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jp01104

What to wear? What to do?

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This is our first festival and our first trip to CA. We are coming from New England, we have our tickets, plane, car and hotel (we didn't get the Roosevelt). So what are the basics? My wife is asking what do we wear to the festival, is it warm enough to bring swim suits? What do you wear to opening night film? We are not going to the Vanity Fair Party. Does the festival take up all of the 4 days or should plans be made to see other things. Good camera or good point and shoot? All these questions and I'm sure many more to come so thanks in advance.

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>So what are the basics?

 

The weather that time of year can be unpredictable. Two years ago when the Festival was held that long weekend, it rained a great deal.

 

But, we are in the midst of a drought (the lowest rainfall was recorded for LA in 2013), so rain may not be the horizon this year.

 

If not, it should be spring like weather, not too hot or too cold. It may even be swimsuit weather. We hit a balmy 80 degrees on Christmas Day last month, so if you have room in the suitcases, it might be worth bringing them along.

 

Definitely bring a light jacket or sweater, no matter what. The air conditioning in the theaters and restaurants is sometimes cooler than the outside air temp. I'd bring the umbrellas, just in case.

 

It sounds like you may have Spotlight passes, which will come in handy as they are the first people admitted to the theaters. But, for some films, you may want to line up early to be able to get a good seat. Extra pair of shoes and extra socks help.

 

Dressing for the Opening Night Film at Grauman's can be formal or casual. Some festival goers take the opportunity to dress to the nines as there is the walk on the Red Carpet prior to the film screening. TCM will have bleachers set up and fans will be there to cheer you on as you walk the red carpet. If you decide to go casual, that's okay, too!

 

>Does the festival take up all of the 4 days or should plans be made to see other things.

 

The Festival usually kicks off on Thursday afternoon with an event in Club TCM (in the Blossom Room at the Roosevelt) called *Meet the Staff*. This is an opportunity for TCM staff to talk about their jobs and what it is coming up on TCM. It is also a chance to ask questions. In fact, there is a great deal of Q & A as part of the panel!

 

There is usually an Opening Night Party held in Club TCM that roughly starts about 4:00-4:30. Those going to the Opening Night Film at Grauman's start heading over about 5:15.

 

If you are not going to Grauman's, there is usually a poolside screening (usually a musical) that will be held poolside at the Roosevelt. Filmgoers typically start staking out lounge chairs and such early in the evening. There are also heating lamps strategically placed around the seating area. The screening usually starts about sundown.

 

There will likely be additional screenings at the three smaller theaters in the Chinese complex (next to Grauman's) and at the Egyptian (about a half mile from the Roosevelt).

 

Screenings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will likely begin sometime between 8:00 -9:00 am and run until about midnight. On Friday and Saturday night, there may be a post-midnight screening or possibly two.

 

Club TCM is usually open from noon to midnight each day. That is where the panel discussions will be held. These will be concurrent with the film screenings making decision making even tougher.

 

On Sunday night, the screenings usually end between 9:00 and 10:00 pm and everyone converges on the Roosevelt for the Closing Night Party. The party takes place in the lobby, in Club TCM and poolside and lasts until midnight.

 

At Club TCM they usually have complimentary water bottles and sell soda and alcohol but there is no food (except at the Opening and Closing night parties). There are chairs and a few booths for sitting and resting.

 

On Sunday, there will be a handful of encore screenings of films that sold out or were very popular. Those titles are usually announced on the flat screens located in the Roosevelt lobby sometime Saturday evening.

 

There is a coffee shop just inside the Hollywood Blvd entrance to the Roosevelt. A Baja Fresh (mexican food) is right across the street and In-n-Out Burgers is about a half block down Orange Street from the Roosevelt. There is a Starbuck's on the way to Grauman's and a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf across the street from the Roosevelt.

 

Sit down restaurants include the Pig and Whistle next to the Egyptian, Miceli's Italian Restaurant across Las Palmas from the Egyptian, Musso and Frank's (oldest restaurant in Hollywood) and a number of restaurants in the Hollywood and Highland mall next to Grauman's.

 

There may be a screening or two at the El Capitan (across the street from Hollywood and Highland) and/or at the Cinerama Dome (down on Sunset Blvd, just east of Cahuenga) outside the Festival zone. Those screenings will likely take place during the day.

 

In the lobby of the Roosevelt, there will be a TCM store where you can buy Festival and TCM branded items.

 

And there will be a stage set up where, beginning that Wednesday, Robert O and Ben M will be interviewing (and the crew taping) celebrities and fans of the channel. That happens throughout the Festival.

 

Each movie will have an introduction by TCM staff, someone connected to the film or a film historian. Many films will have someone from the film there to talk about the making of the film.

 

The Festival film programmers will not make it easy to decide what to see. That is usually the toughest part about the festival, making the tough decisions between which film, which panel discussion, etc.

 

The most important thing to remember is to have fun. Don't be afraid to talk to people in line or whoever you are sitting next to in a theater. Fans travel from all over the world to come to the Festival and that is one of the best things, getting to meet them. We all talk the same language, the language of film and TCM, and how often does that happen!

 

Also, stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and be sure to eat at least once a day something more than the usual popcorn and Junior Mints diet.

 

If you are arriving to the Festival a day or two early, here is a link to a thread about some of the historic sites worth checking out:

 

http://forums.tcm.com/thread.jspa?threadID=152178&start=60&tstart=60

 

Looking forward to meeting you!

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Thanks for the great information! It doesn't sound like there will be a lot of time during the festival to do anything else. We are flying in Wed and flying out from San Francisco the following Saturday. So we may want to fly in on Tuesday instead. I'll have to see how we can change our flights. Thanks again.

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You are more than welcome! If you have any other questions, please let us know.

 

I live in the City of Angels so if you have any questions about how to get around or anythiing please feel free to ask. Like some here, I've been to previous festivals.

 

I've met some wonderful people each year and am looking forward to meeting you and your wife.

 

I was a bit confused about when you are flying out is it the Saturday of the Festival or will you be able to stay through Sunday?

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We are flying in on April 9 and flying out of SF April 19. Having never been out that way we thought when we check out on Monday 4/14 we would take our time driving up the PCH over a couple of days then spending the rest of the week in SF.

One issue we have is we have a non-stop that was supposed to arrive around noon. The flight was changed still non-stop but now getting in around 9 pm so I am not overly thrilled getting in in the dark and getting to a hotel in a strange town.I have not booked a hotel for that night yet. I may try to change flights to arrive earlier or 4/8.

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lzcutter, Wow, thanks for the info. This is my first TCMFF too. I probably should have guessed this, but I didn't realize that there would be pre-events Wednesday, or that stuff was going that late on Sunday. I may have to hit one of my LA friends to couch surf Wednesday and extend my hotel to Sunday night.

 

jp01104, lzcutter is right on with the weather. Lived in San Diego my whole life, and Frankly, Southern California doesn't have real weather as the rest of the country knows it, but it does rain, and sometimes it comes down in buckets, and you can get blazing hot weather almost anytime of year. An extended forecast close to when you're leaving might give you something to go on. The way I look at TCMFF is that it's sort of like Comic-Con for Classic film geeks. I wouldn't count on having any free time during the festival to do much more than eat and drink with TCM cronies.

 

San Francisco tends to by chilly almost any time of year. The drive up PCH is awesome. The Central Coast is beautiful. Taking two days is a good idea. We did it about 20 years ago in a day, and it added about 5 hours what was already a pretty long drive.

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Thank you so much for the kind words.

 

If either of you (or anyone else) has questions concerning the festival, please post them.

 

Our goal is to help everyone have as great time!

 

As for San Francisco, the weather is definitely cooler up there than in the City of Angels. Fog, clouds and perhaps drizzle are not uncommon there any time of the year compared to the sunshine of the City of Angels.

 

If you need some suggestions for places to visit in SF, don't hesitate to ask. Many festival goers have made the trek north to SF in the last few years and many Angelenos visit the City by the Bay on a regular basis and can recommend must-see places for film lovers.

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Well we changed our plane so now we are arriving in the early afternoon on 4/8. We were supposed to visit friends in Palm Springs but they will not be in town until later in the week. So the car rental was no problem changing but the hotel doesn't have a room. Any suggestions for a nice hotel in a nice area for 2 nights and things to do or see in the LA area pre festival? I am sure there are lots of both.

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The Best Western on Highland Avenue- I have a good friend that stays there for during the Festival and he has good things to say about the hotel.

 

http://book.bestwestern.com/bestwestern/US/CA/Hollywood-hotels/BEST-WESTERN-Hollywood-Plaza-Inn/Hotel-Overview.do?propertyCode=05491

 

It's only a couple of blocks north of Hollywood Blvd.

 

As for places to visit- The DeMille Barn- home of Hollywood Heritage is on North Highland Ave (probably across from the hotel) and a treasure trove of early Hollywood history. The barn was used in DeMille's first movie filmed in Hollywood, *The Squaw Man* and is one of the oldest landmarks in Hollywood.

 

Be sure to view the Capital Records building (the one shaped like a stack of 45s) on North Vine just above Hollywood.

 

The Hollywood Walk of Fame, the forecourt in front of Grauman's and be sure to check out the Egyptian. It would probably be a good idea to check out the locations of the theaters that will be part of the Festival as well as the Roosevelt so that you know where places are.

 

Musso and Frank's is the oldest eatery in Hollywood and is located on Hollywood Blvd.

 

Paramount Studios is south of Hollywood Blvd at Gower and Melrose. They offer a studio tour.

 

The original Columbia Studios lot in Hollywood is located at Sunset and Gower and is now primarily a television studio.

 

Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles is a terrific place to eat. Located on Gower just north of Sunset.

 

The church from *War of the Worlds* is located on Highland and you will drive or walk by it on your way down to the Blvd.

 

For more ideas of historic places, check out this thread- Historic Hollywood sites:

 

http://forums.tcm.com/thread.jspa?threadID=152178&start=60&tstart=60

 

Looking forward to seeing you in April!

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I have heard good things about the tour but not taken it myself. It might be worthwhile to create a new thread to find out if other Festival goers are taking the tour this year.

 

Depending on the tour guide, like all studio tours, it may concentrate more on more modern history and likely isn't an in depth historical tour of the lot.

 

But, there are some historical places on the lot that even those tour guides point out such as the cafe exterior from *Casablanca*.

 

The WB museum is weighted more towards more modern films. When I was there a few years ago it was heavily emphasizing Harry Potter and the Dark Knight though it does have a few historical pieces.

 

The tour is only given during weekdays, it's not open on the weekends.

 

Other studios that offer tours are Paramount and Sony. Sony is on the old MGM lot in Culver City and is a bit of jaunt from Hollywood. Paramount is in Hollywood and located just east of the intersection of Gower and Melrose.

 

Another tour that classic film fans really seem to enjoy is the Hollywood Forever cemetery tour. Hollywood Forever is located in Hollywood and is the resting place for many classic stars including Tyrone Power, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr, Rudy Valentino and many more.

 

Kari Bible who leads the tours is very knowledgeable and attends the Festival regularly.

 

For more info on that tour: http://cemeterytour.com/

 

Hope that helps!

 

Edited by: lzcutter on Jan 27, 2014 8:02 AM

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Kari Bible, cemetery guide extraordinaire, posted this on Facebook this morning:

 

"Hello. I'm the tour guide at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and I will be giving tours on Wednesday, April 9th at 12pm and Monday, April 14th at 10am. The tour will feature a veritable line up of TCM stars including Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. & Jr., Marion Davies, Peter Lorre, Nelson Eddy, Cecil B. DeMille, John Huston, Hattie McDaniel, Jayne Mansfield, Vampira, Fay Wray, "Alfalfa" and many more!"

 

For complete details, log on to http://www.cemeterytour.com

 

She knows her history and FF patrons have raved about this tour.

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Yes, Izcutter, Kari Bible is definitely the woman that you want to be your guide! I have heard so many TCM Festival goers exclaim her virtues, and the Hollywood Forever Cemetary Tour is fascinating. I'll be going again this year if my schedule permits. She has two special tours to accommodate TCM passholders this year, like you have stated. One on Wednesday, April 9th, and the other on Monday. If you enjoy Hollywood history, I urge you to plan a guided tour with Karie Bible! :-)

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How many people attend? It's like it's own little city, safe to say hundreds since you see in lines, on the street's in the stores, at the Roosevelt, in the theaters, in a classic kind of way I'd almost call it spring break for we classic movie lovers, who love the classic film( were a little more low keyed) but can still enjoy with the best of them.

 

Cordially

WRJ

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>Can backpacks be carried and brought to the different venues?

 

jp,

 

Yes, they can! Purses as well. Just be sure that you keep important items such as your wallet, money, keys and/or phone, safely on you.

 

Hollywood Blvd is a very popular place for tourists and the Blvd gets very crowded with tourists, locals and festival goers, especially in front of the Chinese with the forecourt and the people dressed in costume as Jack Sparrow, Catwoman, Darth Vader and more.

 

I don't think any one attending the Festival has been a victim of a pickpocket (at least I've never heard of any) but it always helps to be aware of your surroundings.

 

Looking forward to meeting you!

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Great comments, lzcutter!

 

And jp, there is always lots of jostling and people saying "excuse me" on the Boulevard. Plus, you have to remember that while walking along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, all of a sudden a tourist will discover a favorite celebrity and stop to take a photo, especially during the day. So be on the lookout for folks with cameras! :-)

 

I've been to all four festivals, and have never been subjected to a theft or mugging. However, there are many struggling musicians, artists, and tour hawkers who have no problem about asking you for a handout, donation, or purchase. I have always felt relatively safe walking to or from the venues during the day or the late evening.

 

And strolling down the most famous boulevard in Los Angeles is never boring! :-)

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I took Philip Mershon's Tour, when I was in Hollywood a few months back. I HIGHLY recommend it, especially if you enjoy (very) early Hollywood/Film. It's a 90 minute walking tour, that starts at the corner of Sunset and Vine-close to the film festival action. We'll all have jam packed schedules, but if you have the chance, try to take the tour. I attached the link so you can read more about it. http://www.felixinhollywoodtours.com/

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