Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Most Summersy Weekend

August is here and I realized on Friday that we have not once been to the beach this summer. We're not really beach people and we don't actually live close to the beach, but still this was shocking to me. What a shame, living in LA and all. The last time we went to the beach was probably last summer.

So we put on our bathing suits, packed our 50 spf sunscreen, slipped on our flipflops and headed west. We decided to go to Venice Beach, one of the more laid back of the LA beach communities. We took five freeways to get there. The 2, the 5, the 110, the 405 and finally the 90. After circling around for street parking we bit the bullet and paid $15 to park all day.

Aaah, the Venice boardwalk. If Berkeley were on the beach, this would be it. The smell of incense and pot. A few street performers and a few more drunkards. People riding their beach cruisers. People getting their first tattoo. It's all here. I sang the theme song to Three's Company as we walked, even though I know they lived in Santa Monica.

Mr. Octopus braved the yellow green water, as I watched from dry land. It felt good to be out in the sun. Small planes flew banners advertising the movie "Hot Rod." Indian people went into the water with their clothes on. A family of French tourists struggled for a half hour to put up a tent. We met up with some old friends at the Figtree Cafe and had a three hour lunch.

We pulled up to our driveway at 6pm, groggy from being in the sun all day. But there was no rest to be had because we were meeting friends at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for a screening of Pee Wee's Big Adventure. For anyone visiting LA in the summer, I highly recommend seeing a movie at the cemetery. They screen every Saturday, projecting the movies against the backside of the mausoleum. Bring your friends, blankets and booze and picnic as the sun goes down. If you want to take a walk, you can lay some flowers on Rudolph Valentino's grave or pay your respects to Cecil B. DeMille, Mel Blanc and Johnny Ramone.

The cool thing about going to a movie in LA is that you never know who you'll see. Take, for instance, Pee Wee himself. He walks the streets among us, but who knew he would be at the cemetery. The crowd went wild when the emcee introduced him. The crowd got on their feet, hooting and whistling, looking at each other thinking, no WAY. Pee Wee also brought out the ladies who played Dottie and Simone. The cemetery screens Pee Wee every year and the crowd had a lot of hard core Pee Wee fans. The kind of people who get up and dance Pee Wee style when the tequila dance scene comes on. You figured these people probably saw Pee Wee in the theater 20 some years ago in the theater, just like you.


creative-type dad said...

PW's Big Adventure is my favorite movie of all time.

Although, I'm not sure about braving the cemetery movies with my daughter these days. The last time we went I came out smelling like Dean Martin and Bob Marley

junebee said...

Pee Wee used to live in my neck of the woods. He was arrested on some pornography charge several years ago when he lived in Sarasota. Big Adventures rocks. Where else can you see Twisted Sister in a movie?

No bodybuilders on Venice Beach? Those were the days...

chanchow said...

CTD: There was definitely Dean Martin and Bob Marley in the air. Some folks brought along their kids, but the kids were like 8 years old. I don't think Big Adventure is a real kids movie. I liked it much better last week than when it first came out...

Junebee: I think the bodybuilders are still there. I just didn't see them. This past weekend, the Hare Krishnas were setting up for their annual Festival of Chariots along the boardwalk.