Many people around town have been following the Bob Baker Marionettes saga -- how the longtime puppeteer's theater was in danger of closing -- but the news came out last week that a benefactor stepped in and more good things are happening at the landmark stage. We're thrilled. We're also jazzed that Mr. Charles Phoenix just happened to be planning an 85th birthday party for Mr. Baker over February 6 and 7, which may well turn into a celebration of relief for the many fans who wanted to see this special spot carry on.
If you've seen a Charles Phoenix slideshow, you know the nights will be chockablock with the wit's droll commentary, sly asides and a dash of history and magic. The honoree has had a wonderful career, no doubt. Mr. Baker has worked around Tinseltown for decades, knows his craft and boasts a workshop that might make even Geppetto jealous. In fact, Curbed LA reports that Disney just ordered a bunch of Pinocchios from the old-school showman. Not surprising.
And the audience that will likely turn out for either one or both nights? Earnest hipsters and bigshot entertainment types with families in tow and LA aficionados. Everyone. And everyone, from the coolest, most high-hat person there, will happily gather for frosting-thick cake afterwards like a kid. It's old-fashioned fun for the savvy downtown nighttime crowd. (And, at its famous freeway-adjacent location, the theater is just blocks from the heart of the downtown scene.)
A heartfelt happy birthday to Mr. Baker. Your place is a true slice of vintage LA that matters in modern times. The recent good news cheers us much.
Charles Phoenix Celebrates Bob Baker's Birthday
Friday, February 6 and Saturday, February 7 (8:30-11PM)
Bob Baker Marionette Theatre, 1345 W. First Street, Los Angeles