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Brian Wilson @ Petersen Automotive Museum Gala 5/6/09

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Whether the Beach Boys were singing about showing off their cars, surfing, falling in love or eating hamburgers, they made it sound like the most wonderful thing, like you wanted to be doing that right now. Kids in Omaha might not be able to relate to songs about surfing, but anybody could get what songs like “I Get Around” and “Fun Fun Fun” were about. Much like Eddie Cochran’s “Somethin’ Else”, they were about nothing less than the American dream: idealism, pursuit of happiness, pride of ownership and the kind of freedom you can only get from your own set of wheels. Having Brian Wilson play at the Petersen Automotive Museum’s annual fundraising gala was a kind of idealism realized, a harmonious pairing in more ways than one.

Well-heeled gearheads like to do everything with style, especially throw a party, and Peterson's “California Dreaming”, , proved to be no exception. Along with the usual eye-popping auction items, elegant buffet stations and open bar, patrons of the fifteenth anniversary celebration got to witness a rare private show by Brian Wilson, who as the leader of the Beach Boys, did as much to advance the mythology of both Southern California and motor sports as anyone you could name. To have him performing his greatest car songs, in Southern California, in the room with actual woodies and little GTOs and many other cherry custom machines, made for quite a memorable night out.