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Aero Theatre Re-Launched

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Westside cinema enthusiasts, fret over traffic no more. The once-threatened Aero Theatre on swank Montana Avenue is now open after a lengthy (alas, the rule rather than the exception) rehabilitation. Better yet, the theater, which was built in 1940 by Douglas Aircraft Company, is now operated by the American Cinematheque. This non-profit entity will use 75% of programming from its Hollywood base at the Egyptian Theatre to illuminate the screen in the Westside outpost. The rehab of this movie house included modifications for general upgrades and code compliance, and many original character-defining features were restored.

Barbara Smith, Executive Director of the Cinematheque, explains the location’s strategic advantage to Variety (subscription required): "There are the people who are the really hardcore Westside people, who aren't really familiar with the Egyptian and are completely floored that the theater shows one or two movies every night." LAist doesn’t get behind neighborhood provincialism, but so be it if it helps advance the Cinemateque's worthy mission and catalyze the adaptive reuse of neighborhood landmarks like the Aero.

Though heartened by recent success stories such as the Aero and the Fox Fullerton (rehab pending), let’s not forget about the ongoing vulnerable state of historic theaters in the Los Angeles region and the formidable remaining challenges to maintain and use these vital spaces.

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So go ahead and enjoy the high tech marvels and comfort of the ArcLight all you want (especially the Welton Beckett-designed Cinerama Dome, 1963), as long as you also catch shows at a non-multiplex historic venues including the Egyptian or the Orpheum downtown.

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