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Watching Movies In The Great Outdoors

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 11, 2005 3:20PM

2005_07_11_outdoormovies.jpgIt’s a big day for Roger Ebert tomorrow as one of Chicagoist’s favorite summertime activities begins with the Chicago Outdoor Movie Festival in Grant Park’s Butler Field.

After receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last month, Ebert receives his own plaque under the Chicago Theatre marquee Tuesday as part of Roger Ebert Day. Festivities also include a fete at the Chicago Cultural Center and a luncheon.

Ebert also chose all of the movies for this summer’s Chicago’s Outdoor Movie Festival. Every Tuesday night for the next six weeks, the city will show a mix of popcorn flicks and classics underneath the stars and framed by the Chicago skyline. Most of the films will be familiar to even casual movie fans, with the possible exception of John Ford’s take on the events surrounding the shoot-out at the OK Corral, 1948’s My Darling Clementine.

Butler Field is located at Monroe St. and Lake Shore Drive and features free valet parking for cyclists. Port-a-potties are scarce and so are obstructed views so you might want to bring an empty bottle just in case.

A few other tips for maximum movie enjoyment and the full listing of movies and their start times after the jump:

1. Early birds get the...good seats. Each movie begins at dusk but your estimated time of arrival will be determined by how much space you need. Chicagoist recommends arriving at least an hour early—or earlier if you have a big group. If you find a space in front of the concrete path that splits the park then your view won't be hindered by latecomers but plan on being there an hour and a half before sunset to claim one of these coveted spots. And while chairs are comfier, blankets are better for marking your territory.

2. Imbibe with caution! Remember: this is a city park so booze is frowned upon. For those who wish to create their own Brew and View experience, Chicagoist recommends decanting your beverages into plastic containers. Park district employees aren’t stormtroopers so as long as you’re not flaunting it, they won’t confiscate it.

3. Know what to bring and what not to bring. Candles and other open flames are no-nos as are glass containers. If you don’t want to sit on the ground, bring your own chairs. You can rent some from the city (bring your ID!) but they’re so low to the ground that you don’t get much of a height advantage.

Pardon us for getting all Mom-like on you but make sure and bring a sweater. No matter how warm it is when you arrive, by 10 PM the winds off the lake will have you wrapping yourself in your picnic blanket. Finally, if you’re meeting friends, don’t forget your cell phone (just make sure to turn it off when the movie starts!) or consider tying a few balloons to your folding chairs so you’re easy to find.

Here’s the full listing and start times for the films. All screenings include a short film or cartoon before the feature presentation.

July 12: Citizen Kane at 8:59 PM
July 19: Annie Hall at 8:54 PM
July 26: My Darling Clementine at 8:48 PM
August 2: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial at 8:39 PM
August 9: The Night of the Hunter at 8:30 PM
August 16: The Hustler at 8:20 PM
August 23: Star Wars at 8:09 PM