A Guide to Los Angeles for SCMS Attendees

by Lauren Steimer
As a NYU Cinema Studies student who has been working in Southern California for a number of years, I thought I would share some information about spending time out and about in Los Angeles for those going to the SCMS conference. The conference program is a helpful source on sites and resources that might be of interest to you during your time in L.A. but there is some information that you will not find in the program, including some suggestions on getting around town, local cinemas, day trips, and research opportunities.
Getting Around Town
Hotel Location: The hotel is located in Downtown L.A., an area that is in the process of transitioning from a landscape of urban decay to a hipster paradise. Downtown is not the heart of the city but there are increasingly more things to do in the area.
Rental Car: Though it is possible to get around town via the metro and the dash, if you plan on going out often or taking research trips, you may want to rent a car. L.A. is not a walking city.
Red Line/Blue Line: The Metro is a good way to get around town but it is nothing like the NYC subway system. It is likely to shut down just when you need to get home from your night out, so if you have strayed far from the hotel, you will need to call for a cab/car service. You are unlikely to find a cab on the street so program some numbers into you phone in advance.
Dash: The dash is a very cheap way to get around downtown but it does not run all night and traffic in L.A. can be monstrous so take into account some extra travel time if you are making plans.
Bars: Some of the bars listed in the program are watering holes for the tragically hip. If that is not your scene, check out the many options in LA Weekly, LA Times, or lamag.com. If you are looking for gay/lesbian bars and you like a racially diverse atmosphere, you may want to avoid West Hollywood.
Local Periodicals:
New Beverly: This cinema was saved from extinction by Quentin Tarantino. They often showcase rarely screened exploitation films from the director’s own collection.
The Egyptian: The best of the cinemas listed in the SCMS program.
Devil’s Night Drive-In: If you are in town the Saturday before the conference, check it out (walk-ins allowed).
The Cinefamily: Located in Hollywood, inside the Silent Movie Theatre built in 1942.
Day Trips
Santa Barbara: Less than a 2 hour trip north if you are looking for a quaint getaway and charming beaches.
Orange County: A little over an hour south of L.A., worth the trip if you are looking for quality beaches. Check out: http://www.ocweekly.com/
Beaches: Many of you may equate SoCal with sand and sun, but downtown L.A. is far from the beach and although March may be a much warmer month than it is in NY, it’s not exactly perfect for the beach. If you rented a car you could head north to Venice Beach or south to one of the many Orange County beaches (Laguna, Salt Creek, etc.)
Theme Parks
Universal Studios: You could use the Metro Red Line to get to Universal Studios if you would like to take a gander at the Psycho house and other gems.
Disneyland: If you rented a car, you could head south to Disneyland. The charming and slightly antiquated amusement park is much smaller than the one on the East Coast but might be worth a “research” trip.
Research Opportunities
USC: USC will be on spring break this week so check library hours and make arrangements in advance.
UCLA: It will be exam week at UCLA, try booking appointments in advance.
Paley Center: If you are a TV scholar and get to town early, you may still make the last couple of days of the Paleyfest.

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