The main screen at what was formerly "The Tiffin" theater has been there since the heyday of the drive-in. So much so that the original owners retired just a couple years ago, and it was purchased by a family who had entered the drive-in theater world only a couple years before that by building a theater from scratch in the cornfields of Liberty Center, OH. Their son will manage this theater as it opens for the 2012 season. They've added a second screen with the unique, as far as I know, mechanism of supporting a set of plywood panels with a retired semi-trailer. There's one of these at the new-built venue too, along with a much bigger main screen supported by phone poles. Maybe I'll post a picture of that tomorrow.
As a bit of background why these large format scans are showing up here. Two weeks ago a nagging bit of sciatic nerve trouble went ballistic, and was properly diagnosed as Lyme disease (Lyme infection can take a very long time to develop, and may well have been irritating my susceptible sciatic apparatus as it got ready to go for broke and try to incapacitate me). I'm two weeks into a three week course of giant antibiotic capsules, and in the bugs vs drugs war, the drugs seem to be winning. I don't have crippling pseudo-arthritis in both knees anymore, etc. But I haven't been able to do my usual several times a week walkabout shooting. Good in a way, because I'm doing a lot of work on the pictures, both digital capture and large format film, from last September's DI road trip in the Midwest to fine tune both wet and digital darkroom parameters in preparation for The Giant Road Trip. September's expedition was in fact intended partly as a shake-down cruise in anticipation of the planned Kickstarter project to finance the big trip.
As long as we're into behind the scenes stuff, this week I had a high-tech security/alarm system installed in my HHR. In order to do walkabout shooting in the towns I go through between theaters, I'll have to leave the car parked with not only just about all the equipment in it, but also the exposed film and hard drives full of captures. A good security system will make that a lot more comfortable.
Last September a storm had just passed through when I got to this theater in the evening to meet with the owner. As we talked, I saw that the sky was getting lighter near the west horizon. I set up the 8x10 camera for this framing of the screen and playground, when another storm front came through. I wrapped up the mounted camera in a waterproof giant focusing cloth and waited out the rain in my car. Just as the rain stopped again, the sun dropped out of the clouds and lit up the screen like some sort of giant beacon. The clouds to the northeast behind the screen were a deep blue verging on purple. When I tweak this scan further for printing I'll take the sky even deeper than it is here to really reflect the feel of this dramatic moment.
The American Drive-in Theater Kickstarter campaign ended with an amazing 196% of the initial funding goal. This means that I'll be able to cover more theaters than allowed by the original bare-bones itinerary. I'll add an additional loop later in the fall to work with theaters in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. The response has been wonderful, with a total of 272 Kickstarter Backers. People around the country are looking up theaters and sending me scouting pictures by email. Theater owners, when I can make contact with them, are enthusiastic about being included in the project.
It's been quite an experience. There have been a number of media interviews about the project. An arts organization in Florida has invited me to do a week-long Artist in Residence session in the fall. An arts and culture magazine in Paris has asked to publish a portfolio of the pictures. And I can't wait to hit the road, though because of the way the funds are handled through Amazon Payments the trip won't be able to begin until about May 18th.
Thanks to everyone who has participated in the smallest to the largest ways. Every backer at every level is important because the support shows how much public interest there is in the subject and this project. Again, thanks to everyone.
After the beating the trees in back took during the damaging early snow storm last fall, the completely weird spring weather has made for an anemic flowering tree season. Still interesting in early morning light after a rainy night.
This caught my eye partly because "Midway" is a common name for drive-in theaters, showing up frequently in my research. This time though, it's a cleaners and tailors establishment. The other thing was that it's clear Duke's is a place that wouldn't be caught dead serving anything I'd be caught dead eating.
Last fall, just before I had to shut the lab down for the winter, the faucet set at one end of the sink failed. So now that it's warm enough to feel safe about pressuring up the system, I found a nearly identical faucet. It's clearly the same casting, but the machining of the connectors and consequently the connecting hardware is slightly different. On a bad note, the actual spigot attachment again seems weird and flimsy, so this may not last well either. Luckily I was able to break the threaded connections and install the new hardware without having to remake the sweat connections. A few hours later I descended into our dripping-walls dungeon of a cellar and pressured up the system. Nice and tight, no leaks. So the lab is ready to prepare for some film development testing I need to do before leaving on the big expedition, and also for an upcoming private workshop.
The writer did a nice job of editing our email interview, and they asked for files much larger than you see here or at almost any web site so it might be fun to view the presentation on a really big monitor.