From music to movies, Gasa Gasa sends out relaxed vibes

CHERIE LEJEUNE

CHERIE LEJEUNE

Catie Sanders

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There’s food, drinks and an eager audience, but the one phrase you probably won’t hear during this movie night is “Shhh!”

With just a few benches and a projector, Gasa Gasa converts its dancefloor into seats and its stage into a screen for Free Films at Gasa Gasa. Behind the Freret Street venue’s muraled walls, the stuffy atmosphere of typical movie theaters is lost, according to co-owner Micah Burns.

“It’s pretty loose,” Burns said. “We’ve done things where we’ve watched longer movies and literally announced ‘Does anybody wanna chill for a minute and have a smoke?’”

Free Films at Gasa Gasa is far from a quiet event, and that’s what people like about it, according to employee Kate Schultz.

“I like how it’s like you can just scream and say things,” said Schultz.

People who are always shushed when talking during movies might feel more comfortable in Gasa Gasa’s chill atmosphere, as it invites people to socialize before, during and after the film.

“At the end of the movie it’s nice that people sit around and talk about it and not have to go somewhere else,” said Burns.

Every guest has their own reasons for being a Gasa Gasa moviegoer, and Schultz had a couple herself.

“One: It’s free. Two: I feel like most of the movies there I haven’t seen before. It’s a good way to try something new in a new environment, make a new friend, and drink some brews with the boys,” she said. “It’s good, old, wholesome fun.”

Movie night has been a staple to the venue since its early days, but as Gasa Gasa has grown in popularity, the event has happened less often. Still, when a movie night is needed, Burns said the venue finds the time, especially during summer.

“People are always looking for something free and easy to do in the air condition,” Burns said. “People walking past will sometimes just stop what they’re doing, come in and get a drink and hang out.”

When it comes to choosing what movie will grace the Gasa Gasa screen, it’s up to Burns and the rest of the team to decide. Usually, “it’s literally just what’s poppin’,” according to Schultz.

If the crew doesn’t have a favorite film in mind for an upcoming movie night, it’s no big deal, as long as they stay away from blockbusters. After a screening of “Jurassic Park” failed to bring anyone in, Burns realized that when it comes to movie night, “the weirder, the better.”

“For a while I was trying to do movies that would bring in a mass audience. They really fell flat,” said Burns.

Since recognizing that Gasa Gasa’s fanbase is intrigued by “progressive new forms of art and music,” Burns no longer shies away from stranger, cult-classic type films. With movie night, Burns said he wants Gasa Gasa to be seen as not just a music venue, but a “cultural center” for their regular guests.

“I like to pick interesting things that kind of help our brand as an interesting place,” he said.

Movie night doesn’t have a standing date, but those interested in the event can follow Gasa Gasa on Facebook to stay updated on future screenings.

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