The Lido Theatre, located in Newport Beach, near Pacific Coast Highway & the beach, opened in 1938.
The first film to play at this old Film Palace was the Bette Davis flick "Jezebel".
Ol' Bette lived down the street, somewhere in Corona Del Mar, and apparently came by the site as it was being built.
She, um, politely, told the owner "they had better open with my picture."
Hee, hee. ;-D
Ladies, you have her to thank for the sitting parlor in the ladies room that, as the website describes it, "harkens back to a time when women sat and smoked and chatted while arranging makeup in the mirrors. The parlor stools are period pieces and add such a wonderful touch."
There was supposed to be a Mens room downstairs, too, but Davis nixed that brilliant idea and so, guys, you have to get a work out to go potty and, um, space apparently being at a premium, be prepared to hold it, as the line might get long. ;-D
The Lido has been restored, including the balcony seating.
The poster cases are original, as is the tiny box office located outside the theatre under the Grand Marquee, and the Lido still uses manually dispensed real tickets instead of computer generated ones. The Grand Marquee is spectacular, with neon that lights the entire street, and painters and photgraphers can be seen daily in front of the theatre.
I got there at 6pm, and the lines to get in had already begun to form.
People of all ages, and backrounds were gathering for an entertaining evening at the Fleas & Itches (An Aussie term of endearment for the Movie Theatre, in loving honor of the early days before most cinemas where cleaned real nice like.).
The first things you notice, once inside, are the comfy seats, and the waterfall red velvet curtain that rises when each film begins.
Another thing you will notice, later, once the screening begins, is that the owner allows no pre-show advertisements!
Yup, you can safely bring your 5 year old to the movies, here, and not worry about seeing previews for Saw #Whatever before a family friendly film. ;-D
Overheard in the theatre before the film started:
1 well-dressed caucasian young lady to another: Do you want to go pee and then wave at me?
She MIGHT have said "See"...the theatre WAS noisy, after all. ;-D
Overheard in the seat behind me:
Well-dressed caucasian man to well-dressed caucasian female companion: I'll take ya out to Dinner afterward, if you want...On the freeway over here I passed 2 In & Outs.
Now, ladies, before you give the guy grief for being such a cheapskate you must understand that, to many, in this part of the US of A, In & Out is a classy lunch, or dinner option, even the Drive-Thru only versions. ;-D
Blood Diamond is an Academy Award nominated 2006 drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou.
The title refers to blood diamonds, those baubles mined in African war zones and sold to finance the conflicts and profit the warlords and unscrupulous, greedy, diamond companies around the world.
The film was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Actor (DiCaprio) and Best Supporting Actor (Hounsou).
Set during the Sierra Leone Civil War in 1999, the film shows a country ripped apart by the struggle between government soldiers and rebel forces, and the film goes out of its way to portray many of the atrocities of that war, including the rebels' amputation of people's hands to stop them from voting in upcoming elections, and how young boys are forced to become killers thru the use of violence, intimidation, indoctrination, and drugs.
It is not a pretty picture, life in the hell hole that is much of Africa.
This film deals with the lives of 4 people affected by these goings on.
A villager, played by Honsou, and his son, from whom he is separated, and who becomes a warrior with the rebels.
An adventurer, and smuggler, played by DiCaprio.
A journalist in search of the big story on the smugglers, and the Diamond Traffic, played by Connelly.
The villager finds a valuable diamond, while enslaved in a diamond mine, and one of his rebel captors, and the smuggler, eventually learn of this.
While the rebel leader gets hold of the villagers son, and turns him into a warrior, the smuggler ingratiates himself with the villager, offering help recovering the diamond the villager has hidden, and finding his son.
These two then meet the journalist.
From there much traversing of the country, and much violence, ensues, and the smuggler and journalist fall for each other, as he also gets a conscience while helping rescue the kid, and retrieve the diamond.
3 characters, with 3 different agendas, who are unknowingly part of a much larger story, with more complex issues at its heart, that ultimately affected them all profoundly.
Blood Diamond is a well made film, with excellent acting by the 3 leads as well as the actors playing the kid, and the rebel leader.
After the film there was an interesting Q and A with the director, and composer.
It was an interesting discussion, as they answered questions from the moderator, and the audience.
The director talked about reading an early script for the film that didn't deal with the the diamonds, and the issue of child exploitation, but this led him to develope the eventual script with those issues in mind.
The director and composer talked about colaboration being a process of conversation about everything about the film, and how the score for the film evolves from this ongoing conversation.
The film, they say, was about the universal theme of what is valuable, and the music neded to be about this notion, and not just a travelogue score.
The composer was hired early in the process, and had 3-4 months to work on the film score.
Zwick says that Howard was brave enough to throw ideas up against the film to see what worked and what didn't.
He said that film often tells the makers what it needs to be thru the editing process, and intent changes as the film evolves, and so some musical ideas take shape and stay, or get discarded.
The music sometimes reveals things in a film that the makers, and the audience, don't realize is there.
The composer says that composing for concerts is different, and extremely challenging and liberating, when compared to film scoring.
He felt he had less control and found it nervewracking, while being exhilirating.
He said that becoming a film composer, 25 yeasrs ago, was an accident as he had already done so many other types of music composing.
He decided to include African artists in the score thru a process of collaboration with the director and their chosen performers who they were familiar with and liked.
In one case a performer added so much that he could almost have been considered a co-composer.
They found local hip-hop artists in Sierra Leone, including one Sudanese who was a former child soldier.
The director said that if you knew before hand how much you might have to do on a film you might not even begin.
Logistics on some films can be terrifying, and filmmaking is what he called "redundancy, preperation, and a maniacal 3 hours & a cloud of dust sort of process."
You must be prepared to give and take, and be dedicated to up to 2 years of hard work.
Howard feels electronic and orchestral are not mutually exclusive in composing for film.
He said that since only 2 major soundstages for orchestration are left in Los Angeles many productions go overseas.
He said that deciding where music or silence reside in a film is a collaborative process involving watching the film, and a lot of trade-offs between the creative vision of one person, and that of another.
He said that he believes the line about there being no truth, only stories...
"So I decide to be as literally true to the story the filmmakers want to tell within the constraints of a 2 hr. film."
After the Q and A I went up to Mr. Howard, and shook his hand.
I told him I enjoyed the film, and the music.
I told him how, as a child, and teen, in the 70's, I played the violin, and grew up to love instrumental, and other types of, music much different than that gushed over by my peers, and how my evolving love of film meshed with this interest because I was as much enthralled by the music as by the story telling.
I joked that it was all the fault of composers like himself, and he laughed at that. ;-D
***UPDATE - 2/25***
American Composers Festival Blogger Peter Lefevre has some observations of his own, about the event, in these posts: