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In a city of Art Deco landmarks, the Wiltern might be one of L.A.'s most striking architectural fixtures. Originally intended as a vaudeville theater when it opened in 1931, the venue has hosted film screenings, but in more recent years has been primarily a location for rock and pop concerts. Named after the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Western Ave., where it's located on the edge of Koreatown, the grand old building features classic furnishings, crystal lamps and ornate sun designs painted on the theater's large, high ceiling. A large balcony looks down over a ground floor, which alternates between seated and general-admission style standing room. Several full bars are scattered around the roomy environs, including in the sumptuously gilded lobby. The high ceiling sometimes makes for echoing sound when loud rock bands play the theater, but the acoustics are usually fine for quieter performers and theatrical events. Ray Davies, Cheap Trick, Radio Birdman, Buffalo Springfield, the Breeders and Dimmu Borgir are among the widely disparate musicians who've invaded the Wiltern's lavish stage. All ages, with street parking and a multistory lot next door.
I have no idea if The Nutcracker performed by the Moscow Ballet Co. on Friday night was any good because I, and a good number of other people, didn't see it. My recommendation is, DON'T GO. Seats in the Wiltern aren't tiered or even staggered. Unless you are 7 feet tall, a sea of heads will enclose you so that only a sliver of the stage is visible at any time. Restrooms are inadequate and the music is prerecorded. Showtime was scheduled for 7:00 but the curtain didn't rise until nearly 8:00. Ushers talked to each other while latecomers stumbled in the dark to find their seats. The most entertaining part of the entire evening was the long line of people demanding, in strident voices, their money back while the management insisted NONE of the above was their problem. All this for $120 a ticket. SKIP THE WILTERN.
What can't you say about the Wiltern? Awesome venue! I love the sound, I love the set up. I love everything about it. I even forgave them for taking the seats out. The whole neighborhood around the place has changed but they remain!
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