Mr. Adult Beginner went downtown to the Alexandria Hotel this morning for a work-thing, and sent me this text:
And he said, “What is the Blankenship Ballet?”
And then, “WTF LA. It’s in the Alexandria. Also, farmers market right outside, brunch inside at place called Gorbals.”
This is the thing about downtown LA.
It is Full Of Mysteries.
Seems like its mostly a wasteland, and then you find these Things and, like, who even knew they were there?
I mean, on the one hand there’s this story a friend was telling about doing a sets for a theater downtown: he’d go into the theater during the day, walk down streets all bustling with people going about their work day, and then he’d leave the theater late at night and the streets would be just as full and bustling but it would be All Homeless People.
And then on the other hand, within a block radius you can eat basically anything your heart desires at Grand Central Market, ride the Angels Flight, and wander around in the lobby of the Bradbury Building, which is open to the public.
Like, totally magic.
Why you gotta be all contradictory like that?
Anyway, I’ve never heard of the Blankenship Ballet, or the Alexandria Hotel, so, you know, I did what I do. Started googling.
And found out that the Blankenship Ballet is a ballet company in residence at the Alexandria, mostly dancers from the Ballet Nacional de Cuba.
And they work out of the Palm Court, one of the ballrooms at the Alexandria, which has an amazing, and amazingly intact, 1911 Tiffany stained glass skylight.
And the Palm Court has a crazy fascinating history. Presidents spoke there, movie stars danced there, the Stage Women’s War Relief held a kissing auction there in 1918, with 100 beautiful starlets. Soldiers and sailors received their kisses free of charge. In 1915 a dinner was held at the Palm Court for guest of honour Anna frikin Pavlova, who was persuaded to perform her Glow Worm Dance for the assembled guests. In 1920 Charlie Chaplin and Louis B. Mayer got in a knock-down drag-out fight right there in the lobby.
Right?! Wtf LA?!
The Palm Court was The Place To Be until 1923 when the Biltmore opened, and everyone started going there instead, and the Alexandria became a transient hotel and started having boxing matches in the ballroom.
And it limped along for ever, and now Bam! It’s been renovated into lofts and the neighborhood is hot again and the Blankenship Ballet holds these cabaret evenings that sound totally fantastical.
Seriously, LA. Wtf?!