Thursday, October 08, 2009

LA.Streetsblog - Zócalo – from the sublime to the ridiculous!

Directions to the Skirball from its official website.
There are some transit directions at the bottom.

by Stephen Box on October 6, 2009

On Wednesday evening, Zócalo will host an evening entitled "The Curse of Oil" at the Skirball Center and featuring a discussion with Peter Maass, New York Times Magazine writer and author of Crude World, all in a demonstration of sublime irony or in a ridiculous display of complete disconnect.

Zócalo has a tremendous track record for bringing brilliant guests and invigorating topics to the community, hosting films, discussions, panels and presentations in a wide variety of venues.

In honor of Wednesday's subject matter which will take a look at the unhappiness that oil-producing nations experience as a result of the oil production, from Nigeria to Venezuela to Angola, Zócalo has selected a venue that is inhospitable to those who elect to travel free of the "Curse of Oil!"

The Skirball Center is a wonderful facility but it is located in a location that is difficult to walk to, challenging to ride to, fairly inconvenient to those who travel by mass transit and is promoted with the promise of free parking. In other words, bring a motor vehicle. Burn some fuel, park for free, embrace the irony, gnash your teeth as we examine the injustice of oil production and then burn some more fuel to get home. Your awareness is all that is needed to change the world, not a shift in your behavior, just a wee bit of guilt as you tool down Sepulveda Boulevard in your fossil fuel burning motor vehicle.

Zócalo is a Spanish word that means Public Square. We know that LA is lacking in public space that would qualify as a "public square" but surely Zócalo could have done better, especially for a program that promises to "explore the consequences of gas-guzzling, the paradox of plenty, and how to cure our addiction to oil."

I love the Zócalo programming and have enjoyed a screening of The Garden at the Laemmle Music Hall, an evening with Tom Vanderbilt at the Actor's Gang, and panel discussions at the Central Library and at the Endowment Center, all easily accessible to those on foot, to those who ride bikes, to those who travel by mass transit and even to those who arrive in motor vehicles. The Zócalo Public Square is a wonderful organization and it hurts to criticize them, almost as much as it hurts to watch them commit the gaffe of the oil-addicted.

I expect this from City Hall, from our elected officials, from the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, even from the Metro but to have Zócalo host an event on oil-addiction and then host it in an environment that favors the oil-addicted and is inhospitable to the point of absurdity to those who dare to put down the oil is simply unacceptable.

Zócalo, meet us at One Gateway, the Endowment Center, Union Station. Offer transit passes instead of free parking, host this event at a venue with a well lit sidewalk that encourages pedestrians. Make it a standard to host your events at locations with bike parking. Stop with the free auto parking and walk toward the light!

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