Monday, June 21, 2010

"Last Remaining Seats" Highlights the Beautiful Los Angeles Theatre

One of my favorite L.A. events of the year -- the Los Angeles Conservancy's "Last Remaining Seats" screenings -- came to the beautiful (but still in need of a rehab) Los Angeles Theatre last Wednesday.

"Last Remaining Seats" was a tradition for Maria and me -- well, until the kids came. It's been a few years since we last visited L.A.'s historic Broadway theatres for the event (although we've been to the restored Orpheum many times for other shows). This year, however, we decided to make the effort.

We've been to the Los Angeles Theatre for past "Last Remaining Seats" events, but it's always a treat to return. The last of Broadway's movie palaces, Los Angeles Theatre stopped regularly showing movies in the early 1990s -- but remains a popular film and TV shoot location. (We love spotting the Los Angeles Theatre on screen, where it frequently makes a cameo.) A primer:

The Los Angeles Theatre was designed by architect S. Charles Lee in the Baroque style. Lee filled the theatre with glamour, glitz, technical innovations and sumptuous audience conveniences. With a construction cost of over $1.5 million, the Los Angeles was the most expensive theatre built up to that time on a per seat basis. On opening night in 1931, the theatre hosted the premier gala screening of Charles Chaplin's City Lights. Among celebrities of the era in attendance that evening was Mr. Albert Einstein.

The Mike Nichols classic "The Graduate" (1967) screened last Thursday. Maria and I had never seen the Dustin Hoffman/Anne Bancroft starrer, and it was a great choice (although fully dated, of course). As a bonus, our beloved Ambassador Hotel was a location in the movie, doubling as the fictional "Taft Hotel."

A few more pics from the Los Angeles:

High-tech for the 1930s: This allowed ushers to figure out where seats were still available.

"Last Remaining Seats" continues through the end of the month, with "Flor silvestre (Wild Flower)" at the Million Dollar Theatre this Wednesday, and "Peter Pan" (1924 version) at the Orpheum Theatre on June 30. Tickets are still available for both.

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