The New Beverly Cinema is a legendary revival house in LA, I used to go to there a lot in the seventies and eighties. Lately I’ve been whining about how VCRs and DVDs have shut down all the great theatres that used to show old movies. There used to be about six or eight of them in LA , and they showed double features and changed movies every three or four days. Everybody I knew had the schedules stuck to their refrigerators or in their studios.
A couple of weeks ago my son, Nate told me he heard that Quentin Tarantino bought the New Beverly, saving it from the wrecking ball. It turns out that Tarantino had been helping keep the place afloat for a while and now he’s made it as permanent as anything can be in LA. He’s quoted in Vanity Fair “I just couldn’t live with myself if that theater shut down while I could do something about it.”
So this weekend, I went down there to check out the David Carradine Tribute. I saw a wonderful film Carradine directed, and starred in, called “Americana,” and the great 1980 Western “The Long Riders.” Tarantino was there, he introduced each film, told some nice stories about his friend Carradine, sat in the audience with everyone else and stood around talking about movies during intermission. Like a lot of people, I’ve been a Tarantino fan since I saw “Reservoir Dogs,” and this easily makes him my favorite living director.
I spent last week in London with Ann Field, Clive Piercy, and a group of students from Art Center. The days were filled with museums and studio visits to Neville Brody, Michael Apted, Rob Ryan, Fernando Gutierriez, and Sir Paul Smith. The brilliant A. Richard Allen, and the wonderful Linzie Hunter came out one night to show their work and tell some stories. It was also good to spend some time with ex-pat Owen Freeman.
There should be a word for that impulse to make drawings of everyday things you see on a trip. It doesn’t happen much when you’re home. Unless I'm on an assignment, I tend to drive right by stuff that would make a good subject for a drawing in LA, or else, I take a quick photo and never look at it again. But when you’re on the road, everything seems interesting
The LA Times asked me to join a Los Angeles Conservancy Saturday Walking Tour of Broadway’s historic theatre district and make some drawings. None of these movie palaces show films anymore except for special screenings, they have all been adapted for use as filming locations, concert rentals, and retail.
Our guide, Tony Valdez, told us that when he was a kid, he had to use the side staircase entrance for the segregated balcony, that’s some California Jim Crow.
The interior of The Orpheum is beautifully restored and has a busy schedule of concerts and events.
You can park here for six bucks and get “the best taco in town”