Cinema Survives Shutdown

By Steven Libowitz   |   July 16, 2020

The Sunken Gardens at the Santa Barbara Courthouse is off limits for events as the coronavirus pandemic continues, as UCSB Arts & Lectures summer film series’ grass-fed version of beach blanket bingo would surely lead to a bounce in new cases of COVID-19. Instead, pivoting has produced a more practical solution for the free annual outdoor screening series to survive, albeit via creating community within the confines of your own car.

Game On! Grit, Grace & Glory – Movies Under the Stars in Your Cars, a six-week series featuring family-friendly, feel-good, sports-centered flicks, also carries an appropriate theme for our times as each movie features a story about overcoming the odds. Instead of decamping in the downtown garden you’ll have to schlep out to the West Wind Drive-In off the 217 near Goleta for the seven-film series that started on July 15 and continues Wednesday evenings through August 19. The lineup includes several well-known classics (A League of Their Own, The Karate Kid, and Friday Night Lights) along with a pair of documentaries (Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable and Pelé) and the Jackie Robinson biopic 42, which forms a baseball double header, er, feature, with the much-beloved tear jerking comedy Field of Dreams. Softball, soccer, martial arts and football join baseball as the backbone sports for the series that encompasses such uplifting messages as the value of believing in yourself, being part of a team, supporting the underdog, coming back from a devastating injury, and turning a healing vision into reality.

Gates open at 7:30 pm, one hour before the screenings start, and the events boast food trucks, goodies from the concession stand and live entertainment before the features roll. Visitors are reminded to wear masks and maintain a distance of six feet from others when outside of your cars. For more information, call (805) 893-3535 or visit


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