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Photos: Third Annual 'Night On Broadway' Draws Crowd Of 70,000

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Downtown celebrated Night On Broadway on Saturday. The annual free arts and music festival took over Broadway from 3rd Street south to Olympic Boulevard and included art exhibits, musical performances, street vendors, and food trucks. In addition, Night On Broadway opened six historic theaters (the Theater at the Ace Hotel, Globe Theater, Palace Theater, Los Angeles Theater, Orpheum Theater, and Million Dollar Theater) to the public with a full slate of performances. The theaters were the epicenter of Hollywood glamor in the pre-War years—Charlie Chaplin's 1931 classic City Lights had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Theater, and was attended by Albert Einstein, among others. They would later fall into neglect and relative obscurity, however.

The event, now in its third year, was hosted by Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, and is part of his larger Bringing Back Broadway economic development initiative. The initiative's "goals are to provide economic development and business assistance; re-activate Broadway’s historic vacant theaters, as well as more than one million square feet of vacant commercial space and increase parking and transit options, including bringing the beloved streetcar back to downtown Los Angeles."

According to the event's website, the first Night On Broadway in 2015 drew a crowd of about 35,000 people. Last year's crowd jumped to 60,000. Heidi Johnson, one of the event's organizers, told LAist that Saturday's attendance reached about 70,000 people. "It was a really great vibe," she added.

Included in a long list of activities was Todd Granger Bank's “Great Wall of Waste” visual art installation erected on Broadway between 7th and 8th streets. On 9th Street, west of Broadway, KCRW hosted a silent disco for the evening, with revelers in headphones dancing away to a set list by Garth Trinidad and Jason Bentley, among others. At the Palace Theater, a comedy showcase included routines by David Studebaker and Drennon Davis. Funky Sole's dance party (normally housed at The Echo) took over the Globe Theater for the night. DTLA Proud put on a block party along 4th Street west of Broadway that featured a rotating line-up of emcees and performers. A neon-illuminated Ferris wheel carried families and couples alike above the intersection of Broadway and 6th.

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Long lines for each of the theaters did limit access to the night's architectural centerpieces, however. But a wealth of attractions on the streets maintained the positive mood. William Close's Earth Harp (tethered from the corner top of the United Building down across the 7th and Broadway intersection) was a definite crowd-pleaser. The Two Bit Circus drew large audiences wth its "Flambé" dunk tank shows (a dunk tank retooled to fire-blast a performer in a heat suit rather than drop him in a tank of water). And a lucha libre show at the north end of the street festival was a well-attended, rowdy good time.

"It was another great #NightOnBroadway last night!" organizers posted to Facebook on Sunday afternoon. "...Special thanks to the hundreds of performers, artists, volunteers, crew members and partners for helping us create our love letter to Los Angeles. See you next year!"