Social anarchy, humans gathering in lieu of commerce, dogs and cats watching Ghost Busters together? No, just the Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In, recently busted by the local constabulary:
- A Letter to the Santa Cruz City Council
Dear Honored Council Folk:
This will be the second summer that Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In will be entertaining folk for free in Santa Cruz and in the wider SF Bay Area. We are having difficulty finding a public location that doesn’t violate city laws. We need your help getting either an exception to the rules or changing the rules themselves.
Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In is an outdoor movie theatre under the stars that springs up unexpectedly in the fields and industrial wastelands. Guerilla Drive-In is helping reclaim public space and transform our urban environment into the joyful playground it should be. Last year, we showed such films as Cool Hand Luke, Pump Up the Volume, Repo Man, and Fight Club. This year, our summer series features more than a dozen films — a film every other Friday night. This summer’s schedule can be found online and includes The Third Man, Run Lola Run, Dr. Strangelove, Nine To Five, and American Beauty.
For the last several months we’ve shown our movies under the Soquel Avenue Bridge near the Royal Taj. Last week, we were booted out of this location during the showing of The Third Man by a half dozen police officers. They informed us that we were in a city park area and were violating park hours.
In our fair city, a community focused on art and connection, there is no place to meet in public that is unmediated by commerce. All the parks, beaches, the wharf, the boardwalk, the levies, state parks, the University, and the Pogonip are all closed after dark. If you want to meet friends or strangers at night, your only option is to dive into the stream of commerce, bars, cafes, restaurants, or movies.
Naturally, we understand the reasons for closing public spaces at night — drugs, homelessness, and crime. However, closing public spaces, doesn’t solve the problem, only drives it underground, and in the process takes away our own ability to provide safe, legal nighttime alternatives to crime.
Only in America would we think to close public gathering places after dark. In other countries, public spaces are where people spend their evenings, hanging out with friends, flirting, playing, drinking, singing, dancing. A vital nightlife is the sign of a live and thriving community. From the point of view of merchants, having public places that draw people out of their homes at night is good for nighttime businesses as well. I think ultimately in our community, if we want to have any public life at all, we are going to have to challenge this.
We respectfully ask for an exception to the rule allowing us to show Guerilla Drive-In movies under the Soquel Ave Bridge. The benefits of having Guerilla Drive-In at this location are many. Principally, we provide outdoor public entertainment for free to everyone. We are a community resource and frequently make our equipment and expertise available to community groups. We make the levy area safer when we are there. We leave the bridge location cleaner than when we find it. We bolster the relationship the Riverside neighbors have with their adjoining public space. Guerilla Drive-In draws people from all over the bay area to Santa Cruz.
All over the country, we are setting an example for do-it-yourself public nighttime entertainment. Guerilla Drive-Ins are springing up all over, in Dallas, LA, Portland, Sacramento, NYC, Florida, Pennsylvania, Minneapolis. And while we are not the first, we are dedicated to reclaiming outdoor space and showing others how to do the same. Our website gives a step by step how-to
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
Guerilla Drive-In Collective
They seem to be going about handling the bust in an appropriate manner – they could well shame the “Honored Council Folk” into giving them a clearance.
Friendly anarchists – interesting concept. Kiki’s Delivery Service is up next.