Photos: DTLA's Festive 'Night On Broadway' Brings Out Thousands
Seeing thousands of people flock to downtown L.A. for the free Night on Broadway festival and block party on Saturday was a fresh of breath air. In the same vein as other downtown events over the past few years—like Grand Park's holiday celebrations and monthly Art Walks—folks had the chance to gather in a historic street that was bubbling with the same kind of excitement we imagine Broadway was filled with back in its heyday.
This event was a seven-year anniversary celebration for the Bringing Back Broadway initiative headed by Councilman José Huizar, a plan that strives to revitalize the historic buildings of the Broadway Corridor. According to the group, over 30,000 people attended Night on Broadway, which took place on Broadway between 3rd and 11th streets.
Signs for the historic theaters—which included Million Dollar, Los Angeles, Palace, Tower, Orpheum, and the Theatre at Ace Hotel—were all lit up, making the street feel like a bustling 1930s version of Broadway. Even the historic Clifton's Cafeteria's neon sign was re-lit and glowing red on Saturday night; it's a rare sighting since the once-bustling restaurant, which opened up in 1931, has been going through renovations for years. Streets were blocked off to traffic, where people could walk freely up and down Broadway, and check out live music at stages outside. Food trucks, antique cars, pop-up booths and art installations (including murals by Superchief Gallery) lined the street. Every chair at the Los Angeles Barber Shop's booth was filled as folks got haircuts from the school's students.
The event gave people a chance to explore gorgeous and historic theaters—some that are rarely open to the public. In the Tower Theater, Sexy Sax Man performed a little of George Michael's "Careless Whisper" while rolling around one of those mini self-balancing electric unicycles. And throughout the night, there were different chessboxing tournaments, where boxers would pummel each other for three minutes before taking on a challenge of wits in a three-minute game of chess in the ring. We didn't see any knockouts, but some hard throws though.
Over in the Theatre at the Ace Hotel, folks gathered to watch a screening of Fritz Lang's 1927 Metropolis. A String Theory musical performance transformed the Orpheum Theatre stage into a musical instrument. One of the best performances of the night was Nova Han presents Wilderbe—which was like Burning-Man-meets-Cirque-du-Soleil—at the Los Angeles Theater. Costumed performers walked out in the lobby on stilts; on stage, aerial dancers spun around on silk in the air and a man-eating plant ate one of the dancers in a comical dance routine.
With how this year's event turned out, we're looking forward to seeing the continual change on Broadway and crossing our fingers for another Night on Broadway event next year—because it was a blast.