Sidewalk Envy, Ace Hotel as Cultural Facilitator

Sometimes we can't help but get a little envious of other cities when we travel. One desire that often comes up as we see how other downtowns have been designed is the size of our sidewalks. Downtown LA's sidewalks, for the most part, tend to be shallower than in the average city. With more people walking in the area than have for decades, sidewalks can get very quickly crowded. This is especially true in places where there are amenities on the sidewalks - like newspaper stands along/adjacent to Broadway or new restaurant patios along 7th Street. It's even worse in front of new construction projects, of which there are many, where sidewalks are partially to completely fenced off without accommodation being made in the roadway. This not only makes for an unpleasant pedestrian experience, but it's dangerous too. We hope more new developments in Downtown LA create sidewalk setbacks that allow for more pedestrian space and that more road diets offer new street configurations that prioritize walking above all.    •

In a city full of cultural collisions, the Ace Hotel continues to set the bar for being one of the most impressive facilitators of arts collaborations. Its latest offering took over the Theatre at Ace Hotel for several nights last week. In honor of Halloween, the Theatre welcomed an amassing that perhaps only Ace could: a theater-large screening of Dracula (1931), with live orchestration by the world-famous Kronos Quartet, scored and conducted by composer/pianist Phillip Glass, and presented by the LA Opera. Acting as more than just a performance space, the Theatre itself became part of the audiovisual experience. The orchestra played behind the film, occasionally coming into full view and then obscuring behind the scene. The theater's backlights flashed a foreboding red glow at critically tense parts of the film, illuminating the space's hallowed gothic architecture. We're grateful for a recent wave of strong, sophisticated, and thoroughly enjoyable programming at Ace Hotel and look forward to seeing what future collaborations come next.     •

Dracula at the Theatre at Ace Hotel was a stunning musical and theatrical experience.
(via LA Times Review)