Amazing sunset shot above and dancers below by Abel Gutierrez.The sun is out and not a cloud in the city of angels. This is the season that California is known for. Might as well patent the sun because we have it. The past couple of days have been scorchers early in the morning and driving around in my trusty Saturn with no a/c has been a challenge. Nevertheless, I'm loving it. Break out the sandals (as if I ever put them away) and the SPF 99 because unless you hate people, now is the time to get the heck out of the house.
What can I tell you about summertime in LA other than it's fun and fulfills the soul. I might as well list everything and the kitchen sink that you can go out and do. Regionally, by theme, by dress code, and parking rates, there are tons of events going on. Let's see . . . Well, let's start with where I'll be this summer. Working at the Autry comes the perk of going to Sizzling Summer Nights every Thursday in July and August. Last night's Susie Hansen gig was tons of fun. (Get her new cd! Representante de la Salsa).The crowd arrived early. I'm talking 5pm, people were getting their grub on because they need that hour to digest before hitting the dance floor. I pulled up around 7pm and the parking lot was full. The outdoor plaza was crowded and Susie had on the most appropriate fire-engine red halter top dress. My husband Joey played on the gig sporting a very manly light pink shirt. My daughter was in a bright pink ruffle dress and I was rockin' the purple dress with flared sleeves. Color saturation is definitely a trend I love. I ran into quite a few friends (most of the band members) and former co-workers. The kids were jumping and diving across their separate dance floor and fedora hats on the men where quite charming. I didn't see the usual amount of Cubavera shirts though. Maybe people realized that they all looked alike and changed it up. I'll definitely be a regular at Sizzling Summer Nights this year. By the way, parking is FREE!
The beach is another place I want to make sure I visit often. My daughter shouldn't be as afraid of the ocean as in previous years and she loves to build sand castles. Our favorite beach is Seal Beach (dare I mention the O.C? . . . given the state of LA County beaches, yes!) Not crowded at all. Noise level is pretty low and the water "looks" clean. I have heard that Redondo and Hermosa Beaches are nice too. I'd stay away from Venice unless you're a tourist looking for the ganja-leaf-painted crack pipe. The freak show isn't all that interesting anyway.
There are also plenty of concerts going on. My favorite places are the Hollywood Bowl and Ford Theatre. I'll definitely be at the Viva Mexico! event to see my homeboys Ozomatli. The Ford has a Big! World! Fun! concert series for families on Saturday mornings that are super duper affordable at $5 for adults and free for kids. Parking is $1! Getattahere! In my neck of the woods, the Burbank Starlight Bowl has an interesting line-up with affordable shows going for $10 and $6 for seniors, disabled, and kids. It's also an outdoor amphitheater up in the mountains.
If you prefer a marine layer, head out to the Santa Monica Pier for their Twilight Dance Series. I first laid eyes on my husband there. We didn't meet there but the friend I was with pointed out that the blur of green way up on the stage was his friend. It may have been Son Mayor. After I met Joey, we realized I was at that show and he was the guy wearing the bright green shirt. This pier gets packed and it's standing room and contact-high-only so arrive early or if you hate crowds like I do, arrive late and avoid the rush and stand in the back with the stoners.
Levitt Pavilion in both Pasadena and MacArthur Park offer some of the coolest bands around town for FREE! These venues are more laid-back and more my speed. Parking isn't so bad. You can arrive early and find street parking or the local garages are reasonably priced. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. In fact, keep these items in your trunk because you will need them all summer as well as the optional umbrella.So writing this blog makes me realize that all of these venues are big and crowded. All provided wonderful cultural experiences once you've found parking, waited in line for your food/drink and moved spaced-out people from your seat. Therefore, I must pay tribute to my favorite small hole-in-the-wall places that I love dearly in my next installment on summertime fun. Til then, here's to a fun LA summer!