Michael Spratt (@mspratt) is the only criminal defence lawyer I've ever met with a Rebel Alliance tattoo on his arm. I had a drink with him while visiting Ottawa on business earlier this week. We talked Star Wars, A Long Time Ago, fatherhood, comic books and more. It was a blast.
One of the things Michael told me about was the Mayfair Theatre. I've never been, and now I really want to go. Here's what the web site says about the place:
Built in 1932 in the depths of the Great Depression, the Mayfair Theatre is one of Ottawa’s last two neighborhood cinemas, and one of the oldest surviving independent movie houses in all of Canada. It has the distinction of never having been owned by, or affiliated with, any of the major cinema chains.
The Mayfair is notable for the fact that it contains a number of architectural features that make it unique in Ottawa, and possibly in Canada. It is one of the few surviving examples of an “atmospheric cinema”, built with a particular theme to enhance the movie-going experience and draw the movie-goer into the world of the imagination. The same architectural features that were incorporated into its interior design in 1932 – the detailing that suggests a Spanish-style villa – have been virtually untouched over these past seventy-six years.
As if that weren't enough, Michael explained that the Mayfair is owned by locals and run in a community-minded way. (Tickets are $10 for non-members, $6 for members. That tells you something.)
Last year, the Mayfair held a fundraiser to buy a digital projector. For a $150 donation, you could buy a plaque inscribed with a name and affixed to one of the theatre's seats. Most donors put their own names or those of local businesses. Michael decided on this instead:
After taking his six-year-old daughter to the Mayfair to see Field of Dreams the other day (and try out his new seat for the first time), Michael's little girl pointed out that he had better buy a plaque for the seat next to this one for Han Solo, because they're always together.