It absolutely breaks my heart to say this, but the New Beverly Cinema that have I loved and stood so ardently for – and that I believe so many of you out there love and stand up for – is gone.
The first time I walked into the New Beverly Cinema in October of 2001, I heard a little voice inside me say: “This is where you belong.”
It felt like home.
I loved that the theater was slightly shabby, that the prices were too cheap, the butter was still real, the films were still on film. I loved the kooky cast of characters working there, and the even kookier regulars who came to watch the films.
All you needed to be welcomed with open arms was a love of film.
Here was a place that was never about money or power, but solely about the love of cinema.
A quixotic throwback to a time when ideals meant something.
Run by a family, and casual to a fault, the New Bev seemed to me a time machine back to 1978 – when the theater opened – when revival cinemas were king.
I asked Sherman Torgan – then the owner – for a job that first day and every time I returned for five years. I knew I had to work there. I would wait as long as it took.
Eventually, he gave up one of his own shifts for me, and I started working at the Bev in May of 2006.
I was over the moon.
Shortly after I started, Sherman asked why he hadn’t hired me five years ago. He was astounded and amused by my youthful enthusiasm for the theater, which brimmed over in bucketfuls. He told me I breathed new life into the stagnant theater. Even stocking the candy counters made me happy – I was finally part of The New Beverly Cinema! The best movie theater in the world!
Over the past eight years, I felt I have given more of myself to the theater than I had to give. I have loved that place with all of me, and have told every soul I came in contact with about how absolutely fantastic it is. I have loved it more than any person should love a theater.
And now everything I have been fighting for with all of my heart all this time has just been taken away.
I can’t fight anymore.
I am done.
But let’s back up a bit, shall we?
Mid July of this year, I was summoned to a meeting at Quentin Tarantino’s house and informed that as of October 1st, 2014, Quentin would be taking over ownership of the New Beverly Cinema, and that I – along with Brian Quinn, who has run our Grindhouse nights for years – was to be one of the co-managers of the 35mm-only-from-now-on-forever-and-ever-amen Bev.
You can imagine how I felt – personally hand-picked by Quentin Tarantino to run his movie theater in Hollywood! A dream come true!
And I was being promoted to a salaried manager position! I made slightly less than $14,000 in 2013, so the thought of making nearly four times that – with paid vacation and health benefits – was dizzying. Living paycheck to paycheck and being on food stamps at 35 years old is a sobering feeling – one I was ecstatic to say goodbye to.
I was, as far as I understood it, to be the public face of the theater – to conduct guest interviews, run the social media outlets and to be front and center in the box office – the first face that the customers would see.
I take my box office position very seriously. I feel that it is my job to welcome every single person who walks through that door, and make them feel like they are part of something unique. I get to welcome them to the coolest movie theater and because I genuinely love the place, this task is a delight.
I was so excited to tell everyone about all of the exciting upgrades the theater was going to get!