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.
Over the course of the summer, Street Food Cinema rolls out more than a dozen events that showcase the greatest hits of the silver screen and the LA food-truck scene. When the gates open, guests spread blankets on the grass and pop open coolers. Live bands play until dusk, when crowd-pleasing movies such as Fight Club and The Sandlot across the big screen. Meanwhile, a rotating food-truck schedule assembles a diverse curbside lineup, which might include asian-inspired tacos from Komodo or the gooey delights of The Grilled Cheese Truck. Their events also feature movie-themed games projected on the big screen for audience participation. During showcases, artisan vendors are on hand selling fresh baguettes, fine meats, and sweets for purchase.
Street Food Cinema's eclectic assemblage of food, music, and films has picked up attention beyond the park's bounds, snagging mentions on NBC4 and in the Huffington Post's Broke Girls Guide. Other videos of the events in action can be seen here. It's also become known for its philanthropic work: each year the organization supports one designated local charity.
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.
An AT&T ad executive hangs up the phone, grabs his jacket, and heads toward the subway to Hell's Kitchen. It's the late '80s, and at the New York comedy institution The Improv, a slew of up-and-coming talent, including Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, are testing jokes and honing timing. In the next few years, they'll perform on television for millions. But for now, they're changing the life of one ad executive.
The founder of LA Stand-Ups, Joe Falzarano, quit his promising advertising career because he "hated being a suit" and preferred to nurture promising young comedians. With accomplishments that include producing the CableACE Award–winning Caroline's Comedy Hour for A&E, Falzarano helped launch the performing and writing careers of entertainers including Jon Stewart and Louis C.K. Today, Falzarano imparts his more than 20 years of industry experience to aspiring joke-tellers, teaching them tactics for perfecting a punch line, calming nerves, and subduing hecklers with a marshmallow gun. Falzarano maintains a supportive atmosphere where students learn how to use who they are to connect with an audience, and even lets students try out material at the Hollywood Improv.
A 30-year old institution situated in bustling West Hollywood, 3rd Street Dance rolls out a fleet of private and group lessons from its packed schedule that garnered the title of Best Ballroom-Dance Studio in 2009 from LA Weekly. Students study styles such as salsa, ballroom, and swing during 55-minute group and private lessons, where they put their new skills to use in one of five naturally lit studio spaces accented with sprung hardwood floors and wall-to-wall mirrors. Small class sizes ensure that fledgling twirlers receive individual attention from friendly, handpicked instructors and lessen the chances of tangoing with unresponsive walls. 3rd Street Dance's rentable spaces were the home studio of Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance for four years, and they remain a go-to spot for wedding-dance practice.
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.