Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Walk Like An Egyptian (Theatre)

It was like watching a scary movie in an old Hollywood theater.  Literally.

As Chandra and I took baby steps across the darkened balcony at the Egyptian Theatre, with only a small beam of light from Chandra’s iPhone Flashlight App to guide us, I (Lara) broke out in nervous, hysterical laughter, wondering if we would be able to get out of the locked theatre.  

It was so quiet that I kept thinking of the, “In space, no one can hear you scream” movie tagline. Yes, but would they hear us out on Hollywood Boulevard? Would the man dressed up in a Batman costume down the street at Mann’s Chinese Theatre come to our rescue?

How did we end up on that dark balcony, anyway?

"Hi. I hold glamour inside." - Egypt, Egypt
It started innocently enough when Chandra and I along with fellow Divas Cori and Michelle decided to have a Hollywood day and visit the Egyptian Theatre. It was Cori and Chandra’s first time there, as they’re used to enjoying films at the $5 theatre in Orange County! We planned to give them a slightly different cinematic experience.

We were thrilled about visiting this place because we knew that the Egyptian Theatre was originally super-stud Sid Grauman’s place, although he’s generally more famous for the Chinese Theatre a couple blocks down with all the handprints, footprints, and signatures of celebs from the 20s ‘til now (I mean, seriously, what’s more fun than seeing if you have the same size hands as Gloria Swanson? But that’s for another blog). 

Man in tights:
Douglas Fairbanks as Robin Hood
The Theatre hosted the first ever Hollywood premiere on October 18th, 1922, which was Robin Hood with the delectable Douglas Fairbanks as the man in tights. Happy 90th to the Egyptian, btw—you definitely don’t look your age, although, like a lot of folks in LaLa Land, you may have had some, um, “reconstruction” work done (*wink-wink).

As we strolled through the impressive courtyard and talked about what famous derrieres may have once plopped down inside, we heard the strains of the theme from The Exorcist played on a piano that had been set up on the sidewalk (foreshadowing, anyone?). Reaching the front doors, we planned to throw them open…and they were locked up tight. Hmmmm. We went over to the box office. Empty.

Just as I started to say, “Well, there’s always Bob’s Frolic Room down the street,” we spied a tour coming out through the front entrance, with their guide holding the door. Quick as a flash -- and even in red break-your-ankle stilettos -- Cori slipped stealth-like through the front door. After all the little kids in matching red shirts exited, the rest of us followed Bold Spice in. 

The old paintings on the tombs
walking like an Egyptian.
Just like an actual tomb, not a lot of light was visible. The lobby was dim (at one o-clock in the afternoon!), and the office off to the side looked deserted. I was delighted, however, to see that Vegan Cookies are offered at the snack bar. After failing to find a light-switch, there was only one thing to do at that point: split up and explore. Divide and conquer. 

Cori and Chandra disappeared into the bathrooms to check out the faucet attire. Meanwhile, Chandra and I, forgetting the lessons of every scary movie EVER, opted for the balcony of the pitch-black theatre. I had remembered from a previous tour I’d taken that there was a stairway and door to the projection room. 

As we tip-toed our way through the dark, peering slightly ahead thanks to our trusty Flashlight App, I remembered that Chandra attracts ghosts like Justin Bieber attracts girls, and thought that perhaps I should have opted for the bathrooms with the other two. The acoustics in the theatre are so amazing that it wasn’t even just that it was quiet, but more like there was an absence of sound.  Wait…what was that noise? Cleopatra, is that you?

The projection room door was locked, and we still couldn’t find anyone who worked there, so we headed down from the balcony to meet up with the other two. It was then when some tourists tried the locked doors and peered in. I think someone screamed, “Hide!” like we were twelve years old and didn’t want Courtney from down the street to see that we were home, because then we would have to play with her, and well….she was wearing a fanny pack, camera around the neck, and black socks pulled up high. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  We just didn’t know them and wanted to protect the place.  

It seemed the best thing to do was to find the back door (still didn’t see a light switch, lamp, or even a candle…match, anyone?). We found an exit off to the right, and it didn't look like it would trigger any alarms, so we naturally stopped to pose for pics before bursting through the doors and into the brilliant sunshine.

Making a graceful exit out the back ;)

What did we learn at the Egyptian, and how do we tie it into our central theme of inspiring women (and men) to celebrate life by adding more beautiful elements? 

Well, if someone holds a door for you, don’t ask questions—just smile, say thank you, and walk through it like the Diva you are.  You never know what you’ll find on the other side. We are all planners (I, Kitty, have 5 to-do lists), and certainly we plan to have fun, but sometimes the best adventures come when you step out of your comfort zone and create your own adventure. It’s okay if you’re anxious…pushing through your fears is one of the most rewarding parts of life’s adventure!

Oh, and if you happen to find yourself in a cavernous, deserted theatre…be ready to make a quick exit out the back (and hope the security camera isn’t turned on!).

Check it out:
American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA

Tip: You can buy tickets for current and classic movie screenings, many of which feature stars, directors, and more industry types. And while you might not get gussied up in a floor-length gown and Cleopatra-style jewels, it is fun to glam up a bit for a visit.  It is Hollywood, sister. Also, keep an eye on the monthly calendar for tour dates (official tours, with the lights on) and screenings of Forever Hollywood, a film that celebrates a century of movie-making history (hello, Garbo). 

No comments:

Post a Comment