Friday, April 27, 2012

TCM Classic Film Festival 2012--Pre-Festival Update

I was hoping to get this year's TCM Classic Film Festival recap up in a more timely manner than last year's.  I was hoping to get it posted by the end of last week, but as per usual, time got away from me.  However, I did spend my return flight typing up an overview of events from my time in Los Angeles and managed to type 4 whole pages (single spaced!) and only got up to Friday morning, so here's a fair warning these posts are probably going to be quite long and here's another warning, I got to LA the Sunday before the festival so this particular post will probably mostly be a lead up to the festival and not quite day one of the festival.  So as Mario in Mario Kart would say: "Here we go!"

TCM was very kind to me this year and scheduled the festival during Spring Break at the school where I've been working, so when they announced the dates I thought I'd try to extend my time in LA.  A little sidenote, I've been contemplating moving back to LA in the near-ish future so I figured I could also use this trip to maybe look at apartments, scope out the job scene for teachers and spend time reconnecting with friends.  I decided to spend 9 days in LA, which would give me lots of time to sort things out.  The timing also meant that my mother could finally check out the festival (she's a teacher too and had Spring Break the same week as me).  My mom isn't a huge classic movie fan, but she's been getting more and more interested.  We went to the Casablanca screening here a couple of weeks ago and she occasionally joins me in watching a classic movie at the house every once in awhile, so far we've watched Sabrina, Bringing Up Baby and Charade.  And I think after this experience she may be more willing to be my classic movie watching buddy.
Beautiful LA palm trees

So yes, 9 days in LA, we flew out there on Sunday and I flew back the following Tuesday (my mom left a couple of days earlier, she was far more responsible and went back in time to go to work on Monday).  I was looking forward to all of this extra time, but apparently the cold/allergy/congestion gods had a different plan.  On Saturday night/Sunday morning I was struck down by an unbelievable congestion situation, so very stuffed up.  During the landing I thought my head was going to explode, my ears stayed clogged for about 3 and 1/2 days, tissues, nose spray and Advil were my only allies!  I tried my best to get to everything I had hoped and planned, but I just didn't feel up to everything and I certainly didn't want to get any of my friends sick.  So everything just kind of happened a bit slower than anticipated.

Our rental car (just kidding)
To begin with, we had our first celebrity spotting on the plane.  Marilu Henner was in first class and periodically came to coach to check on her son or loved one.  So that was fun.  When we landed on Sunday we collected our rental car (which you can see to the left, not really, there was a collection of "Transformer" cars down Hollywood Blvd.) and made our way to Hollywood, checked into the hotel and I ended up showing my mom the lay of the land.  We walked to all of the theaters that we would soon be spending all of our time in and we also made our way over to the Roosevelt Hotel to see what it looks like before it gets Club TCM-ified.  It kind of just looks like any other hotel lobby, but still nice.  We ended up having dinner at Mel's Drive-in, which was lovely.
Not my picture of Amoeba
On Monday morning we discovered that many museums and other attractions are most definitely closed on Mondays, these include, the Hollywood Heritage Museum, the Getty Museum and the Griffith Observatory, to name a few.  So we ended up having a very relaxing Monday with lunch at CPK followed by hours of DVD and CD browsing at the fabulous Amoeba Music.  I managed to score Penny Serenade, Amazing Adventure and A Star is Born for only $9, sweet!  Then we drove around my old neighborhood to see if any apartments were for rent.  It was kind of nice to just drive around the old neighborhood and take it easy.  On the way back to the hotel we picked up Chick-Fil-A (which needs to make it's way over to the east coast) and relaxed in the hotel room and watched Men in Black, which was on HBO.  I hadn't seen that movie in forever and don't remember Vincent D'Onofrio being so humorous, but he's awesome so I shouldn't be surprised.

Van Gogh's Irises
On Tuesday we finally made it to The Getty Museum.  There are a handful of museums/tourist-y things that I never got around to when I lived in LA and the Getty Museum is one of them.  It is a gorgeous museum that is pretty much a work of art itself; just look at those beautiful steps and that building.  We ended up doing the self -guided tour with an iPod and headsets and got to learn a lot about the collections at the Getty.  But we also discovered that you can't have too many conversations or discussions while using those headsets, you spend too much time either yelling to get the other person's attention or you're constantly saying what to each other, we may have been better off without them. Anyway, we saw some great works of art and there was an amazing Herb Ritts exhibit.  His work is so interesting and very memorable, They showed music videos of his from the 90s, such as, Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Games' and Janet Jackson's 'Love Will Never Do Without You.'  They didn't allow pictures in there, but here are some suitable for work photographs from the Getty website.  And some other pictures of the spectacular views from the museum.

From Getty
From Getty
From my camera :)
From my camera :)

A picture of Hollywood and Highland, instead of the Kodak :)
After the Getty we headed back to Hollywood and got ourselves ready for the Cirque De Soliel show: Iris!  After seeing the performance on the Oscars, finding out that it was film-themed and after realizing that the Kodak theater was very close to our hotel we decided to buy tickets.  It was marvelous!  Very impressive, I can not believe how these performers are able to do those things with their bodies and it makes me feel guilty that my wrists hurt after doing yoga for about a half an hour! Afterwards I couldn't decide what my favorite part was, it was possibly the two man rope aerial segment, or maybe the contortionists or the trampoline routine that reminded me of West Side Story, I don't think it's possible to have a favorite part, everything was amazing.  I recommend the show to anyone who has the opportunity to see it, and I'd love to make an effort to see some more Cirque shows if I can.

Just a little aside; something that made me giggle.  I was seated next to an older gentleman and before the show started he asked me where I was from, if I had ever been to LA before, you know the usual small talk questions and I told him that I was from NY, visiting LA, but had lived in LA for a number of years.  He asked me why I was visiting, so I told him I was there for the TCM Classic Film Festival, he then asked me if I played any instruments.  Now I ask you, my readers, do you think this was a non-sequitor or do you think he thought I said something about Classical Music?  I wasn't sure, so I answered by saying that I played violin in elementary school, but that I was there for a film festival and he just nodded.  End of the conversation, I guess if we weren't talking about classical music he was having none of it.  I didn't know what to say.


Tippi!


The next day, Wednesday, I finally felt up to seeing my friends and I also thought that whatever I had wouldn't be contagious anymore.  We went to this cute little brunch place that I used to go to every Saturday.  It was so nice to catch up with old friends and hear about where their lives are now and get to share some highlights of the last year of my life.  After a wonderful lunch I met up with my mom again and headed over to TCM Film Festival central (aka Club TCM), checked out the boutique, decorations and watched Robert Osborne interview Tippi Hedren.

Signing a birds themed Barbie


She was lovely, just like her appearance at the Road to Hollywood screening of The Birds last year.  She talked about getting hired by Hitch, working with Hitch, how he looked "very pleased with himself," working on The Birds.  They were filming an introduction for a future nationwide screening of 'The Birds' which will be similar to the Casablanca screening(s) they did last month and yesterday.  I'm not sure when that will be exactly, but I'll keep my eyes and ears peeled.  Most of the conversation was similar to her conversation before The Birds last year, however there was one new story that I found rather interesting.

That's me and mom in the center, with our cameras :)

Ms. Hedren talked about seeing Alfred Hitchcock in London many, many years after their working relationship had ended.  At the time she was working with Charlie Chaplin on the film, The Countess of Hong Kong (which I must see).   When she saw Hitch she suggested that he take a picture with Charlie Chaplin since they were both such influential people in film and that having a picture together would be special.  His response was: "why would I?"  I guess Hitchcock was a very complex man.  Tippi also talked about her beautiful pin of birds and talked about being on the TCM Cruise last year.  She said it was a great experience and that she had a wonderful time.  I still don't know if the cruise is for me, but it does sound interesting.
Up next was Robert Wagner.  Another wonderful classic film actor to see out and about.  I've always been a little uneasy about him (and Christopher Walken) and their involvement in the death of Natalie Wood.  It's one of my strange conspiracy theories, I logically know it's probably not their fault, but it just seems fishy.  Anyway, it was nice to see him in the flesh and be a part of the film festival.  He started off by saying what a joy and thrill it was to fill in for Mr. Osborne while he was out on vacation.  The two Roberts seemed to be very good friends.  I mean look at Mr. Osborne's laugh/smile in the second picture of them.  

Before the interview a fan passed Mr. Wagner a picture/poster for him to sign, which resulted in some giggles from the Roberts and turned into a humorous story.  It turned out that it was a poster from Robert Wagner's film, Prince Valiant, in which he wore a very dark brown bobbed wig.  He told us that while he was on the set Dean Martin approached him thinking he was Jane Wyman and Robert Wagner quipped that "I can't tell you what he said to me."  Too funny!  This was a lovely start to the festival and a nice way to spend the day.


During the rest of the interview/discussion I walked around Club TCM, worked on figuring out how to obtain pins, seeing what the boutique had to offer and found out that we could check in and get our bags that afternoon.  I will definitely take pictures of the bag, pins and the loot that TCM gave out this year.  The bag was a little different this year than year's past, but I think I liked it better.  They also gave out sunscreen, which I think was very thoughtful!  That evening we had planned on going to Griffith's Observatory, but the weather forecast said rain and it didn't seem wise to go to an observatory in the rain.  So we stayed around the Hollywood area and somehow ended up outside for the Avengers premiere. It was completely ridiculous, but it was kind of fun to kind of spot some of the stars of the Avengers, like Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr. and we even saw Jennifer Grey! (Clark Gregg's wife and Baby from Dirty Dancing!).  Here are a couple of pictures, they are not very good, there were tons of people and lots of cameras in the way.



No one puts Baby in a corner!

Tom Hiddleston
So that concludes the build up to the festival, kind of varied, but very fun!  Can't wait to update with more info/pictures/recaps about the festival.  I hope to get the next posts up as soon as possible, starting with the opening night movie: Cabaret!  In the meantime here are some other wonderful posts from other wonderful, more timely bloggers than myself :) 

The Cinementals- Lots of coverage!

YAM Magazine- Great interviews! And overview!

Laura Senmar- Very humorous writer, she's posted the first 3 days of the festival.

Daws Brothers- Fun recap

GlamAmour- A very fashionable recap :)

Enjoy!

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