Before he dreamt up the Chinese Theatre or El Capitan, legendary entertainment impresario Sid Grauman built the Egyptian Theatre, two years before the 1924 discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb ignited a worldwide design craze inspired by King Tut's treasures. The lavish, artfully decorated theater was the site of the first Hollywood film premiere, screening Robin Hood with Douglas Fairbanks in 1922. Today, it's home to the American Cinematheque, a nonprofit that's been operating the Egyptian since 1998, when it wrapped a $12.9 million renovation of the sprawling movie house. The American Cinematheque is an independent cultural organization that's all about screening new releases and revivals, programming regular film fests that showcase niche genres such as film noir, Italian horror and British rock flicks, just to name a few. While other historic L.A.-based theaters have turned into electronics stores, evangelical churches or seedy nightclubs, the Egyptian is one of the few movie palaces that's still actually a movie palace, and in a city fond of systematically striking down landmarks, that means something. 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd. (323) 461-2020,

—Tanja M. Laden

LA Weekly