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VERBATIM

Gala brings out the building bloc

October 19, 2003|Michael T. Jarvis

The quietly dramatic architecture of Union Station in downtown Los Angeles was a fitting setting for the 25th-anniversary gala of the Los Angeles Conservancy on Oct. 11. The group -- the largest membership-based local historic preservation organization in the country -- counts an eclectic crowd of architectural junkies, fanatical historians and artists among its thousands of members and supporters. What brought out the requisite celebrity contingent?

Steve Martin: "I thought I was receiving an award."

Diane Keaton: "I'm a member of the Conservancy, and I'm on the board. I'm here for the 25th anniversary. I'm very excited. We're also trying to rally support for the Ambassador Hotel. It's in danger of being lost."

Ben Stiller: "I'm from New York. I've lived here about 12 or 13 years. It just seems like Los Angeles' history, as a city, relative to so many other cities in the country and the world, is so much shorter. Besides the aesthetic thing -- the architecture is just really beautiful -- the buildings are worth saving."

Still, it wasn't hard for guests to single out at least a few buildings in L.A. that it wouldn't hurt to lose. What's on the hypothetical hit list?

Keaton: "Universal City."

Christine Taylor (married to Stiller): "I think we could do without a few of the mini-malls that seem to be going up just nonstop.... They go to no end to just make it as tacky as possible."

Stiller: There's like a big structure going up at La Brea and Santa Monica like a giant mega-mini something."

Taylor: "It's a Target store."

-- M.T.J.

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