Mayfair, Ressurected

The new Mayfair schedule is up, and it is fantastic (PDF). Midnight movies, topical double bills, and even a couple of screenings with film makers in attendance. I kinda wish they were showing one of the better Mad Max films (Beyond the Thunderdome is pretty dreadful, but the first two are awesome), but I assume it has something to do with print availability.

This is the sort of schedule that encourages me to go to the Mayfair, and more closely reflects what I remember from my days in undergrad, where I pretty much only went to the theatre to see classic films on the big screen. The two good Indiana Jones movies? Check. All three Mad Max movies? Check.

I went last month to see Hamlet 2 (which is very funny), and left with some pretty mixed feelings about the theatre. I was certainly sad to see it go, was worried that another part of Ottawa’s cultural landscape would disappear, and genuinely concerned about losing another place to see a film in the core. But at the same time, the seats were uncomfortable (and had nowhere to put a drink), the popcorn was cold, and the sound a film quality (on a movie only a couple of months old) left much to be desired. In short, I really liked the idea of the Mayfair, and was going to miss that very much. But my attachment to the then current incarnation was based on nostalgia alone, and with Rainbow Cinemas, DVD, and the Internet competing, nostaligia was bound to lose. Indeed, I hadn’t been to see a film there in more than a year.

So I was very happy when I heard about the current group taking over management of the theatre. I really enjoyed Lee Gordon Demarbre’s monthly Saturday Night Sinema series (and, of course, his various exploitation films), they are apparently replacing the seating and upgrading the sound, and the January program looks positively spectacular. Obviously, there are challenges still ahead, but there is a lot to be optimistic about, and a lot of reasons to go there beyond a sense of obligation to the institution.