Today is Christmas Day and I am blessed to live still in Los Angeles after twenty years in the same place. Someone said my posts on this site are not complimentary to what I call my city now, and today I mean to correct that impression. It is a call to beauty, for more of it to come to the urban center, that I have tried to voice here, and not any disparagement of the place, and most especially the people. I too believe that Los Angeles is the “creative capital of the world” as our local classical music station(KUSC)so often claims.
Today has been a perfect example of that dictum, brought home so clearly when watching hours of local talented people entertain us with the Holiday Celebration from the downtown Music Center, the 54th annual free special presented as a great big present to our city by the Los Angeles Council for the Arts, and on KCET-TV on Christmas Eve, and again three times on Christmas Day. It is worthy of three repeat showings and I hope Angelenos took advantage of the opportunity to see this special show especially if they were not there in person for the entertainment marathon. The Music Hall was packed with people happily enjoying themselves. Watching the talented performers reminded me again why I love this city. Diversity. Diversity. Diversity. One does not have to go travelling because the world has come here. The multi-talented choirs, young and old, from the Palmdale High School to the Gay Men’s Chorus, from professional to first time performers, the music included the favorite carols and popular Christmas songs we all love year after year. Dancers, singers, and musicians from Los Angeles, represented places from all over the world and entertained us with highly professional and often breath-taking artistry. I so loved the Mariachi Divas with Cindy Shea, and the ballet and jazz, tap and ethnic dancing, A Pilipino men’s choir doo-whopping “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas,” and exquisite ballet dancers moving to the music of the Gypsy Kings, and more talented groups than I can mention here. I thank those on the Arts Council and the LA politicians who support the arts (especially Zev Yaroslavsky and Tom LaBonge), all those who see that art is funded in the schools and also support live performances. What a wonderful end to a Christmas day that began for me in the beautiful old church where I have worshipped the real true Giver of Gifts for these twenty years, St. Mary of The Angels Anglican Church in Hollywood. I thank all who kept their churches open and their shops closed on this holy day, and all the talented people of all ages and their supporters here in Los Angeles, a special city that knows how to celebrate Christmas with art and generosity. Let’s always vote for those who support artistic talent in our young. This is the place where the saying,”To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” —is most especially true! I salute the artistry of Californians in my collection, posted on these pages: Otis Bardwell, Cotti, John Hunter, Peter Tan, R.Davy, MacSorro, Dr. Murad, Salah, Raymond Carver and Nils Peterson. Oh, and the quote is from Robert Louis Stevenson, whose portrait you can see on these pages. Happy Everything!