Catch ‘Purple Rain’ & ‘Selena’ at Ava DuVernay’s Free Drive-Ins in LA

Lead Photo: Prince embraces Apollonia Kotero in a scene from the film 'Purple Rain', 1984. Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images
Prince embraces Apollonia Kotero in a scene from the film 'Purple Rain', 1984. Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images
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If you’re based in Los Angeles, California, consider your plans for the weekend of Aug. 14 settled. Ava DuVernay, film queen of taste and giving back, is setting up a two-day only drive-in by way of her non-profit, Array.

The start to this decade has been a bumpy one, to say the least. Folks who were once keen on avoiding all weeknight plans to spend time with themselves and/or Netflix have exhausted the list of available things to watch on the latter and gained a new sense of appreciation for everyone who’s able to tolerate the former for more than a few hours. No? Just me?

That being said, this time at home has led creatives to find new ways to entertain themselves and others (from a distance) and, in many ways, it’s taken us back to our roots—whether that’s cooking old recipes or whipping out the projector for a rooftop viewing.

Array Drive-in, as they’re calling it, will screen Selena (1997) and Purple Rain (1984) on Aug. 14 and 15 respectively. The Golden Globe-nominated biography catapulted J. Lo into stardom and brought Selena Quintanilla’s story to life for generations to come. “This is a film about dreams,” The Hollywood Reporter said in the year of its release.

Meanwhile, the iconic Prince shines on Purple Rain—which earned him an Oscar in the now-defunct Best Original Score category. DuVernay’s team choices in films for next week are intentional, and to have Downtown LA’s skyline as the backdrop is just the cherry on top.

“At Array’s core, we produce, distribute, exhibit, and amplify images by Black artists, people of color, and women of all kinds,” said Mercedes Cooper, Director of Programming, in a press release.

On July 13, Gov. Gavin Newsom re-closed movie theaters and other indoor activities in California after a surge in coronavirus cases. This cinematic experience in Historic Filipinotown allows for much-needed safe, distanced connectivity to each other and art. “Singing,” they clarify, “is encouraged.”

A partnership with Lyft means this experience is completely free with advance registration. You can sign up here.