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Photography

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 – 1930 Art Deco Now

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 – no point in heading east down the street.  The center of Hollywood was closed for the big premier at the Chinese Theater – big crowds, traffic detoured elsewhere.  It was the premier of Oceans 13 – and if you were there you might have caught a glimpse of Brad Pitt or George Clooney or Matt Damon, and Al Pacino was there. Or you might have seen nothing. On November 4, 1953, Marilyn Monroe was the star at the premiere of "How to Marry a Millionaire" – at the Wilshire Theater, 8440 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills. That was a better bet on the Tuesday in question, a dark grim day – the sun never came out.  And down on Wilshire there were no crowds.

The Wilshire Theater was known as the "Fox Wilshire" theater when it opened on September 19, 1930.  The UCLA digital archive has a shot from what may be opening night.  In any event, this building is, as it was from the late twenties, an Art Deco flight of fancy, designed by the architect S. Charles Lee.  It's a bit of a landmark from Hollywood's Golden Age.  For many years it was one of Fox's premier theaters, but no one has shown a movie there in over twenty years.  It's now used for live performances, and shared with the arts group of a local synagogue.  It has become a bit shabby, but you can still get a sense of what it once was.

So here's you dose of old Art Deco, in the dead quiet of a dark day – away from the current action.

The Wilshire Theater, 8440 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills
The Wilshire Theater, 8440 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills
The Wilshire Theater, 8440 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills
The Wilshire Theater, 8440 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills
The Wilshire Theater, 8440 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills
The Wilshire Theater, 8440 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills
The Wilshire Theater, 8440 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills

Yeah – that French guy was there, Patrick Bruel.

That would be this guy –

    Patrick Bruel (born Patrick Maurice Benguigui, on May 14, 1959 in Tlemcen, Algeria) is a Jewish French singer, actor, and professional poker player.

    Although Bruel aspired to be a football (soccer) star as a youth, he decided to pursue singing after seeing Michel Sardou in 1975. His first success came as an actor, however, in 1979's Le Coup de sirocco. He continued acting in films, on television and in the theater while pursuing his singing career. His first single, "Vide" ("Empty"), released in 1982, was not a success, but the follow up, "Marre de cette nana-là" ("Fed up with that chick"), was a hit.

    … As of 2004 Bruel has acted in more than 40 different television and film productions and made five studio albums and several live albums. His last album to date is Entre Deux (2002), a double CD of classic chanson that features duets with Charles Aznavour, Jean-Louis Aubert, Jean-Jacques Goldman, Alain Souchon and Renaud, among others. It sold two million copies and made Bruel France's best paid singer of the year. At the beginning of 2005, in response to the South Asian tsunami of December 26, 2004, Bruel wrote the song "Et puis la terre" to benefit the Red Cross.

    Trivia

    In addition to acting and singing, Bruel is a world class professional poker player. He won a World Series of Poker bracelet in 1998 for the $5,000 Limit Hold'em event. As of 2005 he has earned more than $750,000 in live tournament play.

The show was, oddly enough, scheduled for the anniversary of D-Day, the day when the Americans landed in France.  This was very odd.

The Wilshire Theater, 8440 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills

Next door, the statue of John Wayne – by Harry Andrew Jackson, whose real name is Harry Shapiro – looks over the scene. (The link explains it all.)  And across the street the clock has stopped.

Statue of John Wayne by Harry Andrew Jackson, Wilshire  Boulevard
Stopped Clock - Wilshire  Boulevard
The Wilshire Theater, 8440 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills

If you wish to use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me. And should you choose to download any of these images and use them invoking the 'fair use" provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976, please provide credit, and, on the web, a link back this site.

Technical Note:

Most of these photographs were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0.  Earlier photography was done with a Sony Mavica digital still camera (MVC-FD-88) with built-in digital zoom.

[1930 Art Deco Now]

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Alan M. Pavlik