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Last Night at The Getty: Fridays Off the 405
Last night we headed over to the Getty Center to check out Fridays Off the 405, a monthly offering of evening hours in the museum galleries, with live music and a cash bar to boot. We got a late start, but stuck to our routine of taking Sepulveda, even though a quick glance told us that the 405 was moving free and clear. As the sun began to fade from the sky we pulled into the driveway for the Getty, and readied our $8 to pay. "No charge for parking!" the attendant told us, and we pulled forward and went in search of a spot. (We're not sure why parking was free--most likely because it was nearing the last hour of the three-hour event--but that put a price tag of zero dollars on the night for us, and we're just fine with that, thankyouverymuch.)
We ascended the hill in the tram, taking in the view as we went. We were lucky enough to have an out-of-towner with us, so the view and the experience was impossible to take for granted and instead challenged us to look at everything around us with fresh and appreciative eyes. As we joined the crowd moving towards the entrance we couldn't gauge the intensity of the festivities taking place in the courtyard. The guys in front of us shared our hope that the party was happening, although their choice of phrases ("Man, I hope this thing is illin'!) wasn't exactly how we'd put it, but that's the beauty of a night such as this. Within moments of passing through the doors and into the courtyard our fears were allayed: The party was most definitely illin'.
DJ Ronnie Darko was the night's featured entertainment, and he held center stage with his turntables and Mac laptop. The sun was just beginning to fade from sight, and in the spaces between the buildings that showcase the Getty's stunning architecture we could watch as the sky evolved into a velvet indigo dotted with faint stars amidst the fog. The dancefloor grew increasingly crowded, but never took on the too-close-for-comfort vibe of a club or well-attended house party. Darko's mixes were the perfect eclectic blend for the patchwork crowd assembled, as he threw in 80s favorites, recent dance and pop hits, club favorites, reggaeton, and oldies to everyone's collective delight. It didn't take long for us to get that dorky natural high that comes from being a part of something so purely fun and beautiful, not to mention something that brings together a vivid cross-section of our city's diverse population. We shook our groove things next to all sorts of folks under the stars--we didn't even need that stinkin' cash bar! Of course, it was hard to suppress our disappointment when DJ Ronnie Darko ended his set and we had to head back down the hill come 9 o'clock. Despite the obvious logic that this mass of people couldn't possibly all exit the museum, board the trams, and weave their way out of the parking lot with any speed or efficiency, the many, many posted guards were strict about shooing us towards the exit when the clock struck nine. Sure enough, once we were chased from the fringes of the sprawling layout, urged through the courtyard towards the main entrance, we were confronted with huge lines and a long wait for both the trams and the shuttle buses. No matter--we walked the 3/4 mile downhill. If a car hadn't gotten into distress in the line to exit the parking garage we're sure it wouldn't have taken us close to 45 minutes to exit the structure; it still wasn't enough to ruin the fun we'd just had. But, hey, Getty, are you listening? Would you consider ending the music at 9, but leaving the grounds open til 10? That way we can all trickle out for that last hour, no pressure? Just a thought...
Want to check it out yourself? Fridays Off the 405 takes place one Friday a month, all year long, from 6-9 p.m. Next month it's happening on August 10th.
Photo by Lindsay William-Ross for LAist