When I first discovered the old United Artists building in Los Angeles had been converted into a hotel by the Ace Hotel group, I was intrigued to see what they had done to it.
For those not in the know, United Artists was a production company established by silent film industry legends Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and DW Griffith.
Calling South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles home, the UA building was completed in 1927. Its magnificant Spanish-Gothic look styled after the famous Segovia Cathedral in Segovia, Spain.
Exposed concrete rooms and the hipsterific vibe of the actual hotel aside, what floored me was the beautiful and painstaking restoration of the United Artists Theatre itself.
The grand entrance, intricate detail and awe-inspiring craftsmanship illustrate Pickford’s prescient instinct to house cinema in devotional dress. The ornately decorated open balcony and mezzanine overlook the expansive theater, orchestra and proscenium arch, while thousands of tiny mirrors glimmer in the vaulted ceilings. Richly colored murals depict the legends of film’s Golden Age, immortalized in mythic attire. the overall effect is a warm, lushly appointed feast for the eyes, rife with history and creative spirit.
Too often the curse of time takes with it many an incredible old cinema. It saddens me immensely when I read about these beautiful cinematic palaces falling into disrepair, or worse yet – torn down altogether.
So to see the United Artists Theatre returned to its old glory, and utilized for its original intention – as a cinema, makes my heart soar.
Since re-opening last year, the re-named Theatre at Ace has played host to a variety of interesting events ranging from film, to concerts, and performance.
But the event in October at the Theatre at Ace not to be missed if you find yourself in Los Angeles then is LA Opera’s presentation of Bela Lugosi’s Dracula on the big screen accompanied by a live performance of the film’s score by Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet!
Yuup, I’m officially kirk-ing out.
If you have any interest in historic cinemas, Dracula, or the music of Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet these screenings are sure to be incredible. General ticket sales start Sunday, June 28th for performances on Thursday October 29, 2015 8:00 PM, Friday October 30, 2015 8:00 PM and Saturday October 31, 2015 4:00 PM.