Broadway Theater District Tour Is Nov. 7

The Glendale-based Museum of Neon Art and journalist Edmon Rodman will “shed light” on the history of the Broadway theater district in Downtown Los Angeles during a two-hour walking tour on Sunday, Nov. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 5.
Broadway’s historical district is one of the most intact, yet little known, historical corridors connected to Jewish immigrant experience in the United States, according to the announcement from MONA. Through signage, archival objects and stories, Rodman will reconstruct fascinating stories behind the Jewish immigrants who helped make L.A., and the U.S., what they are today.
“Edmon Rodman is a brilliant researcher and storyteller that infuses his passion and interest in Jewish and Los Angeles history through his tour,” MONA Executive Director Corrie Siegel said in a statement. “He invokes memories, excites curiosity, and builds a learning community through his use of artifacts and primary documents.”
Rodman has written extensively about L.A. Jewish history for the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles and his own publication, MegilLA. His articles have appeared in the Forward, Jerusalem Post, Los Angeles Times and now-defunct L.A. Herald Examiner. Edmon has given talks on local Jewish history at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum, and at the Mirage Jewish Community Center in Irvine.
When Jewish pioneers first came to L.A. near the middle of the 19th century, they brought with them their lights — Sabbath candlesticks, Chanukah menorahs — and dreams of a better life. Tour attendees will see how those dreams were transformed into neon-lit and neon-topped movie palaces and department stores, eye-catching jewelry shops and scent-filled markets.
“Hanukkah is all about publicizing the miracle of the oil by lighting a menorah in your front window. When we light the candles on Broadway, it will be like doing that for the city,” Rodman said. “Since Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, we hope to use the eighth night of the holiday to light up the relationship between neon and the history of L.A.’s Jewish community.”
MONA’s walking tours began during the coronavirus pandemic, in lieu of the popular “Neon Cruise” via double-decker bus that have run for most of the museum’s 40-year existence, when gatherings of 15 or less were allowed under public health guidelines.
“Neon has an unparalleled way of sharing history in a manner that is accessible, fun and offers multiple narratives at once,” Siegel said. “Many people have told us that our walking tours transform the way they see their city. Edmon’s research is an inspiring chronicle of the many immigrant narratives that are integral to the history of Los Angeles. Though this tour is created through the lens of Jewish experience, it’s for anyone interested in the story of the city of Los Angeles.”
Tickets for in person tours will be $20 for museum members and $25 for general audiences 20 people max. To purchase tickets, visit store.neonmona.org/collections/neon-cruises.