Preservation matters

The Los Angeles Theatre , built in 1931, is one of 12 structures on Broadway in Downtown LA that make up the largest concentration of historic theatres and movie palaces on one street in the nation. Most of them date back to the 1920's and 1930's and as in the case of the Los Angeles, they feature classic French baroque details , crystal chandeliers, and the expected opulence of the era.

The Los Angeles Conservancy's annual Last Remaining Seats is a film series that opens the doors of these historic landmarks to the public for special screenings of beloved classics. I've been meaning to participate for years so I was excited to snag opening night tickets for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. It was a sell-out at 2,000 seats and the film was more entertaining than I could have ever imagined. Since it was a musical, it made me nostalgic for the middle school productions of years past...the costumes, the silliness, the sets...aahhhh.

The film was introduced by Matthew Weiner, creator and executive director of Mad Men, my absolute favorite show. He talked about growing up in LA and having an appreciation for the culture-rich history here as he got older, and his sadness over the demolition of buildings where he originally shot Mad Men. To summarize his speech he said "Stop tearing shit down!". They should sell t-shirts with that at the concession stands; I'd buy one.

I live a block off Broadway and I specifically chose this location because I love the architecture and the area has potential to be fabulous again. Although I love it now, for the last few decades cheap clothing and discount electronic stores have filled the storefronts, and some actual theatre spaces, leaving the street to only be utilized in the day with few nightlife options (thank you Broadway Bar!).

Bringing Back Broadway is an initiative that aims to change that. They are working to create a district with vibrant restaurants, shops, cafes, a trolley, and most important, to bring the theatres back. They are working closely with The Los Angeles Conservancy and I'm so thankful that they both exist and do what they do.

It was amazing to walk into the theatre and feel my jaw drop (and see others' do the same). These places are special and I left that night even more enthusiastic about their preservation and revitalization. I only have one request: please please please do not let supergraphics and LA Live/Times Square-type digital screens obscure the architectural beauty of the Broadway corridor.