Yes, Cinespia just screened its last movie of the season — Rosemary’s Baby — at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, but I thought I’d take this time to reflect on the suggested do’s and don’ts of this popular summer pastime and a definite L.A. must-do. Besides, they may screen a movie for Halloween in which case these will definitely come in handy. Last year’s movie was Carrie and the year before it was The Shining. Ooh! wonder what it’s going to be this time. Coolest thing? Halloween falls on a Saturday this time around! Fun!
Get there at least two hours before the gates open to ensure a great parking spot on the street in addition to a good seat in front of the screen. Especially when we’re talking a popular movie, in which case the line will stretch all the way down the street. I like to plop down on a grassy spot in line and nosh as well as fix up some cocktails and just chat with friends while I wait for the gates to open. Some people use this time to nap, play board games or even just catch up on some reading. Waiting ain’t all that bad.
Park on the street i.e. side streets from Gower to Van Ness to avoid the rush to exits in the cemetery at the end of the night.
Have your $10 in cash in hand. They say it’s a “$10 donation” to get in but really it’s mandatory.
Bring a headlamp or flashlight so that you can ably collect your belongings after the movie. Seems lots of people tend to leave their sunglasses and eyeglasses behind. It’s also handy to have one when you need to visit the porta-potty during the movie.
Bring a bottle of booze (your spirit of choice), cups, one mixer (cola or juice to keep it simple) and ice since alcohol is allowed here. People usually bring a low-maintenance bottle of wine, but that’s why cocktails are more special. I had friends bring pina colada Jello shots which were fun and tasty.
Have someone run ahead as soon as you pay your $10 at the gate to claim a good spot to view the movie. Works best if they don’t have to carry anything so they can run unimpeded and faster.
Set up a portable table on which to enjoy your picnic. So much nicer that way, especially if you’re on a romantic date or you want to set out a buffet for you and your friends. Some people even bring tea lights to set the mood.
Take an impromptu tour of the cemetery to kill time before the movie starts. You’ll find Mel Blanc and Johnny Ramone’s graves.
Forget to bring a blanket, a warm hat and a sweater/sweatshirt. It gets mighty chilly once the sun goes down.
Wear flip-flops. Or if you do, make sure to pack shoes and socks because after the movie the grass is usually very wet and who wants cold, wet feet?
Bring a tall chair. If your butt is higher than or as high as your knees it’s too tall and your neighbors will let you know.
Show up right before the movie starts and set up your tall chair. If you are going to come late, show your neighbors some courtesy and just sit on the ground. It’s too late for people to adjust to you. EstarLA and I got in a kerfuffle with some rude guys because of this. They didn’t move their seats even when everyone behind them heckled them (asking nicely at first didn’t help). Bastards.
Walk on the grass through the graveyard when going on your impromptu tour. The cemetery staff doesn’t like that. Just stick to the paths.
Continue to drink once the movie starts. You need to make sure you have plenty of time to sober up before it ends. There’s nowhere to hang out around the cemetery after the event, if you need to kill time.
Leave your trash. There are huge trash bins off the grass, on the road, opposite the mausoleum wall.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
6000 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90038 (map)