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Pop-Up Drive-In Movie Experiences

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Last Updated: 08/14/2020 6:44 pm
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Cinema in Piazza at Magazzino
  • Cinema in Piazza at Magazzino

Going to an indoor movie theater—with its jumbo tubs of popcorn, ice-cold AC, and boxed candy—seems like a distant dream. With COVID rates spiking all over the country, the return to indoor cinemas doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen anytime soon. Enter: The Drive-In, unsung hero of the pandemic, bringing vintage silver screen entertainment to the socially starved masses. Set outdoors, with everyone in the confines of their own vehicle (ahem germ pod), drive-ins are the socially distanced pandemic solution we never knew we needed.


So no wonder these throwback businesses are booming. And indoor movie theaters are taking a queue from their outdoor counterparts, organizing pop-up drive-ins to fill the movie-going void. “Since indoor theaters have been closed for so long, we wanted to give people a fun and secure way to leave their house and be entertained right now,” says Mike Burdge, founder of Story Screen. “We love that we’re able to bring people together but from a safe distance.” The Hudson Valley already has a plethora of traditional drive-in theaters, which have remained operational this summer, but with increased demanded and restricted capacity they have been selling out weekly, so the pop-up theaters are a great supplement. Here are some of the new pop-up drive-in theaters operating in the Hudson Valley for the remainder of the summer.

Story Screen | Beacon

The Park at USC

724 Wolcott Avenue, Beacon, 12508


For Story Screen, which opened last year in the historic Beacon Theater on Main Street, the return to pop-up events is a full-circle journey. “Story Screen actually originally began as a series of outdoor pop-ups before the brick-and-mortar location was opened so as the weather grew warmer we felt it would be a great way to get back to our roots,” says Burdge. During the pandemic, they offered a “digital theater,” where people could rent new releases and curated international films for home-viewing. Now, in summer, they’ve pivoted again to al fresco screenings in the park at USC. Story Screen is bringing “the entertainment back” with screenings of cult-classics like The Goonies and The Big Lebowski. Tickets for the screenings are sold in advance online and cost $10, parking is available on a first come first serve basis. Story Screen pop-up is open Friday through Sunday, 7pm-1am.

Cinema In Piazza | Cold Spring

Since reopening to the public on July 10, Magazzino, the Italian post-war and Contemporary art museum in Cold Spring, has brought back their annual summer film series Cinema in Piazza. In collaboration with artecinema and Cold Spring Film Society, Laura Trisorio and Vittorio Calabrese curate a selection of films. Tickets must be pre-purchased online and are $30 per car, with proceeds benefiting RxART, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help children heal through visual art. The last show of this round is on August 15, and will feature Andrea Mastrovito’s new film I Am Not Legend.

Ulster County Movie Nights | Kingston

Tech City Parking Lot

300 Enterprise Drive, Kingston, NY 12401


Back on July 23, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced that the county would be hosting an eight-week movie series called UC Movie Nights. The pop-up screening series, hosted in the parking lot of Tech City (the former IBM campus), will show a range of movies for all ages to enjoy like Mamma Mia!, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and Hidden Figures. The screenings, which began on July 31, will run until September 26. “UC Movie Nights” is free to the public, however, online pre-registration is required to attend. Shows are every Friday and Saturday night and start at 9pm.

Parking Lot Live | Hudson

TSL

434 Columbia Street, Hudson, NY 12534


Nonprofit arts organization and theater Time and Space Limited (TSL) has decided to open up their 20,000-square-foot parking lot on weekends through August 21 for their Parking Lot Live movie screening and performance series. Tickets must be bought in advance (general admission costs $10) and include a chair and a “social distancing space.” Time and Space Limited will be screening classic films like Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes (1938) and Modern Times starring Charlie Chaplin (1926). The last live performance will be back-to-back performances from Hudson-based musician and multidisciplinary visual artist Emily Ritz on August 21 and 22.

Mahaiwe Drive-in | Great Barrington, MA

Daniel Arts Center (Bard College at Simon Rock)

84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230


Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center will be hosting drive-in movie screenings at the Daniel Arts Center parking lot in Simon’s Rock on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The movie’s audio will play through your car’s radio, so there is no need to leave your vehicle unless you’d want to visit concessions, which will be dishing up food from the SoCo Creamery and the Berkshire Food Co-op. So far, Mahaiwe Drive-in is slated to show Grease, Jurassic Park, the original Mary Poppins, as well as some modern films like Amazing Grace. Tickets cost $25 per vehicle and must be purchased in advance. Review the full movie schedule.

Upstate Films | Wherever You Are

Upstate Films, a nonprofit theater with locations in Rhinebeck and Woodstock, has embraced an unconventional method of reopening compared to the other pop-up drive-ins in the Hudson Valley. For $1,500, Upstate Films is now offering to bring the charm of outdoor screenings to your own backyards for a screening of 50 people or fewer at a time. “While closed due to the virus, we thought why not take it on the road to where people feel safe—their homes,” says Steve Leiber, co-director of Upstate Films. All customers need to do is supply the movie that they would like to show. Upstate Films provides the projector, a sound system, a screen for 9-foot-by-16-foot image, and a popcorn machine if you want, for the full experience. To book an event contact info@upstatefilms.org.


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