Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars @ Sunnyside Cemetery

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Watching movies in a cemetery is definitely my new favorite thing to do during the summer. If you're in LA, you've no doubt heard of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. What was once just a resting place for the Hollywood elite is now a concert venue and summertime gathering spot. While the spot is cool and the movie selection is pretty great, the biggest problem I've always had with movies at Hollywood Forever is how crowded it always is. The cemetery opens to the public for event at 1 pm and it's obvious people camp out there all day. They come with a whole blanket/pillow/beach chair set up and there is yoga going on in the front row. As much as I dig on Hollywood Forever, it's not somewhere I want to just hang out at for six hours before a movie even starts. It was this problem that lead me to an awesome alternative.

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Say hello to Sunnyside Cemetery in Long Beach, CA. No, it's not as convenient of a drive if you live in LA as Hollywood, and no, the grounds are not kept up as beautifully, but I would definitely rather go to Sunnyside than Hollywood Forever. Sunnyside is a much smaller spot than Hollywood Forever, but you have pretty much the whole cemetery to work with, rather than a few patches of lawn that everyone must squish into. It doesn't get anywhere near as crowded, so you can show up only 45 mins before the movie starts, grab some food on site, and still get a really good seat. There are also trees to lean up against which saved my back after an hour.

While Hollywood Forever has a pretty epic movie schedule (last time I went, it was a Carrie right before Halloween and included a prom-style photobooth which dripped "blood"), Sunnyside is definitely stepping up their movie game. My first night, I saw Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. My heart still aches without David Bowie around and I was definitely in the mood for some Ziggy Stardust action. It's a smaller, community-run program, but with Hollywood Forever getting so crowded, I wouldn't be surprised if more and more people start going to Sunnyside to escape the mob of people.

 

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Location: Long Beach, CA

Photographer: Nathan Jelenich