Back to the Future, Living in the Past

1-2014-06-21 18.36.41

Where: (The Historic) United Artists Theatre at Ace Hotel / LA Chapter

Location: 929 South Broadway, Downtown LA


If I had to pick one movie that I could watch over and over again with as much excitement as the first time I saw it, undoubtedly, it would be Back to the Future. It’s one of those films that hold up almost 30 years later as a uniquely fun, creative expression of what that amazing thing we call cinema can be: and that’s however far and wide the imagination chooses to go. It’s also one of those near-perfect films that never gets old: the acting, the writing, the story line, the music – everything about it epitomizes a now classic comedy. It’s pretty funny how a 1985 film is a now considered “a classic.”

And because of this much-deserved status, let the record show I’d boycott any attempts at Hollywood getting cute and wanting to re-make what has to be my all-time favorite trilogy. Hands off!

1-2014-06-21 18.43.57{Waiting in line.}

Needles to say, I was beyond excited when I learned the LA Conservancy was hosting a special screening of the film, along with a Q&A with a few of the actors in the newly restored United Artists Theatre last Saturday night. Since I wasn’t yet quite able to understand nor enjoy films in 1985 (because I was too busy taking on the important task of learning how to walk and talk), what a treat to finally see the film on the big screen and in such a special way.

1-2014-06-21 18.40.21{Exterior, The Historic United Artists Theater at Ace Hotel.}

The United Artists Theatre was built in 1927 as a movie palace for the then unstoppable United Artists Movie Studio formed by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin (i.e. Hollywood royalty!). In January 2014, the 1,600 seat theater was re-opened, restoring its incredible Spanish Gothic vibe while maintaining all of its historic Hollywood glamour. The building now also hosts the ever-popular boutique luxury Ace Hotel, L.A. Chapter, and the Upstairs Bar.

1-DTLA_Theatre_Flow_Vert{Unfortunately, my digital camera died so all of the pictures in this post were taken with my phone. It was too dark to capture the exquisite intricacy of the interior of the theater, but you just have to see why this theater is SO special. I sourced this photo from the website.}

I think the highlight of my evening was the DeLorean sighting. My boyfriend told me he overheard that this wasn’t the original DeLorean used in the film. Apparently, this is the one from the Back to the Future ride located at Universal Studios. Either way, I was happy to see it!

1-2014-06-21 18.36.10{DeLorean sighting…}

1-2014-06-21 18.41.20{…the icing on the cake.}

After the screening, we  made our way over to LA Chapter, just steps away from the theater. Currently, this one of the most buzzed about places on the restaurant circuit downtown. I promised last week that I’d give you the scoop. Unfortunately, I can’t say it’s worth the hype. Let’s break it down, shall we?

1-2014-06-21 18.38.27{Exterior, LA Chapter.}

To start: I ordered an iced tea, though I’d swear an iced coffee came to my table. I’m pretty well-versed (I think…I hope!?!) about the differences in taste when it comes to coffee and tea (because I happen to have an addiction deep affinity for both). When I mentioned this to the waitress her response was that she grabbed it from the “iced tea dispenser” and that she’d been “serving it all night without complaint.” Now, perhaps I’m crazy, but there is a distinct difference between tea and coffee, right? I mean, iced tea is usually a dark-brownish color. This was opaque black! Is it possible they were using some super trendy high-end tea bags, brewed so strong, it starts channeling the taste and look of coffee? Yeah, this was not a good way to start a dining experience. And if, by chance, it was my faulty taste buds (though it certainly didn’t taste like iced tea to me) I’ll apologize in advance.

She was kind enough to switch if for a Mexican Coca-Cola (which was perfect!), but it was still just so off-putting to me. How do you screw up iced tea?

I tried to muster some excitement about my favorite part: the food. I ordered a burger (medium well) as did my BF (medium) and we both agreed it was the driest thing we ever ate. Both our burgers were over-cooked. Much to their credit, the french fries were delish.

Suffice to say, I wasn’t impressed, boys and girls. In fact, I was quite disappointed. It stinks when you hear about an awesome new restaurant, make the trek across town to make a night of it, and get there to iced tea that tastes likes coffee, realizing that you could have gone to In-N-Out and gotten a much better burger at 3 times less the cost…drink included.

1-2014-06-21 18.38.43{Exterior, Ace Hotel.}

That being said, it was still a nice change of pace from our normally pretty boring Saturday nights in over the last few months. And it’s starting to get to me. We all know I’m a gal who likes to get out and explore…then report back to you! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a good “let’s check out LA” post.

As I write this and take in the weight of this experience, I wish I would’ve been a little more present now that I think about it. Of course, I was glad to put on my favorite new lipstick (MAC’s Perpetual Flame), and be out late on a Saturday night, at an event, excited to see one of my all-time favorite films in one of the most celebrated old Hollywood movie palaces ever created.

However, at the time, I was also slightly bummed that I didn’t check the battery on my camera before heading out, knowing I wouldn’t get quality images for the blog and we’d be in low-lighting spaces all night. And my poor boyfriend was clearly exhausted, teetering on getting sick (though he didn’t want to go home and still tried to keep things happy).

In a sense we were essentially getting a taste of the past, watching a film the way those did 87 years ago, when movies were truly a grand event, a celebration! Where attention to detail and craftsmanship was on a whole other level when thinking about architecture and design in the late 1920s.

I went to use the restroom in the basement of the theater and they had a separate vanity area with those awesome Hollywood dressing room-like, bright, light bulbs (that make EVERYONE look good…I’m so getting these installed in my dream home someday), and I can only imagine the history that’s walked through that same room.

As I reflect back, I realize that though dinner really sucked at that over-hyped restaurant, which has only been open about 6 months now – it’s a trend that will come and go. Another will take its place. That’s just the way it goes. But that theater, all of its grandeur and design will remain, saluting the origins of Hollywood. It’s pretty cool when you think about it: we were there to see Back to Future, but for one night only truly living in spirit of the past.


Stay in Touch: Facebook Twitter Bloglovin

Advertisements