Culver City Observer -

Annual Tree Lighting Spectacular

“Heart of Screenland” Employs Movie Making Magic to Create a Hybrid Event

 

December 2, 2021

Culver City Downtown Business Association, Culver City Parks, Recreation and Community Services, Amazon Studios, The Culver Studios, The Culver Steps, Ting, and Sweet Flower

team up to help spread community-driven holiday

Hosted by Culver City Downtown Business Association (dba) and Culver City Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PCRS)

A spectacular free celebratory show featuring the best of Culver City will be held Thursday December 2 from 6-7”30p.m followed by the arrival of Sant Claus, escorted by volunteers from the Culver City Police Officers Association until 8:30p.m. or until every child has visited Sant,

• A 22-foot artificial Rocky Mountain pine adorned with 7500 warm LED lights

• Debut of “Sugar Plum Jam,” a specially created dance from Invertigo Dance Theatre that is a ‘Tchaikovsky meets Tim Burton’ twist bringing mischief, mayhem, and sweet revelry to the stage

• The highly regarded all-female choral group, VOX Femina Los Angeles, sings a joyous medley of holiday carols as it celebrates its 25th anniversary

• Talented student performers from Culver City High School’s Academy of Visual and Performing Arts jazz program, Culver City Middle School’s Choir, and El Marino Elementary School’s Taiko Drummers

• Holiday greetings from the Mayor and City Council

• A special visit from Santa

• Festive holiday game booths

• Cookie treat bags from Downtown businesses

This hybrid event is family-friendly for everyone to enjoy live in person at Town Plaza, or via livestream from the comfort of their own homes in Culver City, throughout Southern California, and across the country. The recording will continue to live online through the holiday season.

The live celebration will be filmed using multiple cameras and include views to the top of the twenty-two’ tree and beyond. Additional theatrical lights will allow the tree to be visible before being lit with holiday lights, enabling personages to be seen. Multiple cameras and theatrical lighting allow the event to be visually compelling, beautiful, and even more meaningful for at-home audiences.

Where: In person at Town Plaza in Downtown Culver City. Live stream/recording can be seen at https://www.DowntownCulverCity.com/tree-lighting-2021

Hosted by Culver City Downtown Business Association and Culver City Parks, Recreation and Community Services. Featuring Culver City performers and artistic organizations, including:

• Invertigo Dance Theatre

• VOX Femina Los Angeles

• A variety of local student musicians, the Culver City Mayor and Councilmembers, Downtown Culver City businesses, and Santa Claus!

Produced by Culver City Downtown Business Association, Culver City Parks, Recreation and Community Services, and Stoelt Productions.

Sponsors: Presenting sponsor is Amazon Studios, with additional sponsors including The Culver Studios, The Culver Steps, Ting, and Sweet Flower.

How: Event is free. Just show up at Town Plaza. Or visit https://www.DowntownCulverCity.com/tree-lighting-2021 at 6:00pm PST. No login credentials or pre-registration required.

(The in-person event will follow all city, county, state, and federal COVID safety guidelines. Masks are recommended for this outdoor event.)

For over 15 years, the community of Culver City has celebrated the start of the December holiday season with the Annual Holiday Tree Lighting in Downtown Culver City. This family-friendly event has been filled with live holiday music, student choirs, fun activities, visits with Santa Claus, sweets courtesy of downtown merchants…all culminating in the Mayor and City Council leading a boisterous countdown to the lighting of the 22-foot Holiday Tree at the Town Plaza. Thousands of people have attended and participated, and this well-loved tradition is a vital part of community life for Culver City and its neighbors in western Los Angeles.

Known as the “Heart of Screenland,” Culver City is the true birthplace of Los Angeles’ film industry over 100 years ago. It is still home to the oldest studio lot in LA – originally MGM, now Sony Pictures – as well as The Culver Studios (originally historic Ince Studio) and most recently Amazon Studios and Apple TV+. It has a thriving creative economy and is home to hundreds of artists, creative groups, and artistic resources – many professional and internationally known, alongside many talented aficionados. It is a resilient community - having weathered a century of history and change and pandemics - and has repeatedly and successfully revitalized itself, including with a robust public art program.

In 2020, most community events were cancelled which greatly depressed the spirit of this dynamic, thriving, and distinctive city. As the holidays approached, the dba led the effort to bolster the community’s spirit by creating a safe, meaningful, and joyful community holiday celebration. With the help of generous donors, the Tree Lighting was re-envisioned and held virtually for the first time. It became a beautiful, fun, and occasionally soul-stirring half-hour Online Holiday Special (akin to TV’s traditional holiday variety shows) that blended small-town charm with Hollywood sophistication through the magic of film. New creative conceptualizations mixed with traditional programming to bring much-needed holiday cheer to the local community and thousands of viewers across the country. Participants and audiences alike said it was one of the best “feel good” events of the 2020 holiday season anywhere! The program continues to live on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSmsLly8fDg), and the Holiday Tree itself stayed lit until after New Year’s Eve as a visible reminder of the community’s life and spirit during stressful times.

2021 Vision

In 2021, as the community begins to open its doors and re-emerge into in-person life, the dba is again re-envisioning this beloved community event. The 2020 program greatly expanded the traditional musical and artistic performances, drawing almost exclusively from local community and professional talent, and reached a much broader audience than in previous years. Building on these fresh concepts, the 2021 event will be held in-person, livestreamed, and recorded for airing online throughout the holiday season. The dba and PRCS recognize that some community members will embrace being outdoors and in-person this December, others will prefer to enjoy the celebration from their homes, and friends and neighbors across the country will again wish to share in the very special holiday cheer that can be provided by Culver City. Culver City is fortunate and distinct in that it has a deep well of creative talent among its community members; therefore, inspired by last year’s inclusion of new artists and artistry, this year’s Tree Lighting will continue to celebrate the cultural life of Culver City by adding more artists and heightening the performance level. For these reasons, it is anticipated that a hybrid Holiday Tree Celebration will be welcomed by all and again help uplift this year’s holiday season with the theme “Community Togetherness.”

 

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