By David A. Keeps
August 06, 2015
Credit: Oliver Walker for Goldenvoice

Though Los Angeles is something of a self-promoting company town, not everyone in the city is obsessed with seeing the latest Hollywood 3-D blockbuster at the multiplex. This weekend, for instance, marks the return of Sundance Nextfest, a program of L.A. premieres of indie movies paired with filmmaker discussions and live musical performances at The Theater at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles. (Attendees can score 15 percent off rooms at the Ace with code Nextfest.)

Running from August 7 through 9, the Nextfest line-up includes screenings of Noah Baumbach's Mistress America featuring Greta Gerwig, the post-apocalyptic adventure Turbo Kid, along with musical interludes by Sky Ferreira and a DJ battle between Neon Indian and Toro Y Moi. Screenings take place in The Theater, a 1,600-seat United Artists movie palace from the 1920s, which has been lavishly restored as a state-of-the-art cinema and live performance theater.

Nextfest arrives smack dab in the heat of outdoor movie season in L.A. For food truck fans, Eat See Hear and Street Food Cinema pairs street-eats with teen comedies and live music performances at venues around the city. At the Electric Dusk Drive-In in downtown L.A., carhops bring the food to your automobile. This summer, two boutique hotels have jumped on the movie night bandwagon: Mr. C in Beverly Hills will present Midnight In Paris at their Poolside Cinema event on August 18, and the Mondrian in West Hollywood has a regular Monday night Dive In Theater that closes its season with The Shining on October 26.

Nevertheless, the city’s classic venues for enjoying al fresco cinema are, naturally, in Hollywood. Cinespia, a beloved option that hosts classics and cult favorites at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, will host a 30th anniversary screening of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure complete with special surprises on Aug. 22, and at the Hollywood Bowl, E.T. The Extraterrestrial gets an orchestral accompaniment Sept. 4 through 6.

David A. Keeps is on the Los Angeles beat for Travel + Leisure. The host of Ovation TV's "Art and The City," he writes regularly about travel and design. Follow him on Twitter at @davidkeeps and Instagram at @davidkeepsinsta.