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FLICKS FILM AND VIDEO NOTES : Hold the Onions : Ojai Playhouse popcorn is bland, but smells from a restaurant next door spice up the place.


Number nine in the series of Ventura County theater reviews took me to the Ojai Playhouse in, of course, Ojai, on, what else, Ojai Avenue. The address--145 E. Ojai Ave., to be exact, right across from the arcade.

The privately owned theater offers a first-run film each weeknight and a matinee Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The place is also home to the Ojai Film Society.

Food: As with the Fillmore Theater, no hot dogs on the menu, but there was popcorn and plenty of candy. I ordered popcorn, and again, as was previously suggested, minus the butter. The stuff was bland, but on the up side, it was so bland that it must have been healthy.

Restroom: It is very white and very clean. The sink is made of an attractive gray tile. This is the only place I've seen, though, where the liquid soap dispenser is in the middle of the mirror. The best feature of the restroom, if you're into this type of thing, is that you get the smells coming in from MKs restaurant next door. The night that I went, there was a mild scent of onion.

Theater: It's attractive, has 223 seats, and has the long and narrow shape of an airplane. Most of the 20 or so people in the audience on this particular night clustered in the middle of the room for optimum viewing. The red seats are very comfortable, but deceptively soft and mobile. Sit down with caution.

Sound quality: It was a little too loud at first and took some getting used to. It also rendered some of the dialogue inaudible. There are 17 speakers in the theater for a Dolby stereo effect. Soundman Michael Kohut--a five-time Academy Award nominee--contributed to the cause by donating three large speakers.

Film quality: It seemed a bit out of focus, but then again, so are my eyes.

Pre-movie entertainment: Symphony music.

Pre-movie ads: Zero.

Previews: Two.

Biggest annoyance: When you go to a one-movie theater you don't expect to be bothered by noises coming from the other side of the wall. In this case, however, the walls are so thin that the live music at MKs makes its way through. I prefer the onion smell.

On Dec. 7 the Ventura County chapter of the Brandeis University National Women's Committee will show the late-1980s Holocaust documentary "Weapons of the Spirit."

It's the story of the French mountain village of Le Chambon and the citizens there who sheltered an estimated 5,000 Jews from the Nazis during World War II. Jewish filmmaker Pierre Sauvage, now a Los Angeles resident, was born in this village, and he and his parents were themselves protected.

This collective heroism had gone largely unrecognized until recently. In October, the village finally received official recognition. In a ceremony Oct. 15, villagers were shown the documentary and presented with medals of "righteousness" by the Israeli ambassador to France.

The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. at the Security Pacific meeting room, 5800 Santa Rosa Road, Camarillo. Admission is $5. For reservations, call 484-2996.

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