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Joan Liftin: Drive-Ins [Hardcover]

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Item description for Joan Liftin: Drive-Ins by Joan Liftin...

It's a summer night on the plains, a night for dreamers and lovers, a night for drive-in movies. In Chickasa, Oklahoma, and Turkey, Texas, Main Street is dark and shuttered. Out on the prairie there flickers the first reel of the movie. This is the boundless nostalgia of the drive-in, of the serene confidence of the United States in the 50s, when Korea was a far-off land and Vietnam wasn't on the map, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House, and Edward Hopper captured the spirit of the age. It was remembered again in The Last Picture Show and by the Boss, Bruce Springsteen, when he sang My Home Town. There were 6,000 drive-ins across the Union then. There are 547 now. Idaho has The Spud, Texas had The Trail, and even New York City has the walk-in show in Bryant Park. The drive-in was born in 1933 in Camden, New Jersey, when an enterprising gas station owner projected a movie on his wall to entertain impatient customers. Since then the drive-in has had its ups and downs, latterly torn down to be replaced by shopping malls and tatty developments. But that zeitgeist will not die, and in Drive-Ins Joan Liftin has rung again the town bell that remembers it. There are many who will agree with her, and shake their heads at the loss of the apparent innocence of that age. This is now a very different world in which her photographs recall the ephemeral evenings at the drive-in, of the heart-breaking back row kisses, of the beer-topped coolers and popcorn, and the giant images of Monroe, Clift, and Gable bestriding the wilderness. Joan Liftin took these photographs over 20 years, some off-hand, some desultory, some with a startling, mesmeric evocation of what the drive-in was and meant to a generation of Americans.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   128
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 8.2" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 2, 2004
Publisher   Trolley
ISBN  1904563198  
ISBN13  9781904563198  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Collections, Catalogues & Exhibitions
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Color
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > General
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photographers, A-Z > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Joan Liftin: Drive-Ins?

An American Pastime  Oct 16, 2004
An American Pastime
Review by Jane Gottlieb
PDN, Photo District News
October, 2004

With her new book, Drive-ins, veteran photojournalist Joan Liftin chronicles a night in the life of an American institution in Chickasha, Oklahoma and Turkey, Texas; in Coxsackie, New York, in Meadow Bridge, West Virginia and a slew of towns where locals use the thin excuse of a second-rate movie to assemble under a summer sky.

"There is a certain spirit," says Liftin. "Not much is closeted like in a regular movie theater. People can drink and smoke and boo and honk their horns. It's a bastion of freedom. People at drive-ins cut through a lot of hypocrisy."

The book, shot in color, opens in the hour or so before the first preview. A shirtless man on a motorcycle roars in to the Starlite Theatre in Brenham,Texas; kids wrestle on the grass in front of the screen of the Northfield in New Hampshire. A couple doesn't wait for dark to smooch in the front seat. And while it is still light, Liftin captures the all-American settings

The book paints a picture that comes close to capturing the motion on-screen and off...audience and screen artfully come together. We see the "Bates Motel vacancy" sign on the giant screen. Our glimpse at a couple taking in Psycho is limited to dashboard and male hand on bare female leg. The meeting of art and life captures the very recipe of seduction and terror in the Hitchcock classic. Snow White, Marlon Brando,Kevin Bacon and Arnold Schwarzenegger also play with our sensibilities.

But plenty of her shots in the dark leave out the screen. Liftin says her book is about the patrons, not movies or architecture. "I had real sympathy for these people."
Drive-ins  Aug 6, 2004
The photographs in Drive-ins are both beautiful and funny and provide a unique insight into a peculiarly American cultural phenomenon that's quickly disappearing.
London Review  Aug 4, 2004
The Saturday Independent Magazine (England)
May 15th 2004
Andrew Gumbel

"It's a crash course for the ravers, it's a drive-in Saturday.' So sang David Bowie, circa 1973, in his celebrated love letter to American pop culture in general and teenage romantic rituals in particular. He was expressing no more and no less than the enduring mythology of drive-in cinemas: as a rite of passage, where teenagers could goof off in their parents' cars, drink beer, smoke joints and make out like bunny rabbits.

... By now, another 30 years on, the romance of the drive-in is but a dim memory, the stuff of nostalgia fabricated by baby boomers thinking back fondly to the furtive moments of their adolescence. But those memories will be stirred

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