Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

STOP! IN THE NAME OF LOVE! Whatever you had planned for Saturday, cancel — I’ve got your day and night mapped out for you. Part nonpareil rock-and-roll experience, the stuff of legend, and part civic duty.

It’s your civic duty to show up Saturday night at the Moose Lodge on Ocean Park Boulevard. You will receive a lot of Love for doing so.

Last week I mentioned the show, but now let me get serious. If you are not familiar with revered L.A. ’60s band Love’s landmark “Forever Changes” album, rush out and buy the vinyl or download it now (and pay for it!), and play it two or three times a day until Saturday night.

No, not as background. Sit down, slap on the headphones, ignore the cellphone and just listen. You’ll thank me.

Some “classic” albums don’t hold up, but while this one reached only No. 154 on the charts when released in ’67 (but No. 24 in the U.K. — those savvy Brits), a couple of decades later it started floating to the top of everyone’s all-time-greatest lists.

The current touring edition of Love (Revisited) is led by only one original member, but that’s OK. It’s Johnny Echols, co-founder and lead guitar — if you’ve ever heard their pre-Changes hit “7 and 7 Is,” one of the fastest, hardest, badass-inest rockers ever put on plastic, that incendiary, jaw-dropping guitar fury is Johnny, and he still wails.

They’ll be performing “Forever Changes” in its entirety at the Moose Lodge, with strings and horns too, no less. Here in Santa Monica. Lordy, I still can’t believe it. This is truly an event. I would definitely recommend getting tickets in advance, or you may be sorry come Sunday.

The voice of those songs is gone, the tormented genius of Arthur Lee, who died in 2006 of leukemia, so that’s that. (Only Echols and drummer Snoopy Pfisterer are still alive.) But I’ve heard the band, made up of musicians from Baby Lemonade (two of them Santa Monica dudes), play Love songs, and they achieve the near-impossible: close your eyes, and you will believe you are listening to the original “Forever Changes” band.

Trust me. Most of the time classic groups who have only one or two original players are a disappointment. This is the exception.

If you do listen to the album and it does nothing for you, well, what can I say? Robert Plant, Jim Morrison and I have a different opinion. So go to a movie or something.


Oh, wait a minute — THAT was the fun, rockin’, nonpareil part. Consider it your reward for doing your civic duty earlier in the day. I got them mixed up. It’s so easy. Pie charts, electric guitars, bond measures, thundering drums … you know.

“Civic duty” does sound deadly dry and boring, doesn’t it? Spending your Saturday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the East Wing of the Santa Monica Civic (see, it really is Civic duty) with a bunch of disagreeable people (like me) trying to agree sounds more like one of the worst choices you could make for a sparkling Saturday at the beach.

But a lot of people will be there, I’m pretty sure, for good reason, and I hope you will too, because this is very important to the future of our city. It’s the last public workshop for listening to ideas and giving feedback to the nine-member Santa Monica Civic Working Group, charged by our City Council to come up with a plan for our famous mid-century Welton Becket-designed auditorium and the surrounding grounds.

So how’s it gone so far? The panel has been meeting since October 2013. I sat through the two previous public workshops, last September and for two days in January-February, and the long meeting held May 20, where literally hundreds of people (a lot of parents and kids) showed up, very nearly 100 percent voicing their desire for a soccer field to occupy what’s now the parking lot, directly across from Samohi — the soccer field that’s been promised to them for a decade.

I was one of only four in the audience who stayed until the very end that night and heard all the discussion of the Working Group after the public testimony.

After the hundreds left, the Working Group commenced its discussion and I was only slightly surprised that its first order of business wasn’t to acknowledge that the people had spoken, loud and clear. In fact, it seemed the Working Group was not, until the very end, going to recommend to the City Council that the desperately needed playing field, that had been approved by the Council in the Civic Specific Plan of 2005, should be part of the new Civic Auditorium schema.

The overwhelming show of support for the field did make a difference, though, I believe. My educated guess is that the only reason the Working Group finally reversed and decided to recommend the field is because they feared the next time twice as many people, or 10 times as many, would show up, and they would be not be in a pleasant frame of mind.

So keep that in mind when you show up Saturday morning at the Civic. Your ideas for how this crucial piece of real estate figures into our future may not be the same as, say, the very highly paid consultants ($400,000-plus for this job alone) of HR&A, who have seemed to me to favor from the beginning, and push, options that generate revenue from building hotels, residences and/or retail on the property.

Attendees of the first workshop rejected those options, yet there they were again in our next workshop, and it was intimated that we needed to choose something (do you want your hotel small, medium or large?) to “pay for it.” There were creative alternatives to that, but they were given short shrift and shuffled to the very end of the report.

But I’m not trying to discourage you. No one ever got what they wanted by giving up. Show up! Speak up! Resolutely, but with Love. All day — and all night, too.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” – 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 the

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