How To: Crush It At Outdoor Movies This Season

pic courtesy of Letters from Zagreb

Outdoor movies: stiff necks, long waits at the Port-a-potty, and mosquitoes galore.  Are you destined to be uncomfortable and disappointed at every outdoor movie you’ve rounded up the St. Elmo’s Fire crew to attend?  Not if you follow the Boy Scout motto.

Be prepared.

I know we all expect to be able to waltz onto the green and find a large enough space for you and your hangers-on.  Sadly, this is rarely the case.  Getting there early makes sense and will give you a priceless self-congratulatory feeling all night.

Designate a Place Holder (PH), maybe someone who works or lives close by, send him or her with several blankets and glossy magazines (or your favorite Kierkegaard, your choice) and bring treats when the rest of the group arrives.  Bring more blankets than you think you need.  Not enough blankets can equal unwanted closeness, and too many blankets can always be rolled up as pillows.  It doesn’t really matter where you sit so much as it does that you picked it yourself; no one forced you to sit there, you wanted to sit there so you did!  Boom!

Of course, the aforementioned blankets are key.  They are the foundation on which you are going to build your baller outdoor movie-going experience.  Try to pick a dry spot on the field so that your blanket doesn’t turn into a moist patch in an otherwise delightful evening.  Bug spray, while stinky, sticky and plain not sexy, will make you happy you don’t spend the entire movie fending off mosquito bites like Mister Miyagi.  

Beverages: you want to bring bigger bottles and paper cups.  A six-pack may seen convenient, but that’s that much more litter to clean up at the end of the night, when the vibe is definitely wearing off.  Sharing a bottle of wine adds to the congenial atmosphere we’re going for here anyway.

Bringing dinner to share will also add to the feeling that you’re claiming your own piece of urban frontier…providing and such.  A bottle of crisp white wine will be delightful with the following recipe.  Summer cooking can just turn into mixing, so prep in the morning and let all the ingredients get happy during the day.  Add a crusty baguette and you’re good to go.

Avocado and Grilled Corn Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

5 Ears Corn, husk removed, brush with olive oil and grilled, remove corn with sharp knife
2 Avocado’s, diced and sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning
2 C. Tomatoes, red and yellow cherry variety or equivalent
1 Small red onion, finely diced
¾ C. Feta, crumbled
1 ½ C. English cucumber, skin on and chopped small dice

Add to a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
Cilantro Vinaigrette
6 T. Olive oil
2 T. Sherry vinegar
1 t. Garlic powder
2 T. Fresh cilantro, minced
½ t. Salt
10 Grinds of fresh ground pepper
Add all of the above ingredients in a small glass jar with a lid. Shake really well. Taste and adjust seasoning and ratios of oil and vinegar as you desire.
When ready to serve salad, add the dressing and gently toss.
Now all that remains is choosing which movies to see.  DCist has a full list of movies showing in the District all summer, the highest profile being the Screen on the Green on the National Mall.  My personal favorite is the NoMa series, all based on The End of the World theme.

Even though you know what to do to be an awesome outdoor movie-goer (and Boy Scout), mostly just have fun and enjoy the fruits of your labors.  Don’t be that guy.



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