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.
Petroleum mogul Dr. Armand Hammer clung to life just long enough to see The Hammer Museum make its debut in 1990, passing away three weeks later. Without the founder’s support, construction screeched to a halt and spaces sat in varying states of completion. But not for long. The powers that be at UCLA saw Hammer’s vision, and took control of the abandoned museum in 1994. They restored it to its former glory by importing the university’s own collections and staff. Today, The Hammer’s unique compendium of works still hints at the unlikely collaboration that bore the museum all those years ago. Its stockpile of masterpieces explores the modern-day in a contemporary collection of mostly drawings and photographs. Richard Hawkins’ disembodied zombie george green might best embody current artistic trends; his expressionless eyes stare from a yellow backdrop, the handiwork of an undead inkjet printer. Meanwhile, the Armand Hammer Collection, left behind by the museum’s namesake, balances george and other outlandish works with 19th-century art by Degas, Cézanne, and van Gogh. It’s virtually impossible to predict whether rotating exhibits will land in classic or contemporary camps. They range from performance art installations—Floor of the Forest depicts two dancers moving through hanging jumbles of used clothing and ropes—to sculptures, paintings, and drawings. To cultivate better artistic understanding, the Hammer Museum hosts events including lunchtime art talks, tours, and screenings.
More than 200 games cover the 5000 sq. ft. Family Arcade. Here are just a few:
The classic arcade is open every day of the week from 8:30 a.m.?1:30 a.m. and open late on the weekends until 2:30a.m.
Family Arcade also rents a wide variety of entertainment equipment?including jukeboxes?to restaurants, movie studios, and other businesses. Over the years, the Pecks have supplied pinball machines and other games to be used as props in a number of films and TV shows.
The Peck Family, Circa the 1970s
Family Arcade lives up to the first word in its name. In 1971, Harry and David Peck founded the company, an arcade and supplier of coin-operated amusement equipment. Over the decades, they've amassed countless pinball machines, arcade games, pool tables, and much more.
The Peck Family, 40 Years Later
Harry and David are still at it more than 40 years later, now with the help of sons Robert and Stephen.
A giant forest stretches across most of California?but its impossible to hike there. Submerged just off of the state's rocky coast, large kelp forests make a home to diverse animal and plant life. Moray eels, leopard sharks, and giant sea bass all swim beneath the water, while sea otters splash at the surface. That's just one of the habitats on display inside the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
The 21,000-square-foot aquarium showcases Southern California's rich marine life, making it the largest aquarium of its kind in the world. The Susanne Lawrenz-Miller Exhibit Hall charts a journey through different regions, from the open ocean, to the mudflats, to the sandy shores. Other areas present a more immersive experience. The tide pool lets visitors touch a starfish, while the exploration center lets them crawl into a tunnel, where they find themselves surrounded by octopuses, sting rays, and other creatures that have signed contracts to make public appearances.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium wants to keep all of these creatures around for the long term. Case and point: the aquarium houses a research library and an aquatic nursery, where the team raises young sea animals and trains young scientists.
The El Capitan Theatre dates back to Hollywood's earliest years, when the hilltop sign was still written in cursive. Debuting in 1926 as “Hollywood's First Home of Spoken Drama,” the 1,000-seat theater lavishes audiences' senses in architectural majesty with intricately carved columns flanking a vividly colorful, East Indian–inspired curtain. The cherry on this stately proscenium's cake is an antique “Mighty Wurlitzer” organ, built in the 1920s and equipped with four keyboards and 37 ranks of pipes. But even as the grandeur pays tribute to the Golden Years, the theater has remained abreast of the latest technology, boasting digital-3D capabilities, a state-of-the-art Dolby sound system, and a fully animatronic box-office staff. The auditorium's renovation to its original splendor was made possible through its 1989 purchase by the Walt Disney Company. With the help of modern architects, designers, and conservators, along with the National Park Service, the theater found a new lease on its already star-studded life. Today, the ornate stage and screen enjoy exclusive access to Disney's newest films, and regularly host live shows featuring such Disney stars as Cinderella and Tinker Bell.
In the late 1980s, the Simon Wiesenthal Center gathered top museum leaders and representatives to discuss new ways of teaching tolerance to a younger generation. Since 1993, the Museum of Tolerance has encouraged visitors to contemplate the effects of intolerance with interactive exhibits on the Holocaust as well as present-day discrimination. The guided, 70-minute sound-and-light presentation at the Holocaust exhibit recreates Nazi-occupied Europe, and the Finding Our Families, Finding Ourselves exhibit showcases diversity through the personal histories of several American celebrities, including Billy Crystal and Carlos Santana. Some of the museum's features also examine more recent issues, such as the Tolerancenter, which highlights the struggles of the civil-rights movement and enlightens museum goers on contemporary human-rights violations. The museum also hosts special exhibitions, live testimonies from Holocaust survivors, and youth programs, such as anti-bullying workshops.