Remember Vidiots, the alternative Los Angeles video store? The popular shop (which operated in Santa Monica from 1985 to 2017) and non-profit film organization has reinvented itself and relocated to the Northeast L.A. hood of Eagle Rock. It opens the doors to its new home, the recently restored Eagle Theatre, on June 1. 

The historic venue (which first opened as the Yosemite Theatre in 1929) will restore public access to Vidiots’ 50,000-title physical media library and provide flexibility for screenings, special events, workshops, and community gatherings. The 271-seat state-of-the-art movie theater at 4884 Eagle Rock Blvd. is enabled with 35mm, 16mm, and digital projection.

“We’re overjoyed to finally see our dream of bringing Vidiots back to Los Angeles,” stated Vidiots founders Patty Polinger and Cathy Tauber. “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.”

Downwind from Eagle Rock, Hollywood is looking shabbier than ever, with the hideous remodels of the Hollywood & Highland complex and the Pig & Whistle restaurant chief among the culprits—not to mention the trash everywhere. Whatever happened to civic pride?! 

Nonetheless, this year’s 14th annual TCM Classic Film Festival (held in Hollywood April 13-16) was the best organized and most efficiently managed, in my opinion–and I’ve done ’em all except last year’s. I only managed to catch one special guest, but Ann-Margaret was special indeed, looking spectacular and wowing the crowd who came to see her in “Bye Bye Birdie.”

The screening of the uber-theatrical “Carmen Jones” at the Hollywood Legion Theatre at Post 43 demonstrated anew that not only were movies made for the big screen—as did the 70mm presentations of “The Red Shoes” and “The Wild Bunch”—but served as an unexpectedly timely reminder of Harry Belafonte’s gifts. 

“American Graffiti,” screened at TCM to celebrate its 50th anniversary with stars Richard Dreyfuss and Candy Clark in attendance, was also shown that week in Petaluma—the historic town 45 minutes north of San Francisco on Highway 101 in Sonoma County, where it was filmed. (Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” which marks its 60th anniversary this year, was shot nearby in Bodega and Bodega Bay.)

Petaluma has its own eagerly awaited Film Fest. This year’s annual showcase of short films from around the world takes place May 5-6 at the Mystic Theater (North Bay’s “premier music venue,” which opened in 1911 as a vaudeville house). All four programs of shorts that day will include conversations with the filmmakers.

Photo: Candy Clark and Richard Dreyfuss attend the screening of “American Graffiti” at the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for TCM)

Author: Jordan Young