Get ready to sip on a classic cocktail and maybe even roll some strikes because Santa Ana’s Frida Cinema is celebrating its birthday this month and they’re partying with the help of one seriously laidback dude.
The theater is turning nine-years-old and will be marking the occasion on Tuesday, Feb. 21 with a screening of the Coen Brothers’ 1998 comedy, “The Big Lebowski,” which is also celebrating a milestone as the film turns 25 this year.
“We wanted to do something really fun and ‘The Big Lebowski’ is very much a cult film, but I really do think it’s an incredible film,” said Frida Cinema Founder and Executive Director Logan Crow.
The Santa Ana resident said the event will also incorporate some of the real life elements from the film, which follows a White Russian-chugging, burned-out slacker known as The Dude, who is the victim of mistaken identity.
“We’re going to have one complimentary White Russian for every guest that’s 21-and-over who wants one, and we’ll have a vegan White Russian as well,” he said.
Since The Dude’s other favorite pastime is bowling, Crow said he’s honoring that by taking the audience on a special trip after the movie.
That’s right, the audience is going bowling at Round1 Bowling in Santa Ana.
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“Anyone who wants to come, we’re going bowling and basically anyone who buys the extra $28 ticket gets three hours of bowling, shoes, two slices of pizza and soda,” he said.
These kinds of special events and celebrations are nothing new to the cinema, which Crow opened in 2014.
Crow, who describes himself as a film junkie, started screening movies in 2009 when he began his own cult cinema series by renting the Art Theatre in Long Beach for midnight shows.
His series eventually turned movie screenings into festive themed events including outdoor showings in Sunnyside Cemetery. He also founded the popular Long Beach Zombie Walk.
But Crow wanted a place of his own to follow his passion and just show good films.
Shortly after meeting with the landlord of Santa Ana’s Fiesta Twin Theatre on Fourth Street, which was running mainstream movies with Spanish subtitles but suffering from dwindling attendance, Crow took over and opened his Frida Cinema at that location.
“We take a curatorial and community based approach to our programming,” Crow said. “We do not work within the Hollywood system. My model for the Frida was always a cultural center and a museum of cinema.”
With two screens and 205 seats in each room, the cinema shows a combination of independent films, documentaries, obscure and international flicks, cult classics and others that don’t usually make it into mainstream theaters.
The movie screenings are often linked with art shows featuring local artists. The cinema also hosts events like poetry slams, open mic nights, plays, film festivals and charity drives while screening camp classics like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
“I’m extremely grateful, particularly to see what’s happening to the industry at large, to still have loyal guests come in and to still have the support of the community,” Crow said.
And while it’s an arthouse theater, a comedy like “The Big Lebowski” is a perfect fit for the cinema’s birthday celebration.
“When we were trying to find the right movie we realized this is a noir film, there’s some Western philosophy, there’s some Eastern philosophy, there’s a lot going on in that movie beyond the surface humor,” he said. “And it always does well here. People really love it for various reasons, so we thought it would be fun for the celebration and that it would be fun to watch a movie and then go bowling.”
Frida Cinema’s 9th Birthday ‘Big Lewbowski’ Bowling Bash
When: Film starts at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21
Where: Frida Cinema, 305 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana
Tickets: $20 for film; $28 extra to include bowling. Tickets are available at thefridacinema.org.