Marla Gibbs, the actress who played Florence the maid on the TV sitcom "The Jeffersons." and starred on "227," has given a little back to the old neighborhood by opening Marla's Memory Lane (which is also known as Marla's Jazz Supper Club).
It's exactly what the name suggests, offering authentic old-time Jazz, Standards, and Big Band in a relaxed dining environment.
She opened the club in 1981 (although it's been around for over 60 years in one form or another.) Marla has managed to keep the place going despite financial difficulties, but since 1994, it has been open and closed sporatically. So you'll probably want to call ahead to be sure that something is scheduled. As of April 1999, though, Marla's offered a Jazz Champagne Brunch with live entertainment every Sunday ($17)
Over the years, the club has been a showcase for many up & coming African-American jazz artists. Some of the legends of jazz have played there over the last decade, including Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Witherspoon, Pee Wee Crayton and Albert Collings. In early May of 1995, the club hosted a two-day birthday bash for Marla (replete with live jazz), which was open to the public. It may become an annual tradition. (Her birthday is May 14, by the way...)
The place has a bar and showroom in the front room, and a dining room in the back with celebrity photos.
The only drawbacks are the club's unusual hours (it's open Sunday from 11 AM to 4 PM) and its location in South-Central Los Angeles. (Exercise reasonable caution.)
Getting there: Marla's is located about a mile east of the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Plaza mall,just west of the corner of Arlington & Martin Luther King.
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