Many movie stars and directors of Hollywood’s golden era are buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Santa Monica Blvd, making it an appropriate outdoor location to screen old motion pictures. Hundreds of film geeks stand in line hours before the movie begins just so they can get a spot on the lawn to sprawl out their blankets (in some cases sleeping bags), hors d'oeuvres, desserts, and wine. Laughter and chitter chatter rule the air as the sun descends behind the palm trees, light turns to dark, and the movie begins. It almost reminds me of camping…without the tents, and the fire pits, and the fishing, and the kumbaya song. Camping Hollywood style.
My first time was in May. I went to the Vertigo showing because I have a special affection for Hitchcock (I love being Hitchcock characters for Halloween.) Of course I had seen the film before, but I think the experience of watching with a big crowd is dramatically different than watching alone sick in bed. The crowd’s reaction to James Stewart’s misogynistic mission made the film more fun and campy than the first time around. I wasn’t taking it so seriously, but found myself entrenched in the surrounding spirit of amusement. It wasn’t the same as seeing a movie with the silent focused film lovers at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto; the Hollywood Forever gathering was light and to my surprise unifying. Everyone was laughing at the melodrama together.
On Saturday, I went for the second time to see a 1980 sci-fi super hero B film titled Flash Gordon. It was a poor man’s Star Wars meets Spanish soap opera. Nothing about this film wasn’t cheesy which made this audience even more vocal with their chuckles and comments than the Vertigo crowd. My friend Sarah and I joked throughout the movie as Flash fought some aliens that didn’t look like aleins at all but instead were costumed in ancient Greek armor. I’m sure he won, but I can’t say that I actually remember the final battle or if he ended up with the frizzy haired heroine in the white skirt suit. All I remember was the comic connection I felt in a cemetery with a huge group of strangers over a dim-witted adventure flick that I don‘t even think has a cult following. It surely wasn't the movie that brought me out that night...it was the draw of having a few hours of connection in the city of Los Angeles where that doesn't happen as often as it should. I can’t wait to go again.
MY 1st VISIT TO SUMMER FILMS AT THE CEMETERY:
James Stewart and Kim Novak
Sarah and I in May.
2nd VISIT TO FILMS IN THE CEMETERY:
Sam J.Jones starring as Flash (Jones went directly into gay porn after this film...with his acting chops this doesn't surprise me.)
Apparel: red and blue checkered sleeveless blouse from Urban Outfitters, high-waisted pink trousers from Zara, camel colored oxfords, vintage thrifted camel colored braided leather belt, vintage cherry red wicker long strapped purse.
Close-up of my vintage red wicker purse.
Sarah and I last weekend (July).
With the disappearance of the sun, I pulled on a blue floral vintage thrifted sweater I bought last year at the $3.99 Store in Westwood (went out of business.)