At Starlight Cinemas, cinephiles can get up close and personal with their favorite celebrities without worrying about security guards or the electric force field that keeps Ralph Macchio from aging. Two movie tickets grant you and a companion access to any 2-D or 3-D movie (subject to availability), projected in pristine HD digital in every auditorium. A large tub of popcorn fuels buttery snacking during trailers, and a free refill ensures patrons have snacks to eat during the feature or to toss over their shoulder during startling horror scenes. Though not valid with this Groupon, each theater is equipped with full concessions should you feel the urge for sodas, candy, or other popular cine-fare. Check Starlight Cinemas’ individual websites for current listings and showtimes.
As Karie Bible strides across Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the hem of her mourning gown absorbs dew from the gravesites of Douglas Fairbanks and Jayne Mansfield. She tours the cemetery for a living, leading groups to crypts and monuments that mark the remains of deceased celebrities. Whether recounting the legacy of actress Marion Davies or kneeling at the spike of grass that marks Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer's final resting place, she immerses tour-goers in Hollywood history. Each tour lasts about two hours and sheds light on cherished stars, as well as lesser-known entertainers and community members.
Amid the bustle of Hollywood Boulevard stand two monuments to the silver screen. One, the TCL Chinese Theatre, oozes with history— imported Chinese stone lions, a 90-foot-tall copper roof, and concrete blocks that bear the handprints of Hollywood luminaries from years gone by each memorialize the celebrated role the building has played in Hollywood for more than eight decades.
Next door, Chinese 6 Theatres is a tribute to the cutting-edge. Six theaters, some with 3D capability, immerse viewers in ultra-realistic picture and sound better than sitting inside Steven Spielberg's android brain. Beyond the plush theater seating, a bar slings cocktails for in-movie sipping and a restaurant serves a full menu for cravings after the show. The service schedule varies for the bar and the restaurant but both will be open during Summer 2013. Whether they opt for the historic cinema or the ultramodern theater, visitors can catch a full slate of acclaimed new releases on their chosen big screen.
The storied history of TCL Chinese Theatre rivals those of the more than 200 celebrities whose handprints, footprints, and autographs are cemented into the theater's forecourt. Erected in 1927 and declared a historical and cultural landmark in 1968, the iconic theater stages movie screenings, premieres, events, and red-carpet ceremonies. Today, moviegoers walking through the theater's main courtyard can revel in the same opulence of those 1920s screen idols, craning their necks upward to take in the looming pagoda that frames the entrance. Inside, the theater's original 1927 screen towers high above the plush red-velvet seats, surrounded by wooden panels that rise to a ceiling with flowing Chinese-style drawings. This classic Hollywood setting is one of the reasons why the theater, in an echo of its origins, hosts celebrity-studded premieres, such as the 2012 opening for Life of Pi and the 2013 opening for Beautiful Creatures.
Over the course of the summer, Street Food Cinema rolls out more than a dozen events that showcase the greatest hits of the silver screen and the LA food-truck scene. When the gates open, guests spread blankets on the grass, pop open coolers, and, when showings are at Exposition Park, even settle down with their dogs—the park is pet friendly and broadcasts canine subtitles for each film. Live bands presented by The Viper Room play until dusk, when crowd-pleasing movies such as Edward Scissorhands and Reality Bites slide across the big screen. Meanwhile, a rotating food-truck schedule assembles a diverse curbside lineup, which might include short ribs from Kogi Korean barbecue or the gooey delights of The Grilled Cheese Truck.
Street Food Cinema's eclectic assemblage of food, music, and films has picked up attention beyond the park's bounds, snagging mentions on NBC4 and in the Huffington Post's Broke Girls Guide. It's also become known for its philanthropic work: each year the organization supports one designated local charity.
Founded on the principle that movies work best as social experiences, The Cinefamily devotes itself to finding and sharing weird and wonderful films during limited-run screenings and one-off special events. Currently averaging 14 shows per week, the movie house enhances many screenings with celebrity appearances, live music performances, and social activities such as potlucks and snipe hunts. From the theater’s cushy seats and leather couches, guests can take in pristine views of horror films, cult classics, and even TV favorites. Past events have included a month-long film retrospective of Dennis Hopper’s illustrious acting career, a Czech film festival featuring a screening of the surrealist and ultimately banned Daisies, and a celebration of director John Cassavetes featuring appearances by his frequent collaborators Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara.