Sunday, August 13, 2006

My favorite thing to do in Los Angeles... going to the Cinespia cemetery screenings.

Held every Saturday night at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Cinespia is an outdoor film screening series/massive picnic. Basically, a few hundred folks get together around 7:30 and eat tacos/goat cheese/grapes/fried chicken/whatever, get drunk on cheap beer and wine and enjoy the collective contact-high from tons of, ahem, hand-rolled cigarettes, listen to catchy music from a great DJ and then, at 9, the movie begins, projected onto the side of a giant mausoleum.

These movies run the gamut, from "Psycho" to "Repo Man," "Manhattan" to "Dressed To Kill," "A Place in the Sun" to "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure," "Over the Edge" to "Chinatown," and so on...

It's a film-lovers paradise, and for the those that criticize Los Angeles for having no sense of community, it's a perfect example of a diverse group of people unifying over two simple things: picnics and great flicks.'s in one of the most historic, eye-opening cemeteries in America. That, I think, is the most unique aspect of Cinespia--it manages to transform a cemetery into a vital, public space. The United States, which I believe has an overt fear of death--quite different from the rest of the world, where death is more openly discussed, seen as part of a natural cycle, and therefore not a paralysis-inducing concept--seldom uses cemeteries for much other than, well, funerals.

It's funny to me that the most communal activity I've taken part in while in Los Angeles is in a cemetery. And it's inspiring to me that the thing that brings these people together is good movies (and the occasional so-bad-it's-good movie).

Stop by if you're in town...this coming Saturday they're showing "The Searchers"...!