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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

Los Angeles Celebrates 'La La Land' in a Very Big Way

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

April 25 was officially declared “La La Land Day” in Los Angeles, not only to promote the DVD release of the multi-Oscar-winning film, but also to celebrate the love letter director Damien Chazelle wrote to the city through this film.

Hundreds of people gathered on the steps of City Hall in downtown LA to watch Mayor Eric Garcetti honor Chazelle, composer Justin Hurwitz and producer Jordon Horowitz for their contributions in highlighting the city’s iconic locations through film.

“Here in Los Angeles, when we show our true self, LA, La La Land — people can’t help but fall in love with us again,” said the Mayor. “In La La Land we saw a beautiful, beautiful postcard to the city. This film held a mirror up to this city, showing our passion, our creativity, our optimism and of course, the deep-seated desire of every Angeleno to jump out of their car in traffic and to just start dancing.”

The film was recognized, not only with events happening throughout the day but with a ceremony that had a jazz band playing songs from the movie and the Bandaloop aerial dancers doing a choreographed routine down the side of City Hall. The visuals were spectacular, just like La La Land.

Patricia Ward Kelly, Gene Kelly’s widow as well as a noted author and public speaker about his legacy, was on hand to enjoy the festivities. The day was personal to her because she had Chazelle, stars Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and choreographer Mandy Moore over to look through some of her late husband’s archives before filming began.

“They went through 85 filing cabinets of Gene’s materials,” she explained to Dance Network. “Gene was so specific about how you should dance on film and they paid attention. They studied what he did and they honored that.”

What Kelly loved about the film was that it was “an homage to the past, but still so contemporary. Gene was always trying to accomplish something that was contemporary and timeless and I think they did a wonderful job with that.”

The film has inspired countless dance video homages and Griffith Park has seen a spike in foot and car traffic thanks to Gosling and Stone’s infamous scene. The La La Land influence is also being felt in the dance community.

In a recent interview with Dance Dish, Tony-Award-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler shared that the effects of La La Land are even being felt all the way across the country on Broadway.

“There’s so much dance everywhere, it’s almost like it’s another film technique so the audience is processing things physically and people aren’t probably seeing it as dance anymore,” said Blankenbuehler. “Films like La La Land expand the audience’s vocabulary for dance and that even affects our audiences on Broadway in a positive way.”

Another day in the sun for La La Land.


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