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Death Proof
posted: May 22, 2010

The New Beverly Cinema is a legendary revival  house in LA, I used to go to there a lot in the seventies and eighties. Lately I’ve been whining about how VCRs and DVDs have shut down all the great theatres that used to show old movies. There used to be about six or eight of them in LA , and they showed double features and changed movies every three or four days. Everybody I knew had the schedules stuck to their refrigerators or in their studios.
A couple of weeks ago my son, Nate told me he heard that Quentin Tarantino bought the New Beverly, saving it from the wrecking ball.  It turns out that Tarantino had been helping keep the place afloat for a while and now he’s made it as permanent as anything can be in LA. He’s quoted in Vanity Fair  “I just couldn’t live with myself if that theater shut down while I could do something about it.”
So this weekend, I went down there to check out the David Carradine Tribute. I saw a wonderful film Carradine directed, and starred in, called “Americana,” and the great 1980 Western “The Long Riders.” Tarantino was there, he introduced each film, told some nice stories about his friend Carradine, sat in the audience with everyone else and stood around talking about movies during intermission. Like a lot of people, I’ve been a Tarantino fan since I saw “Reservoir Dogs,” and this  easily makes him my favorite living director.
5 comments
Nate May 22, 2010
Great story and a great drawing to match!
Douglas Fraser May 22, 2010
Makes me want to move to L.A.
Robert1014 May 23, 2010
It's too bad one or a group of film directors who call NYC home never did anything similar to save any of the many New York revival houses that have disappeared over the last several decades. I moved to NYC in 1981 and the revival houses were as regular a part of my (then-frequent) movie-going as any of the first run houses--if not more so. Now...what's left? Film Forum? Anthology Film Archives? MoMA? I wouldn't really call any of these "revival houses" in the same way that were the many now-gone theaters, such as the Hollywood Twin Cinemas or the Thalia. (There is a theater still on W. 95th street where the Thalia once lived, called the "Leonard Nimoy Thalia," leading me to think Mr. Nimoy may have contributed to it financially--good on him, if true--but one doesn't really see it's playlist of films advertised and when walking by its parent theater, Symphony Space, I rarely see films listed as playing that compel my interest). The old revival houses were street theaters that advertised in the daily papers and drew their customers from among everyday New Yorkers. Film Forum and Anthology Film Archives exist primarily for film obsessives. I doubt your average New Yorker today would recognize either theater by name. Ah, who am I kidding? Most people would rather stay at home and rent movies than go out and share the experience with others, thus making the movie experience into glorified tv watching, something else entirely from what it was and should be.
Harry Campbell May 24, 2010
Great story indeed. Reminds me of some of these old theatres around Baltimore. One old theatre has been turned into a pharmacy, yes, and it's rather strange (and depressing) seeing on the marguee advertisements for diapers and flu shots. great drawing.
Robert Saunders May 25, 2010
Nice capture of the spirit of the place. Good for Tarantino! I'd hate to have to climb that ladder.
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