Here’s how this week’s arts and culture piece begins. Clearly the event took place pre-quarantine. Amazing how quickly things change!
People think Angelenos are “laid back,” but the fact is a simple trip to a music concert requires nerves of steel, an encyclopedic memory for geographical layout, and a longing for transcendence that needs to trump all manner of danger and discomfort.
I refer in this case to a recent trip to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, which is located on “Little” Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills.
As you may know, this two-lane artery, lined with ritzy restaurants, upscale boutiques, dentist’s offices, and plastic surgeons, has absolutely no shoulder or curb, is criss-crossed by one-way streets, has narrow, if at all, left-hand turn lanes, and is therefore basically suicidal upon which to slow down or stop.
It’s bad enough during the day but try driving it at night. Palm trees were swathed in disconcertingly blinking fairy lights. Teslas, Porsches, Lamborghinis whizzed past at warp speed. The GPS went haywire and started giving directions even I knew were wrong. Gripping the wheel and frantically “navigating,” I realized I would have done just as well to close my eyes. Somehow I found my way and realized that in order to enter the parking lot, I had to stop on a dime—mid-block and with no turn lane—and make a sharp turn to the left and down.
Having arrived, however, I discovered that the Wallis is stunning: a 70,000 square-foot prime piece of real estate between Canon and Crescent. The restored building, designed by Zoltan E. Pali of SPF:architects, has won major architectural awards. The original 1933 Beverly Hills Post Office serves as its lobby. Beyond that, it’s all airy ceilings, hushed carpet, chi-chi bathrooms, spacious courtyards, upscale “waterfalls,” and bartenders surrounded by shelves of fancy liquors: all very spacious and tasteful and classy, LA style.
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.