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LAist Interview: Karie Bible

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Like many Angelenos, Karie Bible came to Los Angeles to follow her passion for movies and filmmaking. She did the Hollywood thing, working as an assistant in various studios and agencies, but was disappointed to find so many people in the Industry who did not share her love and passion for film history.

Luckily, she didn't keep her enthusiasms to herself. Instead, she founded FilmRadar, a weekly e-newsletter and website that alerts readers to all the screenings available in Los Angeles. FilmRadar began when she sent an email to 10 friends about upcoming film revivals around LA. That email garnered such a large response that she created her own website and mailing list.

When she's not working on the mailing list, Karie volunteers at the American Cinematheque and the LA Conservancy. She also donates her time to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where she conducts a walking tour and lectures on silent film stars like Rudolph Valentino. This past summer, she made an appearance on THE MOVIE CLUB with John Ridley on American Movie Classics. She has also been a guest on Turner Classic Movies.

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Age and Occupation:
Age? Let’s just say I’m young and leave it at that. Occupation: Internet biz

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?
I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 5 ½ years consecutively and I lived here 2 different summers before that while I was interning during college.

For about 4 ½ years of my time here, I lived in a 1920s apartment in Hollywood. It was on the block before Hollywood and Western. I now live in Culver City in a lovely little place built in 1941.

Where are you from?
I was born in Ft. Worth, Texas and raised in a suburb in between Ft. Worth and Dallas.

Why do you live in Los Angeles?
I love it here. Los Angeles has so much culture and so many interesting things to do. I also love the fact that the bizarre or outrageous is accepted as normal here. Los Angeles is a great place for anyone who wants to live by their own rules and not buy into anyone else’s.

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Why did you create Film Radar?
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I was amazed at how many great places there were to see movies…UCLA, The Egyptian, LACMA, etc. I started a weekly e-newsletter to a small handful of friends and it sort of took off from there.

What do you want people to get out of it?
To me, the most satisfying part about doing the site and newsletter is helping people to realize that there is a world of unique and amazing films out there just waiting to be discovered!

Who organizes the free screenings, etc. Have film exhibitors and distributors become aware of your mailing list? What do they think of it?
The free screenings come from various sources. There is an excellent promotional agency that handles a large number of them. They have been really great about contacting me and inviting FilmRadar fans to their screenings. Whenever I get free screenings, people tend to tell their friends and I wind up getting more hits to the site and more people signing up for the e-newsletter which is always great. Many of the exhibitors are on the newsletter list and are very supportive of it.

What is your favorite and least favorite movie theater in LA?
My most favorite theatre in Los Angeles...wow, that's a hard one. I love UCLA because they get the best prints and the audiences there tend to be so respectful. I love the historic movie palaces as well. I love The Alex, The Egyptian, The Aero, The El Capitan, The Westwood Crest and The Vista. To me there is just something so satisfying about seeing a movie in a historic, palatial setting.

How do you feel about home theaters and the low movie attendance at movie theaters?
Funny you should ask. I recently read an article in the LA Times about this very thing. The article saddened me, as it seemed to predict the death of the movie theatre. In response, I wrote an editorial at the top of the FilmRadar e-newsletter a few weeks ago about how much I loved going to the movies and sharing that experience with everyone else in the audience.....and how I hoped that experience would never change. I got some pretty varied responses. I had a few people e-mail me telling me how great it was that I made that statement. Then I had some people tell me that I was living in the past and needed to wake up. People seem to have very strong opinions on the topic these days.

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Why do you think film going attendance has diminished over these last 2 years? What can be done to improve attendance?
I think movie attendance was diminished for a variety of reasons: home theatre technology, escalating ticket prices, rude behavior in theatres, the increasingly short window from theatre to DVD release, etc.

I'm not sure what the solution is. All I can say is how I feel about it. Personally, I don't think there is ANY substitute for seeing a movie with an audience and on the big screen. I'm a real cinephile and I won't even consider watching a movie on a cell phone, PSP, ipod or even on an airplane. It's just not for me. I don't even watch movies at home that much. I didn't even own a TV or a DVD player for quite some time. I guess for someone who runs a website, I'm pretty old fashioned.

A while back the Egyptian Theatre had a Godzilla festival and I was there for most of it. I looked around and I was amazed at how diverse the audience was. I saw people of every age, race and walk of life you could imagine.

During the movie the audience clapped and cheered and got really into it. There was electricity and an excitement in the room. You could feel it. THAT to me is what going to the movies is all about.

Do you think the ArcLight Theater's ticket prices are justified?
In some ways yes they are justified. They don't show commercials! I HATE when they show commercials. I understand the reasons why but I still don't like it. When Apocalypse Redux was in theatres, I went to see it opening night. They showed a Sprite commercial before the film...I kid you not. People booed and someone even threw stuff at the screen.

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What's your favorite area of the city?
There are several parts of the city that I enjoy. I love Griffith Park. When I used to live in Hollywood, I would often hike from my apartment to the top of the Griffith Park Observatory. I used to sit on the back wall of the Observatory and look down at the entire city. The view from up there is so great when the sky is clear.

What's your preferred mode of transportation?
I wish I could say the subway, but, alas, Los Angeles doesn't have a subway system that can even begin to compare with New York.

How often do you ride the MTA subway or light rail?
When I lived in Hollywood, I used to ride the subway from Hollywood and Western to the Hollywood and Highland. That was usually when I was going to see something at the Egyptian or the El Capitan, but that was the only area it went that I needed to go to.

What's your favorite movie(s) or TV show(s) that are based in LA?
L.A. Confidential & Chinatown are the obvious choices that come to mind. They are both excellent!

I also loved the documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself. I've seen it twice!

Best LA-themed book(s)?
I tend to mainly read biographies, so I'm not sure on that one....but anything by James Ellroy is usually a good bet.

Share your best celebrity sighting experience.
I was hiking in the part in West Hollywood with my friend's yellow lab "Charlie." He is pretty strong and he got off the leash. I chased him up the hill into a secluded section of the park. I could see a couple in the distance lying on blankets in the grass. "Charlie" jumped on top of the guy and started licking him. When I got closer, I saw that the couple was Jake Gyllenhaal and Kirsten Dunst. I didn't say anything, as I'm sure they wanted their privacy. I apologized profusely.

In your opinion, what's the best alternate route to the 405?
I'm not the best person to ask. I'm terrible with directions. If it weren't for Mapquest.com I'd be in big trouble.

What's the best place to walk in LA?
There are so many places. This city has some great parks and places to hike!

It's 9:30 pm on Thursday. Where are you coming from and where are you going?
I wish I could say I was coming from my house and going to George Clooney's, but that would be dishonest. The harsh reality is that I'm home working on FilmRadar or baking cookies or something.

If you could live in LA during any era, when would it be?
The 1920s. This town was buzzing with silent film activity and Hollywood was just in the process of being born. I think that would have been a very exciting time to have been here.

What's your beach of choice?
Malibu is nice, but I really haven't met a beach I didn't like.

What is the "center" of LA to you?
I have no idea. I guess it depends on your perspective. Personally, I just love my home. It is my haven from all of the insanity in the world around me.

If you could live in any neighborhood or specific house in LA, where/which would you choose?
I LOVE the architecture of Paul Williams. His homes are beautiful and lavish, yet simple at the same time. I got to tour one of his 1920s homes and I fell in love with it right away. I also really love the Carthay Circle area of the city. There are so many beautiful historic homes in that area.

Los Angeles is often stereotyped as a hard place to find personal connections and make friends. Do you agree with that assessment? Do find it challenging to make new friends here?
Yes and no. The first year I lived here full time was one of the hardest times of my life. Most of the people I came into contact with seemed to be very shallow, self absorbed and only interested in being friends with people who could help their careers. I felt lonely and isolated. I'm also an unusual creature so I worried that would make it even harder to make friends. Fortunately, I was wrong about that. I decided to pursue several things that interested me. I started volunteering at the American Cinematheque and joined the Art Deco Society, the LA Conservancy and the Hollywood Heritage. Through my interests, I started to meet friends who had the same interests and who were real genuine people. I have a ton of really wonderful friends here and I feel very fortunate.

I would encourage anyone who moves to the city to immediately start volunteering, taking classes or to pursue a hobby where they can meet people. I gave this advice to one girl who started taking Karate classes and that really worked for her.

What is the city's greatest secret?
Downtown! When I first moved here, I took an architecture tour and got to see "Little Mexico," Chinatown and a ton of other areas downtown that I never would have seen otherwise. There are also some great restaurants and shops down there too.

Drinking, driving. They mix poorly, and yet they're inexorably linked. How do you handle this conflict?
I always tried to be the designated driver back in college, although that tends to backfire when someone tosses their cookies in your car.

Describe your best LA dining experience.
I enjoy fine dinning on occasion, but mainly I prefer the sawdust on the floor kind of places. Being that I'm from Texas originally, I often crave BBQ. I love THE PIG on La Brea. When I first went there, I took a fellow Texan friend with me. We were both skeptical about how everything would taste. THE PIG quickly won us over. We ate like we had never seen food in our lives before or something. We got BBQ sauce all over ourselves. The cornbread and cobbler there are also to die for!

What do you have to say to East Coast supremacists?
I can wear shorts in December, can you?

Do you find the threat of earthquakes preferable to the threat of hurricanes and long winters?
On one hand earthquakes are scarier because there is no way you can have advance warning about them. On the other hand, I don't think I could ever survive an East Coast winter. I'm just not built to handle that.

Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?
Hopefully at home...in bed...sound asleep and unaware of it.