Knowing I was only going to be in my job in Southern California for 1 year, I tried to take advantage of living in a cultural and entertainment mecca. Whenever I could, I went and did “tourist-y” stuff and I covered a lot in 12 months.
I did the fairly typical LA event from a concert at the Hollywood Bowl to a TV Show taping to Disneyland to catching the US Open of Surfing just a couple miles from my house. I got lucky in seeing 2 baseball games decided in the bottom of the ninth and 1 hockey game won on penalty shots (all for the home team). I met a few celebrities at events including George Takei at his musical Allegiance in San Diego.
I also was lucky enough to have a special opportunities not always available to the general public. I was given a tour of the live set of Franklin & Bash. I got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Jim Henson Studios. And I got lucky in realizing the Arrested Development Banana Stand was only few minutes away one morning in LA.
But here are the best things I did…
The most memorable experience I had was watching the Academy Awards Red Carpet from the nearby stands. I encourage everyone who loves movies and celeb-watching to find a way – raffle, auction, charity – to do so. Look for Oscar Fan Experience online at official and unofficial sites.
I hope to one day actually sit in the audience for the Oscars. Anyone who knows how to hook me up, please be in touch.
Best Live Show
I’m not one for many music concerts. I love theater, but shows come and go. So in terms of repeatable opportunities, if you have never been to the Pageant of the Masters, it is a must. Shows like Arrested Development and Modern Family have played off this incredible and unusual production. It is totally worth it each summer. And try to get seats near the front.
Obvious choices are the Huntington Library and Gardens or the Getty. But the Weisman Art Foundation, the personal collection of Frederick and Billie Weisman housed in their own home built as a personal gallery is tremendous. Tours are small and only by reservation, but are free and worth it. A hidden gem of art in LA.
Best Worth the Drive
I loved the Ronald Reagan Library. While I may have disagreements with the politics, the library is a tremendous installation with interactive exhibits and great teaching tools. I’ve been to the JFK, LBJ, and nearby Nixon Presidential Libraries and they don’t match the sophistication of the Reagan library up in Simi Valley. Reagan also has an excellent temorpary exhibit on Walt Disney.
Best Movie Tour
The various movie tours in LA offer somewhat different experiences. But if you want the combination of interesting guided tour and back-lot, potential for seeing celebrities shooting on set, and a well-done memorabilia museum, Warner Bros. is the best.
So goodbye to the beauty of LA. The ridiculous traffic. Watching Mets games at 10am. Having people use the made-up word “Heighth” (as opposed to “width”). Goodbye to Hawaiian shirts at formal events, and to people bringing dogs to the movies and everywhere else.
Goodbye to non-stop new coverage of car chases and Rainpocalypse 2013! Goodbye to great weather all year even when people complained. Goodbye to movie stars everywhere (Ozzy Osbourne was in the movie theater with me that other day, but I didn’t notice),
Goodbye to laid-back folk, living next to a giant Vietnamese center, and people defending Kobe.
Goodbye to wonderful friends, a great synagogue. Goodbye to a year of being with my sister, brother-in-law, and precocious nephew.
Goodbye LA and thanks for the wonderful year.
And hello NYC!