Testing the Cycle Powered Cinema concept this Saturday, and you’re invited


This Saturday night, at about 9:30, or whenever it starts to get dark, some friends and I are going to get together on the banks of the Huron, behind the new VG Kids building, and test out the Cycle Powered Cinema concept. And, you’re invited. There could be glitches, as we’ve yet to attempt the projection of a real movie, but it should be fun regardless. As of right now, we’re planning to show a cartoon, a Buster Keaton short, and the Robert Mitchum film Night of the Hunter. And, thanks to a generous donation by the Corner Brewery, there will be beer for those of legal drinking age, at least until the keg runs dry. All we ask in return is that, if you want to join us, you donate $10 toward the purchase of additional generators, so that we can build-out a few more bikes and start showing free, bike-powered movies in Ypsi’s Riverside Park, which, hopefully, is where all of this is headed.

In the completed system, once we’re done, we’ll have at least eight bikes, and they’ll power the film directly, in real-time. For the time being, however, we just have two built. That means we’re going to have to start peddling earlier in the day, in order to charge a battery. We haven’t done the math yet, but I’m guessing that we’ll have the bikes set up at around 6:00, in case you want to arrive early and put in your time on the bike before the film starts.

Oh, and I should mention that the reason we have two bikes now, instead of just the one that we had at the winter Shadow Art Fair, is thanks to $200 in contributions from the Sidetrack, the Corner Brewery, and the old Elbow Room, as well as $214 in contributions from patrons of the Corner Brewery. Thanks to this infusion of money, we were able to build out another complete bike, and get the inverter, and other infrastructure pieces we needed in order to make a somewhat reliable system. (And, by that, I mean one that won’t blow up, like the one we had at the last Shadow Art Fair.) We’re still waiting on a few parts to come in, but Andy Claydon – the guy handling all the technical stuff – is confident that we’ll have them in time.

Oh, and this public unveiling couldn’t have happened without James Marks offering to let us use the VG Kids facility. Thanks to his generosity, we’ll not only have access to bathrooms, but a beautiful space on the banks of the river, and a large white wall to project our movies on.

Again, I think it’s worth reiterating that this is a proof-of-concept viewing, so things are likely to go horribly wrong. We’re hoping to have enough juice to project two hours of film, and big enough speakers to reach everyone in the audience, but you never know. So, we’re not making any guarantees. And that’s in part why I’m not publicizing this widely, and just announcing it now, a few days before the event… With all of that said, though, I do hope to see you there, for what promises to be an historic event.

Oh, and if you can’t make it, but would still like to contribute toward the project, you can do so by visiting the Cycle Powered Cinema page and clicking on the “donate” button… And, if you hate the whole idea, but still want to support something bike related, I hear that Jim and Forrest Karnopp, from Cafe Luwak, are looking for people to sponsor them in a Make a Wish Foundation bike ride. (Forrest will be doing the 300 mile ride, and Jim will be doing the 50 mile one.) They’re great guys, it’s a great cause, and, if you donate $20 or more to either one of them, you’ll receive a free breakfast buffet at Cafe Luwak. But, as the deadline is July 1st, you’d better do it now. Just click here to support Forrest or here to support Jim.

[Those of you who are new to this whole Cycle Powered Cinema initiative, can find my last update on the project, which is considerably more detailed, here… And I’m sorry about the graphic above, but Linette wasn’t home to help me.]

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  1. Knox
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Here’s hoping that mosquitos mosquitos, rain and minotuars don’t ruin the party.

  2. Ypsidweller
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    There’s some excellent bass fishing back there as well. Movies and bass fishing!

  3. Paul
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    This sounds incredible. Do you know which Keaton short you’ll be playing?

  4. Kim
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    So, it’ll be right there, under the space between the Y and the J?

    I wonder how many people we can fit on that sliver of land.

  5. Scott Trudeau
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink


    You should consider starting a Kickstarter project to raise the funds to get enough bikes & parts to make a completely functional system — a little less labor intensive than PayPal + updating a web page to track progress toward the goal, and helps reassure people that their money will only go toward actual completion of the project (b/c they don’t get charged till enough $ for everything comes in).

  6. Scott Trudeau
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Also, hoping you can run a test (or have it all working) around the time of the Ypsi beer fest, because I’ll be in town.

  7. Ted
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Is that sweat or semen dripping from the minotaur’s hand onto VG? Or, worse yet, is it santorum?

  8. Oliva
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    I do love that you talked up Forrest and Jim K. and their bike rides for Make a Wish. What a great organization that one is. (What a deal too, that breakfast buffet for a small donation.)

    And the cycle-powered movie (and donation option for those, like we, who probably won’t make it this Sat.) and related projects. Makes a person think she might already be in heaven to live among such good ideas come to fruition.

  9. teenage tex
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    You need to hook a few bikes up to a bug zapper.

  10. Andy C
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Yes, bring bug spray. The FM transmitter will be working so if you want to hear “Night of the Hunter”, bring a boom box or any type of portable radio.

    Ride your bike down if you can. We will need people with bikes to power the films. Probably the most important part that never seems to get mentioned. No knobby tires, they’re too noisy and inefficient.

  11. Posted July 3, 2010 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Andy. I put a similar message out through Facebook last night, and intend to post something new here today. I suspect we’ll have quite a few bikes there. And, I don’t know that they’ll help, but Linette also got four big citronella things for the mosquitos.

  12. Posted July 3, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    And, yes, it’s below the Y and the J. Just follow the signs to VG Kids, which are nailed to the phone poles.

    As for the Keaton short, yes, we have decided. I’ not at liberty to say, though. There will also be a cartoon or two. I think we’ve identified some good ones.

  13. Posted July 3, 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Scott, we’re talking about a Kickstarter campaign. Hopefully we get some good footage tonight that we can use… We haven’t talked about doing anything during Beer Fest, but it’s certainly worth considering.

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