“LA is a very defuse city,” the CEO of the LA Philharmonic, Simon Woods, shared this piece of wisdom with me three days after moving into the Oakwoods six weeks ago.
‘Defuse’ sums it up well: Revelations such that Hollywood is not downtown, that it can take anywhere between 50 minutes and two hours to move 30 miles forward when in a vehicle, that it is freezing cold at night, or that a fine for driving on the car pool lane is exactly $341, have shaped my experiences in LA in quite unexpected ways.
However, there is one experience I had been working towards to creating for myself since June. After I met with the Executive Director of the California Symphony, which resides just outside of San Francisco, she invited me to shadow her team during their season opening weekend late September.
And so I did escape the defusion of LA and found myself in the winds of San Francisco…dining with the two major donors of the symphony, being invited to the major donor’s family dinner because his wife liked me so much, helping stuffing envelopes as part of their fundraising campaigns, greeting children to attend the rehearsal as part of their educational series, setting the stage for rehearsal, getting lunch for the Maestro, and, over lunch, gossiping about his colleagues (my job was to agree with him). It was such an immersive weekend, where I felt honored to learn from a team of Arts Administrators that is nationally being recognized as trailblazers within the industry.
THIS is what LA, and the SULA semester, is all about for me: creating, seeking out, and utilizing opportunities to help defuse the defusion of this beautiful city.