ellis and Charlie Day, Jerrika Hinton, Mette-Marie Kongsved and Elijah Wood, Karina Longworth and Rian Johnson, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Nate Moore, Ify Nwadiwe, Amy Pascal, Aubrey Plaza, Noah Segan and Alison Bennett, Sharon Van Etten, Jessica Williams, Alex Winter and others.
"There are not enough words to describe our gratitude for the incredible community that's rallied around us for so many years, making the dream of our reopening a reality," said Vidiots Foundation executive director Maggie Mackay in a statement. "We're counting the seconds until we can welcome all of L.A. and beyond back to the video store and the beautiful Eagle Theatre. In our corner of Northeast L.A., film will once again thrive as the social, communal, inspiring, life-changing art form it has been for over 100 years."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
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