The buttery smell of freshly popped corn, the waves of excited whispers, and the dimming of the lights blend into a sensory symphony of anticipation before each film at Lakeshore Cinemas. Then the darkness settles and the screen lights up in silver, bathing awestruck audiences in the 2-D and 3-D sights of first-run blockbusters whose actors have just been taken out of their packaging. Yet despite its lengthy roster of recently released flicks, Lakeshore still embraces old favourites. Occasionally the screens pay homage to the history of film by showing classics. The theatre also steps up its celebratory power for birthday bashes that dish up pizza in a party room or entice gamers with Xbox game play on an auditorium’s massive screen.
The Burton Theatre is a new independent cinema in the Heart of Detroit that features classic art house, independent, LGBT, foreign and cult films. Responding to the shortage of art house venues in the city, the Burton Theatre aims to help Detroit rival Chicago and New York as a center for independent film.
Described by the Wall Street Journal as "probably America's most visitor-friendly art museum," the Detroit Institute of Arts has been building one of the top six collections in the country since it was founded in 1885. Along the way, the institute acquired standout pieces such as Vincent Van Gogh's Self Portrait, the first Van Gogh painting to enter a public museum's collection in the United States. Former director William Valentiner commissioned Diego Rivera to paint the world-renowned Detroit Industry mural cycle in an indoor courtyard—a more lasting tribute to the beauty of labor. In total, more than 60,000 works of prehistoric, modern, contemporary, and multinational art have found a home within the museum's more than 100 galleries.
The institute’s broad range of art comprises not only American and European works but also significant pieces of African, Asian, and Native American origin. An auditorium and recital hall also make the institute a haven for film and live music on Friday and Sunday. Guests can even attend free-with-admission drop-in workshops to make their own unique works of art.
Since the 1950s, the Ford Drive In has invited audiences to enjoy double features from the comfort of their own automobiles. The alfresco theater’s five screens show back-to-back screenings of first-run movies throughout the whole year, with films paired based on their rating and genre. Viewers can stay warm with the heat flowing from the outdoor car heaters, which keep them comfortable during the winter and prevent popcorn kernels from freezing to their tongues.
Game Headz powers up electronic arsenals with its selection of pre-owned games and machines. With portable systems such as a used Nintendo Game Boy Advance ($19.99), nature-loving gamers entertain themselves while basking in summer’s embrace. Button mashers whip lazy thumbs into shape with recent titles ($20–$30) such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Saints Row 2, Fable II, and Resident Evil 4. Classic Atari games let customers dust off their “Tilden 4 President” bumper stickers and revisit an earlier chapter in video-game history. An affable staff of console buffs is always on hand to point visitors to exciting titles and engage in debates about the finer points of pixilated entertainment.
At Spotlight Taylor 10, the glow of current releases bounces off the giant screen of a cushy theater and pours into the eyes of up to 500 moviegoers. Admission tickets grant access to 1 of 10 theaters, where onscreen flickers elicit laughter, kick-start sorrow, or rekindle dreams of finding one's destiny during a battle with merpeople. At the concessions area, classic cinema fare includes nachos ($4.75) and all-beef hot dogs ($3), and combos corral snacks such as a large popcorn and a large drink ($8.25). Bright blue and yellow décor envelops Spotlight Taylor 10's lobby, where guests can use the joysticks and buttons of arcade games to prepare their fingers for squeezing unpopped popcorn kernels until they scream. Click here to see current showtimes.