The two screens of Tower Theaters host an eclectic cast of characters, from the flying superheroes of summer blockbusters to elaborately costumed opera singers. And 3D technology propels many of them toward the audience with the vivid clarity of digital projection. The dancers and singers appear as part of an opera-and-ballet series, which showcases stage productions such as Caravaggio or Die Fledermaus in digital high definition. But on the first Saturday of every month, film and live performance combine with midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, during which a shadow cast poses in front of the screen to mirror the cult classic's plot and catch Tim Curry when he falls out.
An endless amount of stories flicker across the screen at these cinemas, which offer stadium seating and digital sound. The theater plays films chosen from Hollywood’s newest releases, featuring stars just plucked from the vines where they grow in the California hills. Between whispered critiques of each preview, audience members can wash down fluffy kernels of popcorn with soda from the concession stand. The theater also opens its doors for birthday parties and large private screenings for up to 300 guests.
For more than a century, the Berkshire Museum has blended history, science, and art into a cohesive whole, drawing inspiration from both the Smithsonian and the American Museum for Natural Science. The museum is packed with wonders ranging from Wally—the fiberglass stegosaurus who guards the museum’s entry—to the John James Audubon display, an impassioned tribute to the very ornithology that prompted Audubon to pen The Birds of America. Other, more playful displays unveil additional wonders, including Alexander Calder's collection of wooden push and pull toys. And inside the vast, salty aquarium, a teeming collection of clownfish, blind cave tetra, and puffer fish swim merrily side-by-side, thankful that they've yet to be cast as members of some trite, underwater calypso band.
Hoyts Simsbury Cinemas enthralls cinephiles and periodic moviegoers alike with the latest Hollywood fare screened in Dolby Digital surround sound. A concessions stand nourishes viewers with delectable noshes, and the theater's stadium seating comfortably harbors audience members waiting their turn to give an acceptance speech for Best Movie Viewer. In addition to its usual cinematic offerings, Hoyts Simsbury Cinemas screens biweekly sensory-friendly showings––for families with youngsters affected by autism and sensory disorders––during which theater lights remain on, the volume is turned down, and patrons may opt to dance, sing, and hop throughout the film. Private showings for mothers and babies invite parents to enjoy movies without worrying that their child's clamor is bothering other audience members. Birthday-party packages treat celebrants to a movie-themed birthday area with a snack pack and helium balloon for each child, and private presentations or VHS support groups welcome up to 50 attendees.
Parkade Cinemas doesn't need a marquee lit up in flashing bulbs or spotlights waving through the sky to get the community through its doors. The film buffs behind the independently run theater know that the focus of the movie experience is the movie itself, so they don't try to overshadow it. And by leaving their decor understated, they've created something distinctly familiar. The red curtains lining the walls around six screens, the blue and white tile leading to the candies in the concession stand, the gray seats whose arms hug audiences during the scary parts are all emblematic of movie-going. These, coupled with the second-run Hollywood blockbusters and the regular live performances from comedians and magicians, make Parkade Cinemas a staple of the community.