Academy Museum

Change is in the air in the air in Hollywood—change you can see with a newly reshaped skyline changing the face of the Fairfax district.

 

Ever since the Oscars, Hollywood has been all abuzz about the city’s new Academy Museum.

Things kicked off with famed director Spike Lee giving a special tour of the new digs, which is a shrine of all things movies and television.

Architecturally, it is a superb reuse of the old May Company building with its Renzo Piano-designed “Death Star”—a feature the famed Italian architect says is absolutely not a nod to “Star Wars,” despite popular opinion—and its domed ceiling. 

Inside, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is a film lover’s dream come true with scripts, photos and memorabilia galore. You’ll even find Judy Garland’s glittering ruby red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.” A costume from “Black Panther” is on the prowl and “Star Wars’” C-3PO is also on display.

Its most dramatic feature is the new David Geffen Theater (the “Death Star”). It drops a 1,000-seat space age theater in the middle of it all. The project was directed by Piano, who has beautifully preserved the old department store at the same time. The eye catching Streamline Moderne style building was designed by A.C. Martin and Samuel Marx in 1939 when May Company was dubbed “The Store of Tomorrow.” 

The museum has come a long way since the early 1990s when there was talk of razing the old department store to make way for new development.

Thanks to preservationists including the Los Angeles Conservancy, the plans were scrapped and in 1992, it was declared Historic-Cultural Monument No. 566. Two years later, LACMA picked it up at cut rate prices. 

Then came Piano, who made a name for himself designing museums all around the world including New York’s Whitney. He was contracted by the academy to design a LACMA annex building on Wilshire. In 2012, the film academy took over the property. Indoors, Piano stripped the building and gave it a complete makeover. The result was outstanding. 

The Academy Museum is expected to be a big draw for film lovers of all stripes. 

One thing’s for sure, movie buffs have a place to call their own and things at Wilshire and Fairfax won’t be the same.

A BOOST FOR THE EMMYS

While a lot of television viewers are being lost, there was good news for the Emmys. Hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, viewership for the CBS telecast was up 16 percent from 2020.

The 73rd Emmy Awards was watched by 7.4 million people. 

The telecast most likely got a helping hand from an NFL lead-in but TV execs were happy to get a ratings goal any way they could.

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