"The Big Sleep" is among the six films selected by The Los Angeles Conservancy's 26th season of Last Remaining Seats, a program that gives Angelenos and film lovers at-large a chance to watch classic films on the big screen -- plus allow plenty of time before screening time to gasp at the beauty of the interiors of Broadway's historic movie palaces. So spirited is the movie-going crowd, some dress up in 1920s to 1930s period wear, a throwback to the days when Broadway was the town square for all of Southern California.
Here is a sneak preview (plus my restaurant recommendations) of the Last Remaining Seats 2012 season, courtesy of the L.A. Conservancy, guardians of Broadway's night and light since 1987. Fittingly they give the theater top billing over the film.
Wednesday, May 30
Los Angeles Theatre (1931)
"Paper Moon" (1973)
It may not be a big night on the town if you dress like depression-era Kansas, the setting for this 1973 Peter Bogdanovich comedy with Ryan and Tatum O'Neal. But if you do, you can almost fit in at Spring Street Smoke House, a roadhouse-style BBQ spot at the one-cafe junction between Olvera Street and Chinatown. It is no frills, by design, and the BBQ grub is influenced by the harsh heartlands. If you want to experience upscale environs of the time, there is Cicada Restaurant in the 1927 Art Deco gem that is the James Oviatt Building.
"I want my two hundred dollars!" - Addie Loggins (Tatum O'Neal)
Wednesday, June 6
Orpheum Theatre (1926)
No drag jokes from me. Dustin Hoffman and director Sydney Pollack played Tootsie straight, so to speak, in this comedy about actor Michael Dorsey just trying to get an acting job, even if the role was female. Now, I am not sure if any male is really tempted to dress up in sensible wear befitting an older female soap opera character, but allow me to offer an alternative. The film is a chance to dress '80s retro and hit Wolfgang Pucks' Bar and Grill in the shine of the glass and steel of LA Live. After all, Wolfgang Puck opened Spago in 1982, the same year the film was released. Order the La Quercia Guanciale pizza. (Just don't send it back asking for a different juicy, sexy, beefsteak tomato).
"Dorothy IS straight!" - Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman)
Wednesday, June 13
Los Angeles Theatre (1931)
"The Big Sleep" (1946)
Downtown Los Angeles has a number of places where a couple, dressed as private detective Philip Marlowe and Vivian Rutledge, can walk the mean streets toward a local bar to slam a shot-of-choice while shooting each other Chandleresque quips in the dark. Broadway Bar. The Edison. Golden Gopher. No matter. A night out can be like plot of "The Big Sleep" -- confusing, conflicting, and no real answer. So what? It's about the investigation being done in style.
"She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up." - Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart)
Wednesday, June 20
Million Dollar Theatre (1918)
"Los tres mosqueteros" (1942)
This screening of the Mexican parody of Alexander Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" is co-presented with the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles. Cantinflas uses his trademark comic speech patterns like a linguistic swordsman to play d'Artagnan (as a dream). It may be expecting too much to find clothing from the era of a Mexican everyman mash-up of a classic French tale, but movie-goers can go next door to Grand Central Market and have a Straight French Dough Baguette from MF Gourmet, a bakery amidst the aroma of tacos of Grand Central Market. "We can deliver to people in line," suggested Chef Tyler James Cyre after a call to check in on his French offerings.
"SIGUE EL JURADO DEL TORVO ASESINO" - Headline from newspaper with photo of Cantinflas.
Wednesday, June 27
Orpheum Theatre (1926)
"Robin Hood" (1922)
Well, wear tights of course. Boldly dressed band of silent film-era Merry Men from Sherwood Forest, led by Douglas Fairbanks as Robin Hood, would be at home frolicking in the faux forest of Clifton's Cafeteria, or asking for another pint at Royal Clayton's British Pub. Alas, they are closed while in different stages of restoration. No matter. There is always Villain's Tavern in the industrial forest of the Arts District, a fine pub to await word from Robin of Loxsley and Lady Marian Fitzwalter.
"These lusty rebels only waited a leader to weld them into a band -- an outlaw band destined to live immortal in legend and story." - Silent film card from "Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood"
Saturday, June 30
Saban Theatre (1930)
"The Wizard of Oz" (1939)
Conservancy member Munchkins of all sizes selected this classic in a survey held by L.A. Conservancy. Matinee and evening screenings of this special fan favorite, the first visit to the Saban by Last Remaining Seats, makes Beverly Hills the Emerald City of the Los Angeles region for a night.
"Ain't it the truth? Ain't it the truth?" - Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr)
Screening speakers and presentations are being finalized, but this gives people time to prepare getting tickets for screenings that have a reputation of selling out.
This year, tickets go on sale to Conservancy members on March 28th, 10:00 a.m. PST, and to the general public on April 11. Advance tickets cost $16 for members ($20 for general public) and will be available at laconservancy.org.
Screenings subject to change. For updates, visit L.A. Conservancy or call the Conservancy's event hotline at (213) 430-4219.