Cinematheque 16 opened in 1966 in a small storefront on the Sunset Strip. The theater was owned by exploitation producer Robert Lippard, but its innovative underground film program was the brainchild of NYU graduate Lewis Teague. The screenings fused film with rock n' roll, lights and performance to intertwine aesthetic and social experimentation. The theater soon became one of Los Angeles' primary sites for underground and countercultural arts exhibition and the tight knit community that developed included projectionists Jeffery Perkins and David Lebrun and experimental filmmaker Peter Mays. Gene Youngblood wrote ' The Cinematheque 16 is one of those film galleries participating in the struggle for personal freedom in the most expressive of all art forms.' Screenings were exclusively in 16 mm and emphasized psychedelia with early programs including films by Stan Vanderbeek, Ed Emshwiller and the Whitney Brothers. Warhol's films also screened including MY HUSTLER, CHELSEA GIRLS, IMITATION OF CHRIST and I, A MAN. The theater also attempted experimentally formatted screenings that included multiple projectors and looping. Another location was opened in Pasadena at 73 N. Fairoaks Ave. in April of 1968, with additional locations opening in the San Francisco Bay Area. The chain was owed and operated by Frank Woods. In 1969 Carolee Schneeman's FUSES and Michael T. Zuckerman's SECKS were seized for judiciary review. The films were screening as part of an experimental program entitled 'Skin.' After the seizure, manager Alex Kellman obtained additional prints in New York in order to continue the screening series. By the 1970s both of the theaters Los Angeles locations were primarily screening erotic films before closing entirely.
8816 1/2 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90046
73 N. Fairoaks Ave Pasadena, CA