SHIMMERING, EXTRAVAGANT giant crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling in every room of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Downtown Los Angeles. I walked into this elaborate building for the first time last week and I was awe struck. In jeans and a blouse I felt under-dressed to be in such an exquisite space and yet for me I found the building itself out of place and rather odd. I felt transported back into 1960’s Los Angeles; it is obvious they have kept the building the way it was originally envisioned in 1962. Dorothy Chandler built the building in an effort to renew the arts scene in Los Angles. As well as provide a proper home for the philharmonic. This building houses on of the largest stages in America, however due to the other three performance halls located just a few feet away, this hall is not used as much as it once was.
Walking into this building the history of Los Angeles comes flooding upon you. On the second floor there is homage paid to what that area of downtown once was, with a metal sculpture of Bunker Hill. What was once a historic area with beautiful Victorian Houses and families inhabiting them that had lived there for decades, is now filled with apartment complexes and condos. With this piece of history staring at you the significance of this building becomes apparent. Unlike other buildings that have overtaken the memories of Downtown L.A., this building is part of that history. Built by the wife of the second Editor of the Los Angeles Times, Chandler loved the city and wanted to help the community by building this performance hall.
The sculpture of Bunker Hill brought images of old men walking down the hill to get groceries and the deteriorating buildings which people refused to leave. The videos I have seen on the last days of Bunker Hill will forever remain ingrained in my memory and I smiled at this sculpture for the reminder it brings to anyone who sees it. Though it is actually a model of a set piece, this art piece says so much more about Los Angeles than the rest of the building does. Hopefully it will educate those who don’t know about what once existed on Bunker Hill and for those who do remember it will bring a smile to their face, knowing that even though it is gone, it is not completely forgotten.
Photo Credit: My camera