Amid the bustle of Hollywood Boulevard stand two monuments to the silver screen. One, the TCL Chinese Theatre, oozes with history— imported Chinese stone lions, a 90-foot-tall copper roof, and concrete blocks that bear the handprints of Hollywood luminaries from years gone by each memorialize the celebrated role the building has played in Hollywood for more than eight decades.
Next door, Chinese 6 Theatres is a tribute to the cutting-edge. Six theaters, some with 3D capability, immerse viewers in ultra-realistic picture and sound better than sitting inside Steven Spielberg's android brain. Beyond the plush theater seating, a bar slings cocktails for in-movie sipping and a restaurant serves a full menu for cravings after the show. The service schedule varies for the bar and the restaurant but both will be open during Summer 2013. Whether they opt for the historic cinema or the ultramodern theater, visitors can catch a full slate of acclaimed new releases on their chosen big screen.
The storied history of TCL Chinese Theatre rivals those of the more than 200 celebrities whose handprints, footprints, and autographs are cemented into the theater's forecourt. Erected in 1927 and declared a historical and cultural landmark in 1968, the iconic theater stages movie screenings, premieres, events, and red-carpet ceremonies. Today, moviegoers walking through the theater's main courtyard can revel in the same opulence of those 1920s screen idols, craning their necks upward to take in the looming pagoda that frames the entrance. Inside, the theater's original 1927 screen towers high above the plush red-velvet seats, surrounded by wooden panels that rise to a ceiling with flowing Chinese-style drawings. This classic Hollywood setting is one of the reasons why the theater, in an echo of its origins, hosts celebrity-studded premieres, such as the 2012 opening for Life of Pi and the 2013 opening for Beautiful Creatures.
Moving picture began by depicting a horse running at full gallop, and has now evolved into visually stimulating films like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Planet of the Apes, which can all be seen at The Hollywood Museum. Visitors meander through a 35,000-square-foot, four-floor maze of more than 10,000 authentic movie props, costumes, and memorabilia. Previously a Prohibition-era speakeasy, the subterranean floor beckons patrons down Hannibal Lecter's The Silence of the Lambs jail corridor into the full cell used in the film, storing spine-tingling treasures such as his muzzling mask. First-floor doors open into Max Factor's restored makeup rooms, which border Cary Grant's Rolls-Royce and The Wizard of Oz's ruby slippers, which tempt visitors to slip them on and teleport to Kansas. Costumes, props, awards, and photos crowd the upper two floors, where Sylvester Stallone's Razzie for Worst Actor of the Century finds a home next to threads that once hugged Marilyn Monroe's legendary curves. In the past, rotating exhibits have showcased such items as a script and autographed poster from Slumdog Millionaire, duds modeled by the quick-stepping cast of High School Musical 3, and rows of awards for TV shows and particularly supercalifragilisticexpialidocious spelling-bee performances.
John Wells Golf Center's lighted driving range offers 60 spacious, canopy-covered hitting stalls that look out onto a range that stretches 260 yards into the distance. Yardage markers populate the field, letting players gauge the distance of each shot, and synthetic mats provide a smooth hitting surface so guests can leave their Persian rugs at home. The center offers lessons and clinics taught by a staff of five instructors anchored by Don Shauger, who trained two-time National Long Driving Champion John Marshall with methods he learned from Mike Austin, the golf renegade famous for hitting the game's longest drive ever—a 515-yard missile—at the age of 64. On select dates, the center offers free golf clinics for junior and adult beginners who purchase a bucket of range balls. Those looking to upgrade their golf gear or replace a wedge caught fraternizing with enemy irons can check into the discount pro shop, which offers name-brand apparel and equipment at as high as 50% off retail price.
At twin cinemas in Hollywood and Santa Monica, American Cinematheque preserves the thrill of classic films and introduces the newest works by modern auteurs. A relic of the glamorous past, the Egyptian Theatre was built in 1922 and inspired by the search for the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. From its first showing of Robin Hood until today, it has operated as a movie house, and now sends 60-foot-wide images and crystalline sound flashing through the ornate mirage of its interior.
Today, the screens' ever-unpredictable and constantly changing lineup can include anything from the lightweight whimsy of Citizen Kane to the modern masterpiece Spaceballs, and frequent festivals focus on themes from world cinema to film noir.
At both cinemas, modern works are often further illuminated by their creators, with events and post-show discussions featuring the directors and actors.
Notably nimble hands earned Madame Tussaud the title of Versailles’ art tutor in the 1770s, beginning an illustrious sculpting career that brought her from Paris to London and won widespread acclaim. Though her first displays brought news stories and faraway leaders to waxy life, Madame Tussauds Hollwood’s exhibitions expanded to include the motley of political leaders, ficticious characters, celebrities, and shrugging pedestrians that the Hollywood location houses today. Each sculpture represents more than 800 hours of facial measuring, molding, and painting, which create uncanny likenesses of Samuel L. Jackson, Beyoncé, James Dean, Alfred Hitchcock, and Audrey Hepburn. As visitors stroll through the museum, they can pose with their favorite statue, snapping pictures alongside it or testing its rock, paper, scissors prowess.
The Jade Apple’s extensive lineup of instructors leads a schedule brimming with rejuvenating yoga and dance styles for all levels and interests. Classes include introspective restoration sessions, which buoy soothing postures with pillows, blankets, and a studio pumped full of helium, affording students time to reflect on the day. On early mornings, Rise to Shine jolts drowsy ligaments awake with classic Hatha asanas and periodic traffic updates, while hips twist in energetic belly dance classes. The studio also hosts events to promote participation in the ancient art such as a family workshop. There is also a boutique that accessorizes students' ever-expanding range of postures with goods ranging from yoga mats ($30) to Jade Apple T-shirts ($22).