No, this is not the stage for Frank Gehry’s 80’s birthday party, even though the milestone for the man born Ephraim Owen Goldberg is celebrated with well-wishes from friends and collaborators on today’s DnA. No, friends, this is the quite glamorous set that will greet viewers this Sunday on the Academy Awards. The return to the classy-sparkly-loungey look is thanks to David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group. I suspect it will look better than usual this year, not just because he’s same rockstar who designs thing like the new Jet Blue Terminal at JFK or the new Aloft hotel concept by Starwood (which I just wrote about in a hotel roundup for the Architect’s Newspaper and looks puuuurdy nifty), but because the Rockwell Group—famed set designers on Broadway—actually designed the Kodak Theater itself. Frances talks to Rockwell about this year’s show, the mantra for which is “more intimacy and less lamé.” Let’s hope less lamé also means less lame.
I’ll be on a plane flying back from San Francisco when the actual awards are broadcast but no matter: Star statistician Nate Silver has already predicted the Oscar winners, including Mickey Rourke for Best Actor (yay!) and an almost complete shut-out for The Curious Case of Forrest Gump (double yay!).
Now speaking of movies, you may have heard of this guy George Lucas, who you may know holds a very special place in my family (a sort of honorary godfather, I suppose). Frances got to speak with him about USC’s new School of Cinematic Arts complex he funded (Lucas attended USC back in the day, and there’s even a famous and very funny student film set at USC called George Lucas in Love). Lucas also oversaw the design of the new building, doing all the early sketches, and it turns out he actually has designed a bunch of the Lucasfilm facilities. But no Death Star modernism for him: He loves Victorians.
The USC center isn’t fully operational, but luckily, we got this exclusive video of inside the new building as some of the students were breaking the place in:
You know, I can never watch that clip without thinking about poor Ponda Baba and how his architecture career was cut short.
Be sure to check out the DnA calendar this month, freshly restocked with delicious items. If you know of any design or architecture events in Los Angeles, please send them my way. You can listen to DnA on KCRW live every 3rd Tuesday at 2:30pm PST, by podcasting through iTunes, or by streaming the audio at any time by clicking the little ‘Listen’ button underneath each show’s title on KCRW’s website.