AUGUST 14-23

The drive-in theater industry began with a guy projecting movies on the side of his garage. Carrying on in this spirit, WGAY-FM is sponsoring its “Second Annual Outdoor Film Festival,” a collection of recent and vintage movies, most of which should benefit from a good ventilation. In the open air, movies take on an even more ethereal quality, as if spontaneously igniting rather than being projected. The drive-in seemed both definitive of and ahead of its time. The public certainly embraced the idea, but the technology never quite supported it. For one thing, those little speaker boxes hung on the car door never did justice to the soundtrack. Recent innovations such as Dolby and IMAX arrived too late—the drive-in’s reputation had gradually fallen to become synonymous with the third-rate, third-run product they showed. With the upcoming closing of Baltimore’s Bengie’s Drive-in, we’re back to the garage. The series begins with the goofily gung-ho Top Gun (Fri., Aug. 14), and persons with weak constitutions and small children should be advised that one of the scheduled films features Demi Moore (Ghost, Fri., Aug. 21). The other films are Grease (Sat., Aug. 15); The Nutty Professor (Sun. Aug. 16); Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Mon., Aug. 17); Paper Moon (Tue., Aug. 18) featuring Tatum O’Neil’s Oscar-winning turn; Vertigo (pictured, Wed., Aug. 19); Sleepless in Seattle (Thur., Aug. 20); Forrest Gump (Sat., Aug. 22); and Air Force One (Sun., Aug. 23). Shows begin at sundown (around 8:30 p.m.) on the grounds of the National Institutes of Health, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda. Free. (301) 650-4483. (Dave Nuttycombe)