18 June 2010

Yeah, they'll run amok

I don't even know where to begin.

Just let me quote something that I wrote less than a week ago:

"The son has been anxious to see Video Games Live since its inception, and finally, I was able to get tickets to take him (it's always rolling through at the most inconvenient times and places). Not only did I get him tickets, I got him pit tickets at Nokia during E3. Because I am his mother and I rock. However, what this means is that I have to take him this week. To L.A. On a week night. During E3."

Now, I realize that a lot of the people who read my blog live in lovely, far-flung places like Canada and France and Germany and...er...Texas. Nonetheless, I'm sure many of you have heard of the (insert adjective of your choice) Los Angeles Lakers. Let me state up front that I'm not a fan of anything NBA, and if the Lakers moved to, oh I don't know, Montevideo? I wouldn't exactly cry.

Sooooo...this is where I was last night:


And this? This is across the street:


Starting to see where this is going? Right. Game 7 of the NBA Finals in that there building right there, as I was taking this photo. And I thought E3 (in the L.A. Convention Center, on the other side of Staples) was the worst of my worries. No, the BRAIN TRUSTS who schedule things for that area also decided that it would be a good night for the opening night of the Los Angeles Film Festival (going on in the buildings behind Nokia) and a concert at the Conga Room (I have no idea who it was. I couldn't be bothered to check).

Now, I know that no one knew the Lakers would be playing Game 7 last night. At least, no one knew this until last Tuesday night, when we were fervently praying the Celtics would win. Again, I'm not a fan of anything NBA; I just didn't want to end up in the situation that we did indeed end up in last night:

Cluster*ahem*

Staples holds 19,000 for a basketball game. Nokia has a capacity of 7,000 (though last night, it was configured for 4,000), and the Conga Room, 1,000. The movie theaters? I couldn't hazard a guess. But the entertainment area there also has a bunch of restaurants, which looked to be well beyond capacity last night.

And what about all the hangers-on who couldn't get tickets to the game and were just milling around in their purple looking for a fight? Waaaaay too many of them, though LAPD evidently forced them all out of the plaza about 15 minutes after we were let into Nokia.

I haven't even mentioned the bit about it taking us two hours to get to downtown L.A. Downtown Los Angeles is not conducive to big crowds: many of the streets are tiny, and about 2/3 only go one way. So, the geography and logistics of getting from point A to point B can be a bit nightmarish. Of course, this was also taking place during rush hour. And we left the house at 4:30 for an 8 pm show.

Did we seriously consider not going? You bet. I was ready to let $300 worth of tickets that I bought three months ago go to waste so as not to have to face that mess. And as I was standing there, waiting for doors, with my daughter glued to my body she was so unnerved by the massive police presence, helicopters hovering overhead, and menacing-looking people cruising around, glowering and hooting at anyone in green, I was grateful for the comic relief provided by the crazed-looking man running through the crowd with a sign that proclaimed "Jesus is Comming. Don't go to hell." as he yelled the same message through a paper cup with the bottom torn out of it.

That's right. Jesus is Comming.

Soon.

So was the show worth all that? Well, the son and the daughter definitely got a kick out of the proceedings, which was good enough for me. I wearied of the plugs for Alienware (I paid for those tickets, which in my book means I don't have to listen to commercials), and even though I've played my share of games over the years--and some pretty obscure ones at that--a lot of this was stuff I'd never heard of. And by and large, the stuff I wanted to hear--Halo!--still beat the majority of the music played, though Assassin's Creed 2 gave it a run for its money. The show's concept was interesting, and generally well carried out, but I'll admit that once was enough.

About half way through the show, the audience was informed that the Lakers had "come from behind in the fourth quarter" and won their game across the street. I was keeping an eye out, and we occasionally saw a car with flashing lights pass by, but it seemed pretty quiet (that means only 40 people were arrested for various misbehaviours, including setting cars on fire, trying to pull a bus driver out of a bus, breaking windows, and throwing things at police officers. LA Times was also reporting that people were running around on the freeway. In the dark. That takes a special kind of stupidity).

When the show finished a little after 11 pm, it was pretty quiet out, but the police presence remained massive. I stopped to take a photo (which is here) of the nicely lit Staples Center, and backed up into the tallest LAPD officer I've ever seen, resplendent in his riot gear. The spouse is still marveling over the encounter, as he says he's never seen another person who actually dwarfed me (I'm almost 6 ft. tall; this gentleman was easily twelve inches taller).

At which, point we decided that it was probably time to go home.

Go listen to some good music: "Just Another Nervous Wreck" from the album Breakfast in America by Supertramp. Why do a few idiots always try to make an entire fandom look bad? And I didn't even get into the whole parking fiasco, even with an advance purchase parking pass.

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