A glittering, two-story marquee and Spanish-style terra-cotta façade extols the Michigan Theater of Jackson's 82-year history to anyone who passes. Established in 1930, the theater originally presented movies and vaudeville shows to the public, who viewed the spectacles from the lower level or balcony seated between gilded columns under an ornate, plaster ceiling. Though the entertainment industry continued to evolve, The Michigan Theatre retained much of its lavish, vintage charm—including rich, damask draperies, stained-glass light fixtures, and WWII-era Pacman machines—until it closed down in 1978. The historical theater was acquired in 1993 by a not-for-profit organization, which reopened the theater's doors and restored the building to its current state.
Today, the entertainment hub hosts classic and art-house films as well as live theater and concerts. In the first-floor lobby, an old-fashioned candy counter sells sweets and popcorn to make sure audiences have something to throw at the screen during midnight screenings of Chinatown.
Rave Motion Pictures screens the summer blockbusters in 20 auditoriums outfitted with stadium seating. The theaters' digital projectors allow projectionists to easily play such gripping tales as Scream 4, a documentary about Sidney Prescott's return to Woodsboro, where Ghostface threatens the townspeople's safety (movies playing subject to change). Stretch out while watching as rows are spaced 48 inches apart from one another, one for each of the states recognized by most public-school systems. Check showtimes online for all the movies screening throughout the summer.
Danny Boy recognizes the power of nostalgia. Having grown up in the golden age of drive-ins, he believes in the simple joy people can gain from cuddling with a date or gathering with their family in the comfort of their own car while traveling to worlds onscreen. Even as indoor theaters hold their ground and online streaming threatens to take more movies out of the outdoors, he's determined not to let drive-ins fade away.
Danny Boy's Drive-In is marked by classic elements: a gigantic screen, a dusk showtime, FM radio soundtracks, and a concession stand known for its milkshakes and chili dogs. He plays double features of Hollywood blockbusters, and his staff demonstrates a helpful attitude that was more common in decades past. They provide twine for holding trunk doors at roof-height, and bring jumper cables to charge dead car batteries or flat sodas. Yet Danny Boy has made some updates as well. Guests can bring their own food from home with the purchase of a snack permit, and Danny will tweet out announcements when his lot reaches its (sizable) capacity.
The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America, established in 1963. Internationally recognized as a premiere forum for independent filmmakers and artists, each year's festival engages audiences with remarkable cinematic experiences.