Two Orange County arts organizations, the Frida Cinema and Soka Performing Arts Center, are postponing scheduled events because of the continually raging coronavirus pandemic and its ubiquitous Omicron variant.

The Frida Cinema in Santa Ana is closing its doors effective today, Jan. 14, and will stay closed through Jan. 27. On Friday, Jan. 28, the movie theater hopes to reopen with a rescheduled run of Pedro Almodóvar’s Spanish-language drama, “Parallel Mothers.”

“In consideration of the incredible strain that the recent surge of Omicron cases has placed on our local Orange County hospitals, the Frida Cinema has made the difficult decision to temporarily close our doors effective Friday January 14th,” the movie theater states on its website.

“As case numbers are expected to decrease in late-January, we hope to reopen on January 28th…. Of course will be keeping an eye on local hospital patient rates to ensure it is sensible to do so, and we will keep you posted on our website and social media, as well as through our newsletters.”

Located on 4th Street in downtown Santa Ana, the Frida Cinema specializes in art house and independent movies. The 8-year-old theater plans to present some drive-in screenings on French Street and at Tustin’s Mess Hall Market during and after the hiatus. Check the Frida’s Eventbrite page for details.

In Aliso Viejo, the Soka Performing Arts Center has postponed the opening of its 10th anniversary for the second time this month. Instead of opening Jan. 9 with pianist Emmanuel Ax as originally planned, or Jan. 22 with Hub New Music, featuring special guest Kojiro Umezaki, the Performing Arts Center is aiming for a Feb. 26 opening with L.A.-based rock band Los Lobos.

Inside the concert hall at the Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo. Credit: Photo courtesy of Soka Performing Arts Center

A performance by the Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite Duo, scheduled for Jan 29, has been pushed back to the 2022-23 season. Pianist Stephen Kovacevich, originally scheduled for Jan. 30, has also been postponed until the 2022-23 season.

“We have been prepared and excited for the opening of our 10th anniversary season and looking forward to welcoming everyone back to our beautiful concert hall. We almost made it,” said Soka general manager Renee Bodie in a statement. “And yet this pandemic has continued to change every plan and course we set. With the safety and well-being of our patrons, students, staff and artists as our first priority, we have made the difficult decision to postpone performances.”

The rapid spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant has thrown a wrench into the plans of many arts organizations in Orange County and nationwide. Already, Pacific Symphony and South Coast Repertory have been forced to cancel or postpone performances.

Voice of OC will continue to monitor local arts and culture events and venues, and provide updates as changes are announced.

Richard Chang is senior editor for Arts & Culture at Voice of OC. He can be reached at rchang@voiceofoc.org.


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