For those of us who live under a rock (or in Orange County) and are not aware of this yet, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a remarkable, if perhaps unusual, venue for events year-round. Al fresco concerts? Check. Art Exhibits in the Mausoleum? Check. Día de Los Muertos festival? Check! I just discovered this cemetery-turned-amphitheater, and feel like I’ve stumbled upon a well-kept secret. Or at least I did, until I started gushing to friends and family about it and realized I was apparently the only one out of the loop. I do live in Huntington Beach, but I spent three years in Malibu and still had no clue. C’est la vie, as they say. Time to put aside my feelings of missed opportunity, and look forward to a future of fun events at the cemetery. (Wow, never thought that particular sentence would come out of my mouth…)
Hollywood Forever is tucked away off of Santa Monica Blvd, right in the heart of Central Hollywood. In the summer (read, “NOW!”), there is a great event at the cemetery called Cinespia. Every Saturday evening, classic films are shown beneath the stars while moviegoers lounge on blankets and dine picnic-style on the cemetery’s Fairbanks Lawn. Some seasoned veterans even brought low chairs and tables, complete with tablecloths and candles (no joke). My friends and I enjoyed wine (complete with plastic wine flutes!) and an assortment of movie-style snacks. The Chinese take-out a few rows over, however, had our mouths watering. Mental note for next time!
We went on Roman Holiday night (score!) and had a slightly more reserved crowd then I would imagine other movies draw (ahem, I’m looking at you Rocky Horror fans). Cinephiles and trivia buffs will appreciate that a brief introduction to the movie was given. As it turns out, the lovely Audrey Hepburn was thought, in person, much too plain to play Princess Ann. Gasp! However, once director William Wyler got a glimpse of her onscreen, he experienced that magical, regal quality which became her trademark, and voilà! a star was born.
They pack you in so be prepared to get to know your neighbors. I also definitely recommend using the bathroom before staking your spot. Tripping over legs in the dark with a full bladder is no fun. There was also a movie-themed photo booth set up and the pictures turned out gorgeous! (Check the link below to explore the gallery from the Cinespia website.) You won’t break the bank going to one of these movies either. Yay for affordable fun! I recommended purchasing tickets online beforehand, as tickets at the gate sell out pretty quickly. Definitely splurge for the tickets that include parking inside the cemetery! In my humble opinion, those extra few dollars are worth it to avoid the long, dark walk to the car after the movie. You’ll want to show up right when the cemetery parking opens at 7:30. Ten minutes later, and there were cars lined up for blocks. Seriously. Movie starts around 9:00.
The most important lesson we learned from the night: Don’t forget the bottle opener…but if you do, don’t despair! Someone within a five foot radius will have one, so just ask. See you there!
Check the websites for movies and pricing:
For photos: http://cinespia.org/photo-archive/
Photo by Rachel/ Ebb And Flow Photography courtesy of flickr Creative Commons.