The Messy World of Historic Preservation: the Bob Baker Marionette Theater

What constitutes a building worth saving? Curbed LA recently featured an article about the likely conversion of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater into a five-story mixed-use building project.[1] As the article notes, the sixty-one year old building in downtown Los Angeles has faced a number of threats in the last six years, including a near-foreclosure, and official … Continue reading The Messy World of Historic Preservation: the Bob Baker Marionette Theater

L.A.’s Inferiority Complex

For over 50 years, scholars, educators, historians, and enthusiasts of the North American West gather annually to share the latest findings and approaches to understanding the diverse history of the west as "both a frontier and a region." I had the honor of presenting at the Western History Association 2014 conference in Newport Beach last week, and although … Continue reading L.A.’s Inferiority Complex

Castro, Kennedy, and Chandler – How the Cuban Missile Crisis stole L.A.’s Big Moment

The L.A. Music Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season with a number of commemorative events--including a rededication ceremony on October 1st to "celebrate the transformative role of the performing arts center in Los Angeles." [1] So what does this have to do with the Cuban Missile Crisis? Few people, if any, know that President Kennedy … Continue reading Castro, Kennedy, and Chandler – How the Cuban Missile Crisis stole L.A.’s Big Moment

The L.A. Dodgers and Elysian Park

On Wednesday night, I was among the sold-out crowd of 58,000+ Angelenos who watched the Los Angeles Dodgers clinch the NL West title with a 9-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants. It was an exciting game that featured a high-scoring sixth inning and a few fancy tricks by Dodgers standout pitcher Clayton Kershaw. As you … Continue reading The L.A. Dodgers and Elysian Park

‘Where Summer Plays’…

Nothing says summer in Los Angeles like the Hollywood Bowl. As the most recent advertising campaign puts it, it is "where summer plays." As the summer--and the 2014 Bowl season--draw to a close, I thought it fitting to feature one of the most entertaining finds from the Music Center archives. This photograph shows Hollywood Bowl savior … Continue reading ‘Where Summer Plays’…

Beyond the Archives

This past week, I had lunch with a friend of a friend who is currently President of the Symphonians, a volunteer docent organization affiliated with the L.A. Music Center. Their primary responsibility is to give free tours of all four Music Center venues--the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theater, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Walt … Continue reading Beyond the Archives