Oh how I love Last Remaining Seats. Combining my love of classic film and the city of Los Angeles it’s a festival just made for me. When I was around 15 years old I came across an article about it in Sunset Magazine and wished I could attend but circumstances (namely not being old enough to drive) didn’t allow it. Little did I know that years later not only would I attend but I would eventually volunteer and then help organize the festival I had long ago dreamed of. Funny how life works.
After 5 years of volunteering I decided to go a step further this time and join the Last Remaining Seats committee. For several months previously Shannon, our friend Annie and I attended regular meetings and helped organize the 30th annual festival. It was hard work but ultimately rewarding. The festival was a tremendous success. So many people visited the beautiful film palaces of Broadway and watched a number of classics from Safety Last! to Top Gun. To see so many smiling faces was a true delight.
On June 11 we screened Some Like It Hot at the Los Angeles Theatre.
The Los Angeles is my favorite of the downtown theatres and it was a magnificent host to the sold out crowd.
As an added treat a special room was open to visitors. When the theatre opened it contained a children’s playroom so that parents could take a break and watch a movie. The playroom was circus themed with the most delightful murals that have, happily, survived to this day. It’s one of my favorite spots and I managed to pay it a visit in my free time.
In addition there was a jazz band, themed cocktails and a fun photo booth that I had to try out.
The following weekend we screened Singin’ in the Rain at The Theatre at Ace Hotel.
With both a matinee and evening screening it was a busy day. Before both performances Shannon and I walked the line of attendees and played a trivia game. With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees it could have been quite an ordeal had the game not been as fun as it was. We quizzed folks on how well they knew the stars of the film and I was happily impressed by their knowledge. Classic film is alive and well in LA!
The film was introduced by Patricia Kelly, Gene’s widow. This was the second time I’d seen her speak and she was fantastic. She gave so many wonderful insights into the musical and its stars that the audience adored her. After the movie we headed over to Clifton’s where I hosted pub trivia in the (not yet opened) Shadowbox Bar. Let me tell you, I was NERVOUS. I may write up a storm but public speaking is not my forte. Even though it was 11pm when we started the room was filled with a large crowd of film fans. Luckily it went well and, again, I was impressed with everyone’s film knowledge and I was happy to give away some wonderful prizes provided by Warner Archive and the artist Lorelay Bove.
This past Saturday was the final night of the fest and we screened Safety Last! at the Orpheum.
To honor Harold Lloyd we had a bevvy of activity for the (nearly) sold out crowd. There was a walking tour hosted by historian John Bengston featuring numerous locations from the film. Did you know Safety Last! was filmed downtown? Amazingly enough several of the locations survive and folks were able to see them in person. In addition we had a number of Harold Lloyd artifacts including various souvenirs and photos from his estate, Greenacres. And, of course, there was a photo booth. In fact, there were two!
How could I not take a picture with the man himself?
It was such a delight to take such an active role in the organization of this year’s event. I’m so thankful to the LA Conservancy for giving me the opportunity and I can’t wait until next year!