Installations: Rocky Mountain Picture Show

Although I work as a producer and director in the film business, I live in communities with technologically challenged movie theaters. In Telluride, Colorado, the Nugget plays one movie a week on its single screen most of the year. Because of the Telluride Film Festival, it has decent projection and sound, but it's a bit dismal and long in the tooth seat- and comfort-wise. In East Hampton, New York, where I have my primary residence, the Regal Cinema Sixplex could be the worst-maintained theater in the United States, if not the entire planet. Perhaps there's a movie palace in Uzbekistan with drearier ambiance, but I doubt that it has worse equipment.

Photo Gallery

Only two of the Sixplex's six theaters have digital sound, something that's been available for decades. The subwoofers have been disconnected for years because it was easier to unhook them than to repair them, and the only thing coming out of most of the surround speakers is an incessant hum. The only time the projection is bright enough is the few weeks after I have a premiere of one of my movies there, since Sony hires a team of experts to cobble together a decent venue. Add to all this the fact that most shoes you own will disintegrate in the toxic mix of Diet Coke and melted Milk Duds that has created a swampy, sticky mess on the floor; the mysterious stains on the screens; and the fear that malaria, cholera, and toxic mold reside in the walls and sprung seats, and you can see why Sweetie (the wife) - who has very little interest in anything electronic - prefers to watch movies in our home screening rooms.

Several years ago, when we moved to East Hampton from nearby Amagansett, we put a dedicated digital high-def screening room in our basement (see My Digital Adventure). After 8 years of owning our second home in Telluride, we decided it was time to upgrade our electronics and finish our basement screening room there, which until then had been used as an ad hoc space for Christmas-present wrapping and a yearly Ping-Pong tournament.

The Telluride house presents a series of challenges, including lack of air and, in the summer, glorious lightning strikes that are both thrilling and dangerous. Recently, a tree exploded in our yard and took out a bunch of windows. It turns out that lightning instantaneously superheats the water inside a tree, and the only thing for the expanding water and steam to do is to blow up the tree. Lightning often takes us off the electrical grid, and even though we have a generator that could run a midsize city's hospital, the initial surge of power when it starts up plays havoc with our electronics.

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