It has been only a handful of weeks since the Blue Starlite Drive-In first opened its gates in Wynwood. Now, like all Miamians do, the drive-in movie theater is taking its first trip to the Keys.
Beginning in December, Blue Starlite will be hosting drive-in events at the Historic Virginia Key Beach, transforming it into the "Blue Starlite Beach" during movie showings extending into 2014.
Owner and operator, Josh Frank, said the expansion will be "the beginning of a beautiful friendship," regarding his new partnership with the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust. Frank believes bringing drive-in movies to Virginia Key will boost interest in the beach, saying, "Virginia Key is an incredible historic landmark and one of the most beautiful, less traveled/discovered 'urban beaches' in central Miami, and we are so honored to be able to become a part of its future."
Frank describes the Blue Starlite Beach as "a whole other urban drive-in experience." While the Wynwood location is "small and intimate and near the nightlife," the new Virginia Key spot is beach-front and "in a park surrounded by trees with the skyline in the distance."
"The same modernized vintage vibe will be present [at the new location] but we are mostly going to let the natural surroundings do the atmospheric heavy lifting," says Frank.
Frank has always wanted to do something like a drive-in on the beach, and once the Virginia Key Trust contacted him, it was like fate. "I went out there and we talked and I pitched how I'd do a drive-in in the area and they were excited about it."
Guests will be able to enjoy time on the beach before hopping into their cars for the screenings. The large screen will be situated between a grassy lawn and the beach, so cars can park on the grass and moviegoers can benefit from their choice of ground surface.
Unlike their Wynwood location, where auto audiences can choose between using their car radio or the theater's vintage speakers, the Blue Starlite Beach will be doing things solely via radio. Frank explains that they will be using FM transmission "so cars can tune in on their radios," and those who choose to sit outside "can also bring [handheld] radios to tune in."
Frank wants to make sure guests receive the best possible experience on drive-in movie nights, which is why for now he is concentrating on one location per night. So on the nights the Blue Starlite is driving things down at the beach, their Wynwood location will be available for private rentals. Their plan of action is to run showings at the Wynwood and Virginia Key location on opposing nights, with Virginia Key location about four to six nights per month through March 2014.
However, if all goes according to plan, Frank could very well soon have two fully operational locations, "Eventually we would like to run both at the same time on the same nights," he says.
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The Blue Starlite Beach opens on December 20 at 7 p.m. with a double feature showing of Elf, presented by the Adrienne Arsht Theater Center, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. To purchase tickets, visit miamiurbandrivein.com.
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