The glowing sign outside the historic theater on Fairfax Avenue may read “Silent Movie Theatre” but the space has a much larger mission. It is a hub for the 501(c)(3) non-profit, Cinefamily, whose purpose is to create a social community around the art of film. They do this best by turning their weekly film premieres into an event like an actor or director Q&A followed by an after party in their Christmas-lighted back patio. They feature a different independent, revival, rare or cult title each week and stay true to the theater’s origins by showing a silent movie once a month accompanied by a live piano or organ. With the organizations network of supporters, only they can deliver special access to rare titles such as the one-time screening of the last surviving print of 1927’s The Monkey Talks.
The comfortable theater is lined with large black-and-white photographs of silent film stars including Rudolph Valentino, Greta Garbo, Mike Deitrick and Charlie Chaplin and sits about 180 in pillow-backed chairs and leather sofas. Not only is their seating premium, their concession stand is gourmet and includes Crumbs Bake Shop cupcakes, Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches and Jamagels (Jamaican-flavored bagel chips).
If visiting Los Angeles, or even a local looking for something new, the $12 ticket or donation based membership is worth the atypical movie going experience.