Okay, I didn’t work on the script, and didn’t raise the $500,000.00 I was supposed to in order to spin downtownster.com off from its’ parent company Lerner Wordsmith Press today… Sorry shareholders, but it was a SAINT PATRICK’S DAY MASSACRE and I had to get in the middle of it—and yes like all good downtownster.com writers (Vaughn Blake) I’ve been drinking Guinness. So as Elvis would say “My boy! My boy!”
It started simply enough; I met Carlos our programmer to go over the pictures that will soon be uploaded to the coming soon downtownster.com store. That would be right here on this very website. Our initial collection of Downtown Oliver Brown clothing will no doubt be a big hit and be an even greater distraction to my screenplay and novel writing than blogging, but enough about me and downtownster. We were working and having a coffee at The Farm at LA Live…As usual there was nothing going on in the plaza. Apparently it was crowded the day before with 450 people trying to get 45 jobs in what AEG calls a job fair and the rest of us call a publicity stunt to lure CNN into using the place as a backdrop.
It was this very quiet nothing going on for the community atmosphere that we have all become so used to that struck me as I stood in the city’s other cement bunker, albeit with trees and a fountain, Pershing Square. And yes I know that the city is working on some multi-million dollar study to determine how to spend a few hundred million in funds we don’t have to make the place feel not so Cold War Era, but I’m actually of the belief that we’re headed back into a cold war with Russia, so that the current state of Pershing Square is just fine. Anyway, I took in the fountain that poured green water and smiled. Then walked to the area where the Young Dubliner’s were rocking the house. Seriously, these guys were great, if you missed them they’re going to be on Kimmel tonight—don’t miss them again.
White people, black people, brown people, I think an Asian or two all gathered in Pershing Square in an event put on by Parks and Recreation. So for the millionth time — I’m not a fan of big business, organizations, or STD’s, but government, well let’s just put it this way… I’ve had the pleasure of being its’ guest — if you know what I mean. So, when the government does something right and big business, in this case AEG / LA Live, does something wrong—I am compelled to write about it. Simply put; Parks and Recreation put on a great event attended by thousands of members of the community and they should be congratulated. Congratulations! AEG / LA Live the recipient of close to three hundred million dollars in taxpayer support did NOTHING!!!
It’s disclosure time. When I was writing The Adventures Of Downtown Oliver Brown for blogdowntown, I moved into Starbuck’s LA Live and wrote a series of overall favorable pieces on LA Live — I even defended the project against an LA Times architecture review that likened it to a boat hull docked at the corner of Fig and Olympic. My defense was based on function over form. LA Live is a mass of steel and glass, but I was hopeful that it would be filled with downtownsters attending community events — this made the austere aesthetics make sense — shame on me.
Disclosure number two: I was promised a behind the scenes look at LA Live by then Managing Director Lisa Hezlich. I was connected with Lisa by Tim Leiweke President and CEO of AEG himself and to be honest I like Tim and I liked Lisa…But I was never given what I was promised and I went easy on them with only mild comments, which lead to more not kept promises. Then Lisa left (perhaps fired) and the community was asked to believe the preposterous notion that she had decided to go back to her roots in retail in the middle of the worst economy since the Great Depression. The obvious lie to the public, which make no mistake about it, is heavily invested in LA Live sickened me. Downtownsters deserve to be told the truth… I had coffee with Lisa just before her vacation and subsequent departure… she told me that she was living a dream.
Disclosure number three: downtownster made a proposal to Tammy Billings, whose most recent email to me indicated that her position since Lisa’s departure has been elevated to Director of Marketing, that LA Live fulfill Lisa’s promise to support downtownster’s blogging effort with bloglalive and that bloglalive would be run by downtownster. The idea being that there would be an independent blog operating from LA Live 24 / 7. I felt this to be crucial given that Tammy is the LA Live Examiner AND THE EXAMINER IS OWNED BY AEG! It strains all credulity to believe that LA Live can objectively blog about itself… This reeks of scam and misinformation… Downtownster’s request to set up shop at LA Live was not so shockingly rejected.
Final disclosure: in the past downtownster has solicited advertising support from LA Live. But no business has ever been transacted, for good or bad, between downtownster and AEG / LA Live. I have the feeling after this post their dollars won’t be flowing our way anytime soon, but that’s all right because I care about this city more than I care about AEG / LA Live’s money… And that could be why Mike Roth, LA Live’s Director of Communications, refuses to return my phone calls.
Shame on you Mike — remember the taxpayer’s credits! I’m calling you out. Do you even live Downtown? Does Tammy Billing’s live Downtown? Does Lee Zeidman who added Lisa’s job to his management of Staple’s Center live Downtown? How about the boss himself? Why don’t you take a moment from your busy schedule of doing nothing for the community to answer whether someone employed by LA Live other than janitors and security guards (hourly employees) live anywhere near Downtown? Communicate big shot!
So there’s some history, but the facts are the facts. LA Live’s Grand Opening Christmas Tree Lighting extravaganza gave the community the classless Adam Carolla joking with a strung out Britney Spears and a tree lighting that literally didn’t work—at least as planned. Most of us expected the LA Phil and Leno…Things didn’t get better on New Years… On New Years LA Live gave the community… well let me think about it—NOTHING! This apparently was the warm up for all of the NOTHINGS to come. And don’t try to tell us the Obama event was an AEG / LA Live idea… Although it seems to have been a prelude to a live event now playing in Washington that is described in Latin as a — circus.
I’ve written often in my blogs of the culture of mediocrity that is in large part the reason for our country’s steep decline. I can’t think of a better example than LA Live, a 2.5 billion dollar entertainment complex, made possible by the help of the public, that can’t even throw a first class Saint Patrick’s Day event. If it were my company I’d be handing out pink slips instead of greenbacks. This is supposed to be the entertainment capital of the world and LA Live is supposed to be iconic… That means something should be going on in the plaza EVERY NIGHT. And AEG, that doesn’t just mean the suckers that you can get to play for you for free because you’re AEG…Yeah downtownster knows the Natalie Cole Christmas story.
The community wants AEG executives who are qualified to do their jobs and from the community. The community wants discounts to LA Live ticketed events. The community wants an independent LA Live blog. The community wants AEG to let everyone know that the Examiner is owned by AEG and that AEG reviews itself. The community wants Tammy Billings to put up her picture as the LA Live Examiner and disclose in her Examiner bio that she is also the director of marketing for LA Live! The community wants daily events in the community plaza. Not a farmer’s market or some other nonsense that doesn’t cost AEG money — BUT ENTERTAINMENT! AEG may have a lot of money and the good graces of City Hall, but there are five hundred and seventy thousand members of the Downtown community on any given day and forty thousand of us who live here fulltime and it would be a mistake to think that the community is just going to sit back and keep taking it.