By Fleet Capt. Dave Mason
GOLETA, Calif. — After months of virtual missions during the COVID-19 pandemic, USS Angeles members gathered together at a place designed for social distancing.
We made the trek in June to a drive-in theater.
Our only in-person mission in recent months involved a trip to see “Star Trek” (2009) and “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013) at the West Wind Drive-in Theater in Goleta, just north of Santa Barbara.
There, Lisa Sobien, Christophr Mulrooney, Paul Syzmborski, Jenny Taylor, Amanda Payatt and her husband Richard, Amanda’s friend Sasha Ablitt and I socialized outside before the sky turned dark and the screen turned into outer space. We wore masks, and Amanda, Ricard and Sasha stayed true to the night’s theme by wearing “Star Trek” masks.
Everyone was careful about staying 6 feet apart, and the theater enforced rules keeping long distances between cars. Employees talked to motorists who parked too close to others. (The concessions building was open, and social distancing was no problem in the large lobby.)
West Wind Drive-in, which is owned by a San Rafael company that has drive-ins in Las Vegas and other cities, reopened in late May. It closed last year, but One805, a Santa Barbara County nonprofit supporting first responders, sought to have the drive-in reopen for fundraising movies this summer. In addition, the owners saw the opportunity to show commercial movies during a time when indoor theaters can’t open.
The drive-in has showed popular movies that are a few years old, and it has been a mix of family, sci-fi, comic book-based and horror movies. And starting this month, UC Santa Barbara is showing free movies about athletes there on Wednesday nights, everything from “Field of Dreams” to “42” to “Friday Night Lights.”
In June, USS Angeles members were glad to have an outlet where they could socialize safely and enjoy the two J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Trek” movies on the big screen again.
The films included the treat of seeing Leonard Nimoy’s original Spock interact with the younger Spock played by Zachary Quinto.
It was great to see the stars playing Spock from our cars — under the night’s stars.