Drive down Santa Monica Boulevard on a Saturday afternoon during the summer and you may think George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" has become a reality. But, luckily for us all, the hundreds of souls milling around in front of the cemetery's gates aren't legions of undead, no matter how listless they look. (That's just from standing in the heat for hours.) They are, instead, braving the ever-lengthening line to participate in what's quickly become one of the most anticipated events of the L.A. summer: Movie screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Since 2002, the folks at Cinespia have been putting together a roster of flicks -- alternating between suspense, horror, and good ol' plain trash -- to project onto the wall of the cemetery's Cathedral Mausoleum, an expansive structure that houses the remains of silent star Rudolph Valentino, among others. But watching the movie is merely half of the fun. To complete the experience, movie-goers are instructed to bring a picnic blanket and all sorts of noshing treats to snack on during the show. So, to honor the final month of the 10th year of screenings, here are some food recommendations to complete the experience:
August 11th: "The Terminator"
Just as Kyle Reese and Ah-nold's Terminator are sent back in time to 1984 Los Angeles to track down Sarah Conner in James Cameron's opus, start your evening out by doing your own version of time traveling by dining in -- or, ideally, getting orders to go -- from one of L.A.'s oldest restaurants. While such favorites as the Pacific Dining Car and Musso & Frank's are on the list, it's tough to go wrong with a combination of the classic French dip sandwich and assortment of side dishes from Phillippe's.
August 18th: Films from Dusk to Dawn
Pack your sleeping bags and bring some caffeine for Cinespia's all-night trilogy of summer camp movies. The night begins with "Wet Hot American Summer" at 8:30 p.m., followed by the '80s horror classic "Sleepaway Camp" at midnight, and the Tatum O'Neal/Kristy McNichol virginity dramedy "Little Darlings" at some point after thereafter. (The whole thing's scheduled to go until 6 a.m., hence the previous recommendation of caffeine.) While you can't roast your own weenies at the cemetery, you're also not a teenager anymore. You're a gosh darn adult. Time to class up the summer camp favorite with a trip to Wurstkuche downtown. And then on the way to Hollywood, stop in to Scoops and see if they have any S'mores ice cream left.
August 25th: "The Birds"
Just in time for HBO's interpretation of Alfred Hitchcock's "complicated" relationship with leading lady Tippi Hedren in the movie "The Girl," here's a chance to see what their partnership led to with this classic tale of winged creatures taking the world back. As such, to show our feathered friends that we're keeping an eye on them, it's almost expected to cook up something chicken-based. Our own
recipe for Huli Huli Chicken or Thai BBQ Chicken with Sweet Chili Sauce are both perfect for the occasion.
September 1st: "Dirty Dancing"
Because I'm a sucker for a good pun, head on over to The Hollywood Corner beforehand.
September 2nd: "Scarface"
The season closes with a bang (hundreds of them, actually) with the extremely profane and violent story of Cuban refugee-turned-cartel-boss Tony Montana. Why not add a little seasoning onto your viewing experience with some Cuban food from El Cochinito in Silver Lake? While there's plenty of pork options -- the restaurant's icon is a pig's head, after all -- if you're not in the mood for eating things that once oinked, there's also seafood and vegetarian options. But while you're mulling over your choice, keep in mind: WWTMD?
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