ROUND, ROUND, GET AROUND, I GET AROUND …
As best I can lately, on one good foot. The things I could write about My Left Foot. (But won’t.) (… you’re welcome.)
But I sure wasn’t going to miss limping over to our Main Library Sunday afternoon for the organizational meeting of the LUVE initiative backers, because I figured it would write at least the first part of my column for me.
I would have to bring back Will Rogers and adapt his quote that I used last week, to make it, “I am not a member of any organized party — I am with Residocracy.”
But, adapting Robbie Burns, the best laid plans of mice and columnists often go awry, and the LUVE crowd torpedoed my expectations.
They appeared very well organized and very much up to the task of presenting their initiative in a positive light, and countering the opposition that has already sprung up (in the form of phone and door-to-door “surveys” and social media trolling), some certainly coming from well-funded sources that would benefit greatly from its failure at the ballot box this November.
What opposition can be expected? From the unions, who favor big tall hotels if they pay union wage; any of our elected reps, whose powers would be diminished; possibly SMRR (though they may yet see it as a wave they need to catch); and obviously developers, who have been having their way with our city for years while offering only token community benefits. They don’t want that gravy train to be side-tracked.
THAT’S THEIR JOB DESCRIPTION
They’re not doing anything illegal or even unexpected. Corporations have no soul, no social conscience, no sense of history, no obligations to any place. People often forget that. Their mission is making money, as much as possible, period. It’s called capitalism. Their bottom line does not include caring about people’s home town, or clear skies, or water, or community benefits, unless it benefits them.
I’m fine with capitalism. But it can’t be unrestrained, or the 99 percent are screwed. That’s partly why we have government. To set the rules that capitalism must operate under, rules that let business thrive but also protect the general population.
But when our elected representatives fail to protect people from capitalist excess, we may need to take unusual measures. Beyond just voting in the next election, which will be big money-influenced just like the last election.
Is LUVE unusual? Yes. Is it an extreme measure? I would say no. It simply gives the power to decide what our city will look like to the people who live here.
LUVE doesn’t change any laws or regulations as to what can be built here. It just takes the final decision on larger projects away from our City Council and gives it to voters. Who can be opposed to the citizens of Santa Monica deciding Santa Monica’s future?
Should NMS or Hines Corporation decide? Who do you trust with our best interests as a community? How about — the community?
WHAT WOULD BRIAN SAY
Beach Boys co-founder and guiding light/songwriter/singer Brian Wilson, who has a history with Santa Monica (recorded here, met his wife here, and Chez Jay was brother Dennis’s favorite bar), is definitely in the top 1 percent, financially. Musically, maybe the top .00001 of 1 percent.
Who says Brian is that special? Almost everyone in the world of music. The revered Sir George Martin, producer of all the most innovative Beatles music, said: “If there is one person that I have to select as a living genius of pop music, I would choose Brian Wilson,” and, “Without ‘Pet Sounds,’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’ wouldn’t have happened.” Leonard Bernstein said Brian was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. (Ehh, what does he know?) Sir Paul: “It was ‘Pet Sounds’ that blew me out of the water. … I’ve often played ‘Pet Sounds’ and cried.” He bought each of his kids a copy of it “for their education in life.”
Wilson sold out the Hollywood Bowl (“in five minutes,” they said from the stage) for his Sunday evening concert presenting “Pet Sounds” in its entirely, on the 50th anniversary of its release. We also got a baker’s dozen of oldies preceding, and a six song encore.
This show was special and superb, for many reasons. Brian looked pretty good for 74 and what he’s been through, but had to be helped on and off stage (that’s nothing new). Given, in his younger days, his nervous breakdown from huge pressures and subsequent very heavy drug use, with resultant bad side effects like massive weight gain, it’s amazing he’s still with us.
HIGH NOTES, AND LOW
He wisely handed off the high notes (sometimes in the middle of a line) he can no longer hit to Matt Jardine, son of OBB Al Jardine. There were 12 musicians on stage to come pretty close to the full orchestral sound that PS was. Lots of horns, even a theramin (of course). The harmonies (four-, five-, six-part) were gorgeous, alone worth the price of admission.
The encore got the crowd dancing with “Help Me, Rhonda,” “Barbara Ann,” Surfin’ USA” and “Fun Fun Fun.” Brian ended on a poignant note, with the touching signature song from his eponymous first solo album, not created until 1988. The words to “Love and Mercy” were a long time coming, and very personal. They could be ripped from today’s headlines, and he changed a lyric to get even closer:
“… the news came on TV, a lot of people out there getting shot and it really hurts me.” It was, “… a lot of people out there hurtin’ and it really scares me.” Fifty years on, Brian Wilson is still trying to heal and put more love in the world.
I interviewed Brian in the midst of his recording that album and it was quite an experience. Maybe I’ll tell that story in a future column. Or, if you take me to lunch, I’ll give you the full version in person.
Why didn’t I think of this earlier?! There are a lot of Beach Boys fans in Santa Monica. Finally, a way to make writing pay off!! (burp)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears, in my room, in my room.” —Brian Wilson
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.