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Watching Movies with Cinespia's John Wyatt

June 25, 2010 -- Officially speaking, summer began on Monday of this week. But for me, it didn't really feel like my favorite season began until last night!

As you may recall, last summer I went to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to interview John Wyatt, the guy who started the wonderful outdoor film program there called Cinespia. At the time, John mentioned that every now and then he does a little mini-Cinespia in his backyard and asked if I'd like to come. That was a no-brainer. Movies? Outdoors? Picnics? I'm in.

So I was very excited to receive an invitation from John recently for his 3rd annual film salon. The hubby and I packed up a blanket and a bottle of our favorite wine and headed for Mt. Washington to John's house.

We were greeted by some truly amazing views of Los Angeles from the hills and the faint strains of some groovy tunes. When we got to the backyard, sure enough, it looked like a much smaller version of Cinespia with fewer headstones. We managed to snag one of the few free spots left, next to a really nice lady who offered us some of her donuts.

As the night sky grew dark, John stood up in front of the screen and introduced the night's films. Most of them were very psychedelic short flicks from the 60s and 70s. I particularly enjoyed an animated one from a CalArts student in the 1970s, which I believe was called "Flowing Flesh." It was incredibly trippy, borderline X-rated in the oddest of ways and definitely made me wonder what exactly was going down in Valencia back then. ...

My favorite part of the evening though was the live music. Many of the films came with no audio, so we were treated to live performances by Paul Livingstone on sitar and Khal Moore on tabla. Astounding stuff!

If all this gives you a hankering to watch movies outside, you are in luck. Tonight, they're hosting a sing-a-long with "Grease" at the Hollywood Bowl. And tomorrow night, they're showing "Midnight Cowboy" at Cinespia. Should be a good time!