Art & Culture

Dracula & the Theatre at Ace

Bela Lugosi - Dracula at the Ace Theatre

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.

Theatre at Ace Hotel in LA

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.

Ace Hotel Theatre LASince 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.

I’ve been keeping an eye out on the events section of the LA Ace Hotel curious to see what’s put on there, and bemoaning in particular having missed ‘The music of David Lynch’ back in April.

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.

Dracula score performed by Philip Glass & the Kronos QuartetDracula score performed live by Philip Glass & the Kronos QuartetIf 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.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Fiend von Monsta
    June 29, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Wow! What an absolutely incredible theatre, and so wonderful to see it restored and not left to be forgotten. It must be such a treat to see Dracula with the live score in such a magical venue!

    • Reply
      Jamie
      July 3, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Absolutely! Apparently this did the rounds in London as well at the Hackney Empire, which is also a pretty stunning theatre. Somehow the gothic decadence of the Theatre at Ace though seems more fitting for Dracula. Very glad to see it’ll be around for some time to come now after the restoration 🙂

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