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!

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.”