OUTdoor Cinema 2023 @ Cal Anderson Park, Elsom Cellars, Alki Playfield, and Volunteer Park

Campy and free 🤩

📸: Rocky Horror Picture Show

📅 Showtimes between July 28th – August 27th
📍 Cal Anderson Park, Elsom Cellars, Alki Playfield, and Volunteer Park

Three Dollar Bill’s OUTdoor Cinema reigned supreme during summers in Cal Anderson Park until its temporary suspension during the pandemic. Held amidst the sound of yappy dogs being walked, revelers on their way to Pike and Pine’s many clubs, and the occasional siren, the series leaned toward the campier, kitschier side of things, and if the film was a musical, so much the better (I have fond memories of watching Xanadu and The Apple under the stars thanks to Three Dollar Bill). And the films ended early enough that you could easily wander to a nearby watering hole for a drink afterward.

You’ll find all of the prime ingredients (kitsch, camp, musicals) in this year’s series. But the org’s also changing things up, expanding beyond the confines of Cal Anderson to points east and west. The series remains free (donations accepted); you’re encouraged to bring blankets and/or low-backed lawn chairs and arrive early for a chance to win fabulous prizes. 

This year’s lineup:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – July 28th @ Cal Anderson Park, 7 pm: The grande dame of cult movies, you can likely antici-(say it!)-pate some audience participation with this one. But be careful if you try to “Time Warp” on Cal Anderson’s slope, and resist the urge to throw foodstuffs. And did someone say costume contest? Fun fact: this year is the 50th anniversary of the stage show the film is based on.

Jennifer’s Body – August 13th @ Elsom Cellars, 8 pm: Amanda Seyfried deals with the typical teen angst of having a (hot) BFF, Megan Fox (the titular Jennifer), who’s also a succubus. She simply won’t consider going vegan, so what’s a girl to do? Bring a scorecard to tally the body count. Plus: trivia contest! 

Little Richard: I Am Everything – August 20th @ Alki Playfield, 8 pm: A dazzling documentary about the man who put the “bop” in a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom! (from his classic first hit, “Tutti Frutti” — go listen to it, now!). This Black queer icon laid the foundations of rock ‘n’ roll (as revealed in well-chosen film clips), and we haven’t stopped dancing since. Plus: costume contest!

The Wiz – August 27th @ Volunteer Park, 8 pm: A legendary flop on its release in 1978, this updating of The Wizard of Oz has since been reevaluated. NYC and its environs are transformed into a spectacular Oz, from Coney Island to the World Trade Center; it’s Michael Jackson’s first film appearance, and the songs are just waiting for you to sing along with them. “Ease on Down the Road” anyone?

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Gillian Gaar

Gillian G. Gaar

Gillian G. Gaar is a Seattle-based journalist and the author of several books, including She’s A Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll and Entertain Us: The Rise of Nirvana. Twitter: @GillianGaar