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Want to get serious about your planned staycation this summer? Recreate the look and feel of the drive-in by projecting a movie in your backyard or on your rooftop. With the proper gear and a little know-how, you can turn any outdoor space into an open-air cinema.
Depending on your disposition, the arrival of summer either means you’ve earned the right to be lazy, or you’ve finally got the free time for a long-awaited DIY endeavor. If the latter sounds like your style, hooking a white canvas tarp to a wall or a clothesline isn’t overly complicated. But if you’ve earned enough to spend a little, you can save yourself the labor with an extra-sturdy Open Air Cinema screen. Just fifteen seconds to inflate with an accompanying fan? Sounds like real movie magic to us. So does the latest Epson MovieMate projector, which has hi-res and hi-def everything built right in (DVD player and dual Dolbys) so you won’t need to turn your home theater inside out. You can also consider your laptop your movie mother ship: plug a couple speakers in and connect an economical Epson VS210 projector via USB, and your flick can be screened in a click. With YouTube at your disposal, why not set the mood with some present day movie trailers or even some campy drive-in previews?
If you find yourself short on sling patio chairs to seat your audience, a cluster of sizable beanbags from Ultimate Sack makes for the perfect casual cushioning. They’re versatile enough to accommodate whoever wants to squeeze in and they’re plenty durable, so you can drag them over tanbark, toss them down the stairs, and shove them into closets without fear of them springing a bean leak.
Doing an outdoor screening properly means procuring the ultimate movie popcorn. Everyone’s favorite cinema snack gets a major upgrade with Ovenly’s Spicy Bacon Caramel Corn. No mere flavor-dusting here—these are organic corn kernels popped in bacon fat, doused in Brooklyn Brewery Pennant Ale caramel sauce, and tossed with smoky bacon from David Chang-approved Benton’s Country Hams. Wash these bites down with Samuel Adams’s Verloren beer, which packs a crisp lemon taste and hints of salt and pepper to stand up to superior snacks.
The big question: What movie to show? We say skip the downer drama and go for a comedy classic—anything to which a film critic has attached the word “romp” will do just fine. Or go for something that has summer written all over it. Road trip flicks are almost always crowd-pleasers in this regard. After all, the best staycations are the ones that leave the impression of having gone somewhere.