October 4-20, 2013 Empire Drive-In was at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens.
Empire Drive-In was installed for 3 weeks and featured twelve nights of films and performances programmed by Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark, along with partners including Museum of the Moving Image, Queens Museum, Light Industry, Flux Factory, and others. The installation featured a daytime sound program about cars and manufacturing curated by Ann Heppermann and broadcast to cars by low-power FM. All nightly programs began with a slideshow of late industrial images by photographer Stephen Mallon.
See Full Program
Contributing Artists: Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels, Mary Elizabeth Burton, Nick Chatfield-Taylor, Burke Heffner, Brett James, Olivia Katz, Marshall LaCount, Stephan von Muehlen, Mike O’Toole, Pamela Parker, and Heidi Tullman.
With help from Elizabeth Slagus, Dan Wempa, Erin Thelen, Johnny Coast, Emory Rotten, Melina Davis, Gaylen Hamilton, John Kane, Joshua Kogan, Eleanor Lovinsky, Rob Maccinis, Miles K. Michael, Sean McIntyre, Ankeen Rose, Megan Stockton, Chelsea Wagner, Blue Winterhawk, Mirah Zeitlyn, and Empire Drive-In Volunteers.
Thanks NYSCI, Build it Green, Rooftop Films, Lite Brite, Rubulad, Kevin Balktick, Will Chu, Megan Cump, Steve Dietz, Brent Green, Jason Eppink, Chris Hacket, Tom Ingram, Gabriella Jenks, Taylor Kuffner, Mike Lane, Ruth McCullough, Sarah McMillan, Mike Plante, Ed Reilly, Tod Seelie, Julie Shapiro, Mark Winkle.
Empire Drive-In’s opening night features Greg Saunier of the band Deerhoof and 30 pianists on old Casio keyboards. Saunier composed pieces for three silent comedies and will play percussion on an amplified junk car. Keyboards and pianists wrangled by Maestra Missy Mazzoli. Films include One Week starring Buster Keaton (scored by Aye Aye Rabbit: Greg Saunier on drums, guitarist Indigo Street, and Ed Pastorini on keyboards), One A.M. starring Charlie Chaplin, and Kid Speed starring Oliver Hardy. Followed by Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth, an anthology of five different cab drivers in five cities on the same night.
Saturday, October 5, 7 p.m.
Bunty Aur Babli with Reena Shah and DJ Zakhm
Presented by the Queens Museum
Queens Museum is dedicated to showcasing the cultural diversity of its borough. Join us as we celebrate the popular movie culture of India. In the 2005 superhit Bunty Aur Babli, Rakesh and Vimmi meet in Mumbai. Renaming themselves Bunty and Babli, they set off on a series of bold capers as they travel across the country in this Bollywood homage to Bonnie and Clyde. Start the night by learning a Bollywood routine to the song Kajra Re from the film with a lesson by actress, dancer, and choreographer Reena Shah and a DJ set by Zakhm, then match the energy on screen with your new dance moves.
Sunday, October 6, 7 p.m.
A Samuel Z. Arkoff Double Feature
Presented by Light Industry
Reptilicus and Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
Light Industry presents a two-picture tribute to producer Samuel Z. Arkoff, the low-budget mogul who oversaw more than 400 films. A founder of American International Pictures, Arkoff made the drive-in the premiere destination for teenagers in search of cheap thrills in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, serving up hundreds of hot rod epics, biker flicks, beach party spectaculars, and monster rampages. He claimed the secret to his success was the “Arkoff formula” — making sure every film he produced contained Action, Revolution, Killing, Oratory, Fantasy, and Fornication. Featuring Reptilicus and Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.
Thursday, October 10, 6 p.m.
Animation Flip Out
$10 special night ($5 NYSCI members)
Presented by New York Hall of Science with Tom Stathes and Tammy Arnstein
The Animated Life of A.R. Wallace with Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck
A night of animation for the whole family, with hands-on activities and talks by the presenters. Activities include projector and film editing demonstrations and do-it-yourself flip books. Tom Stathes, Tammy Arnstein, Flora Lichtman, and Sharon Shattuck will discuss the history, industry, and technology of animation from past to present. Animation Flip Out features a sneak preview of The Animated Life of A.R. Wallace, a new animated short by Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck about British naturalist and explorer Alfred Russel Wallace.
Friday, October 11, 7 p.m.
The Space Between: Public, Private, Borders, Edges
Presented by the Rooftop Films
Short films program
Rooftop Films is a nonprofit organization that has shown underground movies outdoors since 1997. Their mission is to build community through film, by showing movies that people wouldn’t otherwise see in unique spaces. This short film program explores liminal spaces, tracing a history from obscure but purposeful construction (The Mechanicals, City of Cranes) to accidental migration and occupation (Found, The Commoners), to willful social breakdown and deconstruction (Dr. Breakfast, The External World, Welcome to Pine Point, Ich Bin’s. Helmut). With comedy, drama, animation, documentary, and interactive media, these short films harmonize the complex chaos of the modern world with the soothing reminder that all is artifice.
Saturday, October 12, 7 p.m.
Teenage Wasteland: Double Feature
Programmed by Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark
Over the Edge and Suburbia with RVIVR
The American drive-in peaked in popularity in the 1950s, around the time teenagers were invented. Soon after, preachers and moralists rallied against both, declaring the supposedly family friendly drive-ins had devolved into irredeemable “Passion Pits.” Tonight’s double feature picks up in the late 1970s and early 1980s — the high era of teenage degenerates. The disaffected kids in Over the Edge riot against teachers, parents, and the local cops with Cheap Trick and Van Halen playing in the background. A few years later the young punks in Penelope Spheeris’ Suburbia wage war with nihilism and contempt to The Vandals and The Germs.
With a live set in between the movies by Olympia punk rock band RVIVR, who encourage and challenge that proud tradition of rebellion.
Sunday, October 13, 7 p.m.
The Space Race
Creative Director: Braden King
Our Century scored live by Boxhead Ensemble with Seneca and Drift
Rising up behind the screen at Empire Drive-In are two decommissioned NASA rockets. Filmmaker Braden King (Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks Its Back; HERE) has curated a night of films and music that responds to this site.
Michael Krassner and Boxhead Ensemble have been creating unique soundtracks and live cinema events throughout the world for the past 15 years, often in collaboration with Braden King. In a rare New York appearance, Boxhead will be performing a live score to Artavazd Pelechian’s experimental masterpiece Our Century, a film that evocatively conveys humankind’s tenacious and unending efforts to transcend its earthly limitations, by intercutting imagery of the U.S. and Soviet Union’s Cold War-era space programs. A surprisingly emotional experience of human endeavor, Our Century makes the massive technological efforts of these two superpowers look like a kind of child’s play, as each country pushes farther and farther into the ether. Rarely (if ever) screened in New York, Pelechian’s films are considered to be among the most innovative and unique uses of cinematic language. Preceded by Seneca, Braden King’s collaboration with the band Tortoise, and Kelly Sears’ The Drift.
Boxhead Ensemble lineup:
Paul de Jong (Cello, Samples, The Books)
Wil Hendricks (Multi-Instrumentalist, Lofty Pillars, Califone)
Michael Krassner (Guitar, Ensemble Director)
Tim Rutili (Guitar, Califone)
Jim White (Drums, Dirty Three, Cat Power, Smog)
Wednesday, October 16, 6 p.m.
Youth Media Night: New Films and Filmmakers
Presented by the New York Hall of Science
Sound projects and short films program
Youth media organizations from around New York City screen and present work from the past year.
Thursday, October 17, 7 p.m.
Presented by Flux Factory
Interactive space adventure
Blast into low Earth orbit for a celebration of campy science fiction and do-it-yourself merrymaking led by Captain Riterleff and Flux Factory, a nonprofit Queens art collective that delights in working with reused and recycled materials. Prior spaceflight experience not required; spacesuit provided.
Friday, October 18, 7 p.m.
A Night at the Races
Presented by Transportation Alternatives
Breaking Away with NYC Bike Ballet and bicycle short films
In the world of Empire Drive-In there are no working cars. So how is it possible to “drive in?” Tonight we invite cyclists to bike in to the drive-in for an evening of bicycle films. Featuring NYC Bike Ballet, street games, and bicycle short films. Followed by the 1980s racing classic Breaking Away.
Saturday, October 19, 7 p.m.
Silents and Noise: Handmade Films with Live Scores
Programmed by Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark
Short films program with live soundtracks
Empire Drive-In is an installation bigger than any single film. Since our first handmade screen in 2010, we’ve focused on creating programs that expand the idea of what can happen in a movie theater. Tonight’s show features handmade films accompanied by live music, live narration, and live foley, creating a shared experience for audience members, performers, and filmmakers. The program includes:
• New short films by Jem Cohen, with live score by Guy Picciotto and Jim White.
• To Many Men Strange Fates Are Given by Brent Green, with live score and narration by Brent Green, Brendan Canty, and Todd Chandler.
• Egg by Benh Zeitlin, with live score by Perhaps Contraption.
• Organism by Hilary Harris, with live score by Joel Saladino.
• Flat Land Speed by Jonathan Kaiser, with live score by Resine.
• The Rink, starring Charlie Chaplin, with live score by the Hairy Eyeball String Ticklers.
• Plus Fitzcardboardaldo and Corrugation of Dreams by Robin Frohardt and short films by Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari, Nick Chatfield Taylor, Blu, and Paolo Pedercini.
*This program will be followed by the 1985 New Zealand sci-fi classic feature film The Quiet Earth.*
Sunday, October 20, 7 p.m.
American Made: Cars, Trucks, and Working Machines
Programmed by Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark
The Last Truck and Foreign Parts with Lift by Sarah McMillan
Empire Drive-In is filled with cars from a Brooklyn scrapyard. Most of those cars are less than 15 years old. This is not an accident. In the 1920s cars were made to last. By the 1970s they were disposable, the result of planned obsolescence. Tonight’s films tell stories about the resilient characters who live and work in neighborhoods, factories, and jobs soon to be obsolete. The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, offers an inside story of the last days of a General Motors plant in Moraine, Ohio. Verena Paravel and J.P. Sniadecki’s Foreign Parts spends a year in Willet’s Point, just around the corner from Empire Drive-In. The film captures a community of mechanics, wreckers, and recyclers who do bang-up business under threat of eminent domain. Preceded by Lift, machine choreography by Sarah McMillan.