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?