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 www.IconicReviews.com.

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 www.ArtDecoDivo.blogspot.com 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 www.TheGridTO.com 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 www.ArtDecoDivo.Blogspot.com


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"
2014


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 www.MartiniInTheMorning.com, 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 www.IconicReviews.com.

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 www.Amazon.com. And for a schedule of upcoming classic films at Old Town Music Hall, check out www.OldTownMusicHall.org.

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 years...it'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 www.IconicReviews.com! 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 awesome...you 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

310-246-3800

http://www.thewallis.org/

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.

Bonus:

"The Nearness of You"--Nicole Henry
It's not the pale moon that delights, thrills, and excites us...it'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!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hooray for Preservation! Plus, James Cagney, Fred Astaire, and Rita Hayworth.


It is always weird writing about yourself in the third person, but here's an article I wrote recently about my involvement with Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo, a non-profit theatre dedicated to preserving classic films and music, and why preservation in general is so important to me.
 Lara Scott is a mom on a mission.
When she walked into Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo, CA, for the very first time, she felt like she had been transported back in time to the 1920s or 1930s. “I thought that this was what my grandparents must have meant when they talked about how going to a movie used to be a glamorous experience, and something powerful enough to distract them from the fact that they were living through the Great Depression,” she said.
Lara feels like classic films are so important, not just because they are great entertainment and have to rely on a compelling story rather than special effects to hold an audience's attention, but also because they show us who we are and where we have come from, giving us a glimpse into a world that has vanished. And they have a personal connection for her, too. She says, “Some of my earliest memories are of watching old movies with my dad; I remember being a little kid and watching James Cagney tap dance down the White House stairs in Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Fred Astaire and Judy Garland singing together in Easter Parade. When I see these films now, I feel like it brings me closer to my dad, even though he lives on the other side of the country.”
The very first movie she saw at Old Town Music Hall was 1923’s The White Sister, a silent film starring Lillian Gish and Ronald Colman, accompanied live by owner and host Bill Field on the Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ. Lara was blown away, saying, “It was incredible. I had always thought silent films were boring, but watching it on the big screen with the live music and sound effects that Bill added brought the story to life in a way that had me in tears.”
Lara’s day job is co-hosting the morning show on local radio station 95.9 The Fish, and hosting the internationally syndicated World Chart Show. In 2012, she started a blog called “Old Hollywood, New Glitz”  that celebrates her love of classic film, Art Deco, and the Great American Songbook. She is also working on a forthcoming book that will spotlight Old Hollywood spots and experiences in Southern California. While looking online for places to review she stumbled across Old Town Music Hall.
“I thought that maybe they hosted a screening or two a month, but was so impressed to look at the schedule and realize that they are showing classic films every weekend on the big screen, along with hosting 2-3 concerts a month on Sunday nights. And when I realized that Bill, along with a small group of dedicated volunteers, had been doing all of this on his own for years I was even more impressed. He is a very sweet and incredibly talented man.”
After attending a few more movies, including Yankee Doodle Dandy and Bittersweet, she became concerned that not enough people knew about the theater and were coming out to support it for it to stay open. Lara offered to set up an Old Town Music Hall Twitter account, and continues to update it daily.
“There is a book I love called Vintage Los Angeles,” she said, “but there is a list at the back of the book of historic places that have been demolished. Even some of the places that the author wrote about in the book as places you could visit had closed by the time I tried to go see them in the year after the book came out. I also hear about the great work that the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles and the LA Conservancy do when it comes to saving places that are in danger of destruction, and I felt like I had to do something, too. My heart actually hurts when I hear about a historic building being torn down, because I think of the beauty and the stories that are lost, things that we will never be able to get back. Since I’m not able to do a lot of volunteering in person at this point—I’m usually either at work or with my son—I decided to take my activism online.”
While visiting Old Town Music Hall in March 2013, Bill Field introduced Lara to Oscar-winning producer and director James Moll, who has a long history with the theatre. His mom and stepdad were introduced by Field and his late business partner Bill Coffman in the 1970s, and James has been coming to see movies and concerts there ever since. When he attended a movie in December 2012, James realized that Bill needed some help, and stepped in to put together a new movie schedule and make some improvements to the historic 1921 building. When James invited Lara to join an Old Town Music Hall advisory committee that he was forming to spread the word about the theater, she eagerly accepted.
Lara is excited about the growing buzz surrounding Old Town Music Hall, and is honored to be playing a small part of its resurgence. She also says that her interest in helping to save Old Town Music Hall is with an eye on the next generation. “My son is four, and right now anything starring Thomas the Train is his favorite movie. But one day, I can’t wait to bring him to Old Town Music Hall and tell him who Rita Hayworth was, or show him what Los Angeles looked like when W.C. Fields was filming crazy car chases through the streets, and hopefully create some memories that will be special to my son when he is my age.”