“Smog is not permitted in the chic west side of Los Angeles,” opines theater writer Richard Hornby, in a current Hudson Review piece rating Los Angeles stage venues. Hornby in this specific case was describing the pleasures of imbibing on the Geffen Playhouse's “agreeable courtyard, the perfect place for a drink on a clear, balmy Westwood night.“
As many critics and theatergoers can attest, however, there may be comparatively little smog on the Westside, but there's plenty of the traffic that produces it. Schlepping from downtown or even Hollywood to make one of the Geffen's 7:30 p.m. curtains has always been the bane of stage enthusiasts who must fight their way through more commute traffic than they would for theaters' traditional 8 p.m. start time. Now, however, the L.A. Times' Culture Monster blog reports that the traffic has just proved too onerous for non-Westsiders attending Geffen shows, and so the Playhouse has been forced to adjust accordingly:
“Geffen producing director Gil Cates,” posts Diane Haithman, “says that the change is taking place both to simplify the schedule and to acknowledge the traffic problem. Adds Cates: 'Everybody used to think of L.A. as an “early” town, but we find that people like a bit more time between their business day and when they go to the theater.'”
Yeah, so they can spend it in traffic and have a better shot making the
curtain on time — and getting bombed on that agreeable courtyard.