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CHANGE AGENT: THE ART OF DANIEL JOSEPH MARTINEZ

Still from a live video feed showing the Million Dollar Theatre marquee during Daniel Joseph Martinez’s Ignore the Dents: A Micro Urban Opera, Los Angeles, September 1990.

IN THE GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD, the Million Dollar Theatre was the crown jewel among the grand movie palaces lining Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Its ornate exterior, designed in the elaborate Spanish churrigueresque style, abounded with carved bison, steer heads, and allegorical figures playing stringed instruments, while the interior scheme was inspired by John Ruskin’s 1841 fairy tale King of the Golden River. By the close of the 1980s, all the palaces on Broadway had fallen into disrepair, some converted into churches or budget theaters, others simply abandoned. Angelenos went to the Cineplex at the mall to see movies; “nobody” went downtown anymore unless they were already forsaken. At the center of this history-haunted no-man’s-land, the Million Dollar Theatre provided an apt setting for Daniel Joseph Martinez’s Ignore the Dents: A Micro Urban Opera, 1990. Commissioned

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