“Midcentury Stereopanorama is by far the most interesting event I have ever hosted in my home. My guests’ enjoyment was measurable by the number of genuine “wow!,” “amazing!” and “so cool’s” going around the room that evening. It puts all dinner parties to shame.”
– Usha M., Photographer, hosted salon for 10 in the East Village
Q: What is Midcentury Stereopanorama?
A: Midcentury Stereopanorama is an intimate 2-hour salon during which you and your friends will see incredibly sharp and immersive 3-dimensional images taken by (mostly) amateur photographers between 1947 and the mid-1960s. You’ll also learn about the amazing technology that made these images possible– the Stereo Realist 3-D camera system. Paring Kodak’s spectacular Kodachrome film with a precision optical viewer to deliver uncannily realistic, full-color, three-dimensional images, the technology has earned the nickname “The Virtual Reality of the 1950s.” Each attendee will experience a selection of the best from Eric Drysdale’s collection of tens of thousands images in their own (for the night) vintage, restored, high-quality stereoscopic viewer.
Q: What specific kinds of things will guests see?
A: Every aspect of Midcentury American life. People at home, at work, special events, city life, country life, cars, celebrations, travel, and more —all in startlingly vivid 3-D.
Q: Who is Eric Drysdale?
An Emmy-winning writer and comedian who has been making and collecting 3D images for 25 years. He was a founding member of the New York Stereoscopic Society and more recently published his own set of 3-D View-Master reels, The Man with F.E.E.E.T.
Q: How much does the program cost?
A: The program is $20 per attendee, including the host(s). It is up to the host to collect the money from the guests, which is payable to Eric at the time of the event. Ask anyone who’s seen the show — it’s a bargain!
Q: How many people can I invite to my Midcentury Stereopanorama show?
The total, including the hosts (but excluding Eric,) can be few as 6 and as many as 12 depending on what your space can accommodate. The number needs to be agreed upon with Eric beforehand. Fewer than 8 is also o.k., but there’s a minimum $120 charge for the night even if it’s just one “guest.”
Q: How do I know how many Midcentury Stereopanorama guests my place can accommodate?
A: Each participant must have a place to sit and a place within arm’s reach to comfortably set down his or her viewer (like a coffee table or a regular table). People can sit on the floor, but each person still needs space to set down the viewer. A larger group can be spread among 2 or more smaller areas, but they should be within speaking distance. Eric’s had 14 spread over a big California den and living room to 10 guests in a small East Village 1-bedroom. There also needs to be a place where all guests can gather to see the presentation, running off Eric’s laptop or your own system.
Q: Who should I invite?
A: Your smart, curious friends.
Q: Who shouldn’t I invite?
A: A-holes, drunkards, people who can’t sit still.
Q: Can I serve food and drink?
A: Yes. The program is often the entertainment after a dinner or snacks. However, once the viewing portion of the show starts, food and drink must be kept away from the tables/spaces where the slides and viewers are being used. Since people go at their own pace, and often like a short break from the viewers, it’s easy to keep snacks and drinks accessible in a place away from the main event.
Q: How long is the event?
A: About 2 hours for the program itself. It depends on whether you’re planning on offering dinner or snacks beforehand. Typical schedule:
6:15-6:30 Eric arrives to discuss set-up and prepare
7:00-8:00 Guests arrive for dinner and/or drinks
8:00-8:15 Short history presentation
8:15-10:15 Viewing party
10:15-11:00 Eric cleanup
Q: Do I need any special equipment?
A: Eric brings everything essential. Things that the host could provide that would be very helpful are: A sound system to which Eric can connect his computer or iPad to play the evening’s soundtrack and an HDMI-, APPLE-TV or similarly equipped TV that the presentation portion could be shown on. Again, Eric will have everything he needs if you can’t provide those things.
Q: I’m interested! How do I get this going?
– Your name and where you live
– A range of dates and times you’re interested in hosting
– The number of people you think you might be able to accommodate
– Some info on the layout of your space
…and he’ll get back to you shortly. When you’ve hammered out the details, he’ll provide you with some copy and photos for an invitation to send out to your friends.