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Kyle Barr

The Rocky Point Drive-In sign in 1988, the year it closed. The marquee announces the screening of ‘Crocodile Dundee 2’ when it reopens on May 25. Photo courtesy of Cinema Treasures

By Kyle Barr

For almost three decades on summer nights North Shore residents gathered together on lawn chairs, blankets or in the comfortable seats of their cars while a speaker hooked into the car’s window played action, romance or comedy into their expecting ears. It was a scene played out practically every summer night at the Rocky Point Drive-In, and while undeveloped Rocky Point was a dark, wooded area, the brightest light for miles around was the movie projector and the big, bright screen.

Above, what’s left today of the old sign that welcomed families to the movies from 1961 to 1988. Photo by Kyle Barr

The Rocky Point Drive-In was just one in a multitude of drive-ins on Long Island. There was one in Smithtown, Brentwood, Coram, Nesconset, Patchogue and Riverhead, to a name a few, but now every one of them is gone. The only remnants of the one in Rocky Point is the marquee sign surrounded by shrubs and weeds on the side of Route 25A.

The Mammina brothers, Joe and his younger brother, Wayne, had both worked at the drive-in as teenagers during the early years and remember both the comfortable and weird aspects of working at such a place.

“We used to call it the passion pit,” Joe said and then laughed. “It was a real lovers’ lane.” “You never went to the cars in the back rows at the drive-in because the windows were always steamed up,” Wayne said.

The Rocky Point Drive-In opened on June 16, 1961 with a capacity for 750 cars that would drive up onto small ramps to better see the movie over the cars in front of them. It was built and owned by Prudential Theaters but was later sold to United Artist Theaters, which operated it until it closed in 1988.

The theater existed in a time when Route 25A was a two-lane road bordered by woods, and nearby there were only a few houses and places with rural sensibilities like horse barns. “This was the sticks,” Joe said.

The site was a large field surrounded by a fence. To the side sat the concession stand next to a playground that the children used during intermission. Opening on Memorial Day weekend and then closing on Labor Day, the drive-in would play a feature film, a B-movie, then the feature again on a 110-foot screen. The first two films they showed were the 1960 movie “The Alamo” starring John Wayne and the 1961 flick “Ole Rex.”

“By the time it was over, you didn’t get out of there until 1 or 1:30 in the morning,” said Wayne.

Joe worked at the drive-in first in the concession stand, then as a ramp man — the title for the people who were guards of the drive-in. Dressed up in white suits they were in charge of making sure nobody snuck into the venue without paying and corral the people and children back to their seats after intermission.

“The ladies who worked at the ticket booth in the front would say ‘the car coming in is kind of low in the back,’ and there would be five kids in the trunk,” Joe said and then chuckled. “And quite a few times they would be friends of mine.”

Above, an ad placed in the Port Jefferson Record in 1961 announcing the drive-in’s grand opening

The memories of the drive-in are bundled like candy wrappers in nostalgia. It was a time of optimism, said Joan La Manno, who, along with her husband Charles Peter, founded C.P. La Manno’s family restaurant in Miller Place. La Manno was the manager of the drive-in concession stand through the 1960s. “Hot dogs, hamburgers, Dixie Cup ice cream, popcorn galore. The popcorn machine was going constantly. It was a lot of fun. All our workers were in sync,” she said.

“She would take her kids to work with her,” added Joan’s daughter, Michele. “My father opened the pizza shop while she was still working there, and people would rush up, get a pizza, and then go and wait on line at the drive-in, and there would lines of cars waiting to get into the movie,” she said. “It kept the community going and the community together.”

Joe agreed, saying, “Everything was a family affair, everybody was sort of related. Anyone who talks about the Rocky Point Drive-In talks about my dad, Joe.”

Joe Sr. started as a ramp man but then became manager of the whole property.

“He was such a fabulous manager, really sweet, really kind, very generous. He was a good man,” Joan said.

The films were played on two big carbon-loaded projectors, each the size of a grand piano, that glowed like a welding torch from the carbon rods that helped it work. Some film reels were as wide as a grown man’s outstretched arms. The projectionist had to time it perfectly, first listening for the bell and then looking for the six dots that would tell him when to switch from one string of film to the other.

“We did the same thing in the Navy,” Joe said. “I used to show movies on the aircraft carrier, and they would always ask me ‘how did you know how to change that?’ and I would say, ‘I’m not telling you.’”

Above, a photo of the Rocky Point Driving Range marquee sign, taken in November 2009. Photo courtesy of Cinema Treasures

The titles of each week’s films were displayed on the marquee on Route 25A and the letters were laid out every week by ramp men standing on rickety ladders. The old sign for the drive-in is still there, though now surrounded by trees and overgrowth. For a while the sign read Rocky Point Driving Range after the property was bought and used for practicing golf swings. After the range closed the sign became progressively dilapidated, as the words were slowly peeled off to reveal the “Drive-In” words underneath.

The current property owners, Heidenberg Properties Group, have been trying to build a big box store, first a Lowe’s and later a Target, on the property for several years. The Town of Brookhaven changed the zoning of the area from retail to recreational in order to restrict such a large store the town said would be inappropriate for the area.

New York State courts have upheld the decision even after the properties group brought a lawsuit and then an appeal against the town. The Mammina brothers don’t go to too many cinemas anymore, not with the advent of Netflix and on-demand movies.

The La Manno family might go to see the occasional movie, but they still say it is not the same feel as pulling your car up, setting up your blankets on the grass, as the sun goes down and the movies play under the stars. Said Joan, “The drive-in brought people together. It was just a happy, family time.”

Michele Rice-Nelson at her Miller Place home turned short-term rental facility thanks to Airbnb. Photo by Kyle Barr

By Kyle Barr

Miller Place resident Michele Rice-Nelson noticed the back corner of the dust ruffles under the couches in her Airbnb were slightly folded, and with an “oh” she dropped to her knees and straightened them.

They were only a few small things, but they mattered to Rice-Nelson. The blinds were a hair’s breath askew and she aligned them. She checked to see if there were waters in the mini fridge next to the bed. She flitted over to the bedspread to straighten and pat it down. She expected her guests to arrive later, and she wants her external suite turned Airbnb to be flawless before they arrived.

“I’m a bit of a perfectionist,” Rice-Nelson said, then laughed. She is the franchise owner of the travel agency Cruise Planners World Tour, and her Airbnb is one way she reaches a huge, more personal market for clients. “Its that attention to detail, you know. In this chaotic world that we’re living in now, just those little things, those random acts of kindness, those are the things that we introduce that make people go ‘wow,’” she said. “As long as people can feel appreciated then I know I’ve done a good thing.”

The personal touch has made Airbnbs, an online service that allows people to use their homes as short-term rentals, a growing trend on Long Island. The number of guest arrivals rose 57.4 percent to 74,000 from 2015 to 2016. The number of guests and hosts is expected to grow on Long Island in 2017. Hosts on Long Island earned a median yearly income of $9,800, according to Airbnb spokesman Andrew Kalloch.

That income has been an unexpected boon for Port Jefferson resident Sophie Partridge Jones, who didn’t assume much when she first put her extra room up on Airbnb. “The beginning of last summer we just took some pictures and set it up on Airbnb and started getting bookings immediately,” she said. The money also aided Jones and her family in their day-to-day living expenses. “I mean, it doesn’t replace having a job, but having been booked the entire summer averaging about $70 a night comes out to be pretty significant.”

Matt Lohse, a surgeon at Stony Brook University Hospital, has been renting out the small, serene cottage on his property in Rocky Point since March 2015. He said that while the extra income is nice, the real fun is from providing a living space for travelers.

“We would always talk that if for some reason my wife and I ever had to quit our day jobs or maybe as a retirement gig, a bed and breakfast would be kind of a fun thing,” Lohse said. “We get people from all walks of life. We’ve had families, we’ve had couples, we’ve had single people. We had people who came over all the way from Germany.”

While Airbnb hosts can find joy in hosting strangers, the hospitality industry has been less welcoming to the new business model. Opinions of Airbnb from hospitality industry groups range from skepticism to outright hostility.

According to John Tsunis, owner of the Holiday Inn Express on Route 347 in Centereach, any vacancy “is going to impact not only my hotel but all the hotels in the general area. It’s very important to the viability of a hospitality venue. If we can’t sustain that then it not only impacts the hotel itself but also staffing, employment and the whole ecostructure of the hotel.”

Airbnb sees its business as only helping to expand the interest and number of customers for the entire leisure industry. “We think that home sharing is increasing the tourism pie. It’s not a zero sum game. The hotel industry had one of their biggest years last year,” said Kalloch.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that employment in the leisure sector has been steadily rising year over year since 2010. Local inns have not found a lack of customers either.

“We were busy last year but we’re already busier this year,” said Elyse Buchman, who co-owns The Stony Brookside Bed & Bike Inn with her husband Marty. “Our area does have a shortage of rooms and an abundance of visitors due to [Stony Brook] University as well as private events that are held in the area.”

“We’re very selective, and Airbnb hasn’t hurt us at all. We turn away people all the time,” said Dan Tarantino, the owner of The Ransome Inn in Port Jefferson. “I’m old, I’m retired, my wife and I cherry pick because we don’t want to be that busy.”

But for Tsunis, the one item that has been the most visible concern are things dealing with safety. Unlike regular hotels, Airbnbs are not inspected for things like working sprinklers or fire alarms as well as the sanitary conditions inside the rooms. Airbnb uses software like behavioral analysis to try and root out any problematic hosts or guests from its service along with a verified ID system, but these do not necessarily protect guests or hosts once they finally come together. While Airbnb will sometimes send a photographer to new listings to take pictures, it does not send anybody to check for safety issues.

Some local and state governments have tried enacting laws against Airbnb for some of these reasons. In January the Town of Huntington drafted a resolution that proposed potentially banning Airbnb rentals. However, due to public outcry from Airbnb hosts, the town this month proposed restrictions on advertising their homes and the length of guest’s stay.

But for people who host an Airbnb and have been doing it long enough to have a 5-star rating and a list of glowing reviews, these problems are mostly irrelevant, and hotels’ complaints of Airbnb are beside the point.

Before moving to Long Island Jones worked as finance manager at several hotels in California. “When I was working in a hotel I probably would have been more against Airbnb then I am now, because, you know, it was competition. But I think things are changing in this economy — you see it with things like Uber, you see it with Airbnb.”

Members of the community gather at Jackson Edwards’ Terryville home July 31 to welcome him home from a lengthy hospital stay in Maryland to battle leukemia. Photo by Kyle Barr

By Kyle Barr

After more than four months of treatment battling acute myeloid leukemia, a blood and bone marrow cancer, 11-year-old Jackson Edwards returned home Monday from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland to the sound of a Terryville fire truck honking and the cheers of friends and family.

“I don’t know how to put it — it’s such a wave of emotions,” Jackson’s mother Danielle Edwards said. “We’re happy, finally. Jackson’s a little nervous because he’s so far away from the hospital and he’s thin from the treatment, but he’s happy to be with his people.”

Jackson waives to the crowd assembled at his home. Photo by Kyle Barr

Tired from the long trip and overwhelmed by the number of people who had shown up for the surprise homecoming, Jackson only stood outside for a few minutes July 31, waving to his friends and family before heading back inside. They had taken a 6-hour drive to get back to Terryville from Johns Hopkins.

“[Jackson and his mom] had no idea what was here,” Jackson’s aunt DeeDee Edwards said. She had helped plan the surprise homecoming, and was in charge of keeping the mother and son in the dark. “Jackson was counting the stoplights until we got here, and he was so overwhelmed by all the people who came to support him.”

Though the drive home was long, the real difficulty for Jackson and his family was the more than 100 days he spent in Baltimore fighting the rare form of cancer.. Jackson has always been a charismatic young man, according to his family. He’s a typical 11-year-old — he loves wrestling and football. His favorite comic book and show characters are Captain America and Optimus Prime. In December 2013 Jackson was diagnosed with AML. It was the start of an arduous treatment process that saw Jackson go into remission in May 2014.

Around Christmas 2016, Jackson started to feel sick again, and after taking him to Stony Brook University Hospital, the family learned that the his disease had returned and he had relapsed. In April he was transferred to Johns Hopkins in Maryland where he underwent a long and painful process of chemotherapy in preparation for a later bone marrow transplant. Meanwhile, friends and family worked hard to fund raise and help Jackson’s mother in finding options for his treatment.

Deirdre Cardarelli, a friend of the family, worked hard to help throw the surprise welcome for the Edwards’. For months Cardarelli was co-running the StayStrongJackson Facebook page alongside Jackson’s mom, and she was instrumental in forming a T-shirt drive and an Easter egg hunt to support the family’s travel and medical funds. The Facebook page and all the other social media efforts helped galvanize the local community in its support of Jackson, even those who were not necessarily close to the Edwards’..

Onlookers for the surprise homecoming brought signs of support to hold. Photo by Kyle Barr

“I don’t know the family personally, but our oldest, Michael, is in the same school with Jackson,” said community member Yoon Perrone. “We bought the shirts to support the family and we wanted to be here. I can’t imagine one of our own children having the disease.”

For the bone marrow transplant the family had to find a donor that was as close of a match as possible. Rocco Del Greco, a friend of the family, said he felt a deep need to help the young man and his family once he learned of the cancer’s relapse.

“Since I was not so emotionally connected to their son I was able to channel my anger for what happened to the young man,” Del Greco said. He helped to jump-start a YouCaring page to crowd fund for Jackson, which managed to raise more than $8,000. Del Greco  also managed several bone marrow drives during the search for a suitable donor. From January to early April, Del Greco helped facilitate for almost 1,800 people to test their DNA for matches to Jackson.

Finding a sufficient match was not easy for the Edwards’. Jackson’s mother had a 50 percent match from her own marrow. She served as the donor, and the transplant was successful. After about a month-long recovery, the doctors said he was safe to continue treatment from home.

The process kept Jackson away from school and friends and forced him to endure weeks of treatment, including chemotherapy. Jackson was not able to attend his fifth-grade graduation ceremony from elementary school in the Comsewogue School District, but his older brother Cortez James “C.J” Edwards walked up on stage in his place. Jackson’s mother said that while the treatment process and lengthy hospital stay did get tough, her son powered through it by making new friends.

Members of the community gather at Jackson Edwards’ Terryville home July 31 to welcome him home from a lengthy hospital stay in Maryland to battle leukemia. Photo by Kyle Barr

“He met a whole bunch of new people, because he’s very charismatic, and he stole a bunch of other people’s hearts,” she said.

The transplant has left his immune system weak, and for another eight months Jackson is restricted from coming too close in contact with other people while he heals. This will prohibit him from attending school for several months, but his mother said they plan on continuing his education with tutoring.

Though he said he is excited to eventually go back to school, for now Jackson celebrated a Christmas in July, including a tree and presents surrounding it. He was unable to celebrate Christmas with his family when his cancer relapsed back in December.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 47,000 people were diagnosed with leukemia in 2014, the most recent year on record with data on leukemia.

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Fionn Whitehead (Tommy) in a scene from ‘Dunkirk’ Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

By Kyle Barr

How many war movies say that mere survival is not enough? In these films heroics are often displayed by those who sacrifice their lives for their fellow soldiers or defeat the enemy against overwhelming odds.

In “Dunkirk,” directed by Christopher Nolan, our empathy doesn’t end at the people who risk life and limb to save others, but the movie also places us firmly in the shoes of soldiers who want to do nothing more than survive. And while the film has a few small problems with pacing, Nolan tries to say something about battles like Dunkirk, that sometimes survival is victory, and survival is in turn heroic.

Fionn Whitehead (Tommy) in a scene from ‘Dunkirk’. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Every director with enough clout has to have their war movie. The best directors have found the war or battle that fits their directing style. Spielberg went for the overarching heroics of World War II soldiers during and directly after the invasion of Normandy. Kubrick went for the general insanity and dehumanizing nature of the Vietnam War.

So what does Christopher Nolan, who has directed and written such intricately designed plots for movies like “Inception” and “Memento,” do? He again goes for the complicated, so much so that he put his sights on the evacuation of Dunkirk after the German blitzkrieg of France where French, British and other Allied soldiers were pushed back to the beaches of the city and surrounded on all sides. German U-boats prowled the English Channel and German bombers and fighters constantly pounded the men on the beach who were desperately trying to find a way to return to English shores.

There is the subtle hint of a ticking clock in nearly every scene that grows ever more menacing as the tension ramps up. We don’t even see a German soldier until the very end the film. Instead, time is the enemy.

Nolan uses time to structure the film in a very different way. The film is broken up not just into three different points of view, — of young soldier Tommy (Fionn Whitehead); boat captain Mr. Dawson and his son Peter (Mark Rylance and Tom Glynn-Carney); and an RAF fighter pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy) — but also into three separate time frames — that of a week, a day and an hour, respectively.

This does cause some confusion as the point of view jumps from one character to the next. If you are invested in one character’s story, it can be hard to readjust to what another character is doing and remember that some things that have happened in one man’s story have yet to happen in another.

But what is so masterful about this film is how well the tension ramps in tandem with each individual story. Events get more suspenseful for each character as Tommy grows more desperate to get off the beach, Mr. Dawson braves more dangerous waters filled with German U-boats and surrounded by German planes, and Farrier spends more and more fuel in order to stay in the air longer and protect the men below him.

In a movie as technical as this, most audience members will even lose the names of the characters among the minutia; so it is so important the actors carry the rest of the emotional weight. Thankfully the entire cast is up to the task. Hardy has to express himself constantly stuck in a airplane cockpit and wearing a mask, but you can tell how pained he is as he counts down his fuel reserves. Whitehead is a relatively unknown actor but his desperation is keenly felt throughout the entire film.

Most of the attention, however, has to go to Rylance, who holds a good part of the film’s emotional weight on his shoulders. His gentle, yet determined demeanor represents all those on the civilian boats who helped ferry the thousands of soldiers off the beach, and he does it so effortlessly it’s hard not to feel empathy for his struggle.

But why do the film with three separate point of views and three separate time frames? It all seems a little egotistical on Nolan’s part until it becomes clear at the very end, where a soldier reads Winston Churchill’s famous speech of June 4, 1940. At Dunkirk, survival was heroism because it meant those soldiers could live to fight another day and that England would not surrender its forces so eagerly.

As Winston Churchill said before the House of Commons: “[W]hatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender.”

Rated PG-13 for intense war experience and some language, “Dunkirk” is now playing in local theaters.

Above, the cast performs a musical number in a scene from ‘Young Frankenstein’

By Kyle Barr

From left, Michael Newman as the blind hermit and Ryan Nolin as the monster in a scene from ‘Young Frankenstein’

Mel Brooks, the director and writer of some of cinema’s most beloved comedy movies, has always had something of a theatrical flair to his films. There have been musical scenes in “Robin Hood: Men in Tights,” “History of the World Part 1” and one glorious moment in “Young Frankenstein” when Frankenstein’s monster replaces his ragged clothing for a tuxedo and top hat and stiffly tap dances to “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

It’s no wonder then that “Young Frankenstein” works so well as a musical stage production. The characters are there, the humor is there, and the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts is more than up to the task of adapting the musical with a performance that emphatically captures the hilarious moments of the original 1974 film.

The story, written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan with music and lyrics by Brooks, follows the film very closely with only a few changes. The famous Victor Von Frankenstein, the mad scientist who created the original Frankenstein’s monster, is dead, and the villagers of Transylvania are much happier to see him gone.

Nick Masson as Frederick and Sarah Juliano as Inga in a scene from ‘Young Frankenstein’

While they think their troubles are over, Frankenstein’s grandson, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Nick Masson), gets a letter that says he has inherited his grandfather’s castle in Transylvania. While he is originally staunch in refusing to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, with the help and coaxing of compatriots Igor (Andrew Murano), Inga (Sarah Jane Juliano) and Frau Blucher (Anne Marie Finnie), Frederick does indeed join the family business. It only takes a few mistakes before the monster (Ryan Nolin) is loose, and the villagers who for once thought they were free of monsters are yet again set upon by a big green menace.

Director and set designer Timothy Golebiewski skillfully leads a number of SCPA regulars along with several stage veterans making their premier at the theater. At last Sunday afternoon’s performance, all of the actors played their parts very well with several standouts.

SCPA veteran Michael Newman gives two excellent performances in the dual roles of Inspector Kemp and the blind hermit, while Juliano is hilarious as Inga, and her yodeling could give any clog-wearing German a run for their money.

‘Puttin On the Ritz’ at the SCPA.

With the passing of Gene Wilder last year still heavy on the heart, it’s hard to imagine another person portraying Frederick Frankenstein (“It’s pronounced Fronkensteen!”). However, Masson chooses to put a different spin on the iconic role to great effect. He sounds and acts much like everyone remembers their least favorite high school teacher to be, that one with the nasal voice and the rather high opinion of himself. He has a great sense for timing and his beginning song “The Brain,” about his love for the titular organ, is played up to its full bizarre and hilarious extent.

Murano as Igor (“It’s pronounced ‘Eye-gor!”) is a stand out soley for how much he seems to enjoy his role. Costume designer Ronald R. Green III does a superb job on his makeup from the character’s cloak to his deathly-white face and pointed nose.

While Igor is only the sidekick, he often steals the show with how much body language he puts into the jokes. It’s easy to see how Murano revels in the opportunity to touch the other characters in uncomfortable ways. One hilarious scene is when the character gets his hands on another’s fur cloak and chews into it and humps it like a dog.

Nick Masson and Andrew Murano in a scene from ‘Young Frankenstein’

While you originally wouldn’t expect much emoting from Frankenstein’s monster, who for most of the movie can only grunt and howl, Nolin does a great job of using his body language to effect the subtle and often confused emotions of the creature. It’s also great to see how well he transforms into an upstanding gentleman and how he affects an English accent as soon as he’s given intelligence.

The set design is particularly exceptional. Golebiewski and crew must have spent many good hours on setting up the two-tiered layout of the set, which has layers and a surprising amount of depth. It is remarkable to watch just from where different characters appear. Several of the bookcases can be spun around, which is not only used to transition from one parlor scene into a laboratory scene but is also used in one of the more famous jokes from the film where Inga and Frederick try to figure out how to use a secret door hidden in a bookcase.

The theater’s band, with conductor and keyboardist Melissa Coyle at the helm, Craig Coyle on keyboard, Michael Molloy on bass and Jim Waddell on drums, bring the whole show together nicely.

One thing to note is that this musical is raunchy, even more raunchy than the film on which it is based. While there are more than a few innuendos, there are many explicit references to sex and private parts, so adults may want to look up the script to the play before bringing young children along.

However, if you don’t mind a bit of sexual humor and you fondly remember the 1974 movie version, you won’t walk away disappointed. If you are looking to grab some of old monster movie nostalgia while watching something that wholly parodies those old horror conventions, you can’t get much better than SCPA’s “Young Frankenstein.”

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown will present “Young Frankenstein” through Aug. 20. Tickets are $35, adults, $32 seniors, $20 students with valid ID. To order, call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.

All photos by Courtney Braun.

Timberwolf of the Setalcott Nation prepares to perform a war dance at last year's event. Photo by Lloyd Newman

By Kyle Barr

Every July for the past 11 years the sound of drums, yells, shouts and laughter has resonated from the grounds of the Setauket Elementary School. It is all part of the Setalcott Native American Nation’s Annual Corn Festival Pow-Wow, which returns this weekend. For Helen “Hart of Morning Star” Sells, one of the coordinators of the festival, those sounds are an important part of her family’s history and the history of her people.

A scene from last year’s Corn Festival Pow-Wow. Photo by Lloyd Newman

Sells is a member of the Setauket-based nation and can trace her lineage back four generations to Rachel Tobias Holland Hart, who is depicted in William Sidney Mount’s famous painting, “Eel Spearing at Setauket” (1845). The 76-year-old looks forward to helping to host the event every year.

“A Pow-Wow is a time where we get to celebrate the harvest that we receive from the great spirit each year” she said in a recent telephone interview. “We celebrate our history and make new friends. That’s what it’s basically about. It’s to let people know we’re still here.”

The Setalcott Nation was one of the first Native American tribes to encounter Europeans, selling 30 acres of land to colonists in 1655, in what would become the Town of Brookhaven. The name “Setauket” is derived from the Algonquin speaking Setalcotts whose members still reside in the areas around East Setauket, specifically along Conscience Bay.

A scene from last year’s event. Photo by Lloyd Newman

According to Sells, the Corn Festival Pow-Wow was founded in 2005 by her cousin, Theodore Green, who had been chief at the time. Green, who passed away in 2007, was asked to put an event together to educate the community about Native American culture as well as have them recognize the Setalcott Nation’s importance and history in the development of the surroundings towns and hamlets.

The family event will feature native traditional dances from the Bronx Taino Nation as well as Aztec fire dancers along with craft and food vendors, storytelling, singing, a candy dance for the children and much more.

A Grand Entry, which will be held at noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, and at noon on Sunday, will honor the memory of World War I veterans with American Legion’s Hunter Squire Jackson Post 1218 (Amityville) and the Irving Hart Post 1466 (Setauket), among others.

The 12th annual Corn Festival Pow-Wow will be held at the Setauket Elementary School, 34 Main St., Setauket on July 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and July 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bring seating. Admission and parking is free but donations are appreciated. For more information, call 631-698-5517 or 917-415-5139.

Above, from left, Jamie Foxx and Ansel Elgort star in ‘Baby Driver'. Image courtesy of Tri-Star Pictures

By Kyle Barr

Think of all the songs that use the word “baby.” Think of every time it’s used in a love ballad, a rock song about a girl or close to every country song that comes out over the radio. Baby is mysterious. When we listen to those songs, we create the image for this “baby” in our heads, but we don’t really know much about who it really is.

In Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver,” Baby isn’t the vague object of desire; he’s the main character. The eponymous Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young man whose head is constantly swimming with music. He doesn’t talk much with his mouth, but he expresses himself in the way he moves and the way he drives.

Lily James and Ansel Elgort in a scene from ‘Baby Driver’

The story takes cues from a host of classic crime movies. Baby is involved in a number of high-profile bank robberies. Things get more complicated as he falls in love with a waitress at the local diner named Deborah (Lily James) who loves music as much as Baby does. As Baby is drawn into one final heist alongside Darling (Eliza González), Buddy (Jon Hamm) and the psychotic Bats (Jamie Foxx), he must find a way to escape with Deborah and drive until its all left behind in the rearview mirror.

Wright, who serves as both director and screenwriter, has always had a knack for soundtracks that apply to both the tone and scene. One well-remembered scene from “Shaun of the Dead,” one of his earlier films, was of a group of heroes pummeling a zombie with pool cues to the ironic sounds of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

In “Baby Driver,” the entire movie takes on this schtick. Baby has tinnitus, an ear injury he received as a child, and he uses music to drown out the hum in his ears. All the music in the movie is diegetic, as in the music is listened to by the characters in the scene. When Baby removes a single earbud from his left ear, the music in the theater is coming from the right-hand speaker.

Ansel Elgort and Kevin Spacey in a scene from ‘Baby Driver’

It’s a brilliant thing to watch when it takes in the whole theater experience of spectacle and sound. Music becomes Baby and it transforms the world around him. It’s hard to tell whether Baby is acting to the beat of the music or the world itself is conforming to the sound.

The action scenes, such as the first car chase playing to “Bellbottoms” by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, take on a new dimension when Baby turns and brakes in time to the song. Yet even the calmer scenes, like when Baby and Deborah bond in a laundromat over music, becoming much more charming even as Baby is incredibly sparing with his words.

It’s no coincidence that the most tense scenes in the movie usually occur when Baby’s earbuds are taken out and the music cuts. The movie is both classic in its heist movie sensibilities and also incredibly dark. Baby matches the audience in his fear and disgust at the death happening around him.

While the dialogue is clearly Wright, it is much more terse than his other films. Doc (Kevin Spacey) has some of the best lines in the film, where exchanges are often short and witty. “I’m looking at some of the country’s finest thugs and of course young Mozart in a go-cart over there.” But while his character is clearly meant to be powerful and frightening, his heel face turn during the movie’s climax comes too much out of left field. The entire climax in that way feels a little too forced, and without any spoilers, some character beats feel a little too forced as well.

But otherwise, “Baby Driver” is an excellent movie on its own, and it is a great way to start off the summer movie season. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself tapping your foot while Baby puts his foot on the gas.

Rated R for language and violence, “Baby Driver” is now playing in local theaters.