Outdoor Movies – No longer a thing of the past

There is something significant about watching a movie outside.  It’s the romance of warm weather, significant talent on-screen, and good company that creates an experience to remember.  When living in San Diego, Chris and I were frequent visitors of South Bay Drive-In.  A true 50’s drive-in with 3 screens, concession stands, and everything but the sound box (as most modern drive-ins now broadcast on the radio).  $7 per person would get you access to 1 or 3 movies if you could make it that long and you enjoyed them in the comfort of your car or truck.  Add memory foam, pillows, and blankets to the back of a 4Runner and you have prime-time seats.  Not to mention the fact that you can bring your own food! No shoving outside drinks, candy, or dinner into your purse and smuggling the fragrance past the movie clerk.

Now in Santa Monica, I find myself longing for our drive-in ritual, however the only theater I have been able to hunt down is quite a journey.  If you live anywhere near Pasadena, Altadena, Monrovia, this puppy is in your back yard.  Pacific Vineland Drive-In hosts 4 screens, with 2 showings a night.

When all else fails you must find new resources.  I stumbled upon Cinespia, cemetery screenings every Saturday evening, all summer long — held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary.  The cemetery, founded in 1899, is resting place to some of Hollywood’s once and still great names of studio founders, writers, directors, and performers.  Cinespia is on their 10th summer season (May to October) of screening films cemetery.

Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Spot on the hill is good, if all the front seating is taken!
Screening of The Sting

Saturday’s screening was of The Sting, a 1973 con-man comedy, starring Paul Newman & Robert Redford.  Based in 1930’s Chicago, a young con-man seeks revenge for the murder of his partner, teaming up with a mastermind to pull of the biggest con in time.

The Details: Doors open at 7, movie starts at 8:30pm and a DJ spins records before and after the show.  The best part is the event is BYOBE (bring your own booze and eats).  Wine, beer, spirits you name it.  A complete picnic  — finger food, wine, the outdoors, great music and good films — something you normally cannot create anywhere, as limitations typically apply (laws).  Get there as early as 6:15 if you want to sit up close, as a line forms outside the cemetery.  Drinking, eating, and picnicking in line is allowed!

The Line

The Cinespia  screening and picnic inspired me to design a delicious and quite memorable feast to go along with the occasion.

Melon & Prosciutto
  • Sharp Austrian Cheddar Cheese, Manchengo, Genoa Salami, and mixed olives
  • Melon & Prosciutto
  • Tri-Tip Sandwiches with Carmelized Onions, Blue Cheese & Roasted Red Pepper Dressing
  • Gourmet Buffalo Wings
  • Wine: Menage Trios a red blend by the Folie a Deux Winery in Napa Valley

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  • Address: Hollywood Forever Cemetery 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard Hollywood, CA, 90038
  • Cost: $10 (mandatory) donation at the door
  • Parking: $5 to park in the cemetery, street parking hard to come by (located 1 block from the 704 and 4 bus lines)

Do you have other picnic food ideas or recipes?  Fill me in!

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