Art house theaters emerged in post-war America as a response to counter-culture and as an alternative to the increasing popularity of television. The Loft Cinema, Tucson’s own art house theater since 1972, will celebrate its first Art House Theatre Day this Saturday.
The day-long event “celebrates the art house theater and the cultural role it plays in a community,” according to The Loft’s website. There will be three screenings, food trucks and giveaways at the end of each screening.
The Loft has long been dedicated to and engaged with the Tucson community. From First Friday Shorts, where local filmmakers get the opportunity to show their films on the big screen before an audience, to Loft Kid’s Fest, a nine-day festival of free films for kids, the focus always lies on the intersection of community and great cinema.
“No matter where you live in the country, you need to have a creative outlet,” said Jessi Kyte, The Loft’s assistant manager and projectionist. “That’s what makes Tucson so stunning, and The Loft is at the core of it.”
The event’s eclectic collection of screenings include “A Town Called Panic,” a French stop-motion film based on a popular children’s series, will play at noon. At 3 p.m. “Cinema Paradiso” will play, an Italian film that dramatizes the life of a famous Italian filmmaker. Finally, “Phantasm,” an American horror film from 1979, will screen at 7:30 p.m.
In many ways, the collection of screenings reflects the cultural influences that helped shape art house cinema so many years ago. In fact, international co-productions between countries like France and Italy with the United States helped develop the concept of art house cinema in the first place.
But let’s not forget the most important factor in this celebration—it will be a fun experience.
Indeed, “fun” always seems to top The Loft’s agenda.
With Mustache Mike’s, Sarge’s Cheescakes and Gigi’s Fusion food trucks alongside The Loft’s truly incredible concessions menu, the Art House Theatre Day promises to be a blast, even if you end up hating the movies.
Upon entering The Loft’s gated courtyard, buzzing with pre-film chatter, you may be lucky enough to have member and volunteer Laura Myers greet you before promptly asking for your ticket. With a wide grin spread across a bright face, Myers said she enjoys her relationship with The Loft Cinema.
“I started living here [one] week, then I found this place, and I became a member the following week,” Myers said.
Myers has been a member now for eight years, which is slightly less than the hyperbolic 1,700 claimed by her ticket booth partner, Ed Staten. Staten has been a volunteer for three years, and he spoke of the theater with surprising passion.
“We get to meet so many different people,” he said. “It’s such a good crowd that comes in here, because of the type of movies that we show.”
And perhaps Ed said it best—the art house theater lives at the intersection of good art and community. It’s a brick and mortar place for like-minded people to gather and enjoy each other’s company. The Loft provides just that.
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