Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dyspeptic Crunk Corner: Outdoor Film Festivals

Last night was the first night of Screen on the Green, Washington’s version of the old-movie-played-outdoors-in-large-public-place summer evening activity that I know New York has, and I would assume that other cities like Boston, Philly, Chicago, San Francisco, etc. do too.

I hate Screen on the Green.

It’s practically blasphemy around this town to say it, but it’s true. It sucks.

In theory, it’s a spectacular idea. You head home from work, grab a blanket and a picnic dinner, and spend the evening lounging under the stars surrounded by the monuments. But that’s not how it actually is. In reality SotG (not to be confused with SoaP) involves getting there no later than 5:30 for a movie that starts at 9:30, and sitting on the ground for hours only to see a usually-second-rate movie (some 1953 musical is on tap for next week), then trudge to the jam-packed metro (although this has gotten better since I first moved here. The screen used to be just west of the Washington Monument, near the White House, but was moved when they decided to pave over that section of the Mall, but don’t get me started about that).

Oh, and there’s one other thing. It’s freaking hot. It was still 85 degrees at 10 pm last night, and that’s not at all unusual for DC in July.

Now, some might be wondering why I am even ranting about this. Just don’t go, you say. Well, that’s what I try to do, but every year I end up having a version of this conversation (it happened just yesterday):

Well-Meaning Friend: I’m getting people together to go to Screen on the Green tonight. You interested?

Crunk: Not really, but thanks.

WMF: Why not?

Crunk: I don’t particularly like Screen on the Green.

WMF: WHAT? How could you not like Screen on the Green?

Crunk: I just don’t. It always seems like more trouble than it’s worth.

WMF then walks away muttering, “I can’t believe he doesn’t like Screen on the green, it’s the best part of a Washington summer.”

But I’m not here just to complain. I think the idea of Screen on the Green is worth saving, and lord knows the interns and poor young staffers of Washington need more decent cheap date options. It just needs some adjustments. Here are my proposals:
  1. No Mondays!: Mondays, by far, are both the hardest days to organize people to go out on, and the least fun days to go out. Mondays are out, with one exception (which I’ll get to later). In its place, we’re going to go with Tuesdays.
  2. No July!: It’s just way too hot in July to be sitting out there for hours. We need to move the run back to the middle of May to the middle of June. It’s still warm then, but not unbearable.
  3. Exception to the Monday rule: If we start in mid-may, the second or third week will be the day after Memorial Day. That week we actually run a trilogy (say, Star Wars), with Star Wars the Sunday night, Empire on Monday, and Jedi on Tuesday. The tourists will love it.
  4. Crowd Control: By now, I’ve made SotG more comfortable and more tourist-friendly, which means that there will be even more people. But that’s where I come to my next point. More screens. The current screen sits on the west side of 4th Street, facing west, and the SotG area consists of there to the next cross street, 7th Street. Why not put another screen facing east at 7th? While we’re at it, put two screens on the sides, too, on the steps of the National Gallery of Art and the National Air and Space Museum (note: both the NGA and Air and Space are close at 7 on Tuesdays, so the screens won’t block the doors). That way, you can increase the number of people, and still have everyone sitting closer to a screen than those poor bastards sitting two blocks away are now.
  5. Seating Sections: Set up special designated sections for the people in the lawn chairs, so they don’t block the view of the people sitting on the ground.

See, with just a few modifications, we can improve Screen on the Green, and make sure that the sweaty, awkward intern-on-intern gropings that result therefrom are not nearly as sweaty (yet still awkward) as they otherwise will be.

More to the point, we only have so much time to make it bearable before the much-anticipated 2008 (or so) SotG showing of SoaP.


CrimeNotes said...

I haven't posted about how much I hate this fucking weather because i can't bring myself even to write about it.

If I cared more about my career I'd move to D.C. Even if I didn't dislike that city the weather would kill me.

If I cared more about my health, I would move to Anchorage.

Late September cannot come soon enough. Anyone who bitches about cold winters gets punched in the balls by me. Hot weather fans can move to south Texas and eat a dick.

Flop said...

Bad news, buddy. It´s even a mess in Budapest. I saw miserable Magyars staking out seats in the sun in front of Parliament around 5:30.