Seeing Stars: Live on Stage


5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
(323) 936-6400 or (323) 936-4790


The El Rey Theater, on Wilshire Boulevard, only seats 700, but on Nov 15, 2001, Mick Jagger (of Rolling Stones fame) showed to do a few songs and to premiere his new single, ''God Gave Me Everything.'' The event became part of a one-hour ABC special acalled "Being Mick". Celebrities in attendance included Other rockers in attendance that day included Meg Ryan, Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, David Spade and Naomi Campbell.

Not long ago they hosted back-to-back concerts for Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne. Emmylou Harris did a benefit concert there in late '98. They've also had Joe Jackson, Tori Amos, Beck, Sonic Youth and John Hiatt on stage recently. But most of the rock acts you'll see here at the El Rey are a bit lesser-known and alternative, such as Cake, Dishwalla, Goo Goo Dolls, The Presidents of the United States of America, the Cardigans, Barenaked Ladies, The Catherine Wheel, Lounge Lizards, Everclear, They Might Be Giants, Space and the Afghan Whigs.

But concerts are only part of the story here. The restored theater is also a hot spot on the club circuit, featuring an eclectic mix of club nights, ranging from popular swing dancing (which fits well with the posh decor) to experimental music and local bands. (In fact, the place is so popular that the fire marshall has been down several times to enfore capacity limits.)

   

The El Rey is an Art Deco gem, a registered historical landmark that was recently restored to its former glory. Built in 1928, the theatre has mammoth chandeliers, red satin curtains, velvet walls, two bars and two elevated dining areas circling the carpeted, sunken dance floor. It can accommodate an audience of 700 (although some complain that the stage is rather small). Twin staircases lead up to the V.I.P. balcony lounge, which overlooks the main ballroom and its stage.

The El Rey was also featured in at least one movie.

It shows up at the start of 1984's "Night of the Comet," standing in as the movie theatre where 'Regina' and 'Larry' worked, played video games and fooled around (before they woke up to find that everybody in L.A had been turned to dust by Halley's Comet except them and some zombies.)

 Getting there: The El Rey Theatre is located on the north side of Wilshire Blvd., in the Miracle Mile district, just a few blocks east of the La Brea Tar Pits and  LACMA. From Farmer's Market, take Fairfax south to Wilshire, turn left (east) and go east to near La Brea. The theatre will be on your left (north) side.


[For more info, you can access the El Rey's official website at: http://www.theelrey.com.]



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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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