Monday, July 03, 2006

blogger meetup: death in the valley; meet me at the cemetery gates.

saturday morning was an unlikely meeting of food bloggers, at a very unfoodie location: the fox and hounds pub in studio city, to watch the world cup quarterfinal match between england and portugal. the delicious life's sarah, akatsuki talks rot's bramble and her partner, P, and i met up (immaeatchu's yoony was to join, but she went on to another pub), not to eat, but to ostensibly cheer on england to victory.

well as much as one can at 7.30 am on a sunny saturday in the san fernando valley, where temperatures were already somewhere in the nineties. i believe we all sort of lugged ourselves over there--my beloved swedish vehicle certainly didn't help as it employs a freon-free air conditioning system, which is to say, there are hamsters behind the vents that blow hot hamster breath out to us. no parking, of course (and absolutely no desire to take photos, either). the brambles made their way in, but delicious sarah and i were somewhat taken aback by the all-too-authentic setting of the fox and hounds--the windows were black out, the bar was heaving, the walls were dripping with sweat and ale, and there were far too many people with their faces painted red and white. actually, there were far too many people, full stop--if the pub normally holds 100, there were certainly 250 300 there. the publican, a typically expat sort of ray winstone/robert palmer hybrid who you absolutely know wears speedos at the beach, stood watch for the the fire marshal and turned people away. we were stuck in the doorway as literally the last people in, but the heat, the sweat, the fact that our noses were at armpit level of many of the heated, sweaty punters forced us out onto the sidewalk of ventura boulevard before the match even started. of course, sexy beast immediately stood guard and refused to let us back in, so whilst the brambles were stuck in, we were put out.

by rights, though, that's how it really should have been, for as far as footy goes, ms. delicious and i aren't exactly on the same level as the others who had made their way into the fox and hounds. on the scale of devotion, bramble would be at the head of the table, i would be somewhere down in the middle, and sarah somewhere further below. to be fair, though, i think sarah's and my enthusiasm is relatively high considering our interest in the game--hey we showed up at blinking 8 am, didn't we? still, i think bramble was more than horrified when we started discussing the fashionability of the st. george's cross/english flag motif of the team's world cup kit over the union jack (soooo much nicer, don't you agree?).

©2006 bbc

the valley sun was high overhead, the hole in the ozone layer opening wider by the minute, and ms. delicious and i were melting like the wicked witches of the west we probably are. so, bad footie fans that we are, we slipped out for a bit down the street at the 101, where it was blessedly cool and we restored our good humour with a good round of breakfast.

photographing the photographer

and thoroughly refreshed, we made our way back to the pub, where our high spirits were definitely exclusive to us as apparently the match wasn't going well. nil-nil score, both teams playing rather badly, and key players had been sent off. we slipped in as sexy beast was complaining about two rabid portuguese fans and we were determined to cheer england on to victory.

which, as you know, didna happen. one minute there was absolute joy and hope, and the next silence and tears. in the midst of the crashing disappointment someone quietly said, "it's all over, love" and it was. oh, england! oh, studio city! never have i seen old men and young women weeping in such commiseration before, people so openly stunned and weakened they leaned against the (still sweaty) walls, and crumpled to the floor. my heart, it went out to them, but, but, but....these were english footy fans, surely they were no strangers to disappointment?? i felt cruel stepping over the heaving, inconsolable latino lad who was in a foetal position on the floor, but um, i really needed the loo.

©2006 itv

and i felt the disappointment, i really did, as even though i really knew it would be a difficult road for england to victory, i did think they were in there with a chance. i know the players, i know it was a good(ish) team, i was shocked with the send-off of owen and rooney, and when captain david beckham threw up, i threw up a little. and when he cried, i cried a little. (and when victoria beckham cried...i threw up a little too)


bigsby douglas fairbanks memorial johnny ramone

later, in the evening, i met mike, maria and baby blogger from franklin avenue at hollywood forever, which used to be known as hollywood memorial park. it's a cemetery, yes, and no, we weren't there to bury the hope of england. hollywood forever is the final resting place of such movieland luminaries as rudolph valentino, douglas fairbanks (both senior and junior), peter finch, mel blanc, tyrone power, and um, johnny ramone. it is also where every saturday night during summer months cinespia hosts screenings of classic movies along the wall of one of the mausoleums. we packed up a light picnic and a blanket to sit on, and joined some 1000+ other movie fans/ex-goths/current hipsters/people who didn't leave the city for the long weekend on the lawn in front of the mausoleum (only one crypt in the way, and no, you don't sit on any graves).

hollywood forever summer movies

it was, rather surprisingly, a lot more fun than i had anticipated. we arrived at 7pm and saw that the lawn in front of the cemetery was already filled with people waiting in a strange concentric spirally line (get into the middle of the fray to get to the end of the line--i know it sounds weird but it works), and cars were lined up in the middle of santa monica blvd, waiting for the gates to open at 7.30pm. we opted to park on one of the side streets (gower or van ness), and schlep over to the lawn; this turned out to be the better decision as not only was it easier to leave at the end, we also made friends with other people in the line with whom we ended up sharing cocktails and cakes. the crowd is relatively young and hipsterish, but incredibly laid back and committed to the whole endeavour; everyone i've met who was been to one is a regular, and no one shirks the $10 "donation" cinespia asks for at the gate.

hollywood forever summer movies screening

the movie that night was "dr. strangelove or: how i learned to stop worrying and love the bomb", which i had never seen before, but apparently a good portion of the people around me had, as they were reciting lines and talking back to the screen, much like a midnight showing of "the rocky horror picture show". if you're truly horrified by rustling sweets wrappers and muttering in movie theaters, this may not be the place for you, but for the most part, everyone is relatively quiet and really there to watch the movie. the sound is fairly good, as are the sight lines (beware the back of the lawn, however, as there is a slope to it), and the choice of movies excellent. a great way to spend a summer saturday night.

did i feel like i was desecrating sacred ground? um. a little. did i think it was a travesty? no. i figure, if someone is buried in hollywood forever, the name pretty much tells you what the place is about: not only all the glitz and glamour, but the invasion of privacy, and the throngs of dedicated fans. for eternity. the audience is still watching.

hollywood forever at night

some tips:

--arrive early as there can be a significant crowd. people and cars start lining up around 6.30pm the gates open at 7.30pm. parking along the side streets of gower and van ness is usually available.

--wear comfortable shoes and clothing. bring a sweater or jacket as it can get chilly at night; as the summer progresses into autumn, the nights will get colder, so you may even want to bring a blanket. bring a blanket, towel, or low beach chair to sit in/on (no "high" chairs are allowed).

--there are restrooms available on the grounds, but no food concessions. schlepping of goods is inevitable, so don't weigh yourself down with too many things unless you know you can park on the grounds.

hollywood forever cemetery
6000 santa monica boulevard, between gower and van ness

summer cemetery screenings schedule at cinespia

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

santo-liciou-s! despite the 350 degree temperature in the valley, i had a fab time (i guess now it's no secret that we weren't just "down the street" when they called - LOL!) AND WHAT WAS UP WITH ALL THE DAMN CRYING!! soccer is so melodramatic.

can't wait to play again!