Tuesday, January 11, 2011

San Pedro's Warner Grand Theater turns 80

Yup, the big eight-oh. The Warner Grand Theater on 6th Street in San Pedro first opened on January 21, 1931, so It will celebrate its b-day with a "Think Thirties" party on January 21, 2011.

A screening of Brothers Warner will kick off the event at 6 pm, followed by cocktails and appetizers with a 1930's flair. The newly-renovated mezzanine lobby will be unveiled, and a grand time will be had by all.

Tickets are $45 each, $80 a couple if bought in advance (either at the website or by phone, (310) 833-4813), or $50 at the door.

The Warner Grand Theater was designed by Pantages chain architect B. Marcus Priteca (interior by Anthony Heinsbergen) as the first sound-equipped theater in the South Bay. Since it was meant to host vaudeville performances as well as screen movies, it was built with an orchestra pit and basement-level dressing rooms. Presumably they're still there, since all websites seem to agree that this theater has not been changed much over the ensuing decades.

The Grand Vision Foundationexists to raise funds to preserve the theater, and the City of Los Angeles purchased it for $1.2 million in 1996. Now La Grand Dame plays host to all sorts of events: movie shoots, special events for local clubs and organizations, foreign and special-interest movie screenings, musicals, and talks by authors (Fr. Gregory Boyle is going to be there on January 30th).

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