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j-ralph-studio-stage-clinton-nyc-untappedJ Ralph’s studio and stage.  Image via Vanity Fair

At 80 Clinton Street, producer J Ralph has an iron and velvet-clad recording studio tucked in an apartment building. In what was then the Galician quarter of the Lower East Side, the studio is in what used to be the Clinton Star Theatre, a vaudeville house built by Sam Agid in 1914. It has been reported that the theatre sat 1,800 people: 797 on the first floor, 283 in the balcony, and 182 in boxes. The theatre showed movies and Yiddish theatre until it closed in 1950.

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Upright citizens brigade comedy improv new york city chelsea untapped cities melissa pesce.jpg2

Some of the best comedy in this city can be found in back of a McDonald’s on 8th Avenue and West 26th Street. The Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater, or “UCB,” started small, taking over a small strip club, and is now known as one of the finest improv theaters, with shows every night of the week featuring some of the funniest and most talented comic performers in the city. (more…)

BrooklynParamount2012IntImage via NYCAGO

It’s quite possibly the fanciest basketball court we’ve ever seen. The ceiling of Long Island University’s Brooklyn’s Athletic Center reveals its beginnings as the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre. The sky blue and white latticed ceiling and the arches along the side walls, decorated with artificial foliage, still remain at the top of what is now the Arnold and Marie Schwartz Athletic Center, which was the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre in the mid 1900s.

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Theatre Corona-Notre-Dame Ouest Street-Montreal-Canada-InteriorImage via Theater Corona

Back in the 1930s, Montreal’s cultural scene was very lively. Cabarets, movie houses and vaudeville theaters abounded and the nightlife was so renowned that people boarded trains every weekend from nearby provinces and states in order to join in on the  fun. As the years passed, many of these beautiful venues closed down and they were either destroyed or they changed purposes. A few of these places have remained open and are being actively restored by owners who want to keep these architectural gems a part of Montreal’s past and present. Here are 5 beautiful Montreal cultural venues that will take you back to the 1930s.

1. Théâtre Rialto

Theatre Rialto Montreal_Untapped Cities_Lea Plourde-Archer

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Brothers Booth Players Club NYC Untapped Cities Newsboy (actor Daniel Burns). Photograph by Jeremy Daniel. - ImgurNewsboy played by Daniel Burns. Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

Artist Cynthia Von Buhler’s latest endeavor might be the closest you can get to time travel. Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth, an interactive play exploring the Booth brothers’ sibling rivalry, will whisk you back to 1919—when Prohibition drove the parties underground but certainly didn’t stop them.

Von Buhler has explored this theme in the first iteration of the Speakeasy Dollhouse: the Bloody Beginning, which was inspired by the true story of her grandfather’s murder. This time, she has taken a quintessentially New York story and brought it to life in one of the City’s most coveted private Gilded Age clubs, the Players Club on Gramercy Park.  (more…)

Loews mayfair theater thimes square thomas lambSource: NYPL

Times Square is home to over 30 theaters. These theaters can be awe-inspiring works of art and architecture. As a result, it is sad to think about Times Square’s opulent theaters that have either been nearly gutted or completely demolished. One former theater, which is overlooked by most who visit the area, lies in the middle of that spectrum.

Until recently, the former Loew’s Mayfair Theater was a souvenir store that incorporated some of the theater’s detailing. The store went out of business and so far nothing new has opened in its place. Ideally, its new occupant will restore the interior decorations and display them more prominently, as recently happened with the former I. Miller Shoe Store(more…)