SANTA MONICA, Calif. — To the untrained eye, Tony Munoz’s attic looks overwhelming.

Decorations for every possible occasion are piled high. Easter bunnies, New Year’s sparklers, massive Valentine’s day cardboard hearts, flags for Cinco de Mayo — they aren’t delineated by date and instead appear to be one massive holiday wrapped up into one, an Easter-Valentine-Thanksgiving-Halloween explosion.

But Munoz knows exactly what he’s looking for and where to find it.

What You Need To Know

  • After losing his studio during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tony Munoz had to bring his extensive decoration, costume and prop collection home

  • Munoz ran Varieties International for 45 years in Santa Monica but had to close in March 2020, and he began putting on shows in his driveway in December 2020

  • Every Saturday, Munoz puts on a matinee and evening performance for neighbors singing Christmas classics

  • Since December 2020, he has begun holding a performance for every major holiday with decorations, costumes and music

On a recent Saturday afternoon, in the run up to Christmas, Munoz was in the attic looking for lights — lots of lights.

"These go around my door, then I have multi-color lights for the windows," he said.

Each holiday is an opportunity for the 83-year-old to display his elaborate decorations and props that he has spent years collecting for his home and for work. For 45 years, he and his wife Nancy owned and ran a dance studio, costume shop and event space near his home called Varieties International.

Munoz, an old-fashioned all-around entertainer taught ballroom, flamenco and held regular concerts — but then COVID arrived.

"When the pandemic hit and the government said we can’t have any get togethers, you can’t have any parties, you can’t have any place where you have contact with other people — that ended my dance studio," said Munoz.

The studio was also a place where Munoz stored a lifetime worth of costumes, dance shoes and holiday décor that he didn’t already have in the attic, along with elaborate stage lights and curtains. He brought almost all of it back home where it lay dormant until December 2020.

"I got antsy. I told my wife, 'I miss my dancing, I don’t know if I’ll ever dance again,'" said Munoz. "I thought, why can’t I do it in my own driveway?"

The Tony M. Show was born again. Munoz brought out fake snow (cotton sheets), lights, a blue curtain, giant inflatable nutcrackers and a sound system. Each weekend through December, he has sung Christmas classics.

"I started having two shows every Saturday, a matinee from 2-3 and an evening show from 7-8," he said. "I was wearing a tuxedo or dinner jacket to be part of the season, and it worked."

Neighbors brought out chairs, and it became a COVID-safe, free outdoor holiday event at a time when so many were starved for connection and live entertainment.

"When this started coming to pass, I said, 'Oh my God, this is what it was all about,'" said Munoz. "I gave up my business not knowing that I have something in the future for me, performing for all my neighbors."

The show gave Munoz a new lease on life, and now he puts on the “Tony M Show” for every holiday under the sun, decking out his driveway for each event. Munoz is always decked out in festive garb as well.

This Christmas is the one-year anniversary of the driveway series, and on the first weekend of December on a chilly (for Los Angeles) Saturday evening, a crowd of about 20 neighbors stood in front of Munoz’s home to hear him sing "Jingle bells," "Frosty the Snowman" and "White Christmas."

Friends Christine Ecklund and Cathy Krop watched with their families.

“It felt so joyful during the pandemic, it was a rare opportunity for light and happiness and my daughter and I would come out,” Krop said.

“It makes me feel proud to be in the neighborhood that something like this happens,” said Ecklund.

Munoz describes himself as a showman, someone whose always been drawn to spotlights and the stage — and he still is. But now he says he’s found a new purpose, despite having lost the studio he spent so many years building up, bringing the community together.

"For several months I was lost, I didn’t know what was in store for me," he said. "But now I have this wonderful neighborhood coming alive, I’m hoping to perpetuate that feeling."