The Weekender: Let’s Catch Up

5 things to do in L.A. this weekend

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Here in L.A., it’s hard to know when people are listening. Especially when it comes to catching up with a friend. Usually, the catch-up will take place over the phone when someone is driving. 

It’s fine to make plans or confirm a location, but for longer conversations about deeper things, you have to prepare to be interrupted.  A conversation might go like this:

“Tell me what’s going on,” says your friend.

“I got the results back from the biopsy,” you say.

“Oh, wow,” says your friend. “And?”

“I just found out that—”

“Jesus Christ! Sorry. The guy in front of me just pulled out of nowhere! Sorry, go on.”

“Okay, the doctor said that—”

“Wait. Say that again? Sorry. What an asshole. Go on. I’m listening.”

You continue. 

Then: “I’m just pulling up to my house in a minute and I’m losing the signal. I’ll call you back.”

Not great. But if it’s a weekend, they might suggest a walk-n-talk. Which is worse. As soon as I hear: “Let’s catch up on a walk”  —  I cringe.

Number one. I always have to pee. Meeting at a restaurant, this isn’t a problem. You chat, excuse yourself to use the bathroom, and return to the conversation and resume focus. On a walk?  When I have to pee, no matter what the other person is saying, I can’t concentrate. All I’m thinking about is how soon the walk will end so that I can drive to a restroom and I’m counting the minutes until that can happen. Also I’m parched because I can’t drink water.

Even though Liza lives in New York, we’re in agreement that catching up on a walk is misery. 

“I don’t like to talk when I’m in the elements,” she says. 

I’m curious if by “elements” she means the rocky terrain of the Upper West Side. 

“No, by elements I mean the weather,” she clarifies. “The wind is bad for my curly hair. I can’t hear anything. My nose is running. My eyes are watering. Why would I want to catch up in those circumstances when we can meet for coffee and eavesdrop on the table next to us like normal people?

I have a friend in L.A. who will always suggest we go on a hike to chat. I love seeing her but she’s in much better shape than I am so while we’re walking and talking, I have to skip to keep up. She’s at least five paces ahead.

Out of breath, I call out: “Do you know what I mean?”

“I hear you,” she calls back.  

I suspect she means that literally.

Which leads to the main reason I don’t like to catch up on a walk. No eye contact. I need to look at the person I’m talking to. Why? It’s the only way I can tell if they’re listening, or not.

Here are 5 things worth listening to this weekend….

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Check Out

Tina Turner: The Musical

If you’re not a fan of Tina Turner, you’re made of tin. And in case you’ve been in a coma, Turner just died at age 83 at her home in Switzerland.

I can’t think of a better time to celebrate her life than to see this musical which was presented in association with Tina Turner herself. Written by Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Katori Hall, with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins, Turner served as executive producer and was key to the musical’s narrative development.

Racism, domestic abuse, addiction, attempted suicide, trauma, financial ruin – is there any better material for a musical? It’s all covered. Turner spoke about how creating this show helped her come to terms with the earlier parts of her life and said, in an emotional speech when she appeared at the curtain call of opening night on Broadway, “This musical is my life but it’s like poison that turned to medicine.”

Creating the musical brought her newfound peace. It’s a reclamation of the past and tells the story of her remarkable survival – which defied age, gender and race. She was inspiration personified – and this musical is a timely reminder.

Pantages Theater

When: June 13 – July 9th

Where: Pantages Theatre | 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90028

Parking: Click here for parking details!



Queen Margaret’s Version of Shakespeare’s War of the Roses

I’ve heard about Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum for a while. Named for the English botanist John Parkinson’s herbal, Theatrum Botanicum, is an open-air theater founded in Topanga Canyon, near The Getty Villa, by Will Geer in 1973.

It has a long and interesting history going back to the days when audiences went to see free workshop performances of Shakespeare, folk plays, and concerts featuring artists such as Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Della Reese, Burl Ives and more.

In the 1950s, Geer was blacklisted for refusing to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities and after his death in 1978, the family and a small troupe of actors transformed Theatricum into a professional repertory theatre company which offers educational programs and musical events incorporated into its programming.

Today, Ellen Geer (Will’s daughter), is the artistic director and every summer they have plays – in addition to hosting live music concerts, nurturing budding playwrights, and working with schools in the Los Angeles Metro area helping students become engaged in the theater.

Written by Shakespeare and directed and adapted by Ellen Geer, Theatricum’s version of this production encompasses Henry VI Part I, II, III, and Richard III centers on Queen Margaret and the women and children of Shakespeare’s civil war saga.

You don’t have to be a Shakespeare scholar (or any scholar) to enjoy the experience of seeing theater in this unique setting. It’s like having a night in the forest. Bring a seat cushion.

Photo by Ian Flanders

When: June 24 – October 1st 

Where: Theatricum Botanicum | 1419 N Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga, CA 90290

Directions and Parking: Click here for details.


Go To

Free Jazz at LACMA

Nothing says summer like free jazz outdoors. Every Friday evening until April, there will be seasoned jazz musicians playing at the outdoor plaza at LACMA.

This week, there’s a live concert with the Keschia Potter Quartert. Potter has played saxophone for Beyoncé, Robin Thicke, Bruno Mars and Jennifer Hudson and performed at the 2016 Grammy Awards with Lady Gaga.

If you feel like hearing jazz and don’t want to deal with a cover fee, drinks minimum or a roof over your head, this is the perfect spot. You’re also steps away from the museum so you can check out an exhibition beforehand.

Photo © Museum AssociatesLACMA, by Brica Wilcox, © Chris Burden, licensed by The Chris Burden Estate.

When: 6 p.m. Friday June 2

Where: Smidt Welcome Plaza / LACMA | 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles  CA 90036

Cost: Free

Parking: Parking for LACMA is located at the Pritzker Parking Garage on 6th St., just east of Fairfax Ave. The $20 charge ($12 after 8 pm entry) may be prepaid at a pay station located in each parking lot.


Go See

Jerry Seinfeld

There was an article recently in the New York Times announcing that the show Seinfeld is more relevant than ever. Did it ever lose relevance? It’s been 25 years since it went off the air and people are still referring to absurd observational circumstances as “something from an episode of Seinfeld.”

Seinfeld, who is on tour, will be doing ONE SHOW in the Los Angeles area in August. If you’re a fan of his comedy, driving to Temecula to see him perform in person will only increase the anticipation. I guess?

I’m sure it will come as no surprise I’m a fan of Seinfeld’s comedy and I’m sure it will also come as no surprise, I’m not a fan of casinos. But alas, the two are combining. Temecula is about an hour and a half south of L.A. so if you feel like spending the night, the casino where he’s playing is also a resort. Going to see Seinfeld perform live on stage at a casino in Temecula sounds like “something from an episode of Seinfeld.”

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When: Saturday Aug 19th at 7:00 PM

Where: Pechanga Resort Casino, Temecula, CA

Parking: Click here for parking details!


Get Out

Pool Day

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A friend of mine who was working on a project about public pools told me about the history of this one. It used to belong to the historic Marion Davies Estate – Davies was the companion of William Randolph Hearst. If you’re interested in the history before you go for a swim, check it out here.

If you don’t care about the history – and you just want to go for a swim in a clean public pool near the beach, this is your spot. There’s a new modern Pool House, with changing areas, lockers, and a second floor View Deck that offers spectacular views of Santa Monica Bay.

Swim in a historic pool, enjoy a beachfront meal, and take your kids to the splash pad and play area.

No membership is required. And the best thing about the community beach house is that it’s for the community. Also, I had to google “splash pad” which shows how often I take kids swimming.

Where: Annnenberg Community Beach House | 415 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Santa Monica, CA 90402

Hours: Pool Opens for SUMMER | June 18 through September 4

Monday – Thursday | 12pm-6pm

Saturday, Sunday & Monday I 10am – 6pm

Holidays: Tuesday, July 4 & Monday, September 4 from 10am – 6pm

Parking and Directions: Click here for details.


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