‘Elf' & Eats: Holiday Time Downtown

Jump into your velvet suit and make for Grand Central Market and the historic screen next door.

When you revisit a time-honored flick with a yuletide theme, where do many of the scenes take place?

At the North Pole, yes. Around a roaring fireside, or a decorated tree, for sure. And, quite commonly, in a downtown dotted with skyscrapers and shops and festively decorated windows.

That downtown can be large, as seen in "A Miracle on 34th Street" (hello, New York City), or it can be on the wee side, like Bedford Falls in "It's a Wonderful Life." But the bustling heart of a municipality is the oft-visited location in loads of holiday films, for plenty of reasons, the movement, the merriment, the stores and the shoppers.

It's a common Christmassy location in real life, too, sometimes. In recent years a number of seasonal screenings and to-dos have popped up around downtown Los Angeles, and the Million Dollar Theatre quite often seems to be at the heart of the ornament-strewn action, along with its neighbor, Grand Central Market.

The holidays will make a return to both places over the weekend, with several candy cane-scented doings, from a two-day pop-up marketplace at Grand Central to a Saturday evening screening of "Elf" at the Million Dollar, a presentation of Street Food Cinema.

The Dec. 5 and 6 pop-ups will be both "retail and culinary," says the market, with several participants including Grist & Toll Flour, Made by DWC, Beyond the Olive, and Brown Bag Books. Seasonal specials, like challah from Clark Street Bread and DTLA Cheese gift baskets, will be available. And to lend twinkle? Look and listen for a klezmer band, carolers, drummers, and more.

If you stick around later into Saturday the 5th, and you're a Buddy buff, secure a seat for "Elf" at the Million Dollar Theatre. Street Food Cinema, that summertime alfresco cinema celebration, moves indoors for some elfly high jinks on the big-screen and fa, la, la larks around the lobby. 

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"Elf" is a newer classic on the Christmas movies shelf, of course, but it, too, utilizes the buildings of Manhattan for several scenes. A modern filmmaker can make a flick that forgoes this common holiday cinematic setting, of course, but many writers and directors repeatedly do trod various downtowns, all to lend their holiday stories some extra bustle 'n hustle.

Best get tickets, though; Buddy's still big, over a decade after the film's release, seats'll move faster than Santa's sleigh.

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