In mid-April, the Current received an email from Slab
Cinema — SA’s beloved outdoor B-movie profferers
— explicating a location change. Development plans at its
current location prompted Slab to set sights on a space just down the
road on Cevallos, where they hoped to build a permanent outdoor garden
theater. Per the email, Slab had been in the rezoning process for the
space, seeking permission for outdoor speakers.
According to Slab co-founder
Angela Martinez, they had spoken with the only neighbor it might affect
— an elderly man — and he was approving on the
conditions that sound was carefully monitored and films ended by 11pm.
“We wouldn’t want to be bad neighbors,”
Martinez told the Current by phone yesterday. She adds
that they planned for “an attractive perimeter
fence” between Slab’s potential space and his
According to the April email,
“Our case was approved unanimously by the zoning commission
but was postponed earlier this month by our City Council
The email urged recipients to
show their support for the project by emailing District 5 Councilwoman
Earlier this week we received
another email on the progress of Slab’s case:
continuances and a 6-hour city council meeting, Councilwoman Lourdes
Galvan finally approved our request for outdoor speakers.
Unfortunately, she simultaneously rescinded the zoning we already had,
restricting us to no alcohol sales and no alcohol by donation.
We were very disappointed, not
so much in the outcome, but because this restriction had never once
been discussed with us. We found out they were going to add
the condition the morning of the City Council meeting; they left us no
time for further dialog with the councilwoman.
While alcohol sales or by
donation are NOT an integral part of the Outdoor Cinema, it is an
option we need so that we can invest in buying the property and
creating the theater. By passing the zoning the but stamping
it NA, Ms. Galvan is able to say that she supported the outdoor theater
while at the same time ensuring the project never reaches fruition in
that particular space.”
Patrons would have been able to
BYOB, said Martinez, but that would have left Slab staffers with the
job of policing them and taking care of the mess — for no
help with the mortgage.
An additional call made to
Martinez this afternoon brought sad news: “We’re not
doing it …We can’t be confident in covering the
mortgage,” she said, adding that when Slab does build a
permanent, outdoor, park-like theater, they want to be able to do it
right. Without alcohol sales/donations, she just doesn’t see
With the contract cancelled for
the Cevallos property, Martinez says the Slab summer slate is up in the
air for the moment, but that they are exploring temporary options with
the new property owners of their original space.
The Current’s call to
Councilwoman Galvan’s office was not returned.