Be a little Lebowski Achiever! Help the Mayfair, dude!

Attention Mayfair regulars and moviegoers in Ottawa!

The Mayfair Theatre is about to celebrate 80 years of existence this May! But in order to continue bringing you the best in cinematic entertainment, we need your support! We are in the midst of raising funds to purchase a new DCP (Digital Cinema Package) projector, which is a major investment. We have set up “piggy banks” in our box office and candy bar, so you can donate any amount you can to help us raise the money. Every little bit helps!

Also, on Saturday May 26, join us as we kickstart our anniversary by showing the best films from each decade (1930s to the present). We’ll begin by showing your pick of the best film of the 1990s: THE BIG LEBOWSKI. The $15 admission will go towards raising the money for the projector as well. Prizes and a Best Lebowski Costume contest will also take place! Come and be apart of helping the historic Mayfair Theatre enjoy another 80 years of bringing you stuff you won’t see anywhere else!

The Mayfair abides…

Dan Fielding

‘Fundraising?’ Seriously?

You’re a business. Maintenance, refurb, and upgrades and should be funded by your day-to-day — heck, they’re PART of the day-to-day. I mean, unless you’re planning on registering as a charity, ‘donations’ are going to look fishy on the books, even if you pay the taxes on them. You will pay the taxes on them, right? They’re technically income.

A loan would probably be wiser.

Reply · December 13, 2018

ian driscoll

The truth is that the Mayfair runs on a very slender profit margin, and this necessary expense is way more than we can hope to generate, or get as a loan. We know it’s a lot to ask, but this is where we find ourselves. And we sincerely hope that many of you can find it within yourselves to help out.

We will of course be reporting any and all income, and complying with every law as we continue with our fundraising endeavours.

Thanks for taking the time to read, understand and respond.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Jim Lynch

I gotta agree with Dan. If you are fundraising for a digital projector will you become a community run movie house? Will the community be able to pick the movies that show on the projector that ‘they’ purchased?
I go to the Mayfair on a very regular basis and business is good. The only time I see a ton of empty seats are for all the garbage films that seem to be in your prime-time movie-watching slots now. Maybe take a break from showing crap and show what the public wants to see. Putting people in the seats is how you make money.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Kristin

Hey, the Mayfair is an important part of our neighbourhood. As important as the community centre and the library and needs our support. I would be happy to contribute my earnings from the September porch sale (less 10% for OSCAR), or do an earlier one if you wish to advertise it.

Other suggestions?

Reply · December 13, 2018

Chris

Geez Jim and Ian lighten up! It’s not like they’re asking for a friggin’ lung, life savings or money earned at your garage sale (did you report THAT as income?) Next time I’m in I’ll find the piggy bank and give a little extra for these two sour pusses. Best films since 1930? sounds fun to me! And you can’t go wrong with Lebowski Dude!

Reply · December 13, 2018

Flynn

You might want to think about becoming non-profit and teaming up with a community group like the OSCAR. The Mayfair is great for live music as well as films. Everyone knew that digital converstion was around the corner, you guys should have set aside a fund for it. You had 4 years to save for it, thats only $1000.00 bucks a month.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Steven

35mm is being discontinued as a delivery format which means the Mayfair would
never be able to show all those so-called “non-garbage” films in the future as the big studios will only be sending out 1’s and 0’s in the very near future and not film prints. So for instance, if the Mayfair wants to show something like Amazing Spider-man 2 after its theatrical run to put “butts in the seats” it will not be able to, because there will be no 35mm print to show it.
If you don’t like grind house, independent, locally made, classic, foreign, cult and rare movies and would rather watch studio fare, then (a) you’re not the cinephile audience rep theaters like the mayfair cater to and (b) why are you here complaining about the programming when you could be at Silvercity watching “The Notebook 2: Note Harder”.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Stephen Bourne

These might end up being useless examples worth mentioning but, BC’s historic Patricia movie theatre is facing the same thing and does run a registered charity that raises donations for the theatre:

patriciatheatre(dot)com

Closer to home, Picton’s Regent movie theatre has done the same thing:

theregenttheatre(dot)org(slash)Donate(dot)htm

Here in Ottawa, the Ottawa Family Cinema Foundation received a $89,600 grant in 2010-2011 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to “bring the cinema’s movie projection capabilities up to date, ensuring continued community access to new and classic family films in current digital formats, including digital 3-D films.”

grant(dot)otf(dot)ca

cheers

Reply · December 13, 2018

Stephen Bourne

whoops, The Regent has the registered charity, not the Patricia. You get the idea, though.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Flynn

The above examples are all non-profits, by being non-profit you can become a charity and also apply for grants/funding. For a single screen theatre like the Mayfair who will have to deal with a new 10-plex down the street in a couple years its their best bet for survival. Digital cinema is here to stay, film labs are closing, and small indy films will not be on 35mm much longer. Sure keep the 35mm projectors for older classic catalog films, but you need a DCP projector to survive. Avoid getting a silver screen though, they suck, uneven light and hot spots. If you want 3D go with system that does not need a silver screen like Dolby Digital 3D.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Josh

Jim – The difficulty being, what you consider garbage, other people might like. Or what you like, other people might consider garbage. There’s no Magic 8 Ball that tells you what movie is going to have a good run. Some movies to surprisingly well, some do surprisingly bad.

If you had a chance to program even just a month, I bet you would find yourself confused why people didn’t show up to something you thought was a sure-fire attendance getter. Alas, there are sometimes just empty seats. Whether that be the cause of good weather, a hockey game, Blues Fest, bad weather…there’s always a potential distraction.

And the community gets to help with programming all the time. The community picked Big Lebowski just this month 🙂

Flynn – If the place made that much money we wouldn’t have to have a fundraiser. No one is getting rich off of running the Mayfair, it’s really under a ‘for the love of the game’ category. Every-time you think you have a couple bucks in a business like this, the popcorn machine explodes or ants invade or the ceiling leaks etc etc etc…

Steven – Exactly right sir. With the death of 35mm, no more new movies. Hence, hard to get people to come to see movies. Not only that, old prints are being destroyed at a shocking & heartbreaking pace. That means no more old movies either.

Indies, mainstream, every genre…none will be on film very soon. Whether it be The Artist or Iron Lady or Muppets or Hugo, whether it be the new movie from Woody Allen or Steven Spielberg, all will be digitally distributed.

Complicated times indeed. And is some don’t want to donate, that’s completely understandable. I just think we live in a world where Wikipedia and PBS and sports teams and bands and restaurants and artists all get the much appreciated assistance from folks sometimes. Along with successful fundraising websites like Kickstarter that help make everything from comic books to role-playing games…charity is in the air it seems now more than ever.

Believe me, would much rather live in a world where Mayfair could write a check, order the projector, the end. I think this is going to be a lot of work but will be ok though, a year from now this will be behind us, and people can focus on happier things like getting back to arguing about what movies to show or being angry about a political doc or offensive horror movie on the schedule.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Flynn

Why Don’t you just move the DCP projector from the Orleans to the Bank Street Mayfair? problem solved.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Josh

Flynn – If only it were that simple right? But the two theatres despite a similar name are completely separate businesses. All the Mayfair folks aren’t involved with Mayfair Orleans. If they do close, we don’t just magically get to keep their equipment. So, alas it isn’t as simple as taking their stuff if that theatre doesn’t survive (and we hope it does live on of course).

Reply · December 13, 2018

Corey

I think that it’s strikingly clear who understands the Mayfair and who doesn’t in this blog postings comments.

The point of this theatre is not to be a cash cow, the point is to bring to life both movies of the past which had a tremendous impact and movies which would never have had the chance. I participated in a project about an Ottawa Musician (Jason aka DJ SUN) who passed away from a Brain Tumour in 2000. A documentary was made about him and shared at the Mayfair to an emotional audience. It’s things like this that seperate it from the herd. It sounds to me like the two complainee’s in the audience are the herd, and while it may be counterproductive to the cause I imagine the mayfair wouldnt hurt very much if these same people kept on seeing Kevin Costner and Tom Cruize movies.

I think that over the summer running a month of Mayfair enthusiaists top picks would be a good fundraiser. I would be willing to program a poll which first would let people suggest films, purge that list in the top 20 and then allow everyone to vote on the top 10 to display. Otherwise, is this equipment available as rental equipment from any distributers? As someone who’s been involved in media for a long time I know there are companies that rent/lease said equipment and perhaps this is a path to explore.

Either way, the mayfair is more of a collective that represents and caters to the equivalent of audiophiles. People who have a love of cinema and don’t care much for having to choose between a lit of “insert any major theatres” crappy new releases out of hollywood. Its far and few between that good movies come out of hollywood (like Cinderella Man, Big Lebowski) however who would then play movies like “Kids”, “Ken Park”, “Groove”, “Human Traffic”, “Trainspotting”, and great Canadiana like “We All Fall Down” with Martin Cummings autobiography of his time addicted to Heroin in British Columbia before becoming a star in Stargate. There is a place for everything in this world, and unfortunately not everything is fortunate enough to be about big dollars. If mainstays in Ottawa’s underground entertainment industry like The Mayfair, Babylon Nightclub, Zaphods, The Dominion werent supported by its clientelle they wouldnt have faired so long as testomonies to the love of independant entertainment in Canada.

I for one will be happy to donate, perhaps putting a meter on your site to what you need to reach and increasing it as you get closer would be enticing to people to contribute. If you need help setting up Paypal donations and developing such a thing please let me know via my email and I would be happy to help in any way I could.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Josh

Thanks for the comment Corey.

If you’d like to contribute ideas for our 80th Anniversary fundraiser screenings that will happen throughout the rest of the year, drop us a line at mayfair80th@gmail.com.

The Paypal stuff is currently set-up. You can link over to it from the website.

We’ve got a good ole’ fashioned thermometer poster up at the theatre to let our patrons know how the fundraising even is going. You are right though, having something like that online would be great too. I’ll get the computer masterminds to get on that and I’m sure you’ll see it up on the site soon.

And since you mentioned it, hope to see you out at the Big Lebowski screening on May 26th. It is indeed a great Hollywood movie. In fact I think it’s damn near as close to perfection as a movie can get

Reply · December 13, 2018

Simon

Happy to help, though it would be nice to know how much you need to raise.

Reply · December 13, 2018

ian driscoll

Simon —

We’ve set our fundraising goal at $55,000.00 We’ve made some strides towards that goal, but we could still really use your help.

You can read more, and donate, here: http://bank.mayfairtheatre.ca/fundraiser/

Thanks!

Reply · December 13, 2018

Arthur

I’ve really enjoyed reading the discussion here as there’s been a lot of thoughtful comments. I understand why some people balk at the idea of a business asking for a favour but I also understand the financial reality of the situation. On the one hand, I don’t expect to get a favour from a business so why would a business expect one from me? On the other hand, if I had the opportunity to support a part of my community why wouldn’t I? It depends on your perspective and experience – is the Mayfair primarily a business entity or a part of your community? I’m not going to lie, I’m emotionally involved in the Mayfair; I’ve been going there since I was 6, I’ve had some pretty good times there and it currently employs some people I’m rather fond of. Even if I only go there a couple times a year now, it’s more than just a business transaction when I buy my ticket. It’s steeped in my own personal history. It reminds me of all the tickets I’ve bought there before. Clearly, for me, its much more than a business entity so I’ll be making some kind of donation. Of course it’s up to each of us to make our own decisions, especially when it comes to spending our own hard earned cash.

My little suggestion: Give free passes to the Mayfair valid for a whole year for $1000+ donors as a ‘thank you’. They’re technically worth over $3,650 each so it’s a good deal.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Josh

Thanx for adding to the discussion Arthur.
Your thought at the end in regards to offering up sme kind of unlimited admission / VIP card has been discussed as a fundraiser reward for folks making hefty donations to the cause.
The problem being that distributors don’t like the thought of a theatre letting in people for free, and we have certain deals in place along those guidelines.
We are working on other reward plans though, and have had a great responce from other businesses in the Ottawa community lending a handby donating stuff for us to auction and raffle off, which has of course been amazingly appreciated.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Wolfgang

It was great to see so many people turn out for The Big Lebowski last night. I had a great time having a beer watching one of my favorite movies on the big screen again and the support for the Mayfair really warmed my heart.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Josh

I concur Wolfgang.
Big Lebowski is pretty much a perfect movie in my opinion.
And to see it amongst an amazing crowd of Mayfair patrons was pretty amazing.
I received so many encouraging comments from people on the night, and people were very generous with donating extra money while I was in the box office for a bit.
Just being willing to pay an increased fundraiser ticket price is quite kind…but then giving an extra buck or five or twenty to the donation jar warmed my heart as well.

It’s still going to be a lot of work for the rest of the year to get the funding in place, but Saturday night really boosted my confidence that the Mayfair is going to soldier on.

And I’m very glad that everyone seemed excited to come back & watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom next month 🙂

Reply · December 13, 2018

Pat

If Jim thinks movies like The Wild Bunch, Deep Red, Die Hard, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, the many educational and professionaly produced documentaries, James Bond, Silent Film and Woody Allen festivals etc. are garbage, then his opinion isn’t worth the popcorn on the pop stained floors of The Mayfaire.

I will happily throw in some extra bucks the next time I come to the Mayfaire and will try to make it out to as many the “best of the decade” showings as I can.

Speaking of silent, been awhile since you guys have shown a silent film with live music. Anything being planned for the near future?

Reply · December 13, 2018

Kurt

The Lebowski showing on Saturday was great. There was a lot of talk on Saturday on ‘voting’ for the next movies in the ‘decades’ series. How do I place my vote? Is it somewhere on this handy-dandy Internet machine site? I’m sure it’s super obvious and I just can’t figure it out, so please lend a hand.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Josh

Pat –

I concur…I like that we show all those movies too.

There were some plans recently for some more live music / movie screening events.
They’re quite the undertaking as you might imagine.
I think that there will be something along that line at the Mayfair sooner or later though.

In the meantime, you can check out the Lord of the Rings event that our friends at the NAC are hosting in July.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Matt

Agreed, great time on Saturday – first White Russian I’d had since high school!

Another vote here for more live-music/movie events. I went to a showing of Buster Keaton’s “The General” accompanied by a live piano player a few years ago in Toronto, and it was great, and a big success. Appreciate that it’s not that simple to throw something like that together though!

Reply · December 13, 2018

Josh

I guess we have to figure out which special beverage needs to be served at the Indy double bill

Reply · December 13, 2018

mike

damn the man! save the mayfair!

Reply · December 13, 2018

Josh

Well, I think Mike’s statement sums things up pretty succinctly. Well played sir.

We’ll have a new blog entry on here soon for the Indy double bill I’m sure (just been so busy, barely have time to answer blog posts or write twitters or anything).

Then more people can be angry, more patrons can leap to the Mayfair’s defense, and more in depth explanations can be given as to why we’re doing a fundraiser.

Or maybe we will be able to avoid negativity and just be able to be thankful for a lovely community of movie-goers and discuss how awesome Indiana Jones is. That’d be nice too.

Reply · December 13, 2018

Robert

“I guess we have to figure out which special beverage needs to be served at the Indy double bill”

Beverages aside, you could serve dates, as a wink and a nod.

I think it is important to recognize that despite being a “business”, the Mayfair is a cultural part of the community and a heritage site. It provides a special kind of service and is rich in history, and the content and atmosphere it offers is the kind of thing that is on the endangered species list. I find nothing at all unusual about passing the hat and a bit of communal pooling of resources to make sure we get to keep on having the mayfair.

My first trip to the Mayfair was over 30 years ago, to see Ralph Bakshi’s Lord Of The Rings. It was one of the peak experiences of my childhood. It’s also where I saw the Dark Crystal a few years later, another seminal youth experience. I saw plenty of NFB animated shorts as well as my first Pixar shorts there as pre-feature attractions. It was also the most frequent place i watched Rocky Horror at. As well, I have never lost my love of seeing older films back up on the big screen–repertory cinema is undervalued in this city. Home theatres cannot come close to being in the theatre and amongst the crowd. All that to say, far more than a business, the Mayfair has been a touchstone and community space throughout my life.

I missed the dude, but I’ll be out for Inide! Are both the Saturday and Tuesday screenings fundraisers?

Reply · December 13, 2018

josh

Thanks for the kind Mayfair related words Robert.
Both screenings are indeed under the fundraiser banner.
One screening might even have a guy dressed up as the boulder from Raiders in attendance!

Reply · December 13, 2018

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