Column: Lights, Camera, Action — Street Food Cinema’s groovy outdoor movies


Photo credit: Lauren Evans-Katz

Columnist Grace Wilson frolics through a tunnel of lights at the entrance of the Street Food Cinema. Street Food Cinema was launched in 2012 and has locations from King Gillette Ranch in Malibu to the LA Arboretum in Arcadia.

Street Food Cinema has revamped the classic movie-going experience. With the same vibe as the popular Cinespia and Rooftop Cinema Club, Street Food Cinema is a production company that projects classic pop culture films in a variety of outdoor venues across Los Angeles, while also offering gourmet street food and live music.

From beloved films such as “The Breakfast Club” and “La La Land” to artisanal food trucks and musicians on-the-rise, this outdoor movie experience crafts a perfect and always photo-worthy night.

Now, we obviously had to try it, which led us to venture to Will Rogers and Pan Pacific Park on multiple occasions to see a number of films. At 500 Hundred Days of Summer (a great movie), we downed tacos while we burrito-ed in picnic blankets, while at Legally Blonde,” we sprawled across lawn chairs and sipped on cocoa. It’s safe to say the outdoor movie experience is always a unique one.

Most notable of all was our December holiday season Street Food Cinema visit, where we viewed A Christmas Story,” along with other quintessential cartoons such as “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and Frosty the Snowman.” (We apologize in advance for reminiscing on our Yuletide days when approaching the spring season and hope to not provoke too excessive a nostalgia in our readers.)

After watching these quintessential Christmas movies, we explored the rest of the Street Food Cinema Christmas spectacular, embarking on a quarter mile trek through the venue which brought us to a cluster of Victorian-style houses named Heritage Square. The avenue of late nineteenth century homes embodied Christmas cheer at its finest. Complete with artificial snow, a gaggle of thematically outfitted carollers and the inescapable smell of eggnog, the movie village somehow morphed the 70-degree Los Angeles night into a full-blown winter palooza.

We then made our way into one of the featured structures on the Heritage Square plot: The Hale House. The building’s design, a marriage between Queen Anne and Eastlake architectures, was complemented by the sounds of Christmas tunes and the throb of an old-timey piano. We later discovered that the musical hubbub came from a saloon, where a mismatched group gathered ’round a ragtime piano and, with music sheets in hand, sang passionately to favorite Christmas classics. Of course, we joined in.

Have no fear — the outdoor fun did not end there in the Hale House. On the contrary, we found our way to the colony of food stalls where we ate half our weight in bread rolls, dim sum and hot chocolate. We are Archer girls, after all.

Christmas soireés aside, you are bound to have an oh-so-distinct experience with every film. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with a classic movie viewing, but why sit in a theatre when Street Food Cinema ties together the urban components of Los Angeles with the tranquility of the outdoors? Welcome to your new groovy movie experience.