The Funny Business of Culture in L.A.

A miracle happened last night in the City of Angels. People actually waited until the end of an event before leaving. There wasn't a rush halfway through to participate in the city's favorite pastime--"beating the traffic."

What could have caused Angelenos, known for Attention Deficit issues, to stay?

An opera. One that lasted three hours and forty-five minutes. They paid top dollar for it, too.

You see, only in LA do you see Puccini staged by Woody Allen and Director William Friedkin. That'll sell tickets! And it did. The opera was "Il Trittico", which is actually three mini-operas strung together with one theme--yep, death. Except the Oscar-winning Friedkin made death ever more dramatic in "Il Tabarro" and had me crying in "Suor Angelica", while the and Oscar-winning Allen made "Gianni Schichi" the most hilarious operatic experience I've ever witnessed (lots of sex, too--this is LA, remember).

Here's why people stayed: Opera director Placido Domingo wisely saved the Woody Allen portion of the evening for the end, and no one was going to miss that. Secondly, you can't leave in the middle of an act. Even in Los Angeles, some behaviors are unacceptable. That kept people in their seats for the entire show, nearly four hours! Though when the curtain fell, it was every man for himself. People shot out of there like nervous money market customers fleeing commercial paper, with yours truly among the most aggressive.

Despite this minor miracle, one thing remained the same about Los Angeles last night at the opera. Only in this town do you see a crowd running the fashion gamut. I saw women dripping diamonds wearing what I call "old lady prom dresses", sitting beside those dressed in their best drawstring capris wearing Crocs.

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