In the 74 years between the Paramount Theatre's opening night, when people used to line up to see “talkies” for 50 cents, and 2002, when it was voted Best Mainstage Theatre in a Seattle Weekly Reader's Poll, the palatial venue faded and decayed alongside its Roaring Twenties brethren throughout America. Luckily, former Microsoft Vice President Ida Cole saved it from the rubble heap in the mid-‘90s when she established the Seattle Landmark Association and vowed to render the Paramount "kissable" once again.
Over the course of seven months, the renovation crew expanded the size of the stage wings to accommodate more ambitious live productions. They also cleared decades of grime from the french baroque plaster reliefs, uncovering long-forgotten designs and causing only one long-dormant horror to snap open its eyes dramatically. They also replaced the gold leaf in the floral designs of the wall medallions, repainted all the surfaces in their original 16 colors, and scrubbed each of the 1.6 million crystal beads in the chandelier by hand with a toothbrush. The original Knabe Ampico player piano was returned to its spot on the four-tiered lobby's lush carpeting, and a 21st-century sound system now shares sonic space with the thundering, luminous sonority of the Paramount's fully restored Mighty Wurlitzer organ. Though the Paramount's calendar runs the gamut from rock concerts to standup comedy to Broadway musicals on the scale of Wicked, its decadent Beaux Arts trappings transport audiences to the days when reality was still black and white.
Trapeze School New York’s expansion west meant Angelenos no longer had to cross the country to join the circus. At their outdoor studio on the Santa Monica Pier, highly trained instructors teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced maneuvers during classes on the flying trapeze, aerial silks, lyra, trampoline, and Spanish web. All of Trapeze School New York’s countrywide facilities in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Chicago, and LA hold themselves to high safety standards that account for everything from equipment to instructors and safety belts. In an effort to bring their flying-trapeze instruction to surrounding communities regardless of funding, the school also gives lessons through their nonprofit branch of operations.
At Kinetic Arts Center, students run away to the circus because it's a more fun way to stay fit than running around a track. There they learn circus arts such as modern dance steps, adventurous trapeze routines, and physics-bending parkour moves. And not only do classes keep students, who range from toddlers to adults, in good shape, but they also prepare them for performing in front of a crowd. Pupils can also study juggling and clowning. They're taught by a roster of teachers whose long r?sum?s include backgrounds in dance, theater, and the circus arts.
Experienced comedians on Comedy Off Broadway Oakland’s black-swathed stage extract laughs with jokes honed during appearances on HBO, BET and Comedy Central. Veteran yucksters Joe Gleckler and Samson Koletkar host 90-minute shows three nights a week and recruit all-female and all-Southern lineups for Thursday theme shows. Chortling viewers can dig into plates of Cajun and Southern fare from the kitchen of Miss Pearl’s Jam House, which hosts the proceedings in a private dining area, or covertly film spit takes with wine and beer from a full bar.
Grammy winner and R & B singer Rihanna unleashes her formidable pipes and celebrated songbook as she continues on her LOUD tour. Vibrant costumes and first-rate production harmoniously augment the singer's chart-topping oeuvre, which includes hits such as "Umbrella," "S & M," "Only Girl (In the World)," "SOS," and "What's My Name?" From the Oracle Arena's 100-level seats, concertgoers can marvel at the elaborate set pieces gilding the stage as their eardrums feast like hungry dachshunds in an unmanned pizza parlor. Opener J. Cole adds his own vocal talents to the evening's aural enticements, creating a two-pronged attack on musical monotony.