Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Walking Historic Tour of Los Angeles

My coworkers told me of this really cool group called LA Conservancy that sponsor walking tours of Los Angeles with different themes.  Peyton, Cat, Sean and I all decided to do a historic theater tour.  It was a lot cooler than I thought it was going to be.  Our tour guide was knowledgable but old and very quiet so it was hard to hear everything he had to say.  We walked around downtown and looked at the exterior of many old theaters.  We also saw glimpses of LA life in the early 20th century through other buildings in the area.  We learned that there were over a dozen theaters in the down town area.  Add shopping and restaurants there could have been up to 50,000 people out and about at night.  That's hard to imagine.  I guess just think New York.

We got to go inside two different theaters. The Los Angeles Theater was gorgeous but not restored so as you looked around you saw broken decor, pealing paint or ripped carpet.  We also got to tour the Orpheum which was a fully restored theater.  It is the theater that is used in So You Think You Can Dance.  We were lucky to be there when a guy was playing on their Wulizter organ.  He said its the only operational one in LA.  If you have some extra time I would definitely recommend this tour when visiting Los Angeles.
Biltmore Hotel

The Red Cars used to operate out of the bottom of this place.

This drug store would put clothing on display in those floor to ceiling windows and people would literally come and window shop.  There was a big to do when they put bathing suits on display.

This grand stair case led to a store when men bought suits.

Art Deco

Look how the lobby of this theater has been turned into a store.

Since most theaters cant survive on just shows they would rent out stores on the bottom floor.  Also businesses could advertise on the walls.

They would also rent out apartments in the buildings to make money.

This old theater is now a club where they cemented over the lower levels of the theater.  Apparently you dance right next to the box seats.  Im sure that looks really interesting.

Can you imagine getting your ticket through this window?  Awesome!

Look at the old school buttons to print your tickets

Lobby of the Los Angeles Theater

Stair case of the Los Angeles Theater

From the Mezzanine, looking out to the lobby of the Los Angeles Theater

This fountain was at the top of the stairs and in its day it really had water flowing on the bottom.  The crystal streams on the top was to mimic the water.

The curtain was huge!

The people were all embroidered on the curtain.  Such detail!
Look at the detail.  If you look closely you can actually see the damage, remember this was not restored.

The box seats.  
This is the entrance to the Ladies Restroom

Bad picture but these were all individual mirrored vanities.  It was a circular room just filled with these vanities.

Of course you need one of these to check out your backside.

These are the actual restrooms.  It was exquisitely decorated. 

Each individual stall had its own marble designs.

Mens Restroom.  Notice the seats for the shoe shining.  
The lobby of the Orpheum

View of the box seats.
We got to sit in the box seats.  The seats were comfy but the space was actually quite small.

The left chandelier actually fell during restoration and bent the handrail below it.  If you look closely you can see the bent bar.

Very interesting story.  They painted the top portion to match the color of the marble then they cleaned the marble and realized the marble was super dirty from years of smoking and other pollutions.  Look at that nasty brown!

Lower reception area which was right next to the refreshment lounge.

A guy gave us a little show on the organ.