The former Mazatlan Theatre in El Sereno has seen better days. The movie house on Eastern Avenue near Huntington Drive has not screened a movie in decades. The marquis on the front of the Art-Deco style building is often blank, and the light bulbs are missing from the letters that spell out MAZATLAN. Inside, the rows of seats have been ripped out and the interior has been rented out primarily as a banquet hall and event space for the last three decades by the De Anda family. Now, the De Anda family is in danger of losing the Mazatlan amid financial troubles. Some young family relatives staged a concert at the Mazatlan last month in hope of attracting attention – and business -to what is now called Mazatlan Hall. Apparently that was not enough. Writer and activist Iris de Anda, who fears the neighborhood landmark will be auctioned off to a developer, has launched an online fundraiser to help her family keep the building. “The failing economy is taking its toll on our dedication, blood, sweat, & tears,” said De Anda on the Save the Mazatlan Indiegogo page.
The family is about $25,000 short of the $50,000 needed to hang on to the building, which De Anda envisions being transformed into a community center showcasing music and art and hosting social gatherings and workshops. So, far however, only about $500 has been raised and De Anda does not provide details as to how the family would keep the Mazatlan afloat after avoiding an auction. Still, De Anda is counting on residents of El Sereno to show their support.
“We need places that provide a safe environment to meet, to engage, to connect, & to reach out,” De Anda said. “A place where local bands can get up on stage & rock out because sometimes all we really need is a good song.”