While architect Frank Gehry was celebrating the opening of the new Signature Theatre in New York City, news was breaking on the West Coast about another of the architect’s commissions, a jazz venue in Los Angeles known as the Jazz Bakery.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Gehry’s involvement in the project became public Monday when the Culver City City Council voted to transfer a narrow slice of city-owned land next to the Kirk Douglas Theatre to the nonprofit Jazz Bakery. The decision was made literally days before the government is to eliminate redevelopment agencies, including the one that administers the property in question. The deal awaits a final signature from Governor Jerry Brown.
For his part, Gehry is said to be designing the project for free. “I’m doing this for two people: Sydney Pollack, and my wife, Berta”, said Gehry. Film director Pollack, who was a close friend of Gehry’s, took him to shows at Jazz Bakery and Gehry’s wife also enjoyed going there. Further complicating the deal is the need on the part of the Kirk Douglas Theatre to keep part of its site open for deliveries.
If all goes well the Jazz Bakery will be a powerful magnet to Culver City’s downtown arts scene.