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They’re going to turn the Westlake back into a theater (live theater, performing arts type place). In general, they’ve spent a lot of energy cleaning up the park. The area is not as bad as it used to be. It’s all part of a plan to revitalize that neighborhood.
All About the Belasco
February 26th, 10:30 a.m. (doors open at 10)
Free to LAHTF members; $5 to the general public
Hope to see you there!
This theater can be seen in the TV show American Greed (s2 e15) from 2008. The owners lost some money in a car-buying scam.
My guess is that’s not the real El Rey; it looks like they dressed up some street and recreated the El Rey. For one thing, the street looks too narrow to be Wilshire Blvd. There’s an island at that point as well, planted with trees, that’s been there since the early 90s, I believe. I also think this is closer to downtown: that skyscraper in the background looks like the Aon Center. If this was the El Rey, there’d be another building down the street with the address 5455 on it (see Ken MC’s photo of 1/16/2009). It would block the view of those other buildings.
What does everyone else think?
@Simon: that’s how a number of LA’s old movie houses stay profitable, as filming locations. Some get 10-15k per day. Even if your commercial features just the outside of a building, you’d better pay the owner or you’re likely to get sued.
@Howard: yes, you’re right about Brown’s involvement with the Fox. But I don’t know anything about where the money came from or how the deal was put together. If Brown’s relying on private money to save more theaters, then we all need lots of pizza-empire millionaires.
And I’ve also heard that CRA money tends to be badly spent. The theaters that I’ve seen with the best economic life are the ones with a strong individual with substantial financial resources to make things happen.
@CWalczak: thanks for the info, most of those theaters you listed I only knew as live venues. I remember seeing Leonard Nimoy play Sherlock Holmes at the Fisher back in the 1970s.
@Howard: part of the vibe I got from that piece was “see what Detroit managed to do, and you know what bad shape they’re in.” Well, they didn’t do it recently.
Yes, theaters get restored, but it’s tough going if you don’t have a pizza-empire millionaire footing the bill. Here in California, the new governor is talking about closing down the CRA to help reduce the budget deficit, which would probably put an end to plans to restore the Westlake and the Leimert.
I have a couple of quibbles with this article.
1) “one of Detroit’s restored movie palaces” — as far as I know, this is Detroit’s only “restored” movie palace; admittedly, I have not lived in the area for quite a while. It’s not like the city has a great reputation for preserving its theaters (see the Michigan for what happens when a theater runs into the need to park cars! cars! cars!).
2) “When will Philadelphia join Detroit and the rest of the nation and restore and reopen our surviving movie palaces” — to be fair, the Fox was restored way back in the 1980s when the economy was a whole lot stronger.
The El Rey is featured in CSI as a burlesque club, season 11, episode 12 “A Kiss Before Frying.”
It’s probably time to update the description, which claims that plans to convert the building to a nightclub “came to nothing.” In the past few years around $10 million has been spent renovating this building.
It’s not going to be a nightclub, but a multi-purpose venue similar to the Music Box in Hollywood. They have the large ballroom upstairs, the theater with leveled floor, dance floor, stage, bar, and in the balcony tables and seating, restaurants, a small bar, and a proposed jazz club downstairs.
I’ve been inside and they’ve done a wonderful job with the place, with many references to its rich heritage in their planning and design. Everything’s pretty much done (except the jazz club) and they’re preparing for a February opening.
The LAHTF will be presenting an All About soon, so stay tuned for details.
I kind of doubt it. She divorced him several years ago.
Maybe trivial, Ray, but important nonetheless (at least to me, as a member of the LAHTF). Mistakes happen, things are misremembered, bad info is reported. It takes sharp-eyed people to weed out the mistakes and keep everything accurate. Thanks.
If you know something definite, you should say so. Otherwise, you’re just blowing smoke, like with that “Disney dumping the El Capitan” stuff.
They do tours, but other than opening the forecourt up for free, yes, they’re lagging.
It would also be interesting to know what percentage of El Cap’s ticket sales are to tourists.
Interesting article on long-long footprint slabs from the Chinese…
I suspect that’s only true for evening/weekend shows. I’ve sat in the center section for weekday performances and haven’t paid anywhere near that (and still got some pre-show entertainment).
According to a poster in another thread on another forum far, far away, Econ 101 logic is that people will always seek out the lower priced product. After all, it’s in their best interest to do so.
And yet, people are paying a premium to see shows at the El Cap. Why? Obviously people see the experience at the El Cap is being of a higher order than the experience at the local multiplex.
Now apply this logic to the Chinese, and you’re in business!
Correction: apparently Disney had not yet found a buyer for the El Cap. That doesn’t mean they trying to dump it however, since they plan to stay in the building and keep programming the theater.
“I don’t know how much the stage shows at the El Cap contribute to the gross.”
I don’t think it’s an issue of contributing to the gross, it’s about contributing to the experience. Once people perceive the added value, they’re willing to pay a premium ticket price.
Disney is not trying to “dump” the El Cap. They sold the building yes, but have a long term lease. As others have noted, the El Capitan is the highest earning single screen theater in the country. The only reason it’s not really profitable is because Disney had to spend so much to restore it. But considering how high profile that place is, they’re quite happy with it.
Grauman’s has already been restored, so anyone turning it into a similar “event” theater would not incur all those costs. Assuming they wanted to do shows, they would have to redo the stage however.
It wasn’t this post that alarmed people so much, it was posting the same info in other threads where it was unrelated to the subject matter. Thanks for understanding.
What difference would that make?
Thanks, CWalczak, I didn’t click on that because I thought it might be a link to their website…
Whose comments are not true? The issue is whether or not the OP is using Cinema Treasures as a platform to advertise his wares. I don’t mind seeing a company get promoted once in a while, but these seat guys seem to pop up over and over again. And if he’s spamming CT users with emails, then he’s really abusing the system.
John, which pages has he commented on?
If it’s true that he’s posting “across several pages,” I suggest you send a list to the Mods. They may ban him.
Did Mann ever own the Chinese? As William says, they have a long term lease and they’ve been trying to sell the remaining years on the lease for the past three years.
They’re presently digging out the space for the underground parking. The building next door, which was Angelo’s Pawn Shop, is gone. All that’s left is the facade, propped up with some girders.