Los Angeles native Singer/Emcee Aloe Blacc’s new video Tonight Downtown, made for Tanqueray Gin.
1913 the Rosslyn Hotel constructed its new building at the northwest corner of 5th and Main Streets called The New Million Dollar Rosslyn Hotel built by The Hart Brothers a major expansion of the hotel from its earlier home on Main Street between 4th and 5th Streets. At that time, the area around Main Street was the center of Los Angeles. Through the teens and twenties, the financial, commercial, and entertainment center of Southern California was based in Downtown Los Angeles, and the Rosslyn Hotel was one of its premier hotel destinations. In 1923, as a result of the success enjoyed by the Rosslyn and the surrounding district, the Rosslyn Annex was built across 5th Street, and today is still called the Rosslyn Hotel. The two buildings were connected by an underground marble tunnel, parts of which survive to this day. Both buildings were designed by architect John Parkinson, who was one of the most prolific architects in Downtown Los Angeles, responsible for much of the area’s finest architecture, including Union Station, the Title Guarantee Building, the Continental Building, the Alexandria Hotel, the Los Angeles Athletic Club, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and Los Angeles City Hall. At the end of World War II, Los Angelesresidents decentralized into the suburbs, resulting in the decay of the hotel and main st and turning into an SRO hotel in the late 70’s becoming a flophouse for crackheads, methlabs, drug dealers, prostitutes, and pimps until around 2003. Now the building has gone under renovation and is again going strong.
At the turn the century Dublin was a ticking time bomb, many years of suppression, destitution and fear turned the Irish against their “leader” Britain. The Irish Republican Brotherhood had decided that a rebellion must occur and at some time during the war. Professor MacNeill, the leader of the group had set up a parade to be held on Easter Sunday. Later Macneill found out the parade was going to be the base of the rebellion and cancelled it. The “promised” aid from Germany had fallen through, and in spite of MacNeill’s order, a few Irish decided to go ahead with the rebellion. James Connolly, Joseph Plunkett , Tom Clarke and Patrick Pearse were the leaders of the 1,000 man force. On April 24, 1916, the Monday after Easter, the rebels took over many buildings in Dublin. Despite enormous odds, the Irish rebels held out for about a week, until they were confronted by 20,000 British soldiers.
“They think they have forseen everything, but the fools! the fools! the fools! they have left us our Fenian dead; and while Ireland holds these graves “Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.” – from Pearse’s Oration
Today in 1947 Benny ” Bugsy” Siegel, who brought organized crime to the West Coast and help start Las Vegas. Was shot outside the mansion that he and his mistress shared located at Virginia Hill 810 Linden Drive, in Beverly Hills. Bugsy is pretty much responsible for putting Las Vegas on the map, although he was not the first one in Vegas. There was already a casino being built there by a man named William R. Wilkerson. Wilkerson had a gambling problem and quickly ran out of money, so Bugs saw the potential and took controlling interest in the endeavor. Using investments from the Mafia, he took over the plans to build the first casino resort in Las Vegas. Unfortunately the budget ran WAY over, and Bugsy was suspected of skimming. The mob was not happy, as they had already fronted about 5 million dollars into the project.
According to reports Bugsy was reading the LA Times in the living room, around 10:30 at night. Meanwhile the assailant is sneaking up the driveway of the house next door. He aims through the side window firing 8 or 9 shots from a .30 caliber rifle, 3 or 4 of them ended up in Bugsy’s head. Most reports agree that one shot blew his eye clear out of his head, across the room like a poolball. He died immediately of cerebral hemorrhage.
In 1943 the tension between Sailors and Mexican Americans wearing zoot suits came to a peak on May 31st when a group of 12 sailors and soldiers fight with a group of Mexican American zootsuiters and 1 sailor gets seriously hurt. Three days later a group of 50 sailors go to downtown LA to seek revenge for there injured friend. They start roaming the streets of downtown and beat up every Mexican American they see wearing a zoot suit. The next day the sailors continue to cause trouble in downtown. They hire a taxi to drive around looking for men in zoot suits, but by this point they are attacking young Mexican Americans no matter what they are wearing. The riots continue for another 4 days and is only stopped after the military bans all U.S. servicemen from entering downtown LA, the next day Mexican Americans are also banned from wearing zootsuits and if caught can be punished with 50 days in jail.
“Marching through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, a mob of several thousand soldiers, sailors, and civilians, proceeded to beat up every zoot suiter they could find. Pushing its way into the important motion picture theaters, the mob ordered the management to turn on the house lights and then ran up and down the aisles dragging Mexicans out of their seats. Streetcars were halted while Mexicans, and some Filipinos and Negroes, were jerked from their seats, pushed into the streets and beaten with a sadistic frenzy.” journalist Carey McWilliams
A short comedic glimpse of the culture, entertainment and everyday lifestyle of The Roaring Twenties from the motor car designed just for women, to the Wall Street crash in 1929.
King Eddy’s Saloon at the bottom of the 120-year old King Edward Hotel was the main hub of illegal alcohol bootlegging. Part of a huge network of underground tunnels sprawling the greater part of downtown Los Angeles, this 90-year old speakeasy made its home under the ground floor of a well known piano shop.
After prohibition ended in 1933 there was no use for the underground dwelling as the upstairs was converted back into the dive we know today. King Eddys holds LA’s longest standing liquor license and continues to serve Skid Row residents with the cheapest drinks in town and unlike a lot of old bars in downtown has not gone under renovation and remains grimey and divey. When I first went to King Eddys I instantly knew why Charles Bukowski and John Fante wrote great works of literature here, it’s the perfect place for a down and out wino who doesnt want to socialize or just someone who wants a cheap beer in a place that holds so much history.
131 E. 5th St. Los Angeles, CA 90013
The Palace Theater opened in 1911 as The Orpheum
designed by G. Albert Lansburgh in a beaux-arts style, it was one of the longest running movie palaces in the US until it closed down in 2000. Originally a vaudeville theater which every major vaudeville star at the time performed at including: the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Sarah Bernhardt, Bob Hope, Houdini, Al Jolson and Will Rogers. When Houdini performed his stage magic and death-defying escapes, an ambulance was kept parked on the curb in case of emergency.
In1926 it then became a silent movie house and later added sound for the talkies. During the war it became one of the movie houses that had news reels so Los Angeles residents would flock to Broadway to see the latest news. Over the years as Downtown residents moved out and headed towards west LA The Palace Theater along with the other 11 theaters became run down showing B-movies only. In the late 1970’s and throughtout the 80’s and 90’s as new immigrants from mexico and central america populated downtown the palace became a popular theater once again showing either Adult films, Mexican Narco Cinema and other spanish films until it closed.
Now the Theater is still used for a filming location but mainly remains unused and waiting for new life. Now finally it is currently in the process or reopening for live performances and special events.
The Charleston was the dance that captured the spirit of the 1920s. It was danced with wild abandon by a new generation of independent young Americans, to the new hot jazz that was flooding the country.
The dance began in Charleston, South Carolina, the city from which it takes its name. In 1923, The Charleston was featured in the Broadway show Runnin Wild, one of the biggest hits of the decade. The song from the show James P. Johnsons tune The Charleston, spread the fad across the nation and onwards to the rest of the world. Josephine Baker became famous for performing the Charleston in Paris in the 1920s. The Charleston is both a solo and partnered dance, both wildly exuberant and exciting to watch. As the hot jazz of the 1920s gave way to the swingin jazz of the 1930s and 40s, the partnered version of Charleston evolved into Lindy Hop. – http://www.sharondavis.com.au