Tue-Thu, 10:30am-5pm; Fri, 10:30am-8pm; Sat-Sun, 10:30am-7pm; Mon, closed
M, R at Steinway St.; N, W at Broadway
$10, adults; $7.50, senior citizens and students; $5, children 3-18; free for members and children under 3
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Inhabiting a landmark building that once belonged to Astoria Studio (Paramount Pictures' bustling East Coast production center during the 1920s), the Museum of the Moving Image was established to educate the public about the art and science of film, television, and digital images. Since its creation in 1981, the museum has garnered a collection of more than 130,000 items, a vast and quirky assortment encompassing both the familiar (a comprehensive line of Star Wars figurines) and the strange (the full-size mechanical Linda Blair doll that made her Exorcist head swivel in pre-CGI times). Yet the three-story space is more than a memorabilia showcase. The main exhibition, Behind the Screen, engages visitors with two floors of multimedia, interactive exhibits that explain the making and marketing of film and television productions. Likewise, the William Fox Gallery, on the ground floor, is reserved for rotating exhibitions that examine the fast-growing field of digital media. Aside from the galleries, the museum's major draw is its film program, presented in the Riklis Theater, where cineastes are treated to a wide spectrum of works, from silent-era gems to international films rarely distributed in the U.S.Animation Workstations
Make your own stop-motion animated short at one of five interactive computer stations on the third floor. Cameras in the ceiling above each seat take snapshots of the tabletop below, where amateur animators use the two-dimensional props provided (or whatever's in their pockets) to play out a 10-second story line. Record up to 100 frames using the computer's editing software, then play back the finished oeuvre on-screen.
Create a flipbook "movie” starring yourself. As a video camera records your movements on the third floor, 40 color stills are captured and transmitted to the gift shop, where you can print them out for a $7 fee. (One caveat: anyone with a sense of curiosity can view your pictures in the gift shop, and anyone with $7 can print them out.)
Tut's Fever Movie Palace
Classic movie serials with titles like Haunted Harbor and Panther Girl of the Kongo beckon from within this cinema-cum-art installation by Red Grooms and Lysiane Luong on the second floor. Harking back to 1920s picture palaces like Grauman's Chinese and the Aztec, both the facade and interior of the 26-seat theater depict an Egyptian theme, with caricatures of Orson Welles, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and other screen legends as pharaohs, priestesses, and mummies.Serials play Wednesday through Sunday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. A new episode is shown each week, beginning on Saturday.
The Museum of the Moving Image does the Inside Actor's Studio one better with its screening and discussion series, the Pinewood Dialogues. The list of speakers extends beyond actors to include directors, critics and other film experts; likewise, the audience isn't limited to apprentice actors. Martin Scorcese, Mike Nichols, and David Lynch are just a few of the thousand-watt names on the list of industry luminaries who have spoken at the museum's Riklis Theater or other theaters in Manhattan. Audio clips and transcripts of several interviews are available online.