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.
UICA fills 4,000 square feet of gallery space with innovative exhibitions by contemporary artists, screens films in a 198-seat movie theater, and organizes creative classes for youths and adults. The institute is going into its 35th year of sharing and inspiring innovative, challenging forms of visual arts, and it continues to engage the public with events such as a speaker series.
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."
When John and Mary Magocs opened the Capri Drive-In in August 1964, they had no idea the theater they ran with their two young sons would one day be highlighted as one of the most charming in the country. The New York Times once named it among 10 Drive-Ins Worth a Detour, noting its family ownership and stellar concessions. Capri boasts that its original 150'x75' screen is one of the largest in the country; in 1986, it expanded its viewing space by adding a second 80'x40' screen. Short-range FM radio stations broadcast audio from the drive-in's current showings to the spacious lot, which holds more than 900 cars. Viewers can swing by the snack bar to pick up barbecue-pork sandwiches, nachos, ice cream, and even mosquito coils, which repel bugs more easily than hurling a personalized insult at each one that flies by.
After appearing as Ted's band on eight seasons of Scrubs, The Blanks take center stage to regale audiences with harmonious a cappella songs and quirky sketch routines. A talented quartet that channels the eccentric goofiness of Monty Python and The Three Stooges' raffish disregard for pies, The Blanks entertain audiences with vocal renditions of TV theme songs, commercial jingles, and goofy skits. The family-friendly troupe takes on pop-culture icons and a host of miscellany with the unspoken goal of robbing the laughter hidden in audiences' purses. Audience members who arrive early can peruse the historic 1882 opera house, whose recent facelifts have left it with a permanent smile and plush amenities.
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.