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Arts and Entertainment

A Guide To Mastering Hollywood Forever's Cinespia Movie Nights

Make sure you do it right when you go to a Cinespia screening (Photo by Rachel via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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The outdoor movie screening season is nearing an end, but if you haven't made your way out to Cinespia—L.A.'s most popular series held at the Hollywood Forever cemetery this summer—you still have some time. (There are tickets still available for the last screening on September 19 for classic scary flick Carrie.) You might as well know all the ins and outs of picnicking and packing like a pro. We present to you tips on mastering Cinespia's movie nights so you can bring your A-game the next time you go.

Yes, the long line snakes around the main gate and then down the street (Photo by vmiramontes via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
There will be a long wait. Rolling up to the area, you'll find what seems to be an endless line of people which goes on for eternity. (Literally? Because cemetery.) The line starts to form about three hours before doors open, and goes blocks down Santa Monica Boulevard. Bring patience, and ice packs to keep your wine and brewskies cool. Make sure to pre-purchase your tickets online so you can easily just print them and get in without a hassle. It's a general rule of thumb to buy these in advance because they often sell out.

There is on-site parking. If you don't Uber or bike over to Hollywood Forever (which we highly suggest you do if you can), just know there's on-site parking available. The luxury of just moseying on inside the venue without standing is line is offered to you if you purchase parking passes online for $15 when you buy your movie tickets. This is something you'd have to do ahead of time because these parking spots also can sell out. The only thing is that you won't be able to get into the on-site lot until doors open, so you might be stuck in a long line of cars waiting to get in. Again, patience is required, and rest assured, you will get in eventually. Also, make sure that ALL of your passengers have screening tickets (if the show is sold out), or the Hollywood Forever folks won't let you park inside. Alternatively, you can always try your luck at the parking structures nearby at the Hollywood Production Center Lot at 1149 N. Gower and the Paramount Parking structure 801 N. Gower for $10.

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Spread out those blankets to claim your spot! (Photo by Annie Lesser/LAist)
There will be plenty of room to set up. But that doesn't mean every seat will be good, which is why many get there early and stake out spots. Just make sure you don't get stuck behind a huge tree. Feel free to bring out blankets to stake out your spot on the grounds' lush lawn, and also pillows and low lawn chairs for extra-level comfort. Do not, however, be the guy who brings a tall lawn chair and ruins everyone's view during the screening. If for some reason you forgot to bring a tarp or blanket to sit on, you can purchase one at the Cinespia store on site. It won't come cheap but it can be your expensive souvenir from the night that you can always remember the night by.

There are port-o-potties. Don't worry if you guzzle too much wine and have to break the seal. There are port-o-potties on site, a long line of them, in fact, and also foot-pumped hand-washing stations.

There are smoking sections. Fear not about not getting to take a smoking break, though don't smoke where you're picnicking. You'll have to go to the cemetery's designated smoking areas to do so. One is on your way to the port-o-potties.

Picnic like a pro. Don't count on Cinespia to keep you sated, though the last time we went they had a vendor selling kettle corn. You'll soon realize the kettle corn won't be enough for you as you gaze longingly at everyone else' hardcore picnic spreads. Trader Joe's is your best best for cheeses, dips, salami slices, and those cute little toasts. Bring beer and wine (don't forget the wine/bottle opener), and some cups—maybe even those plastic wine glasses so you feel extra fancy. If you want to really feel like a pro, bring one of those short, wooden tables to lay your spread out. Half of the fun of Cinespia is eating and drinking like a glutton with friends.

Folks got a 'Save Ferris' backdrop for the 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' screening at Cinespia (Photo by Annie Lesser/LAist)
Stay entertained while you wait. If you're there extra early, you can entertain yourself by listening to the DJ spin tunes or wait in another long line to take photos at Cinespia's photobooth, which is usually decorated to the T to go along with whatever movie's showing. Show up in costume if you're a hardcore fan—it'll make for an envious Facebook cover photo.

Bring a jacket or a blanket. Bring socks even. We're always freezing by the end of the night even if it's a scorcher during the daytime.

Avoid the mass exodus after the screening. Stick around for a dance party after the movie ends. The DJ will keep spinning after the event, too. Here's your second chance to take a photo at the photobooth, too, if you missed it before the screening.

For more information about Cinespia, visit their website here Hollywood Forever is located at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. Tickets are $15 for general admission.

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Jen Carlson contributed to this article.

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