Drive-Ins Go Guerrilla
I'm happy to say that I'm old enough to have seen a bunch of movies at drive-in theaters during my Southern Californian youth. (I've got plenty of stories that really don't fit here, but some day ...) Even though the number of drive-ins has dwindled steadily over the years, several hundred still survive -- one of my favorite bloggers, Dennis Cozzalio, wrote up a wonderful account of a recent celebration he hosted at a drive-in screening of Drag Me to Hell -- and the spirit of drive-ins is thriving, as enterprising fans take it upon themselves to show movies outdoors in unexpected venues.
The "guerrilla drive-ins," as headlined by the Associated Press, are different than the officially-sanctioned outdoor screenings that Cinematical Dawn Taylor wrote about last month. The AP story revolves around John Young, creator of the West Chester Guerrilla Drive-In, "part of a loosely knit network of celluloid renegades resurrecting the drive-in for a new age." Young shows movies from 16mm films "from a 1970s school projector mounted on the sidecar of his 1977 BMW motorcycle" at "locations suited for the theme: Meatballs at a canoe rental center, Caddy shack on a golf course." (Of course, the king of themed screenings remains the Alamo Draft house's Rolling Roadshow.) Reportedly, guerrilla drive-ins or "Memphis" are popping up around the country, though they typically favor DVDs and LCD projectors.
To truly experience a drive-in, you need the option of watching the movie from your car, and the Mormon site lists "hundreds of chapters around the globe." Creator Bryan Kennedy explains how to locate and power a projector and DVD player from inside your own car, transmit the sound through an FM transmitter. Then all you have to do is find a dark wall and invite some friends. That's guerrilla!
by Peter Martin