To think of Los Angeles as simply a place where movies and television shows are made is to ignore a city that is teeming with culture beyond the cinema. With the arts, Los Angeles is both a place of innovation and history: venturing forward with new works in dance and theater—REDCAT Theater in Downtown Los Angeles is a prime example of a space working toward pushing the boundaries of art, media, and performance—but still holding a healthy respect for tradition with its restored theaters and classic plays.
This diverse city attracts a heavily artistic bunch and that’s evident from the wide range of theaters, plays, and events available to the public. There’s a play for any group or budget; East West Players at the David Henry Hwang Theatre focuses on Asian-American themed plays, for instance. If an opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion seems out of your budget, the Actors’ Gang in Culver City offers a free Shakespeare play (with a twist on the classic story) in Media Park in summer.
And, speaking of summer: the gorgeous weather offers an extended season of outdoor shows and that’s where Los Angeles can truly shine. Whether it’s enjoying a classic summer picnic listening to the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl or watching a play outdoors with your family at the John Anson Ford Amphitheater, it’s a glorious way to celebrate the warmth and beauty Southern California has to offer.
Last but not least, let’s not forget our moneymaker: movies. Although we’re known for our blockbusters—those blow-’em-up, shoot-’em-down $500 million action films—in town there’s still a love for the classic film that turns up where you least expect it. Cinefamily at the Silent Film Theatre is one of the few places that still plays silent films, but they’ve also gone beyond that with its unabashed love for all things movies: campy films, indie films, even podcasts about film all happen here. American Cinemathèque operates out of the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, as well as the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, with its old-school Egyptian-themed courtyard, and gets away with showing Hitchcock one night and a triple-feature of Back to the Future the next.
Los Angeles offers more than one might expect, and that’s okay: it’s one city that’s always looking to prove the naysayers wrong.