KolbeResnick's Posts

Kolbe Resnick is the Theater Manager of the Dryden Theatre.

Dryden Theatre Renovation: Painting, Listening System, and Digital Projection

Posted by on Jan 28 2013 | Motion Pictures

Painting the Dryden

Painting: Two very exciting cosmetic improvements have been made in the Dryden in the past week. First, the theater has been painted. The deep purple of the walls is complete with the repainted black ceiling. Once the golden curtain is re-hung the combination will be astonishing. Second, the lights in the coves on either side of the theater were installed. These lights shine from the coves up onto the ceiling along the length of the theater creating a nice atmosphere. Right now the lights are blue and red, but an interesting feature of these lights is their ability to be changed or to rotate on their own.

Listening System: Following 2 days of installation with a team of 6-9 people, the installation of the hearing loop is complete. The new system will now offer the hearing impaired a new option when they visit the theater. Creating a magnetic field in the theatre, individuals with hearing aids can tap into the signal emitted magnetically and hear the film’s audio directly through their earplugs. The copper wire that makes the technology possible was laid down on the floor and taped with double-sided tape. Then, a second wire was run through the theater on top of it (phase 2). On top of the 2 wires was laid a vinyl tape, which will protect any damage to the copper wire once the carpet is laid over it. Special attention was paid to the location of the seats in the theater to avoid the possibility of a bolt being drilled through the wire and therefore breaking the chain that is necessary to create the signal.


Digital Projection: In order for digital projection to be possible at the Dryden new port windows in the booth had to be cut. The glass has not yet been installed but the openings that were used by the Century Projectors in our booth for the past 60 years have been expanded to make room for the new Barco digital projector.

Screenings in the Curtis: If you haven’t been to any of the screenings in the Curtis Theatre these past few weeks I strongly urge you to attend. We’re on week 4 and so far they’ve all been very interesting. The programs, curated by students of the L. Jeffery Selznick School of Film Preservation, are run on a loop throughout the day. Films included in the programs are all 16mm prints of short films that are very rarely screened. This weekend’s program is titled “Hollywood Stars in Service: Government Sponsored World War II Films” and features short films by John Ford and John Huston along with stars James Stewart, Katherine Hepburn, Clark Gable, and Ronald Reagan. The programs change each week and are offered every Thursday and Saturday from 10:15 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 11:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. Screenings are included in museum admission.

New Seats: The new Dryden seats are set to arrive in the next week. We’re all very excited about their installation and the completion of the new theater. If you’ve recently installed our old Dryden seats in your home please send us pictures. We want to be able to share the ongoing life of the seats with everyone.

More on the Dryden Theatre Renovation:
Part I, The Curtain Stays
Part II, Seatless
Part III, Cement, Lighting, and Accessibility

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Dryden Theatre Renovation Series: Cement, Lighting and Accessibility

Posted by on Jan 18 2013 | Motion Pictures

Here we are, week two. The theater is still looking bare, but major strides are under  way. Before I get started on what has been accomplished the past week and what to look forward to I’d like to take a moment to announce another sale. While clearing out the theater for renovation we cleared out a storage closet full of equipment and are now selling a great deal of this equipment. Incredibly cheap, still good, we want to get this off our hands and into the hands of someone who will put the equipment such as digital and film cameras to good use. If you’re at all interested please contact us.

Coming to work Monday morning, the first thing I saw was a cement truck sitting out front of the theater and every chance I’ve had to poke my head into the theatre this week I’ve seen the construction workers hard at work constructing the tiers in the balcony. This part of the renovation is highly labor intensive: Cement is dumped from the truck into wheelbarrows which are taken into the theatre. Then the cement is emptied into buckets which are then carried up into the balcony and emptied into a mold where it will take 1 week to cure. This is done repeatedly throughout the day until the mold is complete.

The cement is also being used on the ground floor. A platform is being created for Row K’s handicapped seating. The platform is designed to provide space for extended wheelchair accessibility—something we are very pleased to be offering our patrons.

With the installation of new lights in the ceiling and the replacement of lobby lights, every single light is now LED, making it possible for the theater to be much brighter than it has been in the past and also bringing the theatre to be as energy efficient as possible.

Plans for the installation of the Hearing Loop system have been finalized and the system will be installed next week. Don Bataille, architect and designer from SWBR Architects, with the help of a team of volunteers, will be directing the installation. Through the use of telecoil sensors in ear plugs and cochlear implants, or by the use of an external attachment, the hearing loop system magnetically transmits sound directly to those who need it. The loop itself will be attached to the floor and the carpeting will be put down over it. Although you will not be able to see this addition, it will make a world of difference for our hearing impaired patrons. This is a very exciting addition and we’re proud to be adding it to our list of capabilities.

More on the Dryden Theatre Renovation:
Part I, The Curtain Stays
Part II, Seatless
Part IV, Painting, Listening System and Digital Projection

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Dryden Theatre Renovation Series: Seatless

Posted by on Jan 10 2013 | Motion Pictures

an empty Dryden

If you were to look in the theater today you would never imagine that there was a screening just one week ago. Cinema Paradiso, the final film screened in the old Dryden, tells the story of a young man growing up in Sicily and the central role the local cinema played in his childhood. The cinema was central not only to the young man, Toto, but played a central part in the community he was a part of. Our screening brought in a crowd that filled over half of the theater that night and the sense of wonder was so omnipresent you could feel it in the theater as you entered.

Following the screening we began wrapping equipment in plastic. With the construction dust and concrete that will stirred up with the construction everything that could potentially be damaged, or was too arduous or near impossible to move, needed to be securely covered over. This includes the four projectors, the equipment in the projection booth, and the equipment left in the preservation work room, such as the Steenbeck flatbed.

The large curtain rolled up tight for safe keeping

The following morning the hard work began. At 7:00 am the volunteers and workers showed up, set up tents in the parking lot, and began tearing out seats. Taking the seats out of the theater was no small task. They were removed in sets of two, three, and four. Between the sets there were individual seats that would be used for spare parts in the seat sale and ensured that those who bought seats would have arm rests on both sides. First, the bolts holding the chairs into the floor were removed and the row was carried forward (by three or four people) and laid on its back. Once the row was flat on the ground it was much easier to remove the seat cushions and take the sets apart. The cushions were “friction set,” meaning they were not bolted or fastened onto the seat but were simply placed between the armrests where two hooks underneath fit snugly into holes on opposite sides of the seat. Following 60 years of people sitting in these seats they were pretty well, if not more than pretty well, secure and it took multiple hits with a hammer to dislodge them, sometimes more, and it was near impossible to do this with the seats in their upright position. Every seat was removed in those first two days and brought out to tents in the parking lot where they were picked up by those who had reserved them. By the end of the week the carpet, which had been glued to the floor, was torn up and the theater was completely bare.

The removal of the seats and the care for the equipment, on top of the sense of community involvement those first days was reminiscent of the images from Cinema Paradiso that we had seen just the night before, without the tears. Every person picking up their seats seemed thrilled to be taking a piece of Dryden history home with them. Much to our excitement many of the people who purchased them intended to use them for home theaters. Others were simply going to put them on their porch or in their mud room. Either way we were glad to see that they were finding a home where they would be cared for and used on a regular basis.

For those of you wondering about our iconic curtain, the drapery company came in and removed it on the first morning of the renovations. As seats were being forcefully removed and hammering could be heard throughout the theater, they gracefully constructed their ladder and scaled the height of the theater to remove it from its pulley system. When it was completely rolled up and ready to travel back to their storage facility it looked no bigger than any of the seats being removed from the floor. Truly a beautiful sight.

None of this could have been accomplished without the enthusiastic and generous help of the volunteers those first two days.

More on the Dryden Theatre Renovation:
Part I, The Curtain Stays
Part III, Cement, Lighting, and Accessibility
Part IV, Painting, Listening System and Digital Projection

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Dryden Theatre Renovation Series: The Curtain Stays

Posted by on Dec 21 2012 | Motion Pictures

Kolbe inspects the curtain

In this series, Theatre Manager, Kolbe Resnick will keep us up to date on the renovation each week with everything related to the Dryden Theatre makeover from the seats to the projection booth.

If there is one question I have been asked more than any other in the past few months it is “Will the curtain stay after the theater is reopened?”. The answer to that question is a resounding “Yes.” Our unique gold curtain will absolutely be there on March 2nd. Nothing could ever possibly replace the excitement evoked from the raising of the curtain and the slow fade out of the music. It is a truly unique experience. An experience you only get at the Dryden. Taking the curtain down, storing it, and reinstalling it is no small task, however. Curtain specialists at Reynold’s Drapery in Newport will be coming in the morning of January 2 to safely remove it from the theater and bring it to an off-site storage location before the major part of the restoration begins.

Another question I’ve been asked repeatedly is: “Two months? That seems like a long time!” Actually, two months is the perfect amount of time. January will be the month for the cosmetic renovations, which includes the new seats, carpeting, paint, and lighting. February will be when the renovations of the projection booth take place, including our exciting new addition: the digital projector. As we want everything to be perfect for our reopening, we aren’t willing to take
any chances on time.

If you’ve come to the Dryden in the past week you may or may not have noticed the first steps of the renovation process. During the day electricians have been hard at work in the theater preparing for the full on restoration. Beginning with familiarizing themselves with the theater they’ve been locating circuits, rerouting cables that run through the theater, and preparing the aisle lighting that will run along the edge of the seats. You may have noticed the slow clearing
out of the box office. By January 1st, the box office will be empty. And when you come on January 1st for our final screening (Cinema Paradiso) in the old Dryden you will notice that the lobby furniture and the piano will be gone. Following that screening everything will be plasticated in the booth, in the offices, and in the closets surrounding the theater. The following morning the seats will be taken out and loaded into a truck to be distributed to those of you who reserved them.

The historic Heywood-Wakefield seats we are removing sold out in a matter of days, but you can still get on the waiting list here.  City Newspaper ran an excellent story about the theater in last week and today we had two news crews in here.

There is roughly one more week of screenings in the old Dryden! The last chance to see the theater the way it is there are a wide variety of films playing that appeal to everyone.

Come celebrate the moving image!

More on the Dryden Theatre Renovation:
Part II, Seatless
Part III, Cement, Lighting, and Accessibility
Part IV, Painting, Listening System and Digital Projection
Part V, Stage and Carpet

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Film Scores: A Tradition Carried on by Few

Posted by on Nov 14 2012 | Motion Pictures

(Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton, US 1926)

Live film accompaniment is a rare thing these days. Before the onset of sound on film almost every film was accompanied by a piano player, an organist, or even a small orchestra or jazz band. Today, we often forget this lost art and take film scores for granted. The scores for silent films were sometimes written and improvised by the accompanist. Accompanists were recognizable and part of the film-going experience and seeing your favorite accompanist perform for a new film and was billed as an added attraction. The tradition is carried on by few. Accompanists such as Philip Carli—who performs every Tuesday night for our Silent Tuesdays series—exist, but it requires a breadth of technique, a wide repertory and an understanding of not only music and improvisation but the rhythms and structure of silent films.

This week, we’re excited to welcome back the Alloy Orchestra who will provide their distinctive sound live to our screening of Buster Keaton’s The General. Their music creates a unique experience that will expand your understanding of what film accompaniment is capable of. They have been performing along side silent films for 22 year and are continuously finding ways to breathe new life into the century-old films they are accompanying – often utilizing the sounds from objects we wouldn’t normally consider to be instruments. We’re honored to once again have them joining us at the Dryden Theatre.

Although it bombed when it was originally released in 1926, Buster Keaton’s The General is now widely considered a crowning achievement of not only Buster Keaton’s career but of silent comedy. Standing on its own, it represents everything that a silent comedy can be: Keaton makes us laugh, cry, and even wince with his antics. Come see the deadpan comic’s film in all its 35mm glory.


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