Saban Theatre has been entertaining audiences since 1930, when it was one of old Hollywood's premiere film palaces. The art deco theatre, then named the Fox Wilshire, attracted its fair share of cinema legends. In 1953, the stars of Hollywood turned out for the premiere of Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall's film, ¬How to Marry a Millionaire. Walt Disney arrived at the theater later that year to exhibit the fist widescreen Donald Duck cartoon, which required subtitles for non-avian audience members.
In 1981, the theater's owners chose to shift from film to live performance. They renovated the building, converted the auditorium into a stage venue, and changed the name to Saban Theatre. Since then, the venue has hosted performances from the likes of Richard Pryor, Billy Crystal, and Sting. Even with its modern headliners, the theater still echoes Tinsel Town's Golden Age with its ornate plasterwork and grand sculptures.
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.
Home to two stages and an art gallery, the Edgemar Center for the Arts more than meets the needs of the local visual and performing arts communities. The center places an emphasis on collaboration, uniting creative minds of all ages and persuasions both in the classroom and on stage. Hosting musical performances, question-and-answer sessions with Hollywood actors, and theatrical productions old and just sprouted, the space has attracted the likes of Don Cheadle, Christian Slater, Malcolm McDowell, and Jason Alexander.
Largely known for their frequent live music, Harvelle's low-lit interior is an intimate setting for enjoying drinks, gourmet food, and live entertainment, six days a week. Huddled over candle-lit tables, couples can enjoy craft cocktails from the bar or edibles from the kitchen such as the brandy pulled-pork and brie sandwich with caramelized onions or the roasted tomato and garlic flatbread.
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.
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.