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FLICKS FILM AND VIDEO FILE : Hot Ticket : Sunday's opening of the Mayfair Theatre in Ventura was a sellout for a showing of 'Madame Bovary.'


Saturday night's grand opening of Ventura's new and improved Mayfair Theatre was, according to Ventura Arts Council executive director Laura Zucker, "fab."

"It was completely and utterly sold out," she said. "We could literally have sold hundreds of more tickets."

The scene outside the 695-seat theater before the showing of "Madame Bovary" looked like opening night at a symphony. The ticket booth kiosk was in working order, the lights from the marquee were visible from blocks away and patrons were attired in dressy and even glittery evening wear.

After the movie, Zucker said, the area outside the theater had the feel of New York's Times Square. "You were in this crush of people in the middle of Ventura," she said.

What thrilled Zucker as much as anything was that about 90% of those in attendance were not members of the arts council. "This means we were able to reach a wider community with this event," she said. "There is a kind of depth out there for these events that we have only begun to tap."

Although attendance the next day didn't approach that of opening night, it was a vast improvement from the past, said Hector Reynoso, the on-site theater manager. He said Sunday's four shows attracted a total of about 100 people.

"Madame Bovary" will be shown throughout the month on Thursdays and Fridays at 6 and 8:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 1, 3:20, 5:40 and 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, at a couple of other venues, business continues as usual.

First, the Thousand Oaks Library will feature the 1989 movie "Roger and Me," directed by Michael Moore. The documentary looks at the citizens of Flint, Mich., and how they were affected by auto plant closures and layoffs in 1986. The film, Moore's first, earned Best Documentary honors from several film boards, including the Los Angeles and New York film critics associations.

The movie will begin at 7 p.m. The library is located at 1401 E. Janss Road. Admission is $2. For more information, call 495-1392.

Then on Sunday, the Ojai Playhouse, in conjunction with the Ojai Film Society, will show the Canadian film "Strangers in Good Company." The movie was directed by Academy Award-winning documentary film maker Cynthia Scott. It tells the fictional story of seven elderly women, with seemingly little in common, who are stranded at an abandoned farmhouse after their bus breaks down. In the time spent together they learn a lot about one another.

All seven actresses use their own names and incorporate their own backgrounds into the movie. They range in age from 68 to 92, and in occupation, from gardener to nun.

Show time is 4:30 p.m. The Playhouse is located at 145 E. Ojai Ave. Admission is $6.

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