A place that’s close to home and dear to us is going to have what is probably their first interactive (costume encouraged) showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show.
What has become a Halloween-time tradition in many places, Rocky Horror will come to life at the Libbey Bowl in Ojai on October 29th. This event, put on by Ojai’s very own Ojai Film Society, is one of the most expensive and riskiest projects yet.
“What a great place to do, Rocky,” Marty Harris, the Ojai Film Society’s board president says. “Then we thought, okay, we could fill up the bowl, it could be a yearly party in a great location.”
Outside of the normal programming for the OFS, Marty, the board and Jesse Phelps, their office manager, hope to bring a new, younger, and more diverse audience into their group of consistent patrons.
Mid 2014, the main theater in Ojai’s downtown, the Ojai Playhouse., flooded. Which meant, a central showing location things for the OFS haven’t been easy. Not only does the theater face setbacks from being reopened, including legal battles with the insurance and the water company, Golden State. Yet, despite this huge obstacle, the OFS met those challenges by seeking alternative showing locations, like the Libbey Bowl.
The Ojai Film Society (a nonprofit organization) was founded in 1989, beginning with a group of folks who only wanted to share movies they loved or felt were meaningful with the rest of the community. They worked hand in hand with the local theater, one of those “only theater in town” venues that folks flocked to. However, when the water main burst because of sink hole damage, the theater’s location and downhill construction ruined the entire interior.
Libbey Bowl, however, comes with its own set or issues. “There’s no amenities at the Bowl,” says Marty, explaining that even things like a sound system have to be rented and brought in. The venue, because it’s part of the city park, has to be booked through city hall as official requests through city council. Except, even that has become laborious, the city resistant to help fiscally or procedurally.
“You think they would go out of their way to make sure the Bowl is hosting incredible events like this one,” Jesse laments. “This current incarnation of city government has been less than optimal trying to work with them, to make those things happen.”
Just this last summer, the Ojai Film Society attempted to book several bookings, but were blocked from doing so by the current mayor, Paul Blatz and the current city council members. Of the two nights they were able to get, they showed Raiders of the Lost Ark and Close Encounters of a Third Kind, both movies had large groups with families who had picnics and enjoyed the films in a large group setting. “We love movies,” says Jesse. “We have a dedicated board who are all passionate about film and bringing entertainment to the community.”
Both Jesse and Marty are not only movie fanatics, they love horror.
“Our current demographic isn’t a Rocky audience,” Marty remarks. The OFS usually show upcoming documentaries and what some may consider to be “high brow” films which sometimes means a much older audience.
The horror genre has long been pigeonholed as “uncultured” and more demeaning things, yet, horror also has an enormous and diverse fan base. The trend of zombie walks, which have raised awareness and money for all sorts of causes have broken world records. Marty and his board are branching into this taboo and often brushed aside genre. “Ojai has become a much younger place,” says Jesse. “If this is successful,” says Marty, trying to get more folks going to these events, “I would like to turn it into a horror weekend.”
Their intentions are hopeful, but also purposeful in trying to reach out to the Ojai and Ventura County communities and bring people together through horror.
You can get your tickets here, or buy them at the door. $8 for children 12 and under or with a student ID and $12 for adults. The fun starts at 5:30 PM and showing begins at 7. Costumes are highly encouraged with prizes to be given away.
Don’t forget to bring your toast!
Libbey Bowl: 210 S Signal St, Ojai, CA 93023
Or check out their main site for more information.