classic film events photography

Misadventures in Hollywood

Last night, Cinespia kicked off their annual summer season of cemetery screenings by showing Victor Fleming’s beloved classic, The Wizard of Oz. A group of friends and I had planned to go up and make a night of it–we had our picnic baskets packed, blankets loaded up, etc. and got on the road early to beat LA traffic. Operation Wizard of Oz at Hollywood Forever turned out to be an epic failure! We got up there with plenty of time to spare. Gates opened at 7, movie started at 8:30. So we decided to check out this vegan taco place on Melrose—their tacos were amazing. Then we sat in traffic on Santa Monica for about 30 mins. Everyone and their mother was trying to go to the screening. People were turning back blocks from the gates. People walking along the street told us it was hopeless and that the line was around the block. They weren’t kidding. The standing line was literally about a 1/2 mile long. There was no way we’d make it in. I’ve been to Cinespia a few times and I’ve never seen the line that long. We determined that it was probably a combination of the film and the fact that it was opening night for the season.

So, we ditched it for plan B: Griffith Observatory. Then half-way there we ditched that for plan C: movie at the Arclight. But when we got there and saw there were no seats for Robin Hood and it was $16 a ticket, we said “screw this,” and drove back home to drink wine and watch Pan’s Labyrinth. FAIL, LA.

But we did pass by the Church of Scientology—not the recruitment center on Hollywood Blvd, the actual celebrity mecca on Sunset. It looks like a big indigo prison/fortress. I bet they torture their cult victims inside. Once you’re in, you never leave.

Our misadventure did provide some opportunities for photography, though.  I’m on a Photo 365 quest to take at least one photo every day for an entire year in order to improve my photography skills.  Luckily, LA is quite an interesting town to photograph.  Here are some of the shots I got last night.

Downtown LA

The Hollywood sign from atop the Arclight parking structure

“carnitas” from Pure Luck on Melrose


Kendra has been the weblady at since 2007. She lives in Yorkshire and is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, and co-author of Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies (Running Press). Follow her on Twitter @kendrajbean, Instagram at @vivandlarrygram, or at her official website.

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Comments (5)

  1. Girl! You need to check in with me before planning these excursions. The cemetery screenings, particularly opening of the season, is always at capacity. You need to get in line by 5-ish to get good a good place in line. Re: the Scientology center, the restaurant on Franklin is a scene. They have the occasional Sunday brunch and will take you on a facility tour if you’re interested. It’s kinda creepy but fun, if you’re into that sort of thing.

  2. If the scientology center is the place you can never get out, then the arclight is the place you can never get in – at least not after the film starts. In ’08 during one of my recent visits out there, I had a ticket for a screening of “Hancock”, but I couldn’t get in because I was a couple of minutes late.

  3. Oh really? I remember driving all the way up there to see There Will Be Blood on opening night and it was sold out, so we had to see Sweeny Todd instead and I felt let down in so many ways. Boo, Arclight.

  4. yeah, I just wanted to see a movie in the Cinerama Dome – any movie. I finally got around to doing that in December of 2008, when “Benjamin Button” was playing in the Dome. It was a cool experience to be in the theater, but I didn’t care for the movie. Oh well.

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