LA Arts Society brings the frights to Gardena Cinema

(Courtesy photo)

By Brett Callwood

Alex Martinez is the founder of the LA Arts Society, a group dedicated to encouraging 

artistic culture and bridging people through art. Martinez spoke to the News this week about the horror-heavy Drive-In series that the LA Arts Society is hosting at the Gardena Cinema through October.

How long has the LA Arts Society been running the Drive-In Series, and how long has it been in Gardena?

Alex Martinez: LA Arts Society has been presenting movie screenings since September of 2018. From that time to now, we have presented movie screenings at The Frida Cinema in Santa Ana, United Artists Theatre in Long Beach, Boys and Girls Club of Orange County, and most recently at the historic Gardena Cinema in Gardena for a six month series in 2020. Of course we are now back again for a one month series at Gardena Cinema for October 2022.

Why Gardena? 

Being born and raised in the harbor area of Los Angeles, Gardena has always been a second home for me. There was an opportunity to meet the Kim family in 2019, and we simply speak the same “cinema language”. The need to collaborate was quickly evident and we have built something great together.  I have learned so much about the business side of things from the Kim family and am very happy to contribute another exciting series in October 2022.

How do you pick the movies that are included in the series?

The selection process for the movies that we pick are a bit of a “secret sauce” for us.  One secret is that we like to theme out our programming by choosing a specific word and programming around it.  Our aim is always to bring our very best for our audience. Our guests come first and we often take in alot of requests on social media and try our best to make it happen!

Halloween seems to be particularly perfect for this sort of thing. Is that fun to plan?

Halloween holds a very special place in my heart. I can remember going trick or treating as a child and how the environment at that time was so collaborative and spooky, yet safe. Nowadays, we take pride in providing that same environment at our Drive-In series. What we do is run by passion for movies and fun. Huge shout out to our awesome team: Judy, David, Jennifer, Nancy, Karina, Jason, Demi and family for supporting in taking the whole experience up a notch!  Reach out if you’re interested in helping out!

Who is it for? Obviously a lot of the October movies are adult only, besides maybe Beetlejuice. But generally, do families come?

For all Halloween lovers! What’s the most FUN when it comes to Halloween? The Spooks!  The titles we have hand curated are fan and family favorites for sure!

How do you deal with concessions? 

Snacks and treats are one of the most gratifying portions of the whole experience. Guests are encouraged to pack their cars with their friends, family, and bring their own snacks to enjoy from the comfort of their own vehicles. Yes, tickets prices are PER VEHICLE so bring who you can fit. Gardena Cinema lobby will also be open with their full array of snacks for sale, from freshly popped popcorn, hotdogs, nachos, candy, and sodas!

Do you have the old school speaker on the window, or tune in on the radio?

We essentially create a micro radio station on the lot for our presentations.  As long as your vehicle has FM radio, you should be good to go! 

What else do you have planned for this year?

For now, we are 100% focused on having an awesome October, but we may have a few more surprises up our sleeves for the rest of 2022 and into 2023.  The best way to be in the know, is to follow us on social media @laartssociety. Gardena Cinema may also be opening up full time from November onwards with first run movies inside the theater and some surprises on weekends, outdoors. Be sure to support them as well @gardenacinema 

 What else does the LA Arts Society have going on, outside of this?

When we aren’t producing events, we love to get involved with supporting other artists and organizations as much as we can. We work with multiple art mediums, such as visual projections for live music, digital media production, digital marketing, videography, and photography, all in the local L.A. area.

More information and tickets are available at