Come Discover The Avenue at The Screening Room

September 14, 2012 |

“I see the Screening Room as this gem that not everyone knows about,” says Karen Greene, one of the founders of Mind Our Own Businesses, a community group focused on getting people downtown and on 4th Avenue while the street construction fences are up. Her latest project: getting folks to come see The Avenue, a documentary on Tucson’s 4th Avenue and its attendant thriving, non-corporate arts district. The film is showing at the Screening Room on September 15th. The Avenue showed twice at the Arizona International Film Festival to sold-out crowds, and was awarded Best of Arizona in the show.

In an interview with Arizona Public Media, director Alan Williams described his film as an exploration of how this rich local culture survives outside the grips of corporate takeover. “There’s something to be said for what a motivated group of independent artists and business people can do under their own power, and without the help of the city, and sort of working on their own independently and out of absolute necessity, out of sheer survival and self-preservation,” Williams explained. In the film he makes the rounds of businesspeople, artists and regulars, letting them speak from their own experience contributing to the local scene.

“It’s always great to see places and people that you recognize on film,” Greene says of watching the film at the Arizona International Film Festival. “It’s great to see people that you don’t know but that you might see all the time, and to see them on film describing why they’re passionate about 4th Avenue; that really resonated. I thought, ‘Yes! That’s exactly it! You put that into words I can’t come up with.’”

But for Greene, the whole city plays a part in seeing the avenue thrive. “Everything that Mind Our Own Businesses is doing is all about a reminder to the entire city of Tucson that if you don’t support these businesses—if you don’t go out and spend some money at these businesses—they’re going to go away.” It’s a long shot, she explains, but if shops go out of business, what if the modern streetcar goes up and suddenly that looks like great space for national chains? It would change the whole funky local character of the area that this film, The Avenue, is trying to bring to light.

At the Screening Room, “they really like bringing in stuff that’s local and supporting the local filmmakers,” Greene says, “and when choosing a place to show the film, the Screening Room was a perfect downtown locale that, if we’re lucky, will be free of construction fencing by the premiere.”  But if not, Greene urges you to come support the theater and the show behind the chain link. “The things you see there, you’ll never see anywhere else,” she explains. It’s a statement that could apply equally well to our unique and beloved 4th Avenue.

The Avenue screens Saturday, September 15th at 7:30pm. Tickets $4 (to celebrate 4th Avenue). Q & A with director Alan Williams after the show. Location: The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St., 882-0204.


For more information, check out Mind Our Own Businesses on Facebook, and find “The Avenue” in their events, or look at the film’s site,

Category: Community, Film