Monday, December 28, 2009

When is a Mosaic Not a Mosaic?

A different Mosaic for Mosaic Mondays: A church sans mosaic, unless you count the congregation. According to Pastor Eric Bryant of the Mosaic Church, the Mosaic of their name is “a metaphor for describing the broken and fragmented lives that God brings together to form a beautiful picture."

That quote comes from the Hipster Church Tour blog.

The Mosaic Church meets all over the LA region each Sunday: at Beverly Hills High School, William Carey University in Pasadena, Knob Hill Community Center in Redondo Beach, an office building in Whittier...but the most intriguing meeting spot has got to be the Mayan on Hill Street near Olympic. Right...the Mayan Club serves as a church on Sunday mornings.

The theater was built in 1927 at a cost of $850,000.  It sat next to the Belasco at 11th & Hill--both theaters were owned by Edward Doheny, the oil gazillionaire. The Belasco presented dramas, and the Mayan, muscials. Because big discoveries of Mayan art were all over the papers when the building began in 1926, one of the managers/lessees decided to use Mayan-style art and motifs for the place. Mexican artist Francisco Cornejo designed the stonework facade and interior.

Its debut event on August 15th was a production of the Gershwins' Oh Kay! That's the musical that introduced "Someone to Watch Over Me" in 1926. Elsie Janis and John Roche starred.

By the 1980s, the Mayan Theatre had fallen on hard times and devolved to a porno movie house. In fact, porno movies were shot below the original stage! However, the building was sound and usable, so it became Club Mayan. Owner Sammy Chao did the renovations in a way to preserve the original architecture--so says the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation.

The new Mayan hosts the World Salsa Competition, disco concerts, and all sorts of things. You want hip-hop? Basement. Top 40 dance hits? Main floor. In the mood for a meranque? Mezzanine.

And on Sundays, it houses evangelical church services. Don't you love California?


Kim said...

The Mayan was a porno theater before the '80s. It figures in the 1973 film "Save the Tiger," where Jack Lemmon meets the arsonist who's going to burn down his schmata factory there!

Vix said...

Ha! I love movie location trivia, thank you! I'll have to watch for that--