Picture this scene: Hundreds of people — perhaps even numbering in the thousands — storming a Siam Square space that had, up until recently, been a vintage movie theater long cherished by Bangkok cinephiles.
That’s exactly what happened last Thursday at the grand opening of Lido Connect, a multifunctional performance space built on the bones of the aforementioned Lido cinema, which closed in May 2018. The complex was renovated by its new owner, Love Is Entertainment. Coconuts Bangkok was among the first to get a sneak peek of the new concept, so we’ll run down what’s going on there at Lido 2.0.
Let’s just get this out of the way first, though: We respect the scope of Lido Connect’s ambitions, but being back there also evoked a sense of bittersweet feels for us with the absence of the original Lido.
Anyway — while the original Lido possessed three cinemas that only showed movies, Lido Connect keeps one movie theater (previously known as Lido 1). The screening program held in this room will be organized in collaboration with the Documentary Club collective, which will show award-winning movies. The first of these programs will include the highly acclaimed South Korean psychological drama Burning, as well as RBG, a documentary focused on the life and career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The other two cinemas that had originally been Lido 2 and Lido 3 have been repurposed into rooms for new entertainment functions – much to the relief of everyone who thought it would merely be turned into more mall space. Lido 2 is now a “live house” and Lido 3 a “black box.”
Lido’s “live house,” which will host concerts and stage performances, is only steps away from BTS Siam, and will likely become a new popular destination for live music fans. Even before the space opened, some promoters had already announced their plans to temporarily take over the live house to host gigs. Later this month, for instance, indie gig organizer Have You Heard will be bringing talented singer-songwriter Julie Byrne to perform at the venue.
The “black box,” on the other hand, was built to accommodate various performing arts, including concerts, exhibitions, nightlife parties and even esports events. This past weekend, the stylish dark room hosted Silent Disco, where revelers strapped on wireless headphones to channel music from different DJs to dance in an otherwise silent space.
Surrounding the three main rooms — the cinema, live house and black box — are small shops and cafes.
Streaming may have killed many Bangkok video stores, but Lido DVD lives on at the ground floor of Lido Connect, with DVDs like The Godfather, The Shining and The Silence of the Lambs lying on the shelves, just as they did back in the cinema days. One year after it initially closed, Kluay Kluay, a cafe serving banana-based drinks and desserts, is back in its same old spot.
Fresh new stores have taken up tenancy at Lido Connect, too. On grand opening day, tons of people queued up in front of Cha Bar to get some of the shop’s well-known bubble tea. Analog photographers ascended to the second floor’s Xanap film lab to get rolls of film developed.
Thep-ard Kawin-anan, CEO of Lido Connect, announced that his team wanted the new Lido Connect to be a space for everyone to have an opportunity to show off their talents.
“We want to build a bridge where people from new and old generations can connect,” Thep-ard said.
Though Lido Connect’s creative and modern functions are a welcome contribution to Bangkok’s growing contemporary arts, entertainment and lifestyle scene, it doesn’t take long for those sentimental about the old venue to notice its treasured charms and good-old-day feelings are gone.
The revamped Lido Connect’s main target audience seems to be younger generations of Bangkokians, and that unfortunately leaves out some ardent film fans who grew up knowing it as an art-film multiplex. So here comes the first challenge for Lido Connect: Will it be able to really “connect” young and old alike, as per its name? And how?
Only time will tell, we suppose. Suss it out for yourself and let us know what you think — Lido Connect is located between Soi Siam Square 2 and Soi Siam Square 3, and reachable via foot from BTS Siam. To get information about what shows and events coming up, check out Lido Connect’s official Facebook page.
Lido Connect is between Soi Siam Square 2 and Soi Siam Square 3
Rama I Rd, Pathum Wan, Bangkok