The hush that falls over those gathered at Hollywood Forever Cemetery isn’t just a sign of respect for the dead. On select evenings, it signals that a blockbuster movie screening is beginning.
The cemetery movie series is an unexpected-yet-perfect way to pay tribute to legends like Rudolph Valentino and John Huston. “You’re literally a few feet from someone who has worked on these movies,” says Cinespia series cofounder John Wyatt.
Even as drive-ins have declined, a new breed of outdoor movie theaters has been expanding across the U.S., cropping up in cemeteries, parks, even on rooftops. It’s become a modern summer ritual to head to an open-air theater and stake out a prime viewing spot before sunset—whether for a date night or girls’ night. Often the appeal is less about the movie itself than about the chance to get together and enjoy a beautiful setting on a balmy evening.
“A huge majority of the audience is coming for the experience,” says Ethan Lercher of the Bryant Park Corporation, which runs the free HBO Bryant Park film festival in New York City. “The whole idea is that you talk to your neighbors.”
For serious movie buffs, an outdoor theater provides the rare opportunity to watch a classic on a big screen. Unlike cookie-cutter multiplexes, these theaters have a nostalgic allure that recalls the 1960s, when America’s love affair with the movies was still a budding romance. “These outdoor screenings are reminiscent of the drive-ins that baby boomers grew up with,” explains Tom Boss, who cofounded the Bay Area’s Film Night. In Minneapolis, the Summer Music & Movies program travels back even further to the earliest days of the silver screen, presenting silent films with a live musical accompaniment.
But outdoor movie screenings aren’t just about old-time Hollywood. They can be forward-looking and bring fresh life to city neighborhoods. The NoMa SummerScreen festival launched in 2008 as part of a development and revitalization initiative in D.C., complete with trendy barbecue and gelato trucks. Each season follows a theme, and 2011 will represents trains through films ranging from Some Like It Hot to Slumdog Millionaire.
It just wouldn’t be summer without the thrills of a Hollywood hit combined with the pleasure of soaking up the outdoors at one of these alfresco movie theaters.
An early taste of summer is expected to return to a large part of the eastern United States in the final days of April.
Heavy rain will crawl across the southeastern United States through Monday with parts of the Carolinas bracing for major flooding.
Rain continued to plague NASCAR drivers and fans at Bristol, Tennessee, on Sunday as officials were forced to postpone the Food City 500 to Monday.
Following significant rainfall in Florida on Sunday, a spell of dry weather will threaten to worsen drought conditions and exacerbate brush fires plaguing the state.
Warmer and dry weather will return to southern Germany early this week for Springfest Frühlingsfest 2017.
Rain causing flooding in the Carolinas into Monday night will also put many outdoor plans in jeopardy in the Northeast through the first half of this week.
The March for Science at the National Mall attracted thousands to share their views about the current political climate despite rainy conditions.