The Picture House's very first film flickered across the screen in 1921, and today, the recently restored nonprofit continues its legacy by showcasing a variety of new independent features, foreign films, and classic cinematic wonders. The theater projects hard-to-find flicks in both its 300-seat main house and intimate 20-seat screening room, eliciting laughter, kick-starting sorrow, and rekindling dreams of finding one's destiny during a battle with merpeople. To keep guests on the back edge of their seats, the owners frequently curate and host dedicated series that highlight family-friendly flicks, international pictures, and acclaimed documentaries.
Since its origins as a converted parking garage, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has ushered film-lovers of all breeds into its auditoriums, even gaining a following among Hollywood legends; Quentin Tarantino has been known to host five-day movie marathons at Alamo. The theater has earned that reputation by making moviegoing a personal experience, from the menu of handcrafted snacks and locally brewed beer to the completely ad-free presentations before shows. Alamo’s ninja servers pick up written food and drink orders throughout the movie and serve moviegoers directly at their seat. The staff enforces a strict no-talking, no-texting policy by kicking out any offenders, falling just short of yanking them from their seats with a giant's shepherd's crook.
Both first-run blockbusters and classics are projected onto Alamo's silver screens in crisp 35-millimeter or digital format. Meanwhile, surround speakers immerse audiences in the cinematic soundscape, whether they're seated in one of the expansive theaters afforded to blockbuster reels or the more intimate spaces reserved for indie films wound around tiny bobbins. Despite Alamo's vow of silence, fan-centric Quote-Along and Sing-Along nights encourage guests to shout their favorite lines, and actors, directors, and other celebrities often attend special screenings to lead in-depth discussions. These exclusive events have led to acclaim for Alamo from publications such as Entertainment Weekly, which called it “one of America's most fanatically unique moviegoing experiences,” and Wired, which opined that it "might just be the coolest movie theater in the world."
Did you know that, on average, 88% of the seats in a movie theater remain empty during a showing? According to the New York Times, this phenomenon really surprised Sean Wycliffe a few years back when he went to see the Oscar-winning film The King's Speech and shared the theater with only two other audience members. With all the focus on online video services, Sean realized movie theaters were being overlooked, and came up with a concept that could help movie houses fill their empty seats.
His brainchild became Dealflicks, a website that offers customers discounted tickets (sometimes with popcorn or soda) for same-day showings. Customers shop a selection of deals, each of which is specific to a particular film, theater, and showtime, and upon purchase, receive an email voucher they present at the theater's ticket counter. Dealflicks is partnered with theaters around the country, particularly independent and neighborhood venues, such as the treehouse of the enterprising kid down the street.
Starplex Cinemas mans more than 200 screens from the Midwest to the West Coast. In each theater, digital projectors enthrall audience members seated in comfy stadium-style chairs with vivid images, and surround-sound speakers crisply broadcast every roar of an engine in hot pursuit and every romantic slurp of soda. To make the cinematic experience maximally cushy, guests at many locations also can sink into luxury leather seating and chew thoughtfully on Starplex Cinemas's signature $1 hot dogs.
Winners of the 2011 Grammy Award for best contemporary jazz album, the Stanley Clarke Band makes its first-ever appearance in Westchester on the historic stage of Tarrytown Music Hall. Leading the talented troupe of musicians, legendary bassist Stanley Clarke infuses each jazzy arrangement with a rhythmic pulse more graceful than a bald eagle singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Clarke's remarkable career—which began in the early 1970s—includes innovative work on multiple instruments, numerous film scores, and a lengthy discography that spans classical, jazz, R & B, and pop genres. Built in 1885, Tarrytown Music Hall has stood as a fitting abode to prodigious performers such as Joan Baez, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bruce Springsteen. Noted for its superb acoustics, the century-old institution has also played host to powerful guests such as the Rockefellers, who frequented the hall's elaborate flower shows and championship charades tournaments.
It's in the tiny sixth percentile of theaters built in the US before the year 1900, and there's a good chance its elegance will outshine those erected in the year 2100. The noble brick facade. The sash windows bordered by painted wood. The cast-iron parapet at the center of the roof. But it's not just the architecture that made Tarrytown Music Hall's 1980 inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places seem long overdue. It also possesses a rich history. Famous figures such as the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts patronized the theater in its early days, when the Tarrytown was one of the first venues to usher in the dawn of cinema. During the venue's "Millionaire's Colony" era, the stage even played home to Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, who regaled the crowd with speeches and their famous plate-spinning act.