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.
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.
Whoops! I seem to have missed May’s Mixtape last month. Admittedly in May I was really listening to a few specific songs ad nauseam, which though great for when I’m in the zone working on something, doesn’t translate well into a mix for others to enjoy.
So, for this months mixtape I’m channelling a ton of nostalgia – 80’s & 90’s gothic rock style nostalgia. I was born too late to be one of the London Batcave kids, but I did catch the tail end of 90’s goth, frequenting the darkwave / trad goth room at Slimelight. I remember being utterly entranced by the older kids with crimped hair, winklepicker boots, and their ability to mix beautifully lace & drapey crushed velvets.
I always try to continue to expand my musical interests and not limit myself to one specific genre, but there’s something rather fun and comforting coming back to this music, “like a healing hand“.
Youth subcultures fascinate me, none more so than those that have emerged from the streets of London.
One of the most prolific photographers to capture London’s punks Derek Ridgers, has a beautiful book documenting his years spent in iconic London clubs such as Taboo, the Electric Ballroom and the Batcave among others.
You’ll have seen his photography before, with a career spanning over 30 years, Ridgers has photographed a vast array of individuals from film, fashion, music and more. I was first drawn to his work actually via photographs he shot at the Vortex Club in Soho of Siouxsie Sioux and early Adam and the Ants in 1977.
His book 78-87 London Youth published this year is a fantastic collection of striking portraits taken over a ten-year span which captures “punk’s evolution into goth, the skinhead revival and the New Romantic scene, and the eventual emergence of Acid House and the new psychedelia.”
These striking images were the result of Ridgers seeking out unique individuals in London clubs. Looking for an interesting background in a given club or space, he would stay in one spot waiting for people to walk past. Sometimes Ridgers would be there all night waiting till the very end for that perfect person who looked brilliant to come by.
78-87 London Youth is an interesting glimpse into some of the influential London scenes of the time and the ever evolving face of youth subcultures. An excellent collection of portrait photography, I highly recommend Derek Ridgers’ book.