Membership Matters : Bud Coffey

By Gabriela Philo

Meet one of our longstanding supporters and new member of the Pillar Society, Bud Coffey. Bud is a much-loved figure in the Conservancy community and has worked for more than 15 years as the first and only Production Manager of Last Remaining Seats (LRS).

Gabriela Philo: How did you first get involved with the Conservancy?

Bud Coffey: A friend of mine knew about the walking tours of the old movie palaces. We came downtown, and back then all the theaters were still operating, so we stuck our heads in all of them. It motivated me to book a Conservancy tour. In the middle of the tour I said to myself, “This is what I want to do.” I started as a docent in 2003. Then the LRS job came around in 2005, because there had never been a production manager before.

GP: You have been critically involved in running Last Remaining Seats for many years. What do you enjoy about it?

BC: When I came to Last Remaining Seats, it had already been going for 15 years. What I enjoy most about it is what I do, the logistics for theatrical productions and stage managing the screenings. What I like is that we’re in these old movie theaters that have lots of history in them.

GP: What do you love about downtown Los Angeles theatres?

BC: They’re historic; some of them go back to the days of vaudeville. It was all the craze and it’s exciting to think about all the performances that went on in those theaters. It all goes back to those early TV stars that we would watch came from those theatres and from vaudeville, because they knew they had an audience. That’s the magic for me.

GP: You love old theatres so much that you live in the Orpheum Lofts. What’s special about that building?

BC: I love living in the history of the building. You walk in the front entrance of the building and it’s the original marble on the walls. It’s an adaptive reuse building that used to be offices for years. Just outside my window is the neon blade sign that says “Orpheum Theatre.”

GP: What compelled you to become a member of the Pillar Society?

BC: I’m a big fan of the Conservancy. The walking tours are what drew me to the Conservancy; it just exploded my love of the buildings. Looking at the bigger picture, the Conservancy has been around and fighting for the historic core and DTLA. All that hard work over the years has paid off. So I wanted to give some money when my curtain comes down.

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The Conservancy established the Pillar Society to acknowledge those who have made plans to leave the organization a legacy gift in their wills or estate plans. These gifts make a significant and lasting contribution to our cultural heritage by allowing us to continue our mission to preserve and revitalize L.A.’s architectural and cultural resources for generations to come.

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