Even though I was born and raised in Los Angeles, I often feel like a stranger in my own city. As funny as this it might sound, I sometimes feel like tourists know more about Los Angeles than me, a native! This city is so large and has so many different sections that it seems like an impossible city to intimately know, especially for someone like me who tends to stick to her own backyard. So when my sister suggested that we go to one of Cinespia’s cemetery screenings, I decided to give it a go!
Cinespia is an organization that hosts screenings of classic films at the famous Hollywood Forever cemetery. They project old (and some newer) classic movies onto a large wall that is surrounded by a huge grassy lawn for people to lay out and watch the films. Most people bring picnic-style food and drinks to enjoy while watching the movie. My sister and I came prepared with an endless array of snacks and drinks so that we could maximize our experience. We arrived at the cemetery about an hour and a half before the movie began but, understanding the popularity of this summer event, we weren’t surprised to see that a long line had formed and was already spilling out onto Santa Monica Blvd. It was all worth it though once we got to the front and were allowed onto the grounds of Hollywood Forever. The area of the cemetery in which the films are projected is somewhat toward the back of the grounds; you actually have to walk through a portion of the cemetery in order to get to the final destination. Along the walk, I was drawn in and fascinated by all the over-the-top marble tombstones and mausoleums; some had effigies (or drawn likenesses) etched into the stone so that you could see what the deceased looked like when they were alive.
Students ask this question at the end of our spring semester classes. It is a good idea to plan to do something every day to maintain or improve your English skills. If you did not have the option to take an ALI class this summer, here are a couple of suggestions that are interesting in content and will improve your oral skills.
1. NPR (National Public Radio) is a nationwide radio station with about 900 stations in the United States. Go to www.npr.org or to www.kcrw.com, the websites of the national and the local (LA) radio stations respectively, and listen to the broadcasts, find in-depth reporting on the latest events, and read the transcripts of the reports. While you are getting the most up-to-date information from around the world, you are also “updating” your English. “Morning Edition” is one of my favorite shows that I listen to on the 89.9FM station (KCRW) on my car radio. What sets these radio stations apart from others is that they are funded by the listeners and non-profit organizations, and as such allow for unbiased and well-balanced reporting and views. They have a lot more interviews and discussions than other music concentrated stations. Students from years ago write to me sometimes how important these stations have become to them as the source of news.