Last Remaining Seats at the Los Angeles Theater

Gordon and I attended the LA Conservancy showing of Some Like It Hot at the Los Angeles Theater last night. The Los Angeles Theater is the queen of the downtown movie palaces, in my opinion, and we knew the show would be sold out. We left early to stand in line in order to get a good seat. Then we took turns wandering around and admiring the theater. I took some pictures that didn’t turn out so badly to give people an idea of the grandeur of yesteryear. The theater was made in an era when movie going was an experience. The chandeliers are from the lobby. The grand room with the wood paneling and the band was the downstairs reception area. The room with all the mirrors is the Ladies’ Room. I didn’t get a picture of the stalls, they were in use, but each stall has a different color of marble. The room with the circus tent effect and murals was the cry room. It’s an extraordinary theater, a far cry from a cineplex. Movies aren’t shown there except for special occasions; it pays for itself by being a favorite location for the movie industry. We always sign up for the film at the LA Theater during the Last Remaining Seats fund-raiser which just celebrated its 30th anniversary. Hard to believe we’ve been going to this program for thirty years. Don’t feel that old.

I’d never seen Some Like It Hot on a big screen or without commercials. I really liked it. The whole audience liked it. I missed a lot of the dialogue because of the laughter. SO much better without commercials.

After the show we skipped the Q&A about the theater and went down the street to Clifton’s for a trivia game. Clifton’s has been under reconstruction for the last three years and I was anxious to see what the new owner had done with it. It was amazing. Tacky facades that had been added in the 60s were stripped and the original 30s facade was restored. All the kitschy stuff (the huge tree in the center, the stuffed animals, the fireplaces) were restored but all the automat feel is gone. Trendy bars are on each floor and the place was packed with hipsters. Gordon led me around (he’s been in Clifton’s many times including the opening which was only open to the chosen) and I started going into poodle mode from the crowd. I also felt completely IMAG0074IMAG0078IMAG0077IMAG0076IMAG0075IMAG0080IMAG0079 (1)out-of-place. All the young women were dressed up in sparkles and 6-inch heels. I was dowdy but comfortable in my jeans and Reeboks. We got out of the crush and went downstairs where the trivia contest was held. I’d never been down there. It’s reminiscent of a speakeasy and Bing Crosby was crooning from the speakers. We got a table in the corner so I wouldn’t bite anybody and Gordon left to get drinks. I figured I’d go with the 30s theme and asked for a gin/tonic. The bartender asked Gordon if he wanted it ‘up’. Gordon doesn’t drink so he didn’t know what that meant but he said “Sure.” The bartender shook some gin, waved the tonic bottle near it, poured it in a tub of a martini glass, and stuck a lime in it. I think I got about 3 shots of straight gin. But it was paid for–I had to drink it. I don’t think it helped me in the trivia contest. But that’s okay; Team Up Two Late (the name I came up with while Gordon was getting drinks) came from behind to win the game! We got a $50 gift certificate from Clifton’s and a movie poster for Some Like It Hot. Then Gordon poured me in the car and we went home. One short note: I’d gotten so used to being harassed by the homeless (they took over downtown) that I was nervous about wandering around so late. We were only accosted by two beggars and nobody threatened us–a distinct change from past years. I was relieved. All in all, it was a great night. We’re going to the Ace Hotel, site of the old UA Theater next week.


About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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