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Car Culture

Zócalo – from the sublime to the ridiculous!

10_6_09_skirball.jpgDirections to the Skirball from its official website.  There are some transit directions at the bottom.

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.

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

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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