The bad news came in this weekend's LA Times:
Preservationists are...bracing for the potential loss of [Westwood Village's] two most architecturally distinctive theaters: the Village and Bruin, which date from the 1930s. Encino-based Mann Theatres has given notice that it intends not to renew its leases on the Broxton Avenue theaters -- one Spanish Mission style with the famed neon-lighted Fox tower, the other Art Moderne with a distinctive wraparound marquee. Both are city historic-cultural monuments.
The Mann Village Theatre is my favorite movie theater in the whole wide world. I've been frequenting it since my high-school days (often with some of the other Sons) and to me it embodies the glamour and magic of moviegoing.
It wasn't a summer blockbuster if it wasn't at the Village. In 1999, when we thought Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace was going to be, well, the next Star Wars, there was only one place to see it: the Village. If you were to add up the hours I've spent waiting in line on Broxton (Avenue, not Jonathan), Le Conte and Gayley, it could quite possibly be measured in weeks.
Stepping into the lobby is a timewarp experience, making me nostalgic for a time I've never even experienced. The whorehouse-red (but in a good way) carpeting and curtains and the art-deco touches make me feel as if I should be wearing a suit and a hat. The front-row balcony seats are my favorite, even if they're not necessarily in the theater's "sweet spot." Bolting up the staircases to claim choice seats is a fond moviegoing ritual.
The thought of losing another vintage theater is distressing, but I can see why it's happening. Parking has always been a problem in the area, and I admit the last movie I saw at the Village was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — more than a year ago. So I haven't exactly been supporting my favorite moviehouse.
The article mentions that new operators may revive the theaters' fortunes, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen. So until that next inevitable announcement arrives, we'd better catch a few flicks at the Village — while we still can.