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.
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.
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Indie electropop duo Uh Huh Her lights up the stage with hypnotic, pulsating beats on a night that celebrates the release of its new album, Nocturnes, and draws attention to October’s National Breast Cancer Prevention Month. The pair’s dance-friendly vibe and swoon-friendly looks belie the sophistication of the melodies featured on their debut LP, a collaboration that draws from their former jobs as piano movers and diverse musical backgrounds. While ivory-tickler Camila Grey channels her classical training into soft and seductive synth phrases, Leisha Hailey keeps the rhythm with aggressive bass licks honed during her time in ‘90s indie duo The Murmurs. Supporting songsmith Jarrod Gorbel kicks off the night with a set of earnest tunes that will have punks pogo-ing in slow, poetic cadences while he recites lyrics of quiet lament tattooed across his arms.
House of Blues Sunset Strip has hosted performances by legendary artists, among them Tupac Shakur and Prince. But the confines of the famed venue are just as remarkable, decorated with artwork by Alan Sainte James Boudrot and weathered tin. That tin was taken from a gin mill in the Delta—mere feet from the spot where Robert Johnson is said to have traded his soul to the devil for otherworldly guitar-playing skills and a pick signed “Beelzebub.” And in keeping with House of Blues tradition, the Sunset Strip location keeps a box of Mississippi mud beneath its stage and showcases the “Crazy Quilt” on its wall.