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

Friday, April 11, 2014

Our Book is Here! From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine: Your Guide to 30 Old Hollywood-Inspired Spots in Southern California

After two's finally here!

Cori and I (Lara) are so excited to share From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine: You Guide to 30 Old Hollywood-Inspired Spots in Southern California with you. My intention with this book was to shine a spotlight on so many special places here in SoCal that have been around since the Art Deco era, or at least capture that vibe. It's a perfect guide if you are coming to LA for a visit, as you'll discover some really cool places that most tourists have never heard of. And if you live here in Cali, you might discover some places you've been passing by for years without giving them a second glance.

In our book, you'll find out the answers to these questions, and so many more:

Which Art Deco palace (that now hosts live stage shows) was once owned by Howard Hughes?

Which glamorous restaurant (that also hosts big band concerts and old-school radio shows) was once a fancy men's store?

Which pyramid-topped building in Downtown Los Angeles contains THIS glorious room?

You can grab From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine at! Thank you so much for reading my blog and supporting this work. It's exciting to think that together we can get the word out about how important it is to preserve historic buildings, and a piece of our past.

P.S. The answers are...Pantages Theatre, Cicada Restaurant, and Los Angeles Central Library.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

We're Up For A Blogger Award!

We just started guest-blogging for a fantastic site called Vintage Shopper, and are incredibly honored to be nominated for the March Blogger of the Month Award! Lara's post was on a self-guided tour of five historic spots in Los Angeles designed by architect John Parkinson, including Bullock's Wilshire (pictured). You can vote for us and check out the blog here! Thank you so very much! As they liked to say in the 1920s/1930s when someone was are the bee's knees! (The voting closes Friday afternoon.)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Building Focus: What's Up With The Wallis

What do you do with an historic post office in the middle of Beverly Hills that is no longer being used as a post office? Turn it into a world-class performing arts center, of course, while preserving the original architecture and wonderful sense of history! Meet The Wallis Annenberg  Center for the Performing Arts, affectionately known as "The Wallis." I truly hope that what's been done here can be used as the blueprint to save so many other buildings that are no longer serving their original purpose. What a fantastic alternative to simply tearing them down and starting over!!!

The above picture is a side view of the building, and below is a shot of my friend Kimberly and me hanging out in the Grand Hall, which serves as the main lobby. Look at those marble-clad walls!

Here's the entrance (which faces Santa Monica Boulvard) back in the early days of the Post Office, complete with smartly-dressed postal workers...

...and the same entrance in March, when my son and I attended a fabulous children's play called White. That is one thing that I think is really wonderful about The Wallis: shows for kids! We saw White in the Studio Theater, which was the original mail sorting room, and we sat on the floor. A show and setting like this is perfect for introducing little ones to the joys of the theatre, and nice for parents because they don't have to worry that their child might make noise or want to get up or disturb someone.

In the Grand Hall, there are eight fresco murals. They were funded under FDR's administration, and each one portrays something having to do with the postal service or labor force. There is one that depicts the pony express, for example, and another with an airplane on it. The end of the hallway in the picture below is where the original Post Office building ends, and the new addition begins.

There is a wonderful outdoor space with a sculpture garden! I love that you can be right in the middle of bustling Bev Hills and still feel calm.

This is the Goldsmith Theater, where the major productions happen, and it is part of the new addition to the building. The accoustics are fantastic, and I was blown away by the production when I saw Noel Coward's Brief Encounter here in March.

And like you need another reason to check out The Wallis... but there's a gourmet candy store there!

Contact Info:

Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
9390 North Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210


Twitter and Instagram: @TheWallisBH

Sunday, March 23, 2014

10 Sultry Songs: A Vintage Babymaking Music Playlist

Sometimes, you just need to swoon. And in our opinion, it is hard to find more romantic songs than ones in the Great American Songbook. Lovingly crafted lyrics...orchestras that swell with the climax of the song...artists that caress each syllable...we think we might need a cool drink right now to calm down. Here are some classic tunes (many re-imagined by contemporary artists) to help you set the mood. Ooh la la!

1. "Sway"--Dean Martin
"Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore, hold me close, sway me more." Yes, indeed!

2. "Feeling Good"--Jennifer Hudson
J-Hud has come a long, long way since the days of making small talk with Ryan Seacrest on American Idol and has us feeling GREAT with this one.

3. "Fly Me to the Moon"--Patrizio Buanne
Buanne, Bocelli, and Dino...when we are talking romance, you cannot go wrong with an Italian man.

4. "The Look of Love"--Diana Krall
Is that the look of love or the look of lust that's being sung about in this Burt Bacharach/Hal David classic?

5. "Besame Mucho"--Andrea Bocelli
Yes, please--we would like to be kissed a lot. A lot a lot.

6. "Quando Quando Quando"--Michael Buble featuring Nelly Furtado
I think we would all like to know the answer to this one: Exactly when (When? WHEN?!) will you be mine?

7. Never, Never--Patrizio Buanne and Renee Olstead
We've heard that he considered becoming an Italian chef before pursuing a singing career, which probably means that he could serenade you while making an amazing spaghetti alla carbonara.

8. "Quizas, Quizas, Quizas"--Andrea Bocelli and Jennifer Lopez
The word "perhaps" definitely sounds more romantic when sung in Spanish. Here's a cool video of these two superstars performing their hit on Dancing With The Stars:

9. "Call Me"--Eliane Elias This beautiful gal is talented in jazz, pop, classical, and Brazilian music. Hear her voice once, and you will immediately recognize it forever after. 

10. "Night and Day"--Frank Sinatra
As Frank Sings this 1932 classic by Cole Porter, you feel his torment, and that "hungry, yearnin', burnin'" inside of him.


"The Nearness of You"--Nicole Henry
It's not the pale moon that delights, thrills, and excites's Nicole's voice! The 2013 Soul Train Awards winner almost sounds like she is singing right into your ear words that are better than any sweet conversation.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Self-Guided Tour of Five Historic Los Angeles Buildings

Our first guest blog at Vintage Shopper is up! I (lara) put this together so you could easily check out five of the most beautiful and historic buildings in the city (all designed by famed architect John Parkinson) on your own time. Get the tour here!

                                                    Los Angeles City Hall

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Our Interview with Vintage Shopper is up!

 I (lara) was so honored to be interviewed by Lav at Vintage Shopper! I talked about the book that Cori and I have coming out called From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine,  some of my favorite Old Hollywood spots in Southern California, and which famous cowboy used to keep a cow on the terrace of the Sunset Tower Hotel back in the day. And, if you have ever thought about writing a book, there are some things in there that might inspire you to get started. You can read it here!