Cool Things to Do in SoCal During the Corona Crisis: Movies, Meets, Markets, and Mixed Media
By Scott S. Smith and Sandra Wells
After almost of year of being locked down, it’s time to get into the Great Outdoors, the civilized and safe version of which means browsing farmers’ markets and watching outdoor movies. Or if you prefer the Great Indoors, you can socially distance in some of the few open art galleries.
(photo: Electric Dusk Drive-in)
DRIVE-IN MOVIES AND SWAP MEETS
One might have the impression that the recent presidential campaign put drive-in movie theaters back in business, but they’ve actually been thriving through the COVID crisis. Many of these also hold swap meets during the day, so you could shop early, hang in a neighborhood you never visited before, and come back late for the flicks. Indoor silver screens have been temporarily replaced by projections to a giant screen watched from your car (you tune to an FM station for the audio).
While Hollywood tries to reinvent itself so filming new programs doesn’t kill the casts, network TV survives on drug and car ads for the mobile, but unwell, masses, propped up by 5 million exclusive streaming deals you just must have. Cable or satellite channels thrive on their cult followings and infomercials. Many consumers are likely to come to prefer the convenience and privacy of their cars, rather than dealing with audiences that are noisy or feel they must light up the theater to urgently consult their email in the middle of a motion picture.
Drive-in prices generally depend on the number in the vehicle. Check each venue for details on prices, what is currently showing and coming soon, as well as whether COVID-cleaned restrooms are open (otherwise limit your drinking and eating before you come in). These outdoor theaters tend to show family-friendly fare and classics, but you’ll also find new releases and edgy programming. Be aware that some shows sell out well in advance, so sign up for email notifications.
Electric Dusk Drive-in, Glendale and downtown Los Angeles at Flower and Olympic https://www.electricduskdrivein.com/
Recently: Black Panther, Psycho, CoCo
Mission Tiki Drive-in, Montclair https://missiontiki.com/
Recently: Freaky, Honest Thief, The Informer
Vineland Drive-in, City of Industry https://www.vinelanddriveintheater.com/
Recently: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Ammonite, The War With Grandpa
Paramount Drive-in, Paramount https://www.paramountdrivein.com/
Recently: Jingle Jangle, Tenet, Honest Thief
Rooftop Cinema Club at the Santa Monica Airport https://rooftopcinemaclub.com/los-angeles/venue/the-drive-in-at-santa-monica-airport/
Recently: Grease, Pulp Fiction, La La Land
Rodium, Torrance Rodium.com/drive-in-movies/
Recently: Toy Story, Happy Feet, Uncle Buck
Van Buren Drive-in, Riverside https://vanburendriveintheatre.com/about/
Recently: Vanguard, King’s Man, Morbius
Rubidoux Drive-in, Riverside https://www.rubidouxswapmeet.com/theatre/rubidoux-drive-in
Recently: Tenet, Let Him Go, Love and Monsters
West Wind Drive-in, Santa Barbara https://www.westwinddi.com/locations/santa-barbara-di
Recently: Tenet, Fatman, Freaky
Timeout’s calendar lists some of the smaller venues with screens in parking lots:
For example, Andaz Hotel West Hollywood’s third floor parking garage:
Recently: Pulp Fiction, Die Hard, Elf
(photo of mushrooms at Brentwood)
WESTSIDE FARMERS’ MARKETS (you can search for those in your area)
Most farmers’ markets are open rain-or-shine, but check their websites (especially if snow or a hurricane is likely). All emphasize a wide variety of organic produce direct from farmers at reasonable prices–we city folk need to help support their vital contribution to continue to be able to have access of unpoisoned real food.
CITY-SPONSORED FARMERS’ MARKETS:
West Hollywood at Vista and Fountain
Mondays 9am-2pm; about 40 farmers
Examples: Fagundes Farms’ kiwis, Bolanos Family’s sprouts, Apple Sherrill Orchards’ fresh squeezed juice
Beverly Hills next to the library http://www.beverlyhills.org/departments/communityservices/farmersmarket/
Sundays 8am-9am for seniors, everyone else 9am-1pm; about 60 vendors
Examples: Avila & Sons nuts and dried fruits, Gourmet Blends barrel aged balsamics and oils, and Clean Living natural soaps and cosmetics
The one that has been held on Sundays on Main St. is temporarily closed (check for updates)
Wednesdays at Arizona Ave. and 2nd St., 8am-1 pm; 85 vendors, making it the largest in SoCal exclusively featuring certified organic growers.
Examples: Coleman Family Farms’ edible flowers and rare herbs, Rincon Del Mar’s cherimoyas and dragon fruit, Organic Pastures’ raw milk, ghee, and colostrom
Saturdays at Arizona Ave. and 2nd St., 8am-1pm, has 50 vendors
Saturdays at Virginia Ave. and Pico Blvd., 8am-1pm
PRIVATELY-MANAGED FARMERS’ MARKETS:
They also represent Atwater, Echo Park, and Crenshaw
Before the virus, their markets included artists.
Hollywood and Vine
Sundays 8am-1pm; 150 vendors, the largest local farmers’ market
Examples: McGrath Family Farms’ organic flowers, Cayama Orchard Organic Apples (15 varieties), Murray Family Farms’ Buddha’s Hand citron and Tahitian tamelos
They also represent Playa Vista, Costa Mesa, and Newport Beach
Their markets also feature artists.
Thursday noon-5 pm; about 30 vendors
Examples: Bonjour Parfait French Kefir Yogurt, Rock Salt Vegan Ice Cream, Pupusa Salvadoras
Their markets also showcase artists
Melrose Place, West Hollywood (off of Melrose Ave. near La Cienega Blvd.)
Sundays 10am-2pm; about 40 vendors, which have stimulated businesses to be open when they previously were closed on Sundays
Examples: Completely Pickled beet kraut, Vine Bars (the purest nutrition bar, bar none), Nordic Catch fresh fish from Iceland (shipped in vacuum-sealed packages and good for five days after arrival)
Brentwood (Gretna Green Way)
Sundays 9am-2pm; about 80 vendors
Examples: Planet Shrooms mushrooms, Churn flavored butter, and HOPE Microgreens adatopgenic superfood sprouts
Larchmont (Larchmont Blvd.)
Sundays 10am-2pm; about 90 vendors, which have stimulated businesses to be open when they had been closed on Sundays
Examples: Keto Sweets (sugar-free, grain-free), 805 Lily’s flowers, and WAVA dragonfruit tepache (like kombucha)
(photo Mohamad Khayata’s “Oblation”)
MIXED MEDIA ARTS
Many art galleries are closed except by appointment and online, while art shows have been in hibernation.
But Artplex Gallery https://www.artplexgallery.com/en/ at 7377 Beverly Blvd. near La Brea in Hollywood has not only thrived in the digital space, but has had ongoing, real-world exhibitions (but not “openings” that would crowd the gallery). These are for about 50 “emerging artists,” those who are getting traction in the extremely competitive art-buying world. Contemporary art is too often a cover for talentless abstract crap (no one wants the boy from the Emperor’s New Clothes around to point out what everyone believes, but won’t admit publicly). Artplex features some talented and even visionary painters, such as Iqi Qoror, A.M. DeBrincat, Carlos Camez de Francisco, and Mohamad Khayata. Prices for originals mostly range from $500 to $30,000, with $300-$1,700 for prints, very reasonable in the art world.
Artspace Warehouse, its sister space across the street at 7358 Beverly Blvd. https://www.artspacewarehouse.com/en/, showcases over 100 less well-known artists with very affordable prices for originals, typically $100-$10,000.
You are now permitted to go out and have some safe fun.