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

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