Attend TCM Film Festival in LA

Completed: 12. Attend TCM Film Festival in LA

Christmas of 2014 was a doozy. It was the day I received the most magical gift of all… the TCM Film Festival pass from Kris. It just so happened to eventually end up on my 2015 bucket list (I MAY have dropped a few hints).

After waiting for a good three months, not only was I looking forward to the festival, but I was obsessed with the idea of the sweet California sun on my skin and to knock out of a few things I didn’t have a chance to complete during my last visit in 2012.

Here’s my soak-up-the-sun-movie-festival-trip in a nutshell….

Day 1:

First to-do: enjoy the view from my cousin’s deck.


On the way back from a walk to the market, we visited the Halloween house.


Later that evening, we ate a delicious dinner and hung out with my cousin (whose house we were staying in) and her girlfriend.

Take me back, please.

Day 2:

Early morning hike on Runyon Canyon. Delightful to say the least.


After the hike, we went to our first festival experience: The Dawn of Technicolor at the Egyptian Theater.

I’m a big fan of the behind-the-scenes elements of movies, so this was a a perfect way to start this festival. They showed rare clips of some of the first flimed technicolor scenes. Some clips hadn’t been seen since they were first released in the ’20s. It was such a wonderful treat.


We left our first event and walked over to Chinese Theater to see Christopher Plummer’s hand and footprint ceremony. We didn’t have tickets, but just stalked from across the street. Shirley Maclaine and William Shatner were also there to honor the actor.

Back to the glorious weather and scenery…

I laid on my cousin’s porch for some time enjoying the smell of jasmine and lemons.


After some lazy time, we got dressed and headed back over to Hollywood Boulevard for the festival to see two movies I’ve never seen before: Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) and Rebecca (1940).

But first, here’s a picture of me and my mom’s finger:


I should note that my mom joined me during this bucket list journey and we had a great time (aside from her lurking finger in every picture she took of me).


By far, the higlight of the festival was seeing Steamboat Bill, Jr. I haven’t actually seen any silent films, so it was a great introduction to the genre. In addition, a live orchestra played the newly-composed score. It was phenomenal.

And I’m embarrassed to admit this, but PST time killed me that day. I was dozing off during the 10 p.m. showing of Rebecca. Such guilt.

Day 3:

On Saturday, we drove to Venice beach to attempt to find some beach yoga, but instead rode bikes for a few hours.


Again, soaking up every bit of the warmth.

For lunch, we made our way back to LA and had a great lunch with my other cousin’s family. Al fresco and rosé . Yes, please.

Unfortunately, we had to part with the family in an attempt to make the 6 p.m. showing of The Apartment (1960). As it turned out, we arrived too late (apparently people were waiting in line for hours) and this was when I discovered that my festival pass fell off my lanyard. Womp womp. The fine crew at TCM saved the day and printed a new pass for me, but I was sad to miss out on the Shirley Maclaine conversation.

No fret because I was able to drown my sorrows at the Library Bar at the Roosevelt. Ask for a unique concoction and you shall receive. No menus. This was another must-do that I didn’t get to complete in 2012, so I was very happy.


After our drinks and witnessing a hilariously-terrible interview with Richard Roundtree (most famous for playing Shaft) before a poolside screening of the equally-embarrassing Earthquake (1974), we made our way back to the Egyptian to see Adam’s Rib (1949).

The fact that this movie was on the agenda was really special because it was the first movie that got me interested in classic movies when I was younger. Kismet.

Day 4:

We woke up early to take in our last movie of the festival, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939). After which, we discussed the merits of having molten metal handy.


On our last night, I decided to take a shower and conduct a #restingbitchface photo sesh near some shrubs.


Then, we drove to Malibu and dined at Moonshadows so I could see a few of my favorite things — botched plastic surgery and a California sunset.

Along the way, I encountered my new BFF.


Dinner was great. I watched the waves crash, the sun set, and dolphins frolicking. It was a wonderful end to a phenomenal trip.


Goodnight, California.

A few random thoughts about my experience…


  • The TCM staff were very generous with water bottles, which was extremely nice for those waiting in the long lines outside.
  • They replaced my lost pass within fifteen minutes. They are MVPs.
  • The historic venues were AMAZING.


  • It makes sense to have to pay more for special events and TCM Club life, but in my opinion, the lowest level pass (not cheap at $299) should have access to every single movie, no matter the theater. Our passes didn’t cover a few movie theaters we attempted to enter and naturally some of the volunteers suggested we buy an individual ticket… for $20. On top of the $300 we already spent. I love old movies, but I’m not made out of money.
  • Should feature more rare/restored movies. Sorry, I keep shuddering at the fact that Earthquake and Grease were on the billing.
  • Not enough Judy Garland, but IMO never enough Judy Garland.

*Health-related side note: I started to experience pain and vision issues in my left eye during the week of this festival, which really sucked. Mostly, um, because seeing movies requires vision. I immediately made an optometrist appointment the day after I got back into DC and they discovered I have Optic Neuritis (inflamed optic nerve). I was in and out of doctors appointments/the ER/MRIs for the first few days after my trip to make sure it wasn’t anything more than the eye issue. At this point it isn’t and thanks to a heavy dose of intravenous steroids for five days, I’m feeling like a zombie, but my eye is much better and I can go back to watching TCM on my TV. Also, this really had me thinking about Goal #18: Make more eye contact, especially with retail/service industry employee. I’ll get into that at a later date.*

– Lyssa


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