Last Tuesday was La La Land Day — La La Land as in the movie, the one in which Ryan Gosling teaches us all to love jazz, the one that almost won the Best Picture Oscar but then didn't.
Anyway, La La Land Day — April 25 — isn't a national holiday. It doesn't have as much legitimacy as, say, Sibling Day or Pie Day. Rather, it's a holiday created by resolution of the Los Angeles City Council in honor of the DVD and Blu-ray release of La La Land. The mayor played a little jazz piano, and some dancers did some “aerial dancing” on the exterior walls of City Hall, and while the city didn't pay for any of the festivities, a good chunk of our city government was taking time out of its hopefully busy Tuesday to promote the DVD release of a motion picture.
If this all sounds a bit ridiculous to you, well, you're not wrong. But the City Council has a long and ridiculous history of declaring various “days,” for various reasons — not just for promoting DVDs but for promoting new-album releases, pet causes, disenfranchised groups and, of course, hugely famous athletes the councilmembers want to take selfies with.
10. Bob Marley Day
Way back in the halcyon days of 2012, City Council declared Aug. 7 to be Bob Marley Day. The resolution, authored by local yokel Tom LaBonge, made clear the declaration was timed to coincide with the DVD release of the documentary Marley, reading, in part:
Further the City Council commends and congratulates Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald and Steve Bing/Shangri-La Entertainment for producing Marley. This documentary will be the definitive biography of the legendary artist Bob Marley, who introduced so many Americans to the joyous, celebratory music we have come to know as reggae!
Two of the legend's 13 children, Ziggy and Karen, were on hand to accept the councilman's congratulations, and Councilman Joe Buscaino reportedly sang a few verses of “Redemption Song.”
9. It's a Wonderful Life Day
In 2011, the City Council boldly declared Dec. 3 to be It's a Wonderful Life Day, which coincided with both the film's 65th anniversary and its new Blu-ray release. As the resolution noted, the Blu-ray release came in something called a “Shadow Box Gift” that included “a two-disc Collector's Edition Blu-ray with a beautifully colorized version of the film in high definition and the original, digitally remastered black-and-white movie high definition, as well as 'The Magic of It's a Wonderful Life,' a documentary featurette hosted by Tom Bosley, and the original theatrical trailer. The set also includes an exclusive bell ornament and a commemorative booklet.”
You had us at commemorative booklet!
8. Oingo Boingo Day
Councilman José Huizar is a pretty big music fan, so it's no surprise that he authored the 2016 resolution declaring April 20 (4-20!) as Oingo Boingo Day.
“When you heard their music, you knew it was time to get up and dance or just to jump around,” Huizar said at the time.
Danny Elfman couldn't make the big ceremony, but Johnny Vatos, John Avila, Sam “Sluggo” Phipps and Carl Graves (who perform as The Johnny Vatos Oingo Boingo Dance Party) were on hand. They played an acoustic version of “Dead Man's Party” in council chambers.
Unlike most musicians' “days,” which are declared to promote some sort of new album or tour, we're pretty sure this was declared just because Huizar really likes Oingo Boingo.
7. Donovan Day
In 2012, Councilman Paul Koretz finally recognized a real musical genius: Donovan, aka the British Bob Dylan (who was actually Scottish), aka the guy in Don't Look Back that Bob Dylan spends half the film making fun of. Yes, the singer-songwriter of “Mellow Yellow,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man” and “I Love My Shirt” was given his very own day — Sept. 3, the 50th anniversary of the release of Donovan's album Sunshine Superman and the day before the kickoff of his North American tour.
I don't know what you were doing that day, but if you weren't listening to Donovan, you were in direct violation of city law.
According to Koretz's resolution:
He and his songs bring joy, warmth, wisdom, fellowship, adventuresome pleasure, abiding happiness, and a radiant generosity of spirit to his listeners, his audiences, and wherever he goes, for Donovan Leitch — ’60s legend, icon, poet, and one of the world’s most enduring singer-songwriters — has delighted the entire world
In short, Paul Koretz feels adventuresome pleasure when he listens to Donovan.
6. Stan Lee Day
City Council doesn't spend all its time promoting DVD releases and North American tours by aging troubadours. It also spends time promoting comic book conventions! Stan Lee Day was declared to be Sept. 28, 2016, the first day of a comic book convention known as Stan Lee's Los Angeles Comic Con, not to be confused with the real Comic-Con, which is in San Diego.
5. P-22 Day
The City Council declared Oct. 22, 2016, to be P-22 Day, named, of course, after the much-celebrated mountain lion that roams Griffith Park. This resolution was deceptively controversial. P-22 was presumed to have killed a koala in the Los Angeles Zoo earlier in the year. The cold-blooded murder of an adorable creature prompted Councilman Mitch O'Farrell to argue that the council needed to “contemplate relocating P-22 to a safer, more remote wild area, where he has adequate space to roam without the possibility of human interaction.”
But the P-22 Day resolution, authored by O'Farrell's colleague David Ryu, took a different view:
The city of Los Angeles and its residents have demonstrated remarkable leadership in coexisting with P-22 and other wild neighbors, and in advocating for P-22 to remain on the urban landscape, as recognized by The New York Times, which described L.A. as a “a city at ease with wildlife in its midst, even potentially dangerous specimens. Opinion pieces opposing any effort to remove P-22 have appeared in local newspapers.”
4. Kobe Bryant Day
What's more controversial than a bloodthirsty mountain lion? How about five-time NBA champion and one-time accused rapist (charges were dropped, and a civil suit was settled out of court) Kobe Bryant? The Black Mamba was honored with his own day in what was the most famous honorary day of all time in L.A., with news media far and wide paying a visit to City Hall just to catch a glimpse of newly retired and newly bearded Bryant. The day, Aug. 24, 2016, was chosen for the two numbers Bryant wore during his 20 seasons with the Lakers.
3. Dwight Howard Day
Curiously, Kobe Bryant Day was preceded by Dwight Howard Day, which was declared nearly four years earlier, on Nov. 14, 2012. Howard had just been acquired by the Lakers in an off-season trade and was expected to inject new life into an aging squad that still was struggling to cope with life after the departure of its totemic coach, Phil Jackson. The five-page resolution, authored by Councilman Bernard Parks, fleshed out many of the lesser-known details of the then–25-year-old's biography, including the dubious statement: “Despite his large frame, Dwight was quick and versatile enough to play the guard position.”
It was to be an abject lesson in the perils of declaring a “day” too soon. Howard's season with the Lakers was a disappointment, and when he became a free agent the following year, he turned down a chance to re-sign with the Lakers and instead opted to take his talents to Houston.
2. Food Day
One might say that people already appreciate food. One might say it's basically become the center of American culture. One might say that declaring a day as “Food Day” would be like declaring a day as “Oxygen Day.” Of course, that person would be churlish and downright cruel, as everyone knows that L.A.'s Food Day — Oct. 24, 2012 — was timed to coincide with National Food Day. Our Food Day honored a panoply of food-related causes: reducing obesity, eating healthy, supporting local farmers, supporting the economy, paying workers a living wage, promoting urban agriculture, supporting the development of edible landscapes (mmmmm, edible landscapes) and a whole bunch of other crap that you can read about here.
1. Wig Wearer's Empowerment Day
The City Council declares all sorts of ridiculous days. In this year alone, there's been Ethical Consumer Day, National Walking Day, Open Data Day and Scenic Artists Day. But our favorite day of 2017 — so far — has got to be Wig Wearer's Empowerment Day, which we're sure you know was Feb. 2. The stone-faced resolution, authored by Councilman Bob Blumenfield, reads, in part:
Society can be misunderstanding and even cruel. Many people with hair loss become homebound: embarrassed and harassed by a partner, family or community which chooses to tease and condemn, instead of embrace a person's choice to feel attractive by wearing a wig.
Wig Wearer’s Empowerment Day begins a positive narrative for wig wearers to stop withdrawing and instead hold their heads high proud of themselves for finding the courage to continue on their own unique path — with or without then own hair.
So if you've noticed hordes of proud wig wearers happily wandering the streets, you have L.A. City Council to thank.