Image courtesy of HIJINKS Artist Management & PR
Surprised to learn Los Angeles has a "Broadway?" Even some of the city's residents may also be thrown by learning such knowledge. Had they been in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) Saturday night, though, they would have seen the neon lights of LA's Broadway humming right along with the energy of an arts and theatre scene bursting to make its home in that very space once again. The occasion? Night On Broadway.
Launched eight years ago, this annual, one-night event is part of the 10-year Bringing Back Broadway initiative by L.A. City Councilmember José Huizar. The plan: to revitalize the historic Broadway Corridor.
We couldn't wait to get in on the action that would span seven historic theatres and an outdoor stage, not to mention a boxing ring... More on that later.
Where to start? With The Spazmatics playing in the background, we made a mad dash (there were, after all, 25 acts to catch)...
Photo by Bekah Wright
...to Los Angeles Theatre to catch the Lucent Dossier Experience.
Greeting theatregoers at the door was a leggy rabbit. "You're awesome!" we proclaimed.
"YOU'RE awesome!" she responded.
We were more than a little pleased with the mutual admiration.
Once seated inside the theatre, this avant-gard cirque experience got underway with a performance on the Star of Tetrahedron...
...progressed to some aerial silk moves, right on to drumming with fire. Yes, drumming with FIRE! So wanna do that!
Post show, we made our way past a five-story Ferris Wheel and through a silent rave aka disco party. Despite the lack of hearing tunes the dancers were grooving to, one definitely felt the need to jive right along.
More grooving was being done via Hula hoop down at the Lucha VaVOOM kiosk. Say what? Oh, never heard of them? Get thee to a performance, where Mexican Masked Wrestling, burlesque and comedy take center stage. With characters like these...
Though no wrestling was happening, there was boxing. Chessboxing for Charity, that is. Nothing like the combo of brains, brawn and philanthropy to get the blood pumping.
Next, sustenance was required. There were myriad food trucks (we love you, Grilled Cheese Truck!), and a line at Clifton's Cafeteria, which we were dying to frequent. Instead, we headed to another DTLA institution -- the Nickel Diner.
We highly recommend the Patty Melt with Onion Rings and a Mexican Coca Cola. A performance unto itself? The S'mores Pie being blowtorched into deliciousness.
On the way back to Broadway for further entertainment, there was time to be inspired by art curated by DTLA's famous Art Walk.
Calling from the distance was the Orpheum Theatre with a performance from Zen Arts.
As warm-up acts go, Brett Loudermilk gained the audience's approval right away with his sword-swallowing feats.
When the curtain rose, a band of nimble-footed janitors were sweeping the floor, cleaning up after "The Last Night" of performances occurring in a vaudeville club many decades ago. But then, there was the stirring of the NoVacancy Orchestra.
The stage came alive, a sheer sensory delight.
Caught up in many moments, there was clapping, cheering and egging on tapdancers, contortionists and crooners, all equipped with talent to the hilt.
All too soon, the show came to a close. Would we have to wait an entire 12 months for more enchantment like this?
As if sensing this reaction, performers were waiting out in the lobby to usher us out with ease.
A lingering beat.
And a longing for the Broadway Corridor's shows to go on!
We've already bookmarked the Night On Broadway website. They must of known of our yearning. A countdown to next year's event is happening there as we type...