3Below’s delivers outdoor movies with social justice theme

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When it comes to creative solutions, you’ve got to hand it to Shannon and Scott Guggenheim. Since 3Below Theaters — which the Guggenheims operate in downtown San Jose — has been closed since March, the couple has been tirelessly working to come up with ideas to keep their livelihood going and provide people with much needed entertainment.

I’m honestly blown away by what they’ve come up with: “Up on the Roof,” four weeks of curated movies starting Oct. 8 that will be screened on the top floor of the city-owned parking garage above 3Below Theaters on Second and San Carlos streets.

The movies selected are more than just popular entertainment; they include selections that address the social justice issues we’re seeing play out on the streets and in the news every day, from “John Lewis: Good Trouble” and “I Am Not Your Negro,” to “RBG” and “On the Basis of Sex,” both about late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Other films shine a spotlight on Latinx and Asian Pacific filmmakers, LGBTQ voices, and women both behind and in front of the camera. And if you’re just looking for something fun, 3Below teamed up with the San Jose Downtown Association’s Starlight Cinemas program to feature blockbusters like 2009’s “Star Trek,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “WALL-E,” “Coco,” and “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” You can get the full lineup, plus ticket and other information at 3belowtheaters.com/up-on-the-roof-intro.

“We are looking to show that we can convene responsibly and lead the way toward more events like these,” Scott Guggenheim said, “and we are looking to honor our community heroes as we continue to exist in this upside down world.”

All the programs are presented as “dinner and a movie,” so the ticket price includes a $10 meal voucher per person for theater snacks and drinks. On the roof, parties will be placed in “bubble groups” of two to four theater seats (unfortunately, singles have to buy a spot for two). People are required to be masked, use hand sanitizer on arrival and stay in their group.

3Below is still looking for “Up on the Roof” sponsors and patron donations since the ticket revenue — especially if shows aren’t sell outs — won’t come close to covering the costs of putting on the four-week festival. In any event, this is a welcome experiment, whether you’re looking for thought-provoking movies or an entertaining couple of hours outside the house, in about as safe an environment we can create these days.

TABARD STAYS DARK: Tabard Theatre Company has thrown in the towel — for now — on its plan to live-stream productions this season. Executive Artistic Director Jonathan Rhys Williams said in an email to Tabard fans that Santa Clara County’s newest guidelines provide a path forward for doing live-stream shows. But it would require significant changes in Tabard’s model to comply and there’s just no time with “Arsenic & Old Lace: A Live Radio Play” set to open this weekend.

Williams says Tabard remains dedicated to providing subscribers with a full six-show season and other programming, but the company needs to step back to figure out the way forward. Patrons who bought tickets to “Arsenic & Old Lace” can receive a refund by contacting the box office, but Williams asks they consider the ticket purchase as a donation to Tabard or exchange it for a gift card for a future performance.

Source: The Mercury News

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