One of the first signs of summer in LA is the return of Cinespia, the cult movie viewing picnic party at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Movie fans from all over the city of angels flock to watch their favorite films together, spread out on blankets and lawn chairs on balmy LA summer nights. Seasoned veterans of the event arrive hours early and stake out a spot in line to ensure a good seat. With themed photo booths and various DJs spinning after the show, Cinespia is a summer must-do, again and again.
Last weekend we christened the beginning of Cinespia season with Clueless, the endlessly quotable, neon fashion pop classic by Amy Heckerling. Alexei and I arrived at 3pm, doors opened at 7, and the movie started at 8:30, just after sunset. But what exactly makes a perfect Cinespia night?
This may be the most integral part of Cinespia. Wine is my personal drink of choice (for pretty much anything), but you can bring beer too. (Cinespia says, no spirits.) Bring some water for later in the evening, or a sparkling juice if alcohol isn’t your thing. If you do imbibe, make sure you bring at least a bottle or two, enough plastic cups, and don’t forget your wine key!
All that wine drinking is going to leave you sleepy and hungry before long, especially if you snag an early spot in line. I brought this arugula and broccoli salad from Cookie + Kate, a tortellini pasta salad from She Cooks, She Gardens, my favorite caramelized onion dip, and some slightly sloppy pink lemonade bars. Cinespia is definitely a potluck-style event, so everyone brought a little something, whether it was Nutella stuffed cookies (see below), a treat from Trader Joe’s or some fresh farmers’ market fruit!
I can’t reiterate this enough. While they’re an obvious necessity for sitting, they also come in handy later down the line. When you start your night at 3pm in the hot sun, you might forget that the city cools down later. Blankets (and sweaters) will keep you warm and happily buzzed as the film winds down.
There were some killer cookies and truffles made by two of my more talented baker friends, Jodi and Shelby. Nutella-stuffed cookies, biscoff cookie butter truffles, and chocolate chip, marshmallow, cornflake brittle momofuku cookies…. Yeah. I think I gained about five pounds in one night, and it was completely worth it.
The fact is, if you want to sit closer to the front you’ll have to get there early. Pass the time with your favorite games. We brought Settlers of Catan, Ticket To Ride, and everyone’s favorite party game for horrible people, Cards Against Humanity.
If you live in the LA area or will be visiting this summer, definitely take a look at what’s coming next: Some Like It Hot, Pulp Fiction, The Princess Bride, and more. You can also take a peek at some of the crazy Clueless outfits worn last weekend – see if you can spot our group!
For more about Cinespia, how to plan and what’s coming up next, check out their official website.