Summer is a time to see the popular movie releases. As an alternative, local movie venues can stimulate your curiosity and allow you to connect with your peers. Plan to eat a lot of popcorn this summer at the big theater screenings, but check out the following for something different.

Omnifest 2013
Science Museum of Minnesota
120 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 221-9444

Date: Now through June 20, 2013

See the Science Museum’s own “Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees.” Also showing are “Antartica,” “Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West,” “Wild Ocean” and “Tornado Alley.” Screenings run in rotation throughout the day from Tuesday through Sunday so check the show schedule online to catch the time of your favorite larger-than-life adventure. Get a 15 percent discount by viewing subsequent films on the same day. Movie-goers can reserve tickets online or call in advance to avoid sell-outs.

Cinema Lounge
Bryant Lake Bowl Theater
810 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 825-8949

Dates: June 19, 2013 at 7 p.m. and every third Wednesday

Local filmmakers, producers, screenwriters and film enthusiasts network over food and drink while enjoying four short films the third Wednesday of each month. Screenings take 20 minutes or less, a moderator interviews the filmmaker and then opens the session up to questions and answers. Cinema Lounge tries to balance each evening with a variety of narratives, documentaries, music videos, animation and experimental shorts. Cinema Lounge is an event organized by the Independent Filmmaker Project in St Paul. The IFP encourages filmmakers to submit their entries.

Related: Movie Blog: Top 10 Summer Blockbusters Ever

5 Classics in Journalism
Trylon microcinema
3528 Minnehaha Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
(612) 424-5468
www.take-up.orgDates: June 10 through 15

Five classic films examine the inner workings of journalism. The Society of Professional Journalists Minnesota Chapter helped curate the program and is contributing towards film rental costs. This is a rare treat and a chance to view screenings of “Network,” “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “Page One: Inside the New York Times,” and “Sweet Smell of Success.” Sit back in one of 50 comfortable rocker seats and enjoy the theater’s high-tech picture and sound.

The Great Escape 50th Anniversary
Trylon microcinema
3528 Minnehaha Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
(612) 424-5468

Dates: July 5 through 7 at 7:00 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.

Never have so many icons of action and adventure appeared on the silver screen together as in “The Great Escape.” Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, David McCallum and others portrayed prisoners in a World War II German camp freeing hundreds of Allied prisoners. See the film on a 20-foot screen with eight-channel sound seated in a comfortable rocking seat. Dedicated to screening classic films, Take-Up Productions operates Trylon microcinema and collaborates in screenings at the Heights and the Riverview.

Ride Lonesome And Best Of Hollywood
Heights Theatre
3951 Central Ave. N.E.
Columbia Heights, MN 55421
(763) 788-9079

Dates: July 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m.

James Best will be there in-person on Wednesday night for a Q & A session and the screening of “Ride Lonesome.” Don’t miss Thursday night for a personal presentation of “Best in Hollywood” clips and stories. Best was a part of 83 features from 1950 to 1998. He appeared in such weighty movies as “Caine Mutiny” and worked with many of the most prominent stars of the day, including Burt Reynolds. However, Best is most widely known as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on “Dukes Of Hazzard.” He played sheriff from series debut in 1979 until its last show in 1985. “Ride Lonesome” features Best as Billie John, a killer captured by a bounty hunter.

Summer Music & Movies
Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 375-7600
www.walkerart.orgDates: Mondays, July 29 through Aug. 19

See local and national bands paired with classic films projected under the stars. Walker Art Center  staff will select films from the Walker’s Ruben/Benston Film and Video Study Collection for viewing at Loring Park, across the Siah Armajani’s Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. This popular event, which has been happening for over three decades, is co-presented with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.

Related: Best Independent Movie Theaters In The Twin Cities

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at