LA’s one of those places where you’re always going to be able to find something to do. It’s so darn big, that there are huge concerts every night of the week; baseball, basketball, hockey, and soon a football team playing all the time; and, of course, all sorts of movie events. I mean, this is Hollywood.
Here are some of the things I like to get up to instead of lying around the house watching a marathon of bad reality tv…though that’s good too.
1. For the really starstruck:
“You’re from LA? Have you seen a celebrity?” I get asked this a lot. Yes, I have seen celebrities (Seeing Seth Rogen drop off his crap at the same thrift store where I was dropping off my crap made me insanely happy), but it doesn’t happen all that often, and it’s impossible to predict. You want to guarantee a celebrity sighting? Go to a movie premiere.
Movie premieres happen all the time in Los Angeles, often causing random road closures, traffic and frustration. BUT! They can also be really fun, and they’re free! You get to ogle the dresses, see celebrities deal with reporters (some better than others), and be amazed at how beautiful some of these people actually are. Wayyyy back in the day I went to the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring premiere, and let me tell you — Liv Tyler and Orlando Bloom are not of this planet. I’m pretty sure they just glow.
2. For the baseball enthusiasts:
A bunch of sports teams play in LA: Lakers, Kings, Clippers, Dodgers, and just a tad down the road, Angels. I’m sure going to the Staples Center to see any of those other teams play is great, but being outside on a warm, beautiful summer evening watching the Dodgers play in Chavez Ravine is pretty much heaven. You get to hear the legendary Vin Scully do a bit of announcing (he’s been with the team since they were in Brooklyn!), eat foot long Dodger dogs, drink expensive beer, see the sun set over the mountains, and maybe even go down on the field to watch a fireworks show if it’s the right night. Really, nothing better. Also, I’ve bought tickets for less than $5. Now we’re talking.
3. For the music lover:
The Hollywood Bowl is a huge, outdoor venue that hosts special concerts, spectaculars, while it is also the summer home of the LA Philharmonic. The best thing about the Bowl? Tickets are cheap, and you can bring in your own picnic. Grab a $10 seat, bring in a basket full of wine, cheese and bread, sit back and listen to the orchestra. Look at you being all classy. Well, unless you’re like me seeing Dolly Parton there. Then you’re just being straight up awesome.
And sometimes there’s some pretty great fireworks too, which is always a plus for me.
4. For the indoor movie watcher:
The New Bev is a tiny, one screen theater that’s kind of falling apart…but in the best way. The programming team there chooses some of the most interesting old movies to play as double features for a really reasonable $8. Sometimes there are talks by people involved in the films, sometimes there are special presentations by nearby film schools. And sometimes they just show good stuff like An American Tail with The Secret of NIMH. Or a showing of Gone with the Wind in all of its technicolor glory. Or the really cool seeming pairing of Stand by Me with the new movie The Kings of Summer that they have on this weekend.
Oh, and I may not be the biggest Tarantino fan, but he’s awesome for saving the New Bev from disappearing. To save it from going under, he bought the building it is in about 6 years ago saying, “As long as I’m alive, and as long as I’m rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm.” You’re awesome.
5. For the outdoor movie watcher:
And I saved one of my favorite things for last.
Does eating a picnic dinner before watching a great movie projected on the side of a mausoleum sound way too weird and creepy? Well. It’s not. It’s awesome.
Cinespia has been hosting screenings in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for more than ten years, and people line up for a long time beforehand to make sure they get in. Like the Hollywood Bowl, you’re allowed to bring in a full picnic, and, if you’re me and my friends, a whole lot of wine. After eating and listening to a DJ spin, the movie finally starts. Is there anything better than watching such classics as Easy Rider or Casablanca under the stars? Yes. Yes there is. It’s watching Peewee’s Big Adventure under the stars. Yeah. Now THAT is good.
And, even though it’s in a cemetery, it’s not creepy. It’s just not. You’re surrounded by a bunch of people who are relaxed and enjoying themselves. Best cemetery ever.
I gotta say, they’re playing Clueless this weekend and Some Like it Hot next weekend. Sounds like they’re gearing up for a really good summer.