Eastman House Giveaway: Two Tickets to the Dryden Theatre Reopening with Alexander Payne

Posted by on Feb 22 2013 | Motion Pictures

down to the wire, the Dryden one week before reopening

The day has almost come. The Dryden Theatre will reopen its doors Saturday March 2, 2013 for a fresh cinematic experience and new chapter in film and digital technology.

We are thrilled to give away a pair of tickets for our opening night celebration. The evening will  feature a screening of the “comic, tragic, and deeply empathetic” film, SIDEWAYS followed by a Q&A with special guest and Academy Award® winning writer-director Alexander Payne.
Want your chance at being a part of this historical evening? Just follow these simple steps:

1. Become a fan of our Dryden Theatre Facebook page:

2. Then, do one of the following:

-Retweet this post (include both @eastmanhouse and @drydentheatre)

-Or leave us a comment below telling us why you should be the winner!


Contest starts today – we’ll pick a winner and announce Thursday February 28, at 7:30 p.m. EST.

Or take no chances and buy your tickets today.


We’ve been talking about the renovation and upgrades all along the way – check out our series, via Theatre Manager, Kolbe Resnick.


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Dryden Theatre Renovation Series: Stage and Carpet

Posted by on Feb 06 2013 | Motion Pictures

Freshly stained stage

The theater really seems to be coming together. This past week the stage was refinished with a beautiful black matte finish (and will match nicely with the curtain). The texture of the wood is still very much visible and the stage itself looks like new. Along with the staining the electric circuits in the stage were completely repaired and carpeting will be attached along the edges next week.

A new feature you will no doubt notice upon our reopening in March will be the advancement of the first row. The front row on the floor will be much closer to the stage than before allowing for more space between the rows behind and therefore allowing them to yield more leg room. So for those of you sitting in this row on March 2, you’ll be only a few feet from Alexander Payne during his Q&A!

LED aisle strips install

The theater trim has been painted red and the carpet has been laid down on the ground floor. While the painting was a simple task that took about one day, the carpeting of the balcony is a much more arduous process and is expected to take the entirety of next week.The back stairways have been completely carpeted and the noticeable differences include a dampened sound and a much softer feel underneath your sneakers.

Carpet install

The final step of the staircase in the balcony has been heightened and extended creating a landing on the balcony. The result is surprising. This has created more space for the aisle rows near the front and allows for more room to move once you get to the balcony.

I had the privilege of visiting the projection booth in progress. The floor has all new tile and the walls have been repainted. It is exciting to witness the careful preparation for the digital projector and the care that is being taken to keep our film projection equipment in the best possible condition.

We are still inviting anyone who purchased seats to send us pictures of their new home. You can send them directly to me at kresnick@geh.org or you can post them on our Dryden Facebook Page.

More on the Dryden Theatre Renovation:
Part I, The Curtain Stays
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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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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