On Halloween 1940, hundreds of couples clad in suits and cocktail gowns flooded into a brand-new concert hall. Bas-relief pillars and crushed-velvet curtains flanked a bandstand that today would seem comically small, its curves echoed in a series of sweeping, backlit circles rippling across the ceiling and ending in a wrap-around balcony where guests could look down on the sea of elegantly coiffed heads. But most importantly, there was lots and lots of room to dance.
That’s remained true in the many decades since the Hollywood Palladium’s grand opening. Over the years, the venue has hosted everyone from Black Flag and The Ramones to The Offspring and Jay-Z, and though a flashy modern light and video system now fills the stage, it still looks out on a massive dance floor lit by anachronistic chandeliers. Of course, guests might well guess at this blend of modern spectacle and old-school panache just from the venue’s façade, whose enormous neon letters, powered by the motor of a 1955 Cadillac, tower above the marquee’s list of the big names on deck that week.
As Karie Bible strides across Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the hem of her mourning gown absorbs dew from the gravesites of Douglas Fairbanks and Jayne Mansfield. She tours the cemetery for a living, leading groups to crypts and monuments that mark the remains of deceased celebrities. Whether recounting the legacy of actress Marion Davies or kneeling at the spike of grass that marks Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer's final resting place, she immerses tour-goers in Hollywood history. Each tour lasts about two hours and sheds light on cherished stars, as well as lesser-known entertainers and community members.
Founded on the principle that movies work best as social experiences, The Cinefamily devotes itself to finding and sharing weird and wonderful films during limited-run screenings and one-off special events. Currently averaging 14 shows per week, the movie house enhances many screenings with celebrity appearances, live music performances, and social activities such as potlucks and snipe hunts. From the theater’s cushy seats and leather couches, guests can take in pristine views of horror films, cult classics, and even TV favorites. Past events have included a month-long film retrospective of Dennis Hopper’s illustrious acting career, a Czech film festival featuring a screening of the surrealist and ultimately banned Daisies, and a celebration of director John Cassavetes featuring appearances by his frequent collaborators Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara.
Throughout the 1970s, KC & the Sunshine Band soundtracked countless nights of disco balls spinning and bellbottoms flapping with hits such as "That's The Way (I Like It)" and "I'm Your Boogie Man." Each cut teems with upstroke guitar intermingling with celebratory bursts from the horn section and the full-bodied tenor of frontman Harry Wayne "K.C." Casey. Whether he's telling the audience to get down on that very night or shake their collective booty, K.C. gleefully belts partying orders like a drill sergeant at a singles mixer as he claps and patrols the Greek's outdoor stage. The pine trees of Griffith Park tower over his funk collective while they blast their hook-laden cuts and infectious optimism into the night.
Popular globetrotting pop collective Architecture in Helsinki transforms L.A.’s historic El Rey Theatre into a throbbing, futuristic discotheque as its latest tour storms American shores. Formed in Melbourne, the ambidextrous dance band stirs fans with a tornado of flamboyant sounds, infectious anthems, and commitment-free instrument swapping. With hits such as “Do the Whirlwind” and latest single “Contact High,” lead crooner Cameron Bird and his cakewalking team of tunesmiths tickle ear bones and rehabilitate ankles in support of its latest album, Moment Bends. During the kaleidoscopic performance, the band seduces grateful dance floors with smile-baiting 10-foot hooks and sounds culled from hypnotic synths, romantic glockenspiels, and strummed chest hairs. Filling out the bill, girl-group garage rockers The Sandwitches enchant with sardonically lovelorn themes and harmonies, and pop enthusiasts Dom charm with stargazing Casios and hockey anthems about their cats.
Headliner Rick Ross, a Def Jam recording artist and skilled rapper, began his formidable career as a key player in Miami's underground rap scene before his hit single Hustlin' transformed him into a buzzworthy hip-hop heavyweight. Just before Ross takes the stage, Busta Rhymes primes the audience's beat receptors with an inventive style showcased both on his own records and in cameos with Janet Jackson and A Tribe Called Quest, impressing audiences with his complex flow and a dramatic revealing of his birth name, Buster Grimes. Up-and-coming R & B artist Eric Bellinger along with rappers Jayo Felony and YG will kick off the evening with smooth crooning, dance-demanding beats, and dramatic readings of the day's news.