For the first time, the venerable family-owned theater chain (in 2013, it marks its 75th anniversary) rolled out the Christmas Eve event city-wide. Spreading from Santa Monica, by the sea, to Claremont, far in-land, no matter what the locale, songbirds of all religious persuasions showed little reluctance in humming or chanting, “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Was a Rich Man,” and “Anatefka.”
The mood at the Laemmele NoHo 7 in North Hollywood, where arts·meme was honored to participate as emcee, was particularly sweet; a threesome of savvy soloists warmed up the gathered crowd. Then came the movie … clocking nearly three hours, with intermission, the deeply moving saga of Eastern European peasants coping with social change was all the more powerful in big-screen viewing. Then, when antisemitism forced the villagers’ exit from their centuries-old Russian shtetl, it all seemed to carry extra weight amidst a movie audience unusually eager to engage.
Photos by Dana Ross