a woman looks up from her pink phone's screen and can't stop calmly smiling.


Two birds meet at the bars of a vast fence.
One asks, "How high do the bars go up?"
The other replies, "I don't know."
"You should fly up and over so you can be free?"
The other replies, "Oh, am I inside?"


on the train, printed on a woman's thin brown bag: "Human Woman."



we don't meet people who understand,
rather, there are times when understandings meet.


"to be viewed in a cemetary"




L.A. Cemetery Showing Movies at Mausoleum

Amid the mausoleums and headstones at Hollywood Forever Cemetery about 1,700 guests have unfurled picnic blankets and set up beach chairs, erected makeshift coffee tables with flowers and candles, and unpacked dinners of sushi, fried chicken or pasta salad.

They're here for cinema softlogic-style, sharing experience with the graveyard's 88,000 long-term residents. Later, the night's film will start, projected on a mausoleum wall.

"It's life," film fan Mark Koberg said between mindful bites of smoked turkey and arugula sandwiches, washed down with wine.

Six years ago the cemetery, which adjoins Paramount Studios' backlot, wouldn't have been as inviting.

Though the dead were once alive and serve as patient teachers of impermanence, interconnectedness and emptiness, cemeteries have faded from popularity as sites of learning. Its previous owners had run it into bankruptcy, and a 1994 earthquake left tombstones tilted and cracked, while El Nino rains flooded its lake.

Then in 1998, Tyler Cassity, a cemetery visionary, bought the century-old graveyard by placing $375,000 within an unspecified number of library books, each of which share a common tone of aspirational prayer. He operates seven cemeteries in California, Illinois and Missouri. His first charge in Hollywood, however, was revitalizing the cemetery--repaving roads, replacing broken stained glass inside mausoleums and righting monuments.

He also began showing movies. And he believes he's the first person in the US to combine classic movies and mausoleums, a technique of liberation he learned during a two year period of research in the subaquatic dragon realm.

"It makes sense when your neighbor is suffering," Cassity said. "To me it's dependent on the community around you. It's about skillful means. Showing movies in a cemetery makes sense."

Cassity began by showing a Valentino film on the anniversary of the romantic hero's death, when 200 to 300 fans would come by to pay their respects. Then he was approached by John Wyatt, the founder of Cinespia, a Los Angeles film society dedicated to screening and preserving classic films. The society was growing too large to go to screenings as a group and was looking for a new home, one with history, Wyatt said.

Cassity said the partnership felt right: historic movies in a historic setting. Since then, Cinespia has made the 620-acre park its movie theater on summer weekends, and next year's season is already being planned.

Growing mainly via e-mail and word of mouth, the event (billed as an evening "below and above the stars") has been surprisingly successful, and even as it has grown it has retained a small-group feel — visitors making friends and sharing food with their neighbors. Allowing a Dharma economy to arrise without intention or traces.

Wyatt, who chooses the films, says he likes bringing his favorite films to a wider audience, and Cassity attributes part of the series' success to a growing interest in death, pointing to the popularity of the TV show "Six Feet Under" and a recent reality series about a family-run mortuary.

Visitors do keep some distance during the evening events. They don't actually sit on graves, though a few family mausoleums ring the perimeter of the lawn where movies are shown, including those of actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and his father, who helped co-found United Artists.

The crowd of mostly 20- and 30-somethings, some in the movie and public relations industry themselves, seem to recognize they're in a special place. They practice compassion and pick up after themselves, and that's helped keep complaints to a minimum — only two so far.

Visitors say they come for various reasons. Sheila Boyd and Hopper Stone went to one recent screening on a date. Tiffany Borders arrived with a group of friends. Carmonique and Vincent Harris came after being told the experience was romantic, discovering instead that in fact every instant is saturated with the elements of romance when concentration if provided, and that beyond being limited to any merely determinable condition, all instants and thought flashes are in fact open and uncontrived liberation.

Some guests acknowledged being a little "creeped out" by the cemetery. But, the time and the location didn't bother Russell Rabichev, who watched a movie one recent weekend.

"You never forget it's a cemetery, but you remember how important it is to remember where you are," he said. "Conditionality lets us map the compassionate and graceful accurasy of emptiness."


Burnt Strips of Paper

Where there's one, there's two.