Thursday, July 3, 2014

Building Focus: Wiltern Theatre, Part Deux

We wrote a post on the Wiltern Theatre before, but after checking out another concert there recently and posting pictures and getting requests for more pics, we thought it was worth doing a follow-up post and giving this Art Deco gem some more love.

Take time to explore every corner of this historic building.
One caution about attending a concert at the Wiltern: You might miss part of the show because you are walking around taking pictures of everything! Try to arrive a little early so you can take in the glorious, detailed exterior (make sure you look closely at the the panels that cover the Pellissier Building, which houses the Wiltern) and lavish entrance and explore the rotunda area before the music begins. And for lots more info on this historic theatre (along with 29 other Old Hollywood-inspired spots in Southern California), check out our book From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine, available at

Waves, suns, and images from nature are all around the Wiltern!

The rotunda is a perfect place to relax before the show.

A glamorous place to find refreshment.

It's easy to get distracted by all of the Deco as you head to your seat.
Inside the auditorium, where the sound is as great as the decor.
Now THAT is a ceiling!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Las Vegas-Inspired Vintage Playlist

My latest guest post for Vintage Shopper is up, and it's a playlist to get you ready for (or bring back the memories of) Vegas, baby! VEGAS! From classic tunes from Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, to some new classics from the likes of Katy Perry, these songs will create the vibe of lots of neon, honking horns, beautiful people, the Rat Pack, and some of the world's biggest buffets. Enjoy! And let me know what songs YOU like listening to when it's time to hit Sin City.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Meet Matt Stokes, Your Art Deco Divo

We like to call Matt Stokes our brother from another mother, because we share a love of Art Deco and Old Hollywood. About a year ago, Matt started tagging us on Twitter and sharing gorgeous pictures of Deco buildings, and we thought, "Who is this wonderful man?" We could not have been more excited when he approached us recently about starting up a brother blog to what we are doing, and we are thrilled to share this Q & A with you and let you learn a little about Matt, the Deco side of Toronto, and classic furniture restoration. And when you have a moment, hop on over to and check it out!

Not only is he handsome, but he loves Art Deco!
  1.      What is your day job? What can we find you doing in "real life?"
I work for hyper local magazine/newspaper hybrid called The Grid. It’s a lifestyle publication that targets a young, upwardly mobile reader that is interested in all that Toronto has to offer. From Food and Drink, to Real Estate, Dating and Design, The Grid approaches the city from a granular, behind the scenes perspective. We also run several city-wide events like Burger Week, Toronto Cocktail Week, with this year’s new additions being the Beer and Cider Festival and the Toronto Music Run. As we are a free publication, my job as an Account Manager is to generate advertising sales to make sure we keep printing! I oversee a plethora of both Retail and National accounts and also sell sponsorship and participation for our events. A cool fact about The Grid is that we’ve actually been awarded the World’s Best Designed Newspaper 3 years in a row by the Society for News Design, based in New York. Check us out at or on Twitter @TheGridTO.
 2.      How did the Art Deco love affair begin?
It’s tough to pinpoint a moment in time where my Art Deco love affair began, but I can definitely see where and how it cultivated over time. Growing up, we had my father parent’s occupy the second floor of our family home, and as both of my parents worked full-time, I spent a lot of time with them; my grandmother in particular. She was born in April of 1912, just after the Titanic sank, spent her youth partying in 1930’s England and thus grew up with Art Deco all around her. I just loved her stories, her furniture, and her furs, ha ha. In her youth, she was a model for Du Maurier!  Her living room in our home was a time capsule where I always felt comfortable. I guess I didn’t realize it at the time, but Art Deco was a slow burning fire within, and when I started to have my own apartments, I found myself looking at pieces that resembled what my nana had. From there it spread like wild fire and here I am today, Art Deco Divo.
3.      What do you love about the Art Deco era?
Oh, what a loaded question! What’s not to love?! I love the glamour of it all. The luxurious fabrics, the exotic woods, the patterns, the chrome, the lifestyle. I love Art Deco because it reflected a time where everyone took pride in the way they looked. You never left the house without looking flawless. Art Deco literally touched every aspect design, from skyscrapers to a credenza, a restaurant to a hairbrush; it really affected every facet of life. A complete, holistic, all encompassing style that reflects old world decadence and glamour. These are all things I feel that modern society has lost. I guess I’m an old soul!
4.      You're in Hollywood North, a.k.a. Toronto. What are some can't-miss Deco places to visit when in the city?
Toronto really is an Art Deco Mecca, if you keep your eyes peeled. As Art Deco Divo grows, I’ll show the world not only the most notable and grande locales, but the little known, often dismissed buildings that pepper the city. That being said, The Carlu, Tip Top Lofts, The Bank of Nova Scotia (King & Bay Streets), and the Bank of Commerce (CIBC – Yonge & King Streets) are absolute must visits! All these (and more)  will be big featured on Art Deco Divo.
5.      Tell us about your cool Art Deco bar and this business of restoring glamour to previously-loved pieces of furniture, please.
I love that bar, and there will be a feature on it! The back story to this bar is that my fathers’ father Alec was an architect in England. Unfortunately he passed away when my dad was 5, but he too, loved Art Deco and built the bar himself using a variety of woods. It was brought over with my grandmother Amy and her new husband Nathaniel when they decided to live with us. At some point, someone painted it this god-awful maroon colour and it just sat wasting away in our basement. When I moved out, I took it with me and decided that one I would do grandpa Alec proud and restore it.
It was a much bigger undertaking that I had thought, with over 30 hours of sanding, cutting/polishing marble, and multiple coats of stain and varathane, but was it ever worth it. From there I started purchasing beat-up Art Deco and Mid Century furniture for pennies, and would restore them to their former glory. Resurrection. It was at that moment that I realized many people have what they consider junk in their basements or attics, and from there Restoring Hope was born. We accept these cast-aways as donations, restore them and re-sell them with 50% of the proceeds going to a charity of the donators choice. As we don’t have an indoor workshop, it’s a backyard, summertime venture but it is rewarding, and it scratches my itch to restore (it’s almost therapeutic!).
6.      Is there a building you would love to visit in person one day?
I’ve seen a lot of Art Deco in major cities around the globe but there is one building that I recently fell in love with, and it’s the recently restored Niagara Mohawk (Nimo) Building in Syracuse, New York. Seeing photos took my breath away – I can only imagine standing in front of it!
7.      Do you have a favorite classic film or song?
All About Eve, hands down! First of all it’s got Bette Davis and that’s a reason enough, but the writing is incredible. The plot is just amazing and I don’t think there’s another film with as many quotable one-liners. Also, all the wardrobe was designed by the legendary Edith Head. Enough said! When it comes to music from a bygone era, I have a sweet spot for the ever-tortured Billie Holiday. I used to listen to her a lot with my mother, so it takes me back to those memories.
8.      How can we follow all of your adventures? (Twitter, Instagram, Blog, etc.)
My personal adventures can be followed on Twitter: @mattdstokes, and Instagram: mattstokes
Then of course there is Twitter: @ArtDecoDivo, Instagram: @ArtDecoDivo, and the blog

And a bonus question...
9.      We'd love to hear about the fabulous cat whose pictures we see on Instagram.

He’s a little rascal, but I love him to pieces. His name is Percival, he’s 7 months old and I’ve had him since he was a mere 6 weeks new. From 0.8lbs to the 9lbs he is now, I wonder if he’s part Puma as he’s lean but really big. I’ve been really affectionate with him since a young age and as a result, he is incredibly cuddly and has turned such a handsome young man! He loves to jump all over the furniture which gives me heart palpitations as I’ve personally restored every piece in the house and don’t want anything scratched. Luckily, he’s really well behaved apart from his 4:00am- 7:00am witching hours where he feels the need to run around the place at 90MPH, like a cheetah after a gazelle. I’m sure he’ll make an appearance on the blog at some point.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Album Review: Jumaane Smith's "I Only Have Eyes For You"

Jumaane Smith
"I Only Have Eyes For You"

Let me say up front that I (Lara) am not a musician, nor do I claim to be a music expert. I don't even know a lot of the lingo! I am an eager student, though, and I can tell you that while listening to Jumaane Smith's new cd, "I Only Have Eyes For You," while driving through Coldwater Canyon in Los Angeles on a sweltering day in May, I felt my heart soar. Being a huge fan of The Great American Songbook, it's really cool to see a talented young artist embrace this music and help bring it to a new generation. 
You may know Jumaane as Michael Buble's trumpet player, but this album should definitely help launch him to a place where he is known in his own right. "I Only Have Eyes For You" actually made me really dig the trumpet; Jumaane's playing seems to capture the feel and intensity of hearing a great trumpeter live in concert. I swear, his trumpet was singing, hitting the notes that a vocalist would and really making me hear classics like the title track, "The Way You Look Tonight," and "Yesterday" (you know, that little hit by The Beatles!) with fresh ears.

Jumaane also has quite a nice voice; maybe at his shows he could sing along with a hologram of himself playing trumpet? I think it was a great move to invite the aforementioned Mr. Buble, Naturally 7, and Jackie Evancho to sing on "Come Rain or Come Shine," "I Only Have Eyes For You," and "La Vie En Rose," respectively, and it was nice to hear their familiar voices. "La Vie En Rose" is my favorite song on the album, and I definitely heard the angels sing and went to the place where roses bloom as Jumaane's trumpet and the vocals captured the exquisite longing in the Edith Piaf tune. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of "La Vie En Rose!"

Grab Jumaane Smith's new cd, and then tell all of your friends about it; it's fun to feel like you have discovered a new artist, and you will look like a musical genius when his career explodes. "I Only Have Eyes For You" is the perfect cd to put on when you need to calm down in traffic, relax after a crazy busy day, or when you are setting the mood for a special night with wine, cheese, and candles. Jumaane is definitely an artist to keep your eyes on!

You can hear Standards 24/7 on, and catch me playing them Saturdays and Sundays from 10a-2p Pacific Time.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Three Tips for Old Hollywood Starlet Style

[Here is a part of our new book, From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine: Your Guide to 30 Old Hollywood-Inspired Spots in Southern California, that didn’t make it into the final manuscript. The book guides you through what a day as an Old Hollywood Starlet, Heiress, Hipster, Hot Mama and Working Girl might look like, with six places in SoCal assigned to each iconic personality type. All of the places we recommend are open as of the writing of the book, and many of them have been around since the Art Deco era (1925-1940). We wanted to include a section on how to style yourself to get the look of each gal, but we were ending up with a book that was way too long, so we will be sharing some of the style guide stuff here on the blog. First up: The Starlet!]
“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it,” said Edith Head, famed costume designer for Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures. And Edith knew what she was talking about; she won eight Oscars, outfitted actresses like Ginger Rogers and Bette Davis for their films, and also designed many of her clients’ wardrobes for their personal lives. She believed (and showed, through her work) that the right attire could turn the girl-next-door into a ravishing beauty, and vice versa. (The Dress Doctor, Prescriptions for Style, From A To Z, Edith Head, p.7) So how can someone who does not have an army of “fitters, drapers, cutters, figure makers, beaders, dyers, and milliners” in a studio wardrobe department working practically 24/7 to help them look perfect get Starlet style? (Gowns By Adrian, Howard Gutner, p. 26) These three tips will get you off to a great start!
    1. When it comes to the fit of your clothing, a dress should be “tight enough to show you’re a woman, and loose enough to prove you’re a lady.” (The Dress Doctor, p. 49 ) The dresses and gowns in the 1930s had moved away from the low waistlines and boxy shapes of the twenties to embrace a woman’s curves, with the waistline hitting in the proper place and fabric skimming over hips and breasts. You want to go for snug, not sleazy, to transform into a Starlet. And when we think bombshell Starlet, a form-fitting, drapey, floor-length gown is usually what comes to mind. And remember, if you find a vintage gown that’s a steal due to a small imperfection, it can sometimes be repaired by a skillful tailor while she’s making sure your dress fits you perfectly and is the proper length for the shoes you will wear with it. 
2.     Pay attention to your posture. To rule the red carpet (or your company holiday party) and show off your carefully chosen dress, you need your shoulders back, your spine straight, and your hips slightly tucked. You could even visualize a glam Art Deco skyscraper, like the Chrysler Building, standing tall to get yourself into the proper frame of mind. Better yet, check out a Pilates class to strengthen your core and help your posture, or try this exercise at home: Back up to a wall, and now make sure the back of your head, shoulders, small of your back, hips, and heels are all touching the wall. When it feels like your gut is going to explode from sucking it in, you’ve got proper alignment.

3.     Be realistic about your resources. Starlets at the top of their game never wear the same thing twice, but they’ve got huge budgets and freebies arriving constantly from designers, so they can go for some big statement pieces because they have bottomless closets. If you’re an up-and-coming or wannabe Starlet, you might be tempted to splurge on something elaborate and feathered or sequined or with 17 colors so you’ll stand out, but before you slap down your credit card take a cue from MGM costume designer Gilbert Adrian (who just went by Adrian and dressed gorgeous gals like Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford) and keep it simple; invest in a black sheath dress and change out your accessories to keep things looking fresh while you wear the dress over and over. (Gowns By Adrian, Howard Gutner, p. 22)
 Purchase From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine: Your Guide to 30 Old Hollywood-Inspired Spots in Southern California, by Lara Scott and Cori Linder, at

Monday, April 21, 2014

Stay in Old Hollywood Style in Southern California

My (Lara) latest guest post at Vintage Shopper is up! You'll find out about the Culver Hotel in Culver City, Millennium Biltmore Hotel (pictured) in Downtown Los Angeles, and Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Which one was rumored to have a secret tunnel to the MGM lot? Which one had silent film superstars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks for investors? And which one hosted the Oscars in the thirties and forties? Click here to find out!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

How to Steal Hearts Like THE THIEF OF BAGDAD

The Thief of Bagdad (1924) is a fantastical romantic adventure that Douglas Fairbanks said was his favorite movie that he ever made. Douglas plays the title character, and watching him on the big screen recently at Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo it was easy to see why he had Mary Pickford and every woman in America swooning over him. Even though the film is 90 (!!!) years old, there are some timeless lessons in it for men who would like to dazzle like Douggy F.

1. Show off your assets. Work out, wax your chest, tan, and then never wear a shirt again. But if you have to, make sure it is skintight and has a deep v neck. Favor billowy, pajama-style pants that show off the muscles in your legs when you are in silhouette. Smile a lot, to show off your white teeth. Sport a pencil-thin mustache, gold hoop earrings and the occasional pearl necklace, and work your collection of headscarves.

2. Do your own stunts, like climbing magic ropes, jumping from windows,  fighting off spidery creatures at the bottom of the sea, and riding a winged horse. You might also try a  handstand as you shake golden coins from your hair and pockets. Be shirtless when u do this. (see Tip 1)

3. Have a wingman. Choose someone who is not as handsome or charming as you, and who is grateful to be your pal, so that he will do things like assist you in "borrowing" clothes from merchants so that you can present yourself as a prince, help you capture a city, and ride beside you on a donkey. He could also disguise a bush as you so you can sneak away to woo a princess.

4. Honor your lady's beliefs. If she believes that her true love will touch a certain rose bush, then don't just put a hand on it--get thrown off your horse and actually land in the middle of it.

5. Wow your sweetie with your honesty. Gaze soulfully at her and tell her that you are a thief, but at the moment when you held her in your arms, "the evil in me died." And then when she practically passes out from the sheer romance of it all and how manly you are...

Bonus tip: Always leave her wanting more. Kiss her hand, and then kiss it again. And before you leave, touch the hem of her dress.

And if all else fails...use an invisible cloak to get your love away from her controlling family , and then take her for a ride on your magic carpet.

The 1924 version of The Thief of Bagdad is available on DVD and Blu-Ray; I (lara) found it at And for a schedule of upcoming classic films at Old Town Music Hall, check out