Location: 11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, West LA
Just past the congestion of the infamous meeting of Sepulveda and Santa Monica Boulevards, under the ramp of the 405 freeway, and immediately to your left – rests one of my favorite L.A. movie theaters, The Nuart.
Though it’s apart of the Landmark family, The Nuart keeps that off-beat theater vibe well in tact from the marquee down to the strictly independent and documentary focused programming you’ll find here.
It was a more “fall-esque” Monday evening. The weather a bit chillier than it had been and the sun setting a little earlier than in recent weeks, a small indication that Autumn is slowly making its way to Los Angeles. After a quick and cheap breakfast for dinner stop at what used to be Delores’ Restaurant right down the street from the theater (that’s changed menus twice and now its name – spawning a much more mediocre dining experience), we headed back to the theater to learn “How to Survive A Plague.”
What a powerful and thought-provoking way to start the week. The documentary chronicles the New York activist scene fighting the lack of attention from the US government, hospitals, and drug companies to the raging AIDS epidemic stealing the lives of millions in the gay community beginning in the early 1980’s and until a treatment was discovered to survive. Most impressive about the film is that it’s mostly compiled of and told through the use of archival footage of old Act Up and TAG activist meetings, media coverage of protests/demonstrations across the country, and personal home video.
I left the theater feeling like I had a solid understanding of the struggle it took to get medication, education, and compassion towards what was a modern American plague only 30 short years ago. I couldn’t help but think about how a similar uprising could benefit the millions of people in Africa as I type this sentence battling the same disease, among arguably even worse circumstances.
I highly recommend this film for anyone who wants a crash course (for lack of a better phrase) into a hard-fought battle over basic human rights and the AIDS virus, or for anyone who just needs some inspiration to go out there, follow your beliefs, and “Act Up.”
You’ll be surprised what you can do when you don’t give up.