Edward E. Haynes, Jr, resident scenic design associate for the Mark Taper Forum, says history is for hire in L.A. When he had to create a period New York brownstone for the Alabama Shakespeare, he shipped the East Coast look from Linoleum City, an L.A. carpet and linoleum source he loves. Ray Mosqueta at United Upholstery is another favorite. Haynes says he can find anything in L.A.'s huge design district; many New York providers like Rose Brand have outlets near the garment district.
Theatre designers in this film-centered city have âcultivated and trained film vendors to understand what we do in live theatre,â Haynes says. And the movies themselves are resources. Warner Brothers, Disney, and Paramount produce extensive catalogs of moldings, vacuum forms, stone textures and other architectural elements.
Candice Cain, who runs the costume shop for the Center Theatre Group and designs, needs a drycleaner who meets deadlines, understands costumes âand can be trusted with open access to the theatres.â Taline Mazlemian at Priority One Costume Cleaners in Hollywood fills the bill. Cain frequents Santee Alley downtown for cheap trendy clothes and shoes, and Artesia, CA for East Indian clothing, jewelry, accessories, and silk and cotton sari fabrics. She likes Prop Specs for period and contemporary eyewear rentals.
Costume designer Dori Quan says, âChinatown is great for inexpensive jewelry, especially realistic looking jade and âChineseâ gold. Five Point Men's Clothing in Lincoln Heights carries 60's and 70's men's clothes, especially pants, military clothing, Dickies work clothes (all sizes). Just ask for Terry. And Nguyen at HB Tailor and Bridals in Garden Grove is a stitcher/tailor who can knock off anything. In Gardena, the Rodium Swap meet has a group of inexpensive fabric and trim vendors.â
âIn the early 80s, sources didn't exist in L.A.,â says David Kay Mickeleson. âNow I can get pretty much everything I need here.â
Lighting, Projection & Sound Sources
Projection designer Marc Rosenthal of Personal Creations trusts Media Fabricators. âThey have been the key vendor back to the days of slide shows,â he says, noting that they've kept up in the digital age. He likes Video Cam in Anaheim for its wide range of gear, good prices, and good service. He purchases computer equipment and software at New Media in Hollywood and goes to RS Photo in the valley for large format projects.
For lighting, Personal Creations rents from Angstrom Stage Lighting, Entertainment Lighting Services, and PRG, and for trussing, they go to Total Access. GAM Products is the place for color and patterns; it also has a great new rehearsal studio.
LD Jose Lopez always calls Call Bros. first. âJim Call has it or can get what you need and always has a good price. L.A. has all the vendors. Angstrom is great and is a bigger outfit. If I work in the valley, I use ELS.â
There are plenty of resources for sound designers, too. Los Angeles City College provides a list of venues and many resources for all designers at http://theatre_academy.lacitycollege.edu/links.htm#anchorthtrs.
Museums and Libraries
Haynes likes L.A. Central, the Brand in Glendale, and the Huntington Garden in Pasadena; Quan uses L.A. Central, the FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) Bookstore, L.A. Mart Bookstore, and the Chinatown Branch Library. Museums? Quan likes the Japanese American National Museum, and Juan Lopez uses Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Autrey, UCLA Hammer Museum of Art, Norton Simon, the Natural History Museum of L.A. County and the Fowler. Everyone mentions the Getty.
Have a unique need? Try the California African American Museum, California Museum of Science and Industry, L.A. Museum of the Holocaust, Museum of Neon Art, Petersen Automotive Museum, the Southwest Museum (for Native American art and artifacts) the Russian National Museum, and the Wells Fargo History Museum.
Where Designers Work and Play
Venues abound â large and small, public and private, traditional and experimental, political, ethnic, and star-studded. Even the concert halls do theatre: The remodeled Hollywood Bowl presented a lavish My Fair Lady for one night; the John Anson Ford opened Sophocles Antigone from Peru's Yuyachkani troupe; Frank Gehry designed the Walt Disney Concert Hall: âIt's new and it has it all,â says Juan Lopez. Just watch out for that reflection!
Where do designers like to work and play? Ed Haynes and Mark Rosenthal put the Mark Taper Forum crews at the top of their lists. The new Kirk Douglas Theatre crews rank high, too. âThey are a lot of fun to work with and they get the job done in a timely orderly manner,â says Haynes.
Rosenthal says Cerritos, which has a configurable stage and auditorium, is fabulous.
Lopez names the Japan American Theatre, âlarge enough to put on a production and still be intimate.â His favorite small venue is The Theatre @ Boston Court, a new small facility many like. âIt's very intimate and has a great sound,â says Quan.
Cain likes The Greek Theatre. âTucked into the hills of Griffith Park, you'd never know you were in the middle of the city.â She also likes the Evidence Room Theatre, where there is ânever a dull theatrical moment.â
Quan likes East West Players for its âgreat crew and staff,â the Japan America Theatre, a âgreat space,â the Water Court, which gives free concerts all summer, and Shakespeare Festival/L.A. that brings canned food for the homeless as well as free Shakespeare to downtown L.A. every summer.
In April, L.A. Weekly presented awards to artists who worked in these venues for four areas of design and for the usual non-design areas. And in November, the Los Angeles Stage Alliance presented peer-judged Ovation Awards, two for each design area for work in small and large venues.You'll find all their picks at: http://ibs.theatermania.com/content/news.cfm/story/5352 and http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/12/theater-awards.php.
WHERE TO GO IN L.A.: SCENIC
Linoleum City: www.la411.com/Linoleum_City.cfm Paramount Productions: 323-956-5191
Rose Brand: www.rosebrand.com
United Upholstery: 310-532-9331
HB Tailor and Bridals: Anh Nguyen, 714-539-4287
Five Point Men's Clothing: 323-222-6875
Priority One Costume Cleaners:
Taline Mazlemian, 323-663-4370, Cell: 213-590-4422
Prop Specs: Hillary Windroff, 323-935-7776
Rodium Swap Meet: Redondo Beach Blvd., Gardena Santee Alley: 213-488-1153
Angstrom Stage Lighting: 800-422-5744, 213-462-8384
Call Bros.: Jim Call, 626-794-8306, firstname.lastname@example.org
Entertainment Lighting Services: www.elsnoho.com
GAM Products: www.gamonline.com
Media Fabricators: www.webmovie.com/Guide/1227.htm
New Media: www.nmh.com
RS Photo: 818-764-5777, www.rsphoto.com
Total Access: www.tarecording.com
Video Cam: 714-772-2002, www.videocaminc.com
For LA Library locations and times: www.lapl.org/branches
Brand Library& Art Center: www.ci.glendale.ca.us
The Huntington Library & Art Collections: www.huntington.org
FIDM Bookstore: www.fidm.com
LA Mart Bookstore: www.lamart.com/lamart
For more museums visit: artscenecal.com and www.laokay.com/default.htm
Hollywood Bowl: 323-850-2000, www.hollywoodbowl.com
Ford Amphitheatre: 323-461-3673, www.fordamphitheater.org
Walt Disney Concert Hall: 323-850-2000, wdch.laphil.com
Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum, Kirk Douglas Theatre: www.taperahmanson.com
Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts: 562-916-8501, www.CerritosCenter.com
Japan America Theatre: 213-680-3700
Theatre @ Boston Court: 626-683-6883, www.bostoncourt.com
The Greek Theatre: www.greektheatrela.com
Evidence Room: 213-381-7118, www.evidenceroom.com
East West Players: www.eastwestplayers.org
California Plaza's Water Court: 213-687-2159, www.grandperformances.org
Shakespeare Festival/LA: www.shakespearefestivalla.org
More venues at www.losangeles.com/theater/index.shtml
This Month in L.A.
The big news here is Gordon Davidson's departure from the Center Theater Group. An L.A. fixture for 37 years, Davidson passes the torch to former Williamstown Theatre Festival artistic director Michael Ritchie.
The Geffen's premiere revival of Paint Your Wagon is on, with sets and lighting by PM Daniel Ionazi, costumes by David Kay Mickeleson, and sound by Phil Allen. (www.geffenplayhouse.com)
School for Scandal continues at the Mark Taper Forum, with scenic design adapted by Edward E. Haynes Jr. from a design by Ann Curtis, costumes by Catherine Zuber, hair and wigs by Gerrold Altenburg, lighting by Robert Wierzel, and sound by Jon Gottlieb.
The premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's The Paris Letter, is at the Kirk Douglas Theatre until Jan. 2. Scenic design by Michael Brown, costumes by Alex Jaeger, lighting by Christopher Akerlind, and sound by Adam Phalen. Flight will open on Jan. 15, with sets and costumes by Myung Hee Cho and lighting by Geoff Korf.
East West previews Proof, which opens Feb. 2 with costumes by Quan and lighting by Lopez, who also lit 36 Views for the Laguna Playhouse this month.