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I was the print inspector and sometimes (inept) projectionist during the theater’s final years. Shows what the place was, that they hired someone to check the prints, repair sprockets, demand a better print if one was no good. There was an editing bay upstairs where documentarians worked on their films.
Let’s not forget the amazing live shows the FV presented — David Bromberg and his big band, Toni Basil with an amazing dance/video/singing show that predates Madonna and Gaga by decades, etc. etc.
Moved to Venice in 1975 when I was 23, and my first night in town went to the FV for a benefit for the Venice Renters League — Hearts of the West and The Apple War (Max von Sydow played an elf!). I sat next to a woman, started talking — we’ve been friends now, more than 30 years. In 76, I got a job there inspecting films. The Fox cared about projection quality and paid me or someone like me to ensure a good time for the audience. I ran every reel through my fingers and repaired broken splices and bad sprockets.
Amazing things happened at the Fox beyond the great double bills. Next to the projection room, the Fox had an editing bay they let filmmakers use. As a benefit for the director, who was there in person, they showed Les Blank’s great documentary about New Orleans culture in ‘Smellaround.’ We made huge vats of red beans and rice and wheeled them around the auditorium during the section of the movie where Irma Thomas showed how to make the dish, then had a post-film party in the theater for the entire audience with the beans and music playing.)
Toni Basil had a run of a live show with break dancing and punk dancing. I remember a chorus line of woman dancers in blood-spattered nurse’s uniforms as Suffragette City blasted away.
The Fox had ‘cry rooms’ at the back, glassed in rooms with their own speakers ostensibly for theatergoers to bring their babies to — though they were used most often by dope smokers and the lustful. It was my family, as it was for most of us who worked there.