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Sept. 12 — MacArthur Park

Yes, it's the name of a real place, in Los Angeles.

Yes, there's a song about it -- recorded once by Richard Harris (a/k/a/ King Arthur of Camelot) and shown here with actual footage of MacArthur Park, and once in disco version by Donna Summers. I found a slightly shorter version of that one.

And why are we discussing MacArthur Park?

a) Because it's the only song even vaguely related to Los Angeles that I haven't used in the last decade (except for that Arlo Guthrie one about the drugs, and that's not professionally appropriate).

b) Because I've chosen the park as our "client culture tour" for 2011. We've already been to the La Brea Tar pits, Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier and the Third Street Promenade three times each, as well as Warner Brothers Studio, the Huntington Memorial Library, The Getty Villa, LACMA (look it up), and Disneyland.


Why go to L. A. at all? Because there's a Law Forum there, on Saturday, September 24.

After my usual phone calls, reservations, map-making, and other logistical minutiae, I've assembled the entire Los Angeles tour more than a week in advance! Every event on the plan from Wednesday dinner through Friday dinner is an open event. Drop-ins are a bit difficult to accommodate at meals, so I prefer some notice, but do feel free to joins us as a client, admissions officer, old friend, or total stranger who somehow stumbled onto this page.

Daily maps for all the events listed below are linked here:

On Wednesday, September 21, I'll land at LAX around 4:30, and check into my first hotel, the La Quinta, 5249 W. Century Blvd, in an effort to accommodate my more southerly clients and alumnae.

I should be checked in by 5:00, and heading to dinner at the Front Page Jamaican Grille, 1117 W. Manchester Blvd. (310) 216-9521 around 6:00. If you want to join me, email me in advance, or call the hotel, 310-645-2200. 

I know that's a bit early for some folks, but the restaurant stops serving at 8:00, and I do want to try it. If you're getting off work, I can grab you some take-out and meet you at my hotel.

Also, Thomas will be arriving around 10:00 p.m., so we may make a late run to Carl's or Denny's.

Thursday, September 22, after a slightly-after-noonish lunch at

Trimana nouvelle-upscale burgers and salads, 5200 W. Century, (310) 216-0011 (note that this is a chain, and make sure you come to the one at 5200 Century),

we'll visit my niece Andi at the tattoo parlor in Hermosa Beach. I'm only planning on a touch-up, because the yellow on this peace rose seems to fade almost as quickly as it does on the plant hybrid. Afterwards, we'll head over to the beach, about 6 blocks west, just so we can say we got sand in our shoes.

Warning: I have two more nieces and three great-nieces in the area, so don't be surprised if this event turns girlish. There may be a few husbands around, or they may be at work.

Then we'll end the southerly half of my visit with

dinner at Ayara Thai, 6245 W. 87th St. Westchester, (310) 410-8808. I'll reserve a table for eight people for 7:00 p.m., so definitely notify me in advance if you want to join this annual visit to the best Thai restaurant I've found. Email or call the hotel as above, or leave a message on my cell phone, (206) 453-8533. NOTE: this cell phone is almost always off, so it's a good way to reach me only when I'm on the road and out of the hotel.

On Friday, September 23, I head a bit further north in preparation for the Forum.

I'll check out of the La Quinta at noon and head for lunch at around 1:00 at

Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, 13424 Maxella Ave., Marina del Rey, (310) 578-2252. Note that this is also a chain, and make sure you pick the right one. It's just across the street from my second hotel, the

Courtyard by Marriott Marina del Ray, 13480 Maxella Ave.  (310) 822-8555.

I know this doesn't look much further north, but we can take La Cienega north to Wilshire and head east, thereby avoiding every freeway in Los Angeles!

We'll probably stop at the Forum hotel, just to show everyone where we'll meet. The hotel has four or five levels of meeting rooms, so it's easy to get lost.

Wilshire has the added benefit of taking us past the La Brea Tar pits (where I'll stop only under duress) right through MacArthur Park. We'll plan to hang out there from about 4:00 until 6:00.

So Why MacArthur Park?

Because this will be a real multi-media cultural event. We'll get out Wiki and read about Douglas MacArthur and broken promises to the citizens of the Philippines. We'll learn how many rival gangs can dance on the head of a pin. We may stray (educationally) as far as aquifers for Los Angeles' drinking water and the building of the subway, which includes a MacArthur Park station. With any luck we will NOT witness the famed drug deals which allegedly no longer exist.

I'll explain the words of Jimmy Webb's famous song. I will not wear a yellow cotton dress, although I might show up in a strip-ed pair of pants (see song lyrics). We may discuss and listen to (or watch on YouTube) others of his most famous songs. After all, we cannot simply dismiss the man of whom Peter Reilly of Stereo Review wrote, "Jimmy Webb is the most important pop music figure to emerge since Bob Dylan."

We will be wise enough to leave the park before sundown. Dinner will be at the Seoul Garden, 1833 W Olympic Blvd. This is 8 or 9 blocks from the park, but nearly a mile, so I'm making dinner reservations for 7:00 p.m. This is a very busy, reservations-required kind of place, so let me know in advance via email, or leave a voice or text message on my cell phone by 5:00 p.m. (206) 453-8533. The restaurant offers both Korean and Japanese food, as befits its location on the border of Koreatown and Little Tokyo, so beef, seafood, and vegetarian dishes will all be available in grand form.

After dinner, open time ends. Clients will confirm instructions (hopefully made and reviewed before I ever get on the plane) for Saturday. We'll head to our hotels for some sleep.

On Saturday, September 24, we'll leave our hotel at 8:00 and head for the Millennium Biltmore, 506 S. Grand Ave., in downtown L. A. We'll plan breakfast for 8:30. Hotel breakfasts are not cheap, but we won't take a lunch break, so plan on hitting the buffet.

At 9:30 clients will go register, and at 10:00 the Law Forum doors open.

NOTICE: I think I have three clients in attendance (Olivia, Brooke, and Thomas) in the morning, and Taylor in the afternoon, which is the maximum I can take in one day. If you're interested in joining us, you may get a "tag-along" spot -- you get to listen, but not ask questions.

The Forum ends at 4:00. From 4:00 until 5:15, we'll have drinks in the street-level lobby. Then we'll head a mere block and a half to a 5:30 dinner at Bottega Louie, 700 S. Grand Ave., (213) 802-1470. This is another reservations-type place, so try to give me a heads-up early in the week; Saturday night reservations are notoriously hard to change at the last minute.

This is the kind of place where you can have a salad or pasta for under $20, or you can blow a couple hundred on a bottle of Dom Perignon, so you really should study the menu and your credit cards before we get there.

Sunday, September 25th, I fly home. The flight's not until 2:00, so some lucky person can have brunch with me before I head to the airport.


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