Local stars shine in Screenland 5K

Ghostbusters save Denise,left, and Joy Yogi from peril at the Screenland 5K. (Photo courtesy of Mike Cohen)

Visual and performing artists will transform sections of Culver and Washington Blvds. on Oscar Sunday morning, March 10, into motion picture magic commemorating a century of iconic local movies and TV shows.

Walkers and runners in the Screenland 5K will retrace the steps of Hollywood’s greatest stars in 100 points of motion picture lore, celebrating the centennials of MGM, Culver Hotel, and other local cinematic landmarks.

“We hope you will be inspired and immersed in this grand artistic experience as we acknowledge significant cinematic contributions to our cultural diversity.  Your morning of health and fitness will be filled with color, sound, sights, learning, fellowship, and fun,” said Lori Escalera, Screenland 5K creative director.

“Council PTA Honorary Service Award” actors, admired for hilarious local satire at the annual volunteer recognition banquets, will perform in the opening act before being transported to movie and TV scene locations along the course. Written and directed by Leslie Gardner, several performers will represent overlooked artists who contributed significantly to Culver City cinema over the past century.

Held on the cusp of National Women’s and Black History months, the Screenland 5K celebrates the first female of color to be elected to the City Council, Mayor Yasmine-Imani McMorrin, who plays Glinda the Good Witch of the North. Glinda will vex the Wicked Witch of the West and sprinkle pixie dust on the yellow brick road to ensure every guest, including Dorothy and Toto, has a majestic race start.

City Commissioner and Rotary and Exchange Club member Jane Leonard portrays the Land of Oz witch in a tribute to late actress, friend, and former Culver City Mayor Jozelle Smith, who played the coveted role in the inaugural Screenland 5K during the Culver City Centennial.

Zumba instructor Julie Schatz and her troupe will dance with walkers and runners to Culver City movie melodies.

Jeff Avrech and his ensemble will reenact a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1949 movie Tension near the Culver Theater, where it debuted.

Marina Martial Arts students will kick and shout in a scene from Bruce Lee’s Green Hornet series.

The Todd Elliot duet will swing and tango alongside guests, inspired by Les Hite and June Richmond’s Murder in Swingtime and Rudolph Valentino’s The Four Horsemen.

Elliot will return to the red carpet to mimic Culver City filmmaker Tom McLoughlin (Friday the 13th), who studied mime with the legendary Marcel Marceau.

A juggling stilt walker will parody characters in City Slickers and Wizard of Oz.

Star Wars Storm Troopers, Rebel Legion and Mandalorian Mercs will battle to save the Heart of Screenland.  Guests will see Culver City resident Karina Kharchenco’s “Stormtroopers” artwork along the course.

The Ghostbusters return to the Screenland 5K in time to perform scenes from Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters, Frozen Empire, on March 21.

To the delight of fans of the madcap and diabolical antics of Culver City’s The Marx Brothers, Bob Wayne will encore his role of the often slapstick Three Stooges.  Wayne said he may double the craziness with images of the six original stooges.

Craig Schoenbaum will play a clogging James Kirk of the original Star Trek series, initially filmed across the street. Howard Behnken will also engage guests in William Shatner’s role.Gianna Bommarito will arrive from the Midwest to perform as comedienne Lucille Ball, former owner of Culver City’s Desilu Studios.  Gianna is the daughter of Mara and Jack Bommarito of the Culver City Historical and Sister City organizations.

Santa will dispense gifts and good cheer from an It’s a Wonderful Life scene.

Acrobats will rock and roll to a scene from Matrix filmed nearby.

Sprinkled along the course at or near the locations where the actual movie and TV stars performed will be London McBride as Les Hite, Anne Allaire as Anna May Wong, Rob Cox as Barney Fife, Kelly McNair as Lucy, Gardner as Ethel, Mike King as Fred, Summer McBride as June Richmond, Kim Griffin as Hattie McDaniel, Maya Chasen as Lieutenant Uhura, and Yun Wu as Lt. Sulu.  Vice Mayor Dan O’Brien as Andy Griffith will run the race, attempting to capture a divisional gold medal.  As the Wicked Witch, Leonard will haunt runners on her menacing trike. 

Ten musical performances of movie and TV-themed songs will keep Screenland 5K guests humming along their journey. 

Some 60 works of art by local artists and 70 standees of motion picture fame will line the course.  Artists include Screenland 5K’s creative director Lori Escalera, Roslyn Wilkins, Karina Kharchenko, Serena Potter, Teresa Bernadette, Cynda Valle, Lori Antoinette, Marilyn Burns, Bradford Soloman and Nathaniel Chadwick.

Vendors will get in on the act at the Health and Fitness Expo at Ivy Station with goodies for guests at the booths, Barbie Photo Box, Knights in Shining Armor castle, student motion picture art, screen star photo ops, and pickleball play.

Sponsors underwriting the points of motion picture magic include Culver City Rotary Foundation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, City of Culver City, Ivy Station-Culver City, Ting, Design Etcetera, Culver City Arts Foundation, and Midwest Roofing.

Other partners are West Basin Municipal Water District, Cavanaugh Realtors, The Shay Hotel, KP9 Interactive, Hillside Memorial Park & Mortuary, Sprouts Farmers Market, Alliance Culver City, Sorrento Italian Market, Jackson Market, Marina Martial Arts, and Culver City News.

Numerous non-profits benefit from Screenland 5K proceeds, including Culver City Council PTA, Backpacks For Kids, Jazz Hands For Autism, FeedCulver, Bike Culver City, Culver City Firefighters Assoc. (Jesse Luna and Mike Nagy Memorial Mile), Culver City Police Officers Assoc. (Gold Medalist Baker-To-Vegas Marathon Team & Cal-Nev Police Olympics), Connecting To Cure, Culver City Historical Society and Friends of the Sandy Segal Youth Health Center.

Sign up at www.Screenland5k.com.