coronavirus pandemic

Neighbors' Social Connection Starts With a Garage Door Theater

"Its been nice to see people wanting to come together, we need each other," says organizer Lonna Spitaleri.

NBC Universal, Inc.

A neighborhood in Ladera Heights has organized a drive-in theater that has expanded over the weeks. It all started with screenings on a garage door. 

"Since COVID, there's not a lot of things we can do comfortably. People are understandably getting a bit of cabin fever. We wanted to do something fun for the community to get people out of the house, at the same time be in a safe environment where they are not exposed to the coronavirus," resident Ran Craycraft said. "We started very early on into the house arrest period with doing just our little neighborhood drive-in bringing some neighbors together, projecting on the garage door and getting some much needed laughs."

Lonna Spitaleri, organizer of the Drive-In, said everyone would pick a movie and sit six feet a part while wearing masks. They brought their own food and drinks as well.

The organizers said there were a number of requests to do another one, but their location was too small. So Craycraft started thinking on a bigger scale once their small neighborhood drive-in became crowded.

"I feel like I have been in touch more with people during COVID, then I have ever pre-COVID," Spitaleri said.

Different locations were looked at, as well as the kinds of permits necessary to have technical equipment. Eventually, they found a location for pop-up screening projected onto a building. Guests on Saturday night watched from the parking lot at the property in Ladera Heights.

"I feel like if we do more of this with good results, more of these events can be held during this difficult time to help people cope," Suzanne Chai, a guest at the drive-in, said.

"You kind of have to look inward now and look at the people around you and find commonality and find friendship and conversation. Its just been a really interesting time," Spitaleri said.

Contact Us