Thursday, January 23, 2014

Art Deco Building Focus: Saban Theatre In Beverly Hills

I (Lara) went the the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills for the first time recently (to see a performance of Stomp!) and just fell in love with the place. It's such a little Art Deco jewel (there is no balcony) that I wanted to pick it up and put it in my pocket and take it home with me. Even my hubby, who is not so much into the Deco stuff but has been dragged to decorative places all over town, said that the Saban is by far his favorite.

The Saban opened as the Fox Wilshire in 1930 with the premiere of the Marx Brothers film Animal Crackers. I'm guessing that Groucho's famous eyebrows went up in surprise at the sheer lavishness of the theater and the building that housed it. It was built for the Fox Film Corporation, and there was even an Art Deco penthouse at the top for the Vice President of Fox; the Oviatt Building in Downtown Los Angeles (home of Cicada Restaurant) also has a Deco penthouse.

Architect S. Charles Lee designed the Saban. If his name sounds familiar, it's probably because he did many famous buildings in Southern California, like the Tower Theatre, Bruin Theatre, and Los Angeles Theatre. There are so many lovely features to enjoy at the Saban, like ziggurats over doors, a terrazzo sunburst at the entrance, Art Deco wall sconces, and a spacious rotunda that reminds me of the Wiltern Theatre. The theatre was renovated, but they did a wonderful job sticking close to the original design!

Originally, the Saban was a  first-run movie house that also featured some live theatre. Remember that back in the day, film companies had their own theatres to show their own films, so it must have been very exciting for Fox to set up camp in such a glamorous neighborhood. Plus, talking pictures were still new when the theatre opened, so I'm sure people came in droves to take them in.

The Saban has not shown films since the 1980s, but now hosts live events. I absolutely recommend going to a show so you can enjoy some entertainment and hang in this beautiful theatre!

Takeaway Tips:

1. There is a parking garage next door under an office building, but it gets really jammed right before showtime and right after. You can also look for street parking.

2. There is a cute little bar/restaurant adjacent to the Saban, but--like the garage--it is packed just before shows. Get there really early, or plan to grab a bite somewhere else in the neighborhood.

Contact Info:

Saban Theatre
8440 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211


Monday, January 6, 2014

Q & A: Where To Dine/Dance In Socal

If you need  a recommendation for somewhere glamorous/unique/Old Hollywood/Art Deco-y to go, email us! You can also browse through our previous posts, and we will give you 30 places in Southern California to check out in our upcoming book. 
Here's a note we recently received from Jim: 
Hi....really enjoyed your piece on the Cicada Club.....I am a former L.A.  resident (Fairfax, Westwood, Brentwood) coming back into town this weekend and was trying to find a place to dance on Saturday night....The CC came up (which led me to your blog story)...but not much else...(The Edison downtown?? Teddy's/Roosevelt Hotel in H'wood?))  Any ideas to help out an old kinda neighbor?

And our response: 
Hi Jim!
Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed our blog on Cicada!
 A wonderful place you could check out is The Sky Room in Long Beach. It's at the top of the historic Breakers building (with a view to die for), and it looks like a sleek nightclub Fred and Ginger would have waltzed across back in the day.  There's a  dance floor and a really nice crowd. The food is also fantastic--I absolutely recommend having dinner and staying to is definitely worth the drive.

If you're staying more in the DTLA or Hollywood area...The Edison is amazing (mellow at dinnertime, more of a young club vibe later in the night and definitely make a dinner reservation), The Roosevelt is great for dinner at any of their restaurants and just hanging out, and I LOVE Cleo at The Redbury (right at the corner of Hollywood and Vine) for dinner. Sadly, there aren't too many supper clubs like Cicada and The Sky Room that have dinner and dancing to bands...but, hopefully that will change.

Also, have you heard about the Deco ball on Catalina every May? It's amazing, and it's held in the Casino and put on by the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles with a big band and dancing all night. 

Let me know if you check out any of these places, and how you like them.  Have a wonderful visit!


Contact Info:
The Sky Room
40 South Locust Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 983-2703