Two Theaters in Palo Alto

The Stanford Theater first opened in 1925. But for about 30 years now, it shows only classic Hollywood films. I’d love to go sketch inside the theater one day, at intermission when the theater organ is played. Wouldn’t that be something else?

The Varsity Theater, also in Palo Alto, wasn’t as lucky as the Stanford Theater. It opened in 1927, but had to be closed in 1994 after efforts to preserve it as a theater didn’t work out. It then housed a Borders bookstore and after that disappeared, it has morphed in to community workspace.

Both these are quick sketches, sketch #2 especially so, because I was dangerously close to hitting the time limit on my parking spot.

There are many strategies urban sketchers employ when working with time constraints on location. Some draw in a single medium (often a dry medium), some draw on location but color later. I just get as far as I can in the time I have but don’t touch the piece later. And that’s for no other reason than that I’m not interested in the sketch getting to a certain place: it just is what I see and sketch when I am where I am. An unfinished sketch, or one without a full range of depth and value, or an obviously super-quick one like the one above tells it’s own story, so I like to leave it as is.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in california, Close to home, Silicon Valley, Vintage Signs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Two Theaters in Palo Alto

  1. miatagrrl says:

    Me, too — I never continue to work on a sketch after I leave the spot. I somehow lose the momentum and the spontaneity of the moment. What beautiful icons — glad you captured them!



  2. Jude Lutge says:

    The New Varsity wasn’t so lucky? Did you not know of its history as a concert hall, courtyard music venue, restaurant and community center before it became a bookstore? It was a fabulous time. However, I do appreciate your drawings….Jude Lutge


    • Jude, I guess my comment was only in reference to the Varsity not being able to operate as a working theater anymore. But you are right, unlike so many historical buildings that get torn down , the varsity has been preserved and has new incarnations since being a theater.


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