Friday, February 28, 2014

Dapper Day 2014

Last weekend was Dapper Day at Disneyland. We dressed up again and joined the hundreds of people all decked out in their finest. Our favorite "histo-tainer" Charles Phoenix showed slides of the park from the 1950s/60s—always fun—plus, for the first time, there was a fashion boutique, where I bought a stylish chapeau (ca. 1950s) to cover my hair. As you can see by the video below, a wonderful time was had by all! But, damn, how did mid-century women walk around in those petticoats all day?

Randomland (a fun video series about "hidden" Disneyland)
at Dapper Day

Full view of dress and sans hat

Next Dapper Day is September 12. See you there!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Modernism Week in Palm Springs

Some of the palms in Palm Springs

One of our favorite annual events is Modernism Week in Palm Springs. Ten days long, Modernism Week celebrates everything "mid-century" about living in the dessert—especially the architecture, for which Palm Springs is renowned.

We don't go every year, but we couldn't resist this time around. We toured the area's most famous homes and buildings, attended a "jet set" fashion show, visited friends, ogled the prints in our fave artist Shag's gallery, saw a vintage car show, and ate breakfast at our favorite restaurants, Sherman's and Lulu. We also had dinner at the trendy Trio, which we loved. And all this over an extended President's Day weekend. Aren't we lucky that Palm Springs is only two hours from L.A.?

The Double-Decker Bus Tour

Taking photos from the back of the bus

Richard Neutra's Kaufmann house—the most
famous home in Palm Springs

Spanish-influenced architecture

Former home of Dinah Shore, rumored to be in
escrow for Leonardo DiCaprio

Liberace's final home, currently being renovated
into a boutique hotel

Mid-century modern home designed and landscaped
by Palm Springs architect William Krisel

Outdoor dining at Lulu

Welwood Murray library, being remodeled into a
downtown visitor's center

1961 bank building designed by E. Stewart Williams

Jet-Set Fashion Show

Vintage Car Show

Fabulous taillights

Edsel wagon taillight

Edsel front

Tim admiring a woody station wagon

More fabulous tailfins

Ultra-modern Studebaker

Postwar camper and BBQ

Krisel Homes Tour

Colorful entryway

And colorful interior

Shared pool

Another home's interior (note the Shag print above credenza)

Yet another—love all those modern colors!!

And, oh yeah . . .

The President just happened to be in town, too, so
we got to see Air Force One

Monday, February 10, 2014

(It Was) 50 Years Ago Today

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show (1964)

The Beatles played on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time 50 years ago last night. I’ve seen the footage many, many times since then, but can’t honesty say I remember watching the show that night, though I know we saw it and distinctly remember watching the Beatles every other time they appeared on Ed Sullivan. Nevertheless, I do vividly remember my 5th-grade classmates’ reactions the next day. We all immediately became Beatles fans—so much so that, a few weeks later, the Easter bunny brought me my first Beatles album, Meet the Beatles. Thus began a lifelong love of the Beatles and rock-n-roll. I was ten years old.

My first Beatles album, which I, of course,
still own

Back of the album, where you can see "Easter '64"
handwritten in lefthand corner

The Grammys and CBS celebrated the Beatles' historic 50-year anniversary by hosting a tribute concert, “The Night That Changed America,” which aired on TV last night, but really happened at the L.A. convention center a couple of weeks ago. Tim tried to use his contacts to get us tickets, but to no avail. And now we know why: the audience was packed with celebrities, including former Beatles Paul and Ringo and their wives, plus the families of John and George.

I’m not a big fan of other people covering Beatles songs, but last night’s televised concert was great with most of the performers staying very true to the Beatles’ own arrangements. I was especially moved by Katy Perry’s version of “Yesterday” and loved Joe Walsh on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The highlight, though, was when Paul, singing the preamble to the Sgt. Pepper’s album, introduced “Billy Shears” and here came Ringo to sing “With a Little Help From My Friends” (yay!). I wish we could have seen it live. But TV was almost as good . . . just as it was 50 years ago.

Ringo remembers coming to America

Monday, February 03, 2014

United Artists Theatre

UA Theatre neon sign

Although the phrase “Broadway theater district” usually evokes NYC's “great white way,” L.A. also has its own once-famous theater district.  In fact, downtown Los Angeles is actually home to the largest concentration of "movie palaces” in the world and they’re all located along South Broadway, between Third and Ninth Streets. Most are in various stages of disrepair; but some are slowly being renovated to reflect their magnificent past glory. The newly refurbished United Artists Theatre opened to the public for the first time on Saturday and we were there to see it.

Built by the United Artists (UA) movie studio in the late 1920s, the theater showed films for many decades, until it was abandoned by UA and eventually became a church. Today, it anchors the tres hip—and high-end—Ace Hotel, which occupies the floors above the theater as well as the former office building next door. Unlike the streamline-moderne Ace, the restored UA theater is almost gaudy in its opulent “Spanish Gothic” architecture. Still, we loved it and, as you can see below, went crazy taking pictures (click on images to enlarge).

New marquee, looking up from the sidewalk

Ornate spires at the top

Outer lobby ceiling

Outer lobby staircase bannister

Ceiling border and top of mezzanine opening

Reflection in outer lobby mirror

Border detail

Inner lobby

Inner lobby

Malibu tiles decorate the basement floor
outside the ladies room

Enormous oval ceiling fixture illuminating
the theater's interior

Balcony murals and ornamentation

Ace Hotel exterior