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The TCM Classic Film Festival: Pre-Fest and Day 1

HPThe TCM Classic Film Festival has finally arrived! This is my Christmas, Super Bowl, and family reunion all rolled into one. For many, myself included, it’s what we save and wait for all year. I’ll be chronicling my adventures in Los Angeles both here and at my new sister site, Ticklish Business where you can find photos, video, and (eventually) audio of events during this year’s event. So, let’s kick things off with a look at my Wednesday and Thursday!

After an early AM flight filled with grope happy TSA and an airplane – which I consider more terrifying than anything else – we landed in a slightly less than sunny Los Angeles. (The weather this festival has alternated between wind and cold, and blazing hot with no happy medium.) Unfortunately I decided to skip this year’s TCM press conference and commence my social producer during the kick-off proper, on Thursday. So, what did I spend Wednesday doing? Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!


Yes, I cheated on Disneyland by visiting its hipper cousin. Universal Studios, for me, combines my love of theme parks with movies and the line is blurring with Wizarding World. The attention to detail and theming is on par with Uncle Walt’s park (gasp!) and though I didn’t ride anything, the food is an attraction in itself. You have to take time to stop by The Three Broomsticks. I tried my first fish and chips platter – a very hearty amount under $20 – and a Butterbeer. The fish and chips were crisp and delicious, but the best element is the Butterbeer. I only got to try the cold version – not the slushie – and I was in love! It’s like a butterscotch soda and that should tell you whether it’s too sweet for your palate.

We also took time out to stop by the famous Universal studio tour! The Mindy Project was filming that day, and we got to enjoy the new Fast and Furious simulation – it’s fun by the graphics look like you’re dumped in Grand Theft Auto: 3D – and the always fantastic King Kong: 360.


As in years past I didn’t make it out to any of the pre-opening night events, calling it an early night for a mess of fun on Thursday.

Thursday started with me reuniting with my fantastic fellow Social Producers. I cannot thank TCM enough for continuing the Social Producer program for a second year. I was honored to be part of the inaugural program and this year has been a blessing. If you haven’t already, feel free to take part in my Social Producer project that doesn’t require you to be in L.A. Whether you’re in your car or jogging you can listen to the music of the TCM Classic Film Festival! All you need is a Spotify account and this link to down my playlist, TCM Classic Film Festival: The Songs. I’m updating the songs between now and Sunday night and you can listen to the music inspired by and associated with this year’s films.


Everything revolved around the red carpet for the opening night of All the President’s Men (1976). I was surrounded by some great friends covering the event and got to talk to some fantastic people. I hope to have the actual audio available to you all soon. In a nutshell, I got to talk to the lovely Jennifer Dorian, TCM’s General Manager who’s been intent on meeting all of us Social Producers and thanking us for our work (shouldn’t we be thanking them?). Gina Lollabrigida called me “piccolina” and was just utterly darling! Carl Bernstein, yes, THE Carl Bernstein, stopped by to say hello. I also chatted with Leave Her to Heaven (1945) star Darryl Hickman, Jack Lemmon’s amazing son Chris, Sister Rose Pacatte and my unofficial TCM BFF, Keith Carradine.

By this point fans could have seen at least two movies but I was just seeing my first at 9:30. I’ve watched Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) numerous times but my fantastic travel companion, Michelle, had never watched it before. (Be sure to check out her site for her reviews.) Beforehand author Donald Bogle and Guess Who star, Katharine Houghton – fellow star Katharine Hepburn’s niece – discussed the film, it’s place in shaping and changing the minds of the “fence sitters” who weren’t fans of interracial marriages, and more.


As much as I wished I’d watched more movies, Thursday, for me, is always about preparing for the week ahead. So as much as I’d have liked to attend the various pre-festival parties, I called it an early night.

Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

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