Partying in Downtown is not about drinking, eating and dancing in just any old building…Partying in Downtown is about drinking, eating and dancing in THE OLDEST of buildings. For DTLA, that would mean a dynamic list of fully wonderfully restored historic theaters, once famous for vaudeville and silent movies.
The Belasco Theater was named after the theatrical producer, impresario, director and playwright David Belasco, designed by architects Morgan, Walls & Clements. Morgan, Walls & Clements shared their enthusiasm of Spanish-revival and pre-Columbian revival styles with the people of Downtown. When the Belasco opened in 1926, its most noticeable features were its intricate detailed Churrigueresque, Spanish Renaissance, Moorish, and Gothic design as well as its magnificent dome ceiling. Closed in 1952, it’s now, alive again, resurrected into one of Downtown’s grandest nightclubs and special events theaters, featuring a main theatre, ballroom, basement lounge, and two restaurant bars. Scheduled to perform; Temper Trap, Oct 18th, Andra Day, Nov 3rd, and The Dirt Rich, Dec 15th. 1050 S. Hill Street.
Architects Morgan, Walls & Clemens with help from Alfred Rosenheim, also designed the Globe Theater. The Globe Theater, then called the Morosco Theatre, opened in 1913. Since, it’s been a bustling retail hub, available for movie showings, and the home of Downtown’s ill-fated Club 740. Upon opening it was prized for its glamorous ticket booth, roomy-comfortable chairs with wide arm rests, and a theater arrangement that allowed more than usual space between the rows of seats. Reopened in 2015, the theater now serves as a multipurpose space for music, theatrical events and films, hosting the nation’s top talents inside of stage and nightclub performances. This season the Globe Theater host recurring performances by Tease If You Please, and Two Chains on Oct 1st. 744 S. Broadway.
Opened in 1927, The Mayan is another great theater designed by architects Morgan, Walls & Clements. The Mayan’s memorable features were its major works by artist Francisco Cornejo. Cornejo became famous for the stylized pre-Columbian patterns and figures, that still to this day, adorn the Mayan Theater. The Mayan Theater, as a film theater of the 1920s, set the example for the signature revival-style theater. The excessive ornate lobby of the Mayan is called the Hall of Feathered Serpents and an auditorium chandelier hangs from the center of the Aztec calendar, giving the perfect illusion of partying in a Mayan jungle with ancient temples. The Mayan Theater had been operating as a movie house until 1990, but reopened in our time becoming Downtown’s most exotic nighttime event venues. This season The Mayan will host the return of the ever so lovable raunchiness of Lucha Vavoom, Crown of the Empire, Nov 3rd and Pretty Reckless, Dec 06th. 1038 S. Hill Street.
Opened in 1926, The Orpheum Theater was designed by architect G. Albert Lansburgh. The Orpheum Theater is immortalized by its eclectic French Beaux Arts facade, flat roof, grand entrances and staircases, arched windows and pediment doors; poised in perfect, and adorned by the subtle polychromic sculptures, murals, mosaics, and other artwork. It’s in great shape and today, the home of concerts, film shoots and occasional film screenings. Invoking the powers of vaudeville with acts involving classical dancers, comedians, trained animals, magicians, female and male impersonators, acrobats, and scenes from plays, The Orpheum theater became a film projectors dream, offering silent and sound films to the new age. It was a popular venue for burlesque as well and jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. In the 1960s the theatre held Rock N’ Roll concerts featuring Little Richard, Aretha Franklin and Little Stevie Wonder. Today the Orpheum continues in its tradition of honoring the worlds most talented, hosting Ani Difranco October 4th, Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman, Nov 22nd and Lewis Black, Dec 10th. 827 S. Broadway.
United Artists Theater
Architects C. Howard Crane and Walker and Eisen designed The United Artists Theater and it soon became the center of gravity for film theater goers. Opened in 1927, the Gothic European Styled castle boasted a lobby of black and gold, accented by red and buffed marble, and the walls carried large mirrors set in frames of antique gold. Every seat in the enormous auditorium was identical with deep cushioned chairs specially designed with state of the art air inflated backs of the time. The theater’s elaborate lighting system, also known to be far superior than the others, illuminated the dome in the center of the ceiling, covered with silver-backed, rough faced mirrored discs and over 3500 glass pendants from which enormous sunburst spread out in all directions. Today, the renovated theatre is known as the Ace Hotel. Coming this season to the Ace Hotel, Evil Dead the Concert Oct 25th, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Nov 25th. 933 S. Broadway.
Los Angeles Theater
One of Downtown’s great movie palaces, the Los Angeles Theater was designed by architect S. Charles Lee and constructed in 1931. French Baroque inspires it with a façade that raises five stories. Its most notable features include the majestic lobby mirrors, fluted columns, sparkling chandeliers, finely detailed plaster ornaments, and a sunburst motif alluding to France’s “Sun King,” Louis XIV. A grand central staircase leads to a crystal fountain and sixteen private compartments, each finished in marble. The theater is closed except for film shoots, tours and special events including Night On Broadway, Downtown’s most grand free self guided walking tour. 615 S. Broadway.
Opened originally as the National Theater in 1911, by 1917 it was the Regent. After decades as a grindhouse and adult movie venue, the theater was closed in 2000. Known for its sloped floor, proscenium archway and gothic-inspired ceiling, The Regent was restored in 2012. Today, the Regent Theater host concerts, themed dance nights, theater performances, movie screenings, and special events including special performances held during Downtown Art Walk. 448 S Main Street.