The multitalented Alesh, over at Critical Miami, went on a tour over the weekend of the Gusman Center For The Performing Arts, a.k.a. the historic, and architecturally lavish Olympia Theater, taking some absolutely fantastic pictures of the grand old place, which survives in remarkably beautiful condition. We've included a few of his shots, but for many more, and his insightful commentary, check out his tour, and all his big, glorious pictures. But first, a few historical highlights:
· It was originally a movie palace, but was restored and converted to theatrical use.
· It was actually quasi-intigrated at a time when most theaters weren't. Blacks sat in the nosebleed seats, and had a separate entrance. If you have any idea if that entrance remains today, send it to the tipline.
· The auditorium was designed to look like a mediterranean courtyard in an exotic movie.
· The ceiling presents a remarkably realistic skyscape, and it can reproduce a full night's sky, from a glorious sunset, to twinkling starlights, and finally at the end of a show, dawn. That's entirely using original 1925 technology.
· The Olympia was one of the first buildings in Miami to be air-conditioned.
· There was originally a large collection of taxidermied birds and other animals, which were the designer's signature. Only one peacock remains (above).
· A tour of the Gusman / Olympia Theater [Critical Miami]
· Why Miami can't lose the Olympia Theater [Ocean Drive]