Monday, April 09, 2007


Signs of Summer

A few weeks back I wrote about the Signs of Spring (and impending summer) where I grew up and how that connected to Los Angeles via the jacaranda trees. Yesterday, while driving on Santa Monica Blvd, I was reminded about the other Signs of Summer that pop up in LA to remind us that warm weather (really warm weather) is just around the corner.

First was this one (click to make bigger, but it doesn't get too much bigger):

Then a block or so later, this one (also click to make bigger--again, not much):

(Apologies for the super lo-res quality -- I only had my camera phone on me. The marine layer wasn't helping. And I was DWP (thank you Sarah): Driving While Photographing.)

To me, these signs are just as exciting as the Jacarandas, though in a different way. I love movies. No, you don't understand: I LOVE MOVIES. I grew up on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and we had two movie theaters, each with one screen of course, and we had to wait what seemed like FOREVER for movies to come. Then they stayed for weeks. In high school, instead of just following the crowds every weekend to the party in the pineapple fields, I would sometimes just go to the movies by myself. I loved going by myself, no one to bother you with chatting, you sit where you want, eat the greasy popcorn just the way you liked. Before I got married, my favorite weekend thing to do was to Worship at the Church of Cinema -- go to the 11:00 am Sunday movie, by myself.

When I moved to LA to go to film school -- oh, do I need to share my "what am I going to study in school/epiphany!" moment? Okay, Okay, I'll share. It was the summer of 1984 (in between my junior and senior years of high school) and my college counselor said -- think about what you want to study in college. I had no idea. I loved history and I loved the spanish language, but what do I do with that? Oh well, summer's here, I'll worry about it later. Well, I worried about it a lot (I was so excited about going to college.) I got to spend about six weeks in Los Angeles in the summer of 1984, visiting friends and family. It was a BIG DEAL to go on a trip like that. And I got to go to the movies. In Los Angeles. Where they make movies!

Think back to the summer of 1984 -- it was a big movie summer: Ghostbusters, Splash, Beverly Hills Cop, Gremlins, Purple Rain, Romancing the Stone, Footloose. But most exciting of all, I mean, ZOMG!!!1111!!!!!ONE11!! was: INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM!!! The sequel was finally here. Oh man, I was so excited about it, beyond excited. I mean I bought clothes at Banana Republic, back when it was safari clothes (Remember? Yes you do.) I had a gun belt and a fedora. Yes I did. My friends called me "Diana Jones." I'm not ashamed.

So there I was, in a real movie theater, a movie palace, with a huge screen and a big audience, seeing a first run movie within a week of its release. My heart was racing. Then the movie started and--let's be honest--it was not the best of the series, but who cared at the time? Anyway, there was I was, enthralled and in the middle of the mine shaft chase sequence it happened: I had a life changing epiphany. I COULD GO TO FILM SCHOOL! I COULD WORK IN THE MOVIES!

So I did and I do.

And I love it. And even after all the years in the biz, am I jaded? Hell no. To this day or at least to the most recent day I sat in movie theater (about 10 days ago, "Shooter") When the lights go down and the trailers start, I get goosebumps and my heart races with the excitement of being in a theater, watching a movie. It is making me smile as I write this.

And while my epiphany happened during a sequel that wasn't as good as the original, I made up for it by going to see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on opening day at the Mann National in Westwood, at 11:00am. It was May 24, 1989 and I was just about to graduate from film school. It was heaven to be in that theater, the anticipation of seeing the movie, the anticipation of being launched into the big wide world of movies and making movies. The anticipation of my life getting started and it all being up to me. My heart was racing. Fade in.

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I never knew you were called Diana Jones!!! I certainly never called you Diana Jones!!! But I will from now on, you can be sure, Diana!

And you must immediately add your photo to your imdb page, Diana.

Oh, I'm so with you on that feeling just before the movie starts, when the lights dim -- And I, too, love seeing movies alone, Diana. Soon we must go and see a movie alone together. Diana. Ms. Jones. Or is it Professor Jones, Diana?
Oh and thanks for the thanks -- and you're welcome for the dwp!
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