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Queens Drive-In Combines Artists' Love Of Film, Nostalgia

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TWC News: Queens Drive-In Combines Artists' Love Of Film, Nostalgia
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A drive-in movie theater at the New York Hall of Science in Queens is allowing visitors to take a trip back in time. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

Artists Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark were hard at work Thursday morning with one goal in mind: Turning the parking lot of the New York Hall of Science into a full fledged drive-in theater. They came up with the concept when Chandler was looking for a place to screen his own film.

"Part of it was, what's the most special and appropriate place to show this film, but then it grew into something much bigger than that," Chandler said.

Empire Drive-in is making its New York debut Friday after runs in California and the UK. The pair brought in 60 cars from a Brooklyn junkyard and used reclaimed wood to build the screen and even the authentic looking concession stand. Treats will be served there during the 12 nights of movies and live performances, each with a different theme developed by area arts groups.

"It's a low power FM direct to your car, so we beam the signal from the films directly into your spot you can kind of fiddle with it and adjust the volume just like at the real drive-in," Stark said.

The New York Hall of Science is known mainly for its programs for children and families, and having Empire Drive-In is part of an effort to attract a larger audience of people from different age groups.

"The idea of bringing this project on for an entire month with programming that could sort of engage a slightly older audience with a more critical project about our environment and ecology and urbanism really spoke to me," said New York Hall of Science Director of Public Programs Liz Slagus.

The artists say they hope their creation speaks to folks in a variety of ways.

"It's about nostalgia, it's about creative re-use, it's about the spectacle of cinema," Chandler said.

"The programming matches the space, the programming matches what's in the cars, you get a sense that a complete theater has been built for each film and each night," Stark said.

The theater will be in town until October 20.

For ticket prices and a complete schedule of films and performances to be featured, check out empiredrivein.com.

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