CURIOUS CITY — SUPER BOWL SUNDAY! MY FAVORITE SUNDAY ALL YEAR!
Waaait a minute. Aren’t you the guy who regularly rails against the macho, militaristic, violent sport of football and the corrupt, misogynist, greed-driven executives who run the NFL?
Yes I am.
But like NFL Commish Roger Goodell, I am willing to look the other way, not ask too many questions, decide there’s nothing to worry about here, no penalty, and move forward.
For one day.
Because on Super Bowl Sunday, the world is my oyster, my path is clear, the way is easy, the choices are many, the streets are empty, the sun shines bright and I can go where I want and do what I wish without interference, without waiting in line, because I am not camped in front of a TV like hundreds of millions of others.
I know, so many of you just love your football. God bless you, and God bless America, it’s our favorite sport. I have many friends and family, otherwise sensible folks, who do. I know I’m in the minority here. But so was the kid who saw the emperor naked.
But the halftime show is not to be missed, right?
Katy Perry? Please.
Amazingly, they were still having marching bands through 1990, Up With
People through ’86 (if you don’t know what that is, you’re under 35 and blessed in your ignorance), and probably the most bizarre and awful one ever in 1989: a magician/ Elvis “impersonator” (who didn’t look/act/sound like the King at all, of course) calling himself Elvis Presto (groan), introducing worldwide television to 3-D with his audience participation card trick. Put them colored cardboard glasses on, folks. Yes, it was … as awful as it sounds.
Bruno Mars was pretty good last year and made a believer out of me. The classic Super Bowl performances: Prince (2007), Paul McCartney (2005), U2 (2002) and Michael Jackson (1993). Madonna, the Stones, Beyonce, Bruce, the Who — nothing special. That’s kind of slim pickin’s for nearly half a century of shows.
Now the important task is, how do I use those precious hours? What’s on the agenda? How is the tour shaping up?
Being a bit of a homebody and knowing Santa Monica and its many delights, I’ll forego the thrill of empty L.A. freeways for just being able to get across Santa Monica in 15 minutes or less. Wahoo! Brings a nostalgic tear to my eye to even think of it.
Number one on the list is hoops. I love to play basketball. What’s the most coveted court in Santa Monica? The one by the ocean, in the park next to the Shores towers. It’s a decent outdoor surface, but mostly, there’s that view. At sunset — breathtaking. I have lots of opportunities for glances as my many missed shots bounce out of bounds.
I’ve played there only a handful of times because it’s nearly always full, with former high school or college players trying to relive their past glory, with their look-at-me attitudes and score-at-any-cost styles. They’re good, some of them, but they’re also magnets for injury, and I don’t need that, thank you. I play for fun and exercise.
I can go out and shoot around by myself to my heart’s content, on most likely a gloriously beautiful day at the beach. Parking is always a big problem there, with only six street spaces. But not that day.
The game starts at 3:30 p.m., with all that pre-game foofaraw, so I figure the courts should clear out no later than 3. Another advantage: at this usually very crowded court, there should be no witnesses as to just how bad I am.
Forty-five minutes should do it, and then the sports theme continues as I drive over to Santa Monica’s bowling alley on Pico. As a lifelong bowler I was saddened to hear, a year ago, that the owner of the property had decided to sell and we would lose one of the few remaining bowling alleys to yet another multi-story mixed-use traffic jammer.
I dropped by last Sunday to see how things were shakin’ — it was packed! — but I also discovered our bowling alley is already gone. What we have there now is Bowlmor — there are still, nominally, alleys and pins and bowling balls, but they’re now incidental to the video screens, flashing lights and thumping aut- tune blasting even into the parking lot. RIP Bay Shore Lanes, it was a sudden death.
But I should be able to get a lane to myself and not have to deal with generations of amateurs who haven’t the slightest notion of bowling etiquette. Maybe I can even get them to cut the “music.”
Now it’s time for an early supper and I figure I can easily get a table at Melisse and order some yummy foie gras without having a bunch of fellow diners glare and mutter, or some protester slash my tires. Oops — Melisse isn’t open on Sundays? Okay then, it’s Shaka Shack Burgers without the wait.
Then I’ll take a leisurely stroll all the way down the Promenade to Santa Monica Place to see what that’s like without the usual Sunday crowds, jog right to the beautiful art deco Shangri-La and up to their rooftop Suite 700 for a drink and the view, after asking the DJ to cut the annoying EDM, and he will, because I’ll be 100 percent of the clientele. Then on the way home I’ll do my grocery shopping and know I’ll be first in the checkout line.
Thank you, NFL and all your rabid fans. It will be a Super Sunday indeed.
PLANNING COMMISSION — the City Council will soon appoint a replacement for Sue Himmelrich, now one of their own. I hope it’s Mario Fonda-Bernardi.
He’s a local architect and 40-year resident of Santa Monica, and the commission could use an architect on board. As a frequent guest at SMa.r.t. meetings, I have been able to hear Mario’s candid, informed opinions about the growth of our city, and I like what I hear. He is a realist who accepts growth but wants to direct it through adaptive reuse, historical restorations, affordable, senior and multigenerational housing and other sensible approaches that work for all the residents.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” –Mark Twain
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for almost 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.