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Plane tickets to Washington are sky high, and space on the National Mall is at a premium, but that doesn’t mean Angelenos are going to miss out on Inauguration Day parties. From irreverent political art parties to electric car parades, Southern California has plenty of commemoration events. The swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama has become the perfect occasion for anyone needing five more minutes on a soapbox — or just a cathartic night of dancing.
After all, what better way to kick off a new presidential administration than with drummers, aerialists and burlesque and belly dancers? A techno-tribal performance art collective, the Mutaytor, will take over downtown L.A.’s Mayan Theater for the “Art of Change” Inaugural Ball, a sister event to the D.C. ball of the same name. The evening of Jan. 20 will start with Obama’s speech broadcast on the big screen, accompanied by dinner from Carbon Grill, a farmers market favorite, then performances by Mutaytor’s eclectic lineup.
Joining them will be the hometown heroes of breakbeat, Crystal Method, with a DJ set that is sure to include its 2008 remix of “Now Is the Time,” which samples Obama quoting the Rev. Martin Luther King. DJ Wolfie and DJ Motion Potion carry the rest of the night, with art installations provided by a downtown gallery and think-tank, the Hive collective. “Obama is being called ‘the artist’s president.’ In that spirit, we’re trying to show that political art can be positive,” says Atom Smith, a Mutaytor veteran. And at $10 per ticket, you might call it an exercise in democracy.
Those looking to remind the president-elect of campaign promises can join Plug In America’s Inaugural Electric Car Parade on Saturday in Santa Monica. It will include 68 alternative-energy cars, including Tesla Roadsters and prototypes from Ford and Mitsubishi.
“We congratulate President Barack Obama, who has called for 1 million plug-in cars by 2015,” says Paul Scott, one of the group’s co-founders, “but we’re asking him to accelerate his plan and make it happen three years sooner, then to boost that number to 10 million plug-ins by 2016.” The parade is set to cruise Main Street from the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to Ocean Park Boulevard and back, via Neilson Way.
Just plain partying is the point at Rush Street, Culver City’s bar and grill with a Chi-town vibe, where inauguration means half-price bottles of wine for all diners. The restaurant’s multiple HDTVs will be screening the inaugural goings-on, plus dancing and drink specials begin at 9 p.m. in the upstairs lounge.
Riding the wave of its successful election day gatherings, MoveOn.org has put out the call for inaugural events, and members have answered by organizing more than 75 parties in their homes, local restaurants and bars. For instance, those dying to wear a black tie or gown can hit just-opened Bedrock Studios, a music and creative arts space in Echo Park, and their “Rockin’ Bedrockin’ Baracking Echo Parkin Inaugural Ball.” In exchange, they promise DJs, dancing and libations. RSVP is required: Go to http://www.MoveOn.org and click on “Inaugural bash in your town?”
And yes, there is a bit of gloating going on: LetGo Magazine is throwing the “Bush Bash,” which features activities such as a five-hole miniature golf course in which guests can putt through a toppled statue of Saddam Hussein and into former Sen. Larry Craig’s public bathroom stall. But really, now, is that going to help bring us all together? Guess you’ll have to go and find out.
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