If you're a film director, and you're going to have two stylish characters meet on a rooftop for a secret deal or romantic assignation, you will, without a doubt, make sure your scene includes a gigantic, big-lettered, noir-cool, neon-glowing (or marquee bulb-glowing) rooftop sign, the kind that used to announce the name of the hotel or apartment building or cinema below.
Not too many of those signs exist nowadays, but the Highland Theatre in Highland Park boasts one of the best.
It's a prominent and stunning signal that the cinema below was born of a different day. That day was March 5, 1925, to be specific, and a quick calculation reveals that the Highland Theatre is about to turn 90.
Which means, of course, a grand 90th birthday party is in order for the Figueroa Street landmark. The Highland Park Independent Film Festival is behind the bash, which will occur nine decades, to the day, from when the movie house first opened: Thursday, March 5.
Should guests think "Roaring '20s" for their manner of dress? Yes. Will there be a history-filled peek at the venue via the documentary "Highland Theater, A Legacy Uncovered"? There shall be (and it is the flick's premiere). Will vintage artifacts be on display? Look for them -- they'll be in the house. And will "Lady of the Night," the film that first opened the Highland back in 1925, screen along with live accompaniment? But of course.
The price? The organizers suggest a five-dollar donation. It's not a 1925 price, but it is quite 1925-y in spirit, making the night an affordable, everyone-join-in jubilee. Five bucks for a night of flapper chic, film history, and the knowledge that you're sitting under one of the most beloved roof signs in all of Los Angeles is a fine way to spend your film dollars.
Happy birthday, Highland Theatre. Always remember that when film directors plot their rooftop assignations, the ones that always take place in front of those cool signs, they absolutely have you in mind, as a prime and lasting example of the form.