The Dance-In Drive-In Movie

Drive-in theaters are the product of a time and place (America in the early 20th century) where land and gasoline were plentiful and cheap. Uniting two national passions cars and movies thousands of drive-in theaters operated across the country during the 1950s and 1960s.

Today, they are rapidly disappearing from the landscape and in New York City (which has the lowest rate of private automobile ownership and highest real estate prices in the U.S.) there are none at all.

But this week, the Tribeca Film Festival recreated the drive-in experience in Lower Manhattan. Today a large screen, loudspeakers and rows of chairs were erected in the cove behind the World Financial Center for an event called the “Tribeca Drive-In.”

Early arrivals received free popcorn, candy, drinks and seat cushions and settled in for a special screening of Planet B-Boy. The film is a new documentary about Battle Of The Year, a world-wide break-dance competition held annually in Germany.

The evening’s program began when Fab 5 Freddy, the former host of Yo! MTV Raps (who is now known as the grandfather of the New York hip-hop scene), welcomed the crowd. He explained that “B-Boy” stands for, variously, “Break-Boy,” “Beat-Boy” or “Bronx-Boy,” and is the preferred term for those who practice this form of dancing.

He went on to introduce Ken Swift, one of the original members of the fabled Rock Steady Crew, who demonstrated “classic” break-dancing moves and gave lessons to audience members. Other live performers included the Persuaders, the Beatbox Orchestra, Knucklehead Zoo, Toni Blackman and the Drifters (a team of B-Boys from Korea).

By the time the sky was dark enough for the main attraction, the crowd that had gathered at the “Drive-In” was overflowing and enraptured. Even when it began to rain, the crowd stayed in place to watch the film and, afterwards, to give director Benson Lee a standing ovation.

Fab 5 Freddy
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Ken Swift
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Knucklehead Zoo
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Originally uploaded by annulla.

The Persuaders
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Beat Box Orchestra
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Planet B-Boy
MySpace: Planet B-Boy
Battle of the Year
Tribeca Drive In
Fab 5 Freddy
Rock Steady Crew
Ken Swift’s Breaklife
Knucklehead Zoo
Toni Blackman
The Persuaders
Google video: Drifters (Korea) v. Pokeman (France)
Wikipedia: Drive In
Wikipedia: Yo! MTV Raps
World Financial Center


4 Responses to The Dance-In Drive-In Movie

  1. KathBrat says:

    Fabulous – I love the Diversity!

    I miss those drive in movie days Watching Eddie Murphy Raw in the comfort of your car where you could smoke and joke

    Would have loved to have been there in person – thank you for sharing this experience


  2. photowannabe says:

    What a fun experience. I love this type of community effort.


  3. Here in Vienna, the square in front of City Hall gets turned into a “drive-in” movie theater during the summer month, one of several others that offer the open air movie experience during warm weather.
    Many of the operas are projected on a large screen on the side of the Opera house, even during winter. I am always amazed when I see those opera lovers huddled in the cold and enjoyng themselves seeing big opera stars for no money at all.


  4. Piika says:

    oh to be in new york…..


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: