Drive-ins and dinosaurs
WHAT: Spring Drive-In
WHEN: 9pm Fri., May 14
WHERE: Lincoln Creek Park and Ride, Bellingham
COST: $5-$20 per car
INFO: http://www.as.wwu.edu/asp/films/ or www.cascadiafilmfest.org
WHAT: Mount Vernon Drive-In Movie Nights
WHEN: June 4, July 2, Aug. 6, Sept. 3
WHERE: Skagit Valley College
COST: Free, registration is required
WHAT: Drive-In Movie Nights
WHEN: Series begins at 9:30pm Fri., June 18
WHERE: Birch Bay Waterslides, 4874 Birch Bay Lynden Rd.
COST: Ticket prices TBA
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Last summer, Western Washington University teamed up with Bellingham’s Pickford Film Center to turn the school’s Lincoln Creek Park and Ride into a temporary drive-in movie theater. Offering people a safe reprieve from their pandemic existence—where film-watching tends to take place at home, not parked in a car in front of a giant screen—the double features included Jurassic Park and the horror film Get Out! on one night, and Men in Black and The Matrix the following weekend.
Not surprisingly, tickets for the screenings at the former site of the Samish Twin Drive-In Theater sold out quickly, showing that people were eager to experience the magic of movies from somewhere other than their own living rooms. Plus, reviving a cinematic experience that was once a quintessential part of summer was an added bonus—although in yesteryear people remained in their vehicles in order to attempt to get past first base with their dates, not because they were hoping to avoid other people’s germs.
This year, things are a little different. As additional businesses reopen or expand their services and more people get vaccinated against COVID-19, local movie theaters and other venues have cautiously reopened. Last week, the Pickford Film Center hosted its first flick in more than a year at its Bay Street digs, Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre has been showing screenings of select movies on a semi-regular basis, Regal Barkley Village currently has loaded lineups, and the Mount Baker Theatre’s “Movie Palace” limited-capacity screenings have been bringing classic and contemporary films to the historic venue most weekends since mid-March.
Although there are now more options when it comes to being a moviegoer, drive-ins are not yet a thing of the past—and they’re not reserved for the height of summer. At press time, a number of tickets still remained for an event being presented by Western Washington University and the CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival on Fri., May 14 back at the Lincoln Creek Park and Ride. The “Spring Drive-In” again touts a double feature, this time with a local twist.
At dusk, Robin Cloud’s short film 2 Dollars will be screened. It’s one of five “Comedy Collection” programs showing as part of the fifth annual CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival, which is taking place virtually from May 13-22 (not at the Pickford Film Center, as it did in pre-pandemic times). The storyline follows Syd, a queer Black masculine-of-center artist who must deal with daily slights from ignorant coworkers, an oblivious boss and a killer workload. The problems are compounded when a colleague who’s addicted to gambling pressures Syd into contributing to the office lotto pool.
Like Cloud, director Jamie Babbit’s efforts to make a queer comedy were successful when she directed the 1999 film But I’m a Cheerleader. At this anniversary screening of the cult classic starring Natasha Lyonne, Clea Duvall, Michelle Williams, and RuPaul, viewers will once again be reminded about how exceptional this coming-out, coming of age story was. Toggling between humor and heartbreak, find out what happens after a teenager cheerleader (Lyonne) is sent to a conversion therapy summer camp when her conservative parents suspect her of being a lesbian—something she wasn’t quite ready to acknowledge. Romance and self-discovery await her, but you’ll have to reserve a ticket to be reminded how.
A couple of weeks later, those who missed out on seeing what happens when cloned dinosaurs get angry with the humans who created them can reserve space for another showing of Jurassic Park. This time the 1993 blockbuster screens Fri., June 4 as part of Mount Vernon Drive-in Movie Nights at Skagit Valley College, and you’re invited. The free, family-friendly events continue on the first Friday of every month through September, so reserve your parking lot space ASAP to view Independence Day (July 2), Coco (Aug. 6), and The Wizard of Oz (Sept. 3).
Also on the horizon is a Drive-In Movie Night series beginning Fri., June 18 at the Birch Bay Waterslides. Although the selection that will be showing that night hasn’t yet been confirmed, the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce and other organizers say it will be a family-friendly title, and that they’ll be in regular contact with local health officials to ensure the event is safe and fun for everyone. Similar events that took place last summer and early fall were deemed a success, and included a number of double features, so keep an ear open for updates and plan your summer accordingly.