3Below Theaters welcomes movie audiences to downtown San Jose

Just in time for the Oscars season, the 3Below Theaters in downtown San Jose welcomed movie fans on Friday with a three-week festival that featured Oscar nominees. And owner Shannon and Scott Guggenheim I tried to give the audience an experience where there are no streaming movies on the couch.

The lobby has been entertainingly redesigned, with 1950s-1980s seating, diner stalls in one area, lava lamps elsewhere, and two custom-made tables with cassette covers and Rubik’s Cubes on either side of a Frau Pac-Man machine. The expanded cafe menu – with gourmet hot dogs and Belgian waffle bites alongside the popcorn – can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors, even when you’re not going to the movies (and an outdoor stage is in the works).

“I hope people enjoy the changes we’ve made and find that this place is more like a third room,” said Scott Guggenheim. “We’re trying to find a way to get the community involved. If you are looking for a positive thing to get out of the pandemic, we received the gift of time – not the gift of money – to make the changes we wanted. “

Barbara Doheny indulges in a bucket of popcorn and a movie at 3Below Theaters in downtown San Jose on Friday April 2, 2021. She was the theater’s first client since the pandemic closed. (Karl Mondon / Bay Area News Group)
Barbara Doheny indulges in a bucket of popcorn and a movie at 3Below Theaters in downtown San Jose on Friday April 2, 2021. Doheny said she got her vaccine shot earlier in the day and needed a reward. Since then she has been the first customer of the theater to shutdown the pandemic. (Karl Mondon / Bay Area News Group)
The newly refurbished lobby at 3Below Theaters in downtown San Jose is ready to welcome customers back on Friday, April 2, 2021 for the first time since the pandemic closed. (Karl Mondon / Bay Area News Group)
Vintage booths were added in the lobby of the 3Below Theater in downtown San Jose on April 2, 2021, opening for the first time since the pandemic shut down. (Karl Mondon / Bay Area News Group)
A purple piano and a wall of lava lamps grace the lobby of the 3Below Theater in downtown San Jose on Friday, April 2, 2021. (Karl Mondon / Bay Area News Group)

There are many changes in the auditoriums as well: movie and pop culture memorabilia on the walls, rolled movie posters that create a colorful effect on a wall, and two- and four-seat bladders that are required due to the social distance of COVID-19 Guidelines. (Yes, masks are required unless food and auditoriums are cleaned between shows.)

The seating arrangement is something 3Below found out last summer when it launched Up on the Roof, a summer / fall series of films that were shown in the municipal parking garage above the theater and proved popular with a community Tired of being cooped up at home Guggenheim said 3Below would be keen to bring the rooftop films back this year, but it would need more outside sponsorships as the security costs for seating and equipment alone exceeded entry revenue.

The Oscars Festival – featuring features, documentaries, and shorts rarely seen in theaters this year – runs until April 25, when it’s topped off with an on-site Oscars party open to anyone who visits during the Festival buys a ticket. Plans for films beyond that have not yet been made, but Guggenheim says we should stick with it.

That goes for live theater productions too, which 3Below is hoping to run again this fall. All of last season’s shows were canceled due to the pandemic and to get the schedule on track it will need to keep COVID-19 cases low and vaccinations high. Information on tickets and timetables can be found at www.3belowtheaters.com.

APPLE’S MAKE-GOOD GESTURE: Apple announced this week that this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June will again be an online-only event. The Cupertino-based tech giant struggled to offset the economic fallout, however, as San Jose lacked personal conference funding, where it had been held in recent years.

Apple has pledged a $ 1 million donation to SJ Aspires, an initiative launched by the Mayor on April 15 Sam Liccardo with the San Jose Public Library Foundation to help youth in underserved neighborhoods and underprivileged students of color cards find their way to college.

“Apple’s relentless focus on the future is evident in the company’s products, vision and generosity,” Liccardo said in a statement. “The company’s support for San Jose Aspires will enable our brightest young minds to break through the barriers of poverty and will create hundreds of role models for the college success of other colored children in our community.”

Of course, downtown restaurants and vendors would be grateful if Apple developers raved about downtown this summer instead of dealing with coronavirus restrictions. It is hoped that Apple’s promise also includes a plan to be back in San Jose in the summer of 2022.

CATERING ON THE NEED: Silicon Valley’s caterer, Catered Too, offers its customers the opportunity to help others through its Feed the Need program, which considers every meal order order for the East Palo Alto Ecumenical Hunger Program.

Catered Too CEO Eric Barnachea, a long-time employee who bought the company from the founder Greg box In 2019, the program is an enormous opportunity to help a large number of people in need. “Since we serve a lot of large groups, we thought this would be a perfect way for us to work with our customers while also helping the community,” he said.

The catering company’s minimum order is 20 people. For every order over this amount, Catered Too will provide a donated meal to EHP, which has been providing food programs and other services to people in East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and nearby communities since 1975. Check out the offerings from Catered Too at www.cateredtoo.com.

RECOVERY ON THE WAY: Last week I wrote about a grassroots effort to restore the historic Ming Quong Home Arch at the Uplift Family Services site in Los Gatos. Gerry WongThe co-founder of the Chinese Historical and Cultural Project, who helped lead the campaign, emailed me that her fundraiser raised more than $ 15,000 towards the remainder of a 1930s orphanage for Chinese girls rehabilitate. Uplift Family Services has also received donations.

That will be enough to restore the arch, Wong said, and begin Phase II of the proposal, which is to create a replica of the Ming Quong Home sign hanging on the arch, install a bench nearby, and one Plaque explaining the history of the site to be affixed.

AUTHORS ONLINE: The Santa Clara County Library District will launch its four-part virtual Distinguished Authors Series featuring the Stanford University professor on April 14th Robert Sapolsky, Author of “Behave: The Biology of Man at Our Best and Our Worst,” who lectures on the biology of stress and related diseases. Computer scientist and composer in later parts of the series Jaron Lanier will examine the effects of technology on our lives (April 28), writers Joyce Carol Oates will speak about her new book “The (Other) You” (May 8) and the Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa lahiri will speak about the perplexity of the immigration experience (May 22nd).

Each moderated conversation ends with a question-and-answer session from the audience that they can freely participate in. More information is available online at sccld.org/authorseries.

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