THE SANTA MONICA CIVIC AUDITORIUM
by Charles Andrews, reposted from the Santa Monica Daily Press, August 31, 2023
Every week for nearly seven years I have researched and compiled a collection of great performances around LA in the coming weeks, that I personally recommend. I would be there for every one of them if that were possible, or even practical. The LA Philharmonic, LA Opera and Hollywood Bowl performances can be incredible, but it often involves a two-hour drive across LA, then parking, plus walking. I sympathize: sometimes that’s just too much time and trouble, to even think about.
So consider this. What if some great performances were a short drive or even walking distance, in a small venue? Wouldn’t that be nice? Wouldn’t that be the kind of thing Santa Monica could be known for, instead of some of the terrible things we are now being branded with?
It was that way for decades. Our Santa Monica Civic was known worldwide as a great little venue right by the ocean, where so many legendary artists chose to perform. The Rolling Stones, Dylan, The Supremes, The Beach Boys. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke here, as did the Dalai Lama. The Academy Awards were handed out here for eight years.
To say this venue is historic is quite an understatement. We, the residents of Santa Monica, still own it and the land it is on. It is in disrepair but certainly not beyond bringing back to life.
But there are people and groups, who would like to get their hands on it, and they would not bring it back to life.They want the cash, maybe nine figures. But can you put a price on our history, tied up in that building? A lot of us say no, and are fighting to make it a part of Santa Monica’s future history. You don’t get a second chance on something like this.