Do you ever yearn for simpler times; evenings when parents, for instance, folded pajama-clad kids into cars and spent the evening watching a movie at the drive-in?
Today’s advanced digital technology allows you to bring the mood of an outdoor theater to your own yard, and invite your neighborhood to join the fun while you’re at it.
“This summer, we thought showing movies in our front yard would be a great way to bring the neighborhood families together and provide a fun activity for lazy summer nights,” says Brian Lampman, founder of Rose Street Theater in Ann Arbor.
“We had a five-week run beginning in July and into August where we’d show a kid’s film every week, complete with pop corn, snow cones, and other treats.” (Full disclosure: Brian is my stepson.)
Brian plans to continue movie night into early winter finishing the season in December with ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas.’ One advantage of the seasonal transition means darkness arrives earlier — movies can be shown sooner so it’s not such a late night. (Second aside: Blankets will replace lawn chairs; hot chocolate will replace snow cones.)
“Mom branded the Rose Street Theater event with rose-shaped sugar cookies,” he says. “She made them for us when we were kids.” (Third aside: “Mom” is Linda Lampman, my husband Richard’s first wife, whose sugar cookie recipe and expertise is far superior to mine.) The event is free to the Rose Street neighborhood and mouth-watering pizza (including gluten-free) was generously donated by a local pizzeria.
The following checklist illuminates how Brian set up his Rose Street Theater. For detailed information regarding specifics and other alternatives for creating your own theatrical venue (written by self-proclaimed cheapskates), visit the web site BackyardTheater.com.
Creating and personalizing an outdoor movie theater can be as simple or complex as your budget and techie know-how allows. Brian is planning a double-feature for the Michigan/Notre Dame football game this weekend: “The Lion King” for the kids and an after-hours showing of “Gladiator” for their parents. To date there has only been one flaw in this plan. “The upset is discovering, by trial and error, that beer snow-cones just don’t work.”
Rose Street Theater Production Checklist:
- Invitations, customized PDF’s e-mailed, or simple word-of-mouth announcements (include a rain date)
- 1 outdoor movie projector, such as an Epson MovieMate 6
- Extension cords, if needed
- Assorted kid’s DVDs
- 1 large white sheet, for viewing movie
- Clothespins, for attaching sheet to window overhangs
- Chairs (most brought by attendees)
- Citronella candles, if the night is bugg
- Blankets, if the night is chilly
- Snow cone machine, including syrup and cups*
- Popcorn machine, including popcorn mix and bags**
- Other treats, such as pizza or sugar cookies (see recipe below)