Walking up Meridian Avenue in the darkness, it was hard not to be creeped out by the sound of the Halloween theme music emanating on the night air.
The music, composed by director John Carpenter, is even more eerie as you pass the original Michael Myers house at the intersection of Meridian and Mission in South Pasadena.
Next door to the house, Sugarmynt gallery screened horror films on a makeshift screen outside on the front lawn. This was part of their Halloween night exhibition “No Beauty Without Strangeness.”
Sugarmynt gallery, founded by owner and curator Sara Orlandini, opened in June 2015. The gallery is her passion project her real estate agent father helped her acquire. Orlandini knew on the first day that she wanted to curate a Halloween show.
“My dad always encouraged us to do something in the arts and he saw the location, he’s in real estate so he was like we’re gonna rent it out,” she said. “All I saw was Halloween. I couldn’t wait to do the Halloween show.”
Orlandini’s ability to put on the show came from a stroke of good luck. She was speaking with an artist about her love for the film “Halloween.” The artist happened to be working with Malek Al Akkad, the son of Moustapha Akkad, who produced the “Halloween” films.
A meeting was set up for Orlandini with the father and son, who put her in contact with the film’s still photographer, Kim Gottlieb-Walker.
“Kim was very eager to contribute some prints for the show,” she said. “She brought them in and she loves talking about her work so it was great.”
During the evening, none other than “Michael Myers” himself walked in. Tall and dressed in all black with his signature mask, he stalked slowly through the gallery silently observing the guests, while scaring others.
“Being next door to the guy, he likes to pop in every once in a while,” Orlandini joked. “Sometimes it’s just me and him hanging out—he’s still looking for Laurie,” she said, referencing the films protagonist.
Mt. Washington resident Maggie Arana was delightfully entertained by Myers’ presence.
“We had dinner at the restaurant across the street that was the hardware store in the film,” she said. “I already know where some of the scenes are, but we really wanted to walk to the Michael Myers house.”
Orlandini walked around the gallery pointing out the locations in Gottlieb-Walkers photos that she recognizes.
“Movies have always been a huge impact on my life, and this one being filmed where I grew up, like I can walk here, I can see everything and then you watch the movie and you get to see it,” she said. “I know every single location, it’s a home movie for me and it’s so cool.”
The name Sugarmynt has a bit of history to it as well. The building’s previous resident was a woman who ran a candy shop out of the space for 40 years before retiring.
“I wanted to have a little homage to her and I wanted to continue the candy,” she said. “When you’re changing the whole business people need familiarity.”
Curating the Halloween show was not just for herself, but also for the residents of South Pasadena to make their Halloween night that much more enjoyable.
“This movie is classic and beautifully done and it was a B film. It wasn’t even supposed to be this big,” she said. “People get to see an exhibition based on the movie, and we’re right next to the house, so it’s my gift to South Pasadena.”
Sugarmynt gallery is open six days a week with new shows every month. The next show will be the 60s and 70s themed “When Jupiter Aligns with Mars,” featuring 12 artists. The show will run Nov. 7 through Dec. 5, with an opening night reception on the first night. Information can be found online at www.sugarmynt.com or (626) 460-8080.
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