Everyone who walks through the door gasps. Folks step from the sidewalk of downtown L.A.’s surprisingly well-lit, nearly deserted Broadway into the lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre and, taking in the old-school Hollywood opulence (visibly battered but undeniably vibrant, gorgeous), let go with reflexive sighs of “Wow” and “Oh, my God.” Mike Sonksen (a.k.a. Mike the PoeT), our tour guide for the evening, glides through the lobby introducing himself while two elderly couples, a hipster homo duo, assorted hetero power-broker couples dressed simply but expensively, and a gaggle of artsy-boho Silver Lake types all take in the cavernous space. Light from vintage crystal chandeliers glints off gilt ornaments and bronze banisters; even the dullest eye can catch and appreciate the attention to detail that workers from almost 80 years ago lavished on everything from the marble fountain to the etched and painted high ceiling. It feels like we’ve stumbled through a rainforest onto an ancient city, still intact, with the ghosts of a past civilization nudging us into awe.
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