Really, really sorry we even have to use the word “Carmageddon” again, but — as we pointed out in our FAQ section — once that thing gained SEO power, there was no stopping it.
On the final day of the countdown to this weekend's 405 closure, we bring you perhaps our most useful Carmageddon post yet: a coupon book of sorts, hinging on the publicity power of the big event. Because even if you're sick to death of hearing about L.A.'s pending traffic jam to end all traffic jams, you might as well take advantage of the side-effects of such an overblown PR storm.
We've sifted through literally hundreds of promotions — from restaurants, hotels, airlines and nightclubs to some regular-old naked people looking to party — and selected our 10 favorites, whether due to good bargain rating or sheer hilarity. (Promise no one's paying us. Though that'd be nice.)
10. Six different YogaWorks locations across the city are hosting “bring a friend for free” days on July 16 and July 17. Yoga or pilates classes at Body Wellness on Wilshire are free for everyone. Also, By Your Side Dance Studio is offering free lessons from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Sexy! (P.S. If you drive there, you suck.)
9. For mall rats, Westfield Fashion Square and Westfield Century City have free valet parking, and once you're there, you can enter to win the “I Survived the 405” package — “a $500 gas card, free valet for the rest of the year and a car wash once a month for the rest of the year.” Kind of defeats the whole anti-car crusade we're supposed to be on this weekend, but whatever. More mall shit: Westfield Culver City is having a “tailgate party” (the very corporate, non-Jummy Buffet concert kind, we imagine). Adorably, there will be tricycle races and an “I Survived the 405”-themed photo booth.
8. A slightly more street block party (though we'd really just recommend having your own) will be held outside Showbiz Store & Cafe on Sepulveda (face-painting, free samples, etc). Also, a bunch of Santa Monica bars are also offering cheap car-themed drinks for happy hour. (Or you could just work something out with the Redditers.) At night, Rush Street in Culver City is actually having sand shoveled onto their upstairs patio, and Crown Bar in West Hollywood seems to think it's got a pretty rad theme party going on, too. Tip: When in doubt, just walk into the nearest bar and say, “I'll have the Carmageddon special, stat.”
7. Ride one of those super dorky Venice Boardwalk bicycle-elliptical thingies (guess they're called Street Riders) for only $8 per hour, instead of $40. So you can say you've done it, and because who would ever pay $40 for that crap.
6. This one's especially awesome. Valley residents who can prove they live in the Valley (bring something official-looking with a zip code on it) can get unlimited free rides at the Santa Monica Pier carnival from July 15 to 18. In the words of the park's genius PR guy: “If guests can make their way to Pacific Park through the detours and stifling traffic, we want to recognize their efforts with a free unlimited ride pass.”
5. In Sherman Oaks, you can get $100 weaves, as advertised on Craigslist. Apparently, this is a good deal. We wouldn't know.
4. Another Craigslist post — this time, soliciting “girl/girl and same room sex.” And, uh, in case you were starting to feel fourth-grade about the whole thing: “No games, flakes or fake people please…we have been there and done that.” And there are a lot more personals where that came from.
3. Beware: Only for the super wealthy, looking to stay wealthy with sweet discounts on wealthy-people things. The Hard Rock in Vegas has a half-off Carmageddon package for $525 — it gets you “two nights in the hotel's casino tower, complimentary cabana rental and VIP access to Vanity Nightclub.” Dunno, sounds kind of cool. More locally, a bunch of fancy hotels in Newport Beach have cheaper-than-normal rooms, and even more locally, the London West Hollywood is proposing you spend a fabulous “staycation” indoors/at the rooftop pool. $465 gets you “luxurious suite accommodations,” free yoga, a four-course dinner at Ramsay's and complimentary breakfast. #Swag.
2. The $4 JetBlue flights from Burbank to Long Beach (and back) are long sold out, but $150 helicopter flights are still an option. National attention is on the group of rogue cyclists trying to race the JetBlue planes, so grabbing a front seat for that — however possible — might be worth it.
1. This last one's not necessarily the best deal, but it's closest to our hearts, and we recommend it strongly: On Sunday, the Last Bookstore is debuting a $15 sequel to its classic downtown L.A. tour. The new one is called “How Los Angeles Invented The Wild West,” and it promises to “uncover LA's secret origins as the toughest cow town in the history of the Wild West long before it invented the Western film.” Because nothing melts away commuter stress like some municipal nostalgia. And nothing says “there ain't room in this town for the two of us” like a trip down the 405. Oh, and art: The Hammer Museum is free all weekend.
All right, folks! Let us know if there are any especially good deals we forgot.
And as for celebration: We'd invite you to our Carmageddon party, but given the amount of traffic this countdown is bringing in, we're afraid it'd turn into Partygeddon.
So have your own! Do it! Best thing about serious, city-sanctioned events is making fun of them. And from what we can see of the 405 out our window, enough people have been scared into submission that the streets will be ours to roam this weekend. [Insert “CG” gang sign we just made up — it's really cool, actually — here.]
Also, stay tuned for the Informer's #Carmageddon live blog, beginning tonight at midnight. And please don't hesitate to send us updates from the road, or from your girl-on-girl Craiglist orgies — wherever you may find yourself this fine Judgment Day.