Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Live! At Largo at the Coronet!

Ah, Largo. Owned and booked by just one man, its very independence gives it the right to be a bit eccentric. One might even call the ticket procuring process byzantine. Even so, after attending two performances there last week I have to give it a grudging thumbs up over venues like the Wilturn operated by Live Nation or some other mega-conglomerate. My reasoning? Access!

I never did brave Largo when it was at its tiny former location on Fairfax Avenue. I wasn't dedicated enough to get in. But now, in the quaint old Coronet Theater, Largo seats 250 people. Better yet, it doesn't matter who you are. We showed up early to get our tickets the night of Aimee Mann's Christmas Show, and guess what? Fourth row center. For all I know Ben Stiller might have been there with Oprah Whinfrey. I wouldn't know, since they would have been seated far behind us if they had shown up later. It truly seems to be first come, first serve. This was borne out later in the week when we returned to see genial comedian Paul F. Tompkin's show. This time the folks behind us were talking loudly about the various T.V. shows they appeared on. A zoo keeper given better seats than industry insiders? At Largo it seems possible.

It was a happy day for the Coronet Theater when Largo owner Mark Flanagan took an interest in it. Without his intervention it would have been demolished and turned into an Urban Outfitters, another chunk of Los Angeles history preserved only in photos. The fact that it was saved seems important to me. As the photo at the right shows, Bertold Brecht and Charles Laughton rehearsed here in 1947. The small bar next door, now incorporated into the Largo courtyard, was once the original Troubadour where Woody Guthrie used to play.

In its day, the Coronet was apparently quite grand. Works by Picasso and Chagall lined the walls. Legend has it that Igor Stravinsky helped paint the lobby. Eugene O'neill, Jimmy Stewart, and Charlie Chaplin attended performances. The photo at the left shows Chaplin with his fourth wife Oona.

I wonder if they're sitting in our seats?

7 comments:

  1. That place holds some history. Thanks for sharing

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  2. Darling they are in our seats, and I think she's wearing my dress and jewels as well!

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  3. Love the story. Thanks for sharing

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  4. I love this kind of historic post. Sounds like a great place!

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  5. How fun to be able to go to a place like that with such history! Thanks for sharing!

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