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Hip Asian cinema could not survive downtown L.A.

November 24, 2008 |  7:00 am

Imaginasian

Back before the economic downturn — when the downtown L.A. boom was still really a boom — the idea seemed really cool. Build a modern movie theater showing mostly trendy Asian movies. The experiment didn't work. And now, the ImaginAsian movie theater in Little Tokyo is closed. The address was formerly the site of the famed — and long dormant — Linda Lea Japanese movie theater. Now, according to Angelenic, an indie theater is to operate there:

In its place comes the Downtown Independent, an indie film group owned by Dylan Reynolds and Jim Kirst, which began operating in October. The transition, including a branding switchover, is set to be complete by the end of the month. With a focus on local Los Angeles-based filmmakers, upcoming programming includes Toots, the story of New York’s famous Toots Shor saloon (preview the film after the jump) and the Zero Film Festival. Downtown Independent inherits a modern venue with glassy Main Street frontage and cushioned, reclining chairs in front of the big screen.  A swank rooftop lounge won’t be lost on the new operator, which hopes to utilize the space often.

The Times' David Pierson wrote about the story of the Linda Lea last year.

Photo: The lobby of the theater (pictured in December, 2007).  Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times.

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