3. Walking into the Alamo Drafthouse theater where Forever Fest was held was like walking into the bedroom of your wildest pre-teen dreams.
4. Everything around us had a rosy hue.
5. There was even an extra-girlie drink menu, ensuring that every event was well-lubricated.
6. Night one started with a screening of ’90s cult classic Empire Records, a 35mm print shown on the big screen!
7. The movie was preceded by a string of classic ’90s music videos that I hadn’t thought about in 15 years, like Dishwalla’s “Counting Blue Cars.”
8. Empire Records holds up.
And A.J. is still cute.
She inspired a lot of the looks that night, naturally.
10. Just in general, a girlie festival guarantees rad, themed outfits.
11. The after-party featured a killer ’90s cover band, Zoodust.
They filled their set with Gin Blossoms, No Doubt, and even a cover of Empire Records’ “Sugarhigh.”
12. There was plenty of Rex Manning to go around.
14. Proving yet again that girls just want to have fun, Forever Fest partied hard all night long.
15. The next morning, BuzzFeed Animals sponsored THE CUTEST SHOW ON EARTH, a tribute to all of our favorite cat videos and funny babies.
16. We played a game called “Can you get through these pictures without smiling?” with three contestants and a kid assisting.
17. The contestants were shown a series of photos while my assistant Milo described them.
19. The little dog who thought this entire parade was for him knocked out the second contestant, and our winner took home an amazing cat-themed prize package.
20. The video show featured animals on trampolines, dogs greeting soldiers, important cats, giggling babies, baby goats, sloths, sleepy puppies, and so much more…
21. But the dog who waits patiently for his best friend to jump in a puddle was the crowd’s favorite.
22. The festival wasn’t just about movies and cute animals. We also celebrated the best of young adult literature.
23. There was a YA book panel where Heather & Jessica, Megan McCafferty, and Kirsten Smith shared advice, stories, and secrets…
even photos of themselves in high school (pictured: Heather Cocks).
Kirsten Smith’s photos were particularly inspiring.
24. Smith, who co-wrote 10 Things I Hate About You, also talked about how charming 18-year-old Heath Ledger was on set.
25. The hilarious ladies of Go Fug Yourself related their stories of hanging out with Joan Rivers, and talked about the research they’re doing for their upcoming adult novel, the fictionalized story of Kate Middleton.
26. McCafferty worked at teen magazines when she was in her early 20s — she interned at the late, great Sassy (RIP).
27. Ladies lined up to meet the authors and get their books signed, proving yet again that many of us are secretly teenagers for the rest of our lives.
28. By the time Danceoke started, I was overwhelmed by how rewarding and positive it felt to be surrounded by women who weren’t afraid to squeal in public.
29. And Danceoke is exactly what it sounds like: local dance troupes performing famous dance routines from movies and music videos live on stage.
31. Saturday night was 80s NIGHT (!)
32. There were free ’80s style blowouts available in the lobby.
You could choose between the Pretty In Pink (beach waves), the Dirty Dancing (feminine curls), Clueless (straight and smooth), or Sixteen Candles (a perfect pony).
34. Two of the cast-members were there to celebrate with us: Liane Alexandra Curtis, who played Molly’s BFF Randy is on the left, and Deborah Pollack, who played Marlene (aka “sexy girlfriend”) is on the right looking exactly the same.
They were just as excited as all of their fans!
35. During their super-entertaining Q&A, the ladies spoke fondly of John Hughes and all the friendships they made on set.
Deborah said that Hughes was always a teenager, and that he preferred their company to the grown-ups in Hollywood.
They even told us one SHOCKING SECRET, but we all pinky swore not to tell.
36. During the Q&A, Gedde Watanabe (Long Duk Dong) and Blanche Baker both “surprised” Pollack with phone calls. Most of the cast is still friends, but no one really knows what happened to Jake Ryan.
38. But Forever Fest wasn’t just for ladies, although there were a lot of us. It was for anyone willing to celebrate their inner teenage girl — dudes included.
40. Not to mention coordinated group dance sequences.
41. And everyone finally got their own Jake Ryan moment.
42. The next morning, Brandy and Sarah managed to get all of us awake in time for THE WILD BRUNCH, a celebration of, well, men’s bodies.
43. The day began with a rousing game of “Guess Those Abs”.
Well, can you?
And a lot of this guy…
But the biggest cheers were reserved for Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing.
45. The show was so good that Sarah and Brandy were pretty much at a loss for words by the end. We all were.
46. In the lobby, happy ladies could be photographed with either of their boyfriends, Channing Tatum…
or The Goz.
Megan McCafferty loves on her man Ryan Gosling.
47. A small fact: all good things must end. Forever Fest closed with an advance screening of The Book Thief.
50. He said so many interesting things after each simple question that time ran out too quickly. “The problem with being a writer,” he explained, “is that you spend so much time alone that when you’re in public you can’t shutup.”
51. When asked about the differences between reading and watching a film, Zusak remarked that “when you read a book, you go through all that alone. Then you come to a theater and you feel it together.”
52. Which totally sums up what FOREVER FEST was all about!
So much lady-centric entertainment is treated as a “guilty pleasure” or something you grow out of, and it was so great to have a place to celebrate it loudly. And in pink.
53. Forever Fest proved that dreams do come true. Even my dream of someday working at Empire Records…
LYLAS, Forever Fest!
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