Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thematic Photographic - Well Aged

Carmi at Written, Inc., posts a photographic challenge each week called Thematic Photographic - this week's theme is "Well-aged." What is it? It can be a structure that's seen better days, a person who's got more years behind than ahead, or anything that evokes thoughts of age and time.
Los Angeles Theatre - click to "embiggen"
 Well, today I am posting some shots of a well-aged treasure indeed.

This is the Los Angeles Theatre. Built in 1931, this is the last of Broadway's movie picture palaces to be built. Last night, June 1, 2011, the Los Angeles Conservancy's "Last Remaining Seats" film series presented Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man" in this beautiful historic theatre.

The theatre closed in 1994, but remains available for rental, location filming, and special events. Although well-preserved, it has not been restored, and its age shows with worn carpets, dusty woodwork, and peeling paint. 

Here are some highlights of this beautiful theatre.

A closer view of the painted scene on the stage's asbestos curtain.

Downstairs off the ladies' room, a paneled childrens' nursery is decorated with circus-painted themes. The room above, with the broken-legged couch, was in darkness - the shot was taken with a flash.

This is a detail from the nursery paneling. Click to "embiggen"
 The incredible French baroque lobby, with its Corinthian-topped columns, chandeliers, and a grand staircase to the balcony level.

In the upper balcony, you can see how dirt and soot over the ages has built up on the coffered ceiling.

Carvings, napped with dust.
Carvings in the ceiling near the projection booth - is it dirt, or soot?
For more information, and a discussion about the Los Angeles Theatre, visit its listing at Cinema Treasures.

The film series runs through June 29th. The Los Angeles Theatre is open again on June 15 for a showing of "King Kong." Other venues in the series include the Orpheum Theatre, the Palace Theatre, and the Million Dollar Theatre.

Los Angeles's Historic Broadway Theatre District is well-aged, indeed.


Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I wonder if it will continue to age like this, or if someone will spend the money to clean up all the dust and soot?

Asbestos curtain? I'm curious! What is the reason for using asbestos in a curtain?

Glennis said...

Karen, all theatres are required to have a "fire curtain" between the stage and the auditorium, so that if there is a fire onstage, you can seal the area off from the audience. Historically, these curtains were made of asbestos fiber fabric, weighed down with a steel frame.

In some municipalities, local ordinances require theatre operators to have the fire curtain drawn in when the audience arrives, to assure audiences that such a curtain is in place. Because of this requirement, many historic movie palaces had their curtains painted with decorative scenes. Other theatres - to further the sense of safety - simply had the word "Asbestos" painted on the curtain in decorative letters.

Theatres still have fire curtains, which are designed to fall quickly in the event of fire - they are often tied into the sprinkler or smoke detections systems to deploy automatically, although you can also manually deploy them.

Gilly said...

Gorgeous old theatre! I love all the gold, and curly bits etc.!