A whiff of the air around me as people squeezed by in the second row produced an unexpected result. The scent was a mix of soap, sun-dried laundry and candle wax. I couldn't help but wonder what happened to the smell of too much alcohol, a cloud of lingering pot or stale cigarettes? It's been a long time since I went to a concert in Los Angeles. Decades. Times change. But this Sacramento short sale agent was up past her bedtime on Friday, way past her bedtime, and her eyes were still open.
If you're looking for a fabulous getaway from Sacramento, or any other city within a short flight path to Los Angeles, I've got a good trip for you to plan. You probably won't find this trip in your travel books or in the travel section of the Sacramento Bee. You can leave on a Friday afternoon and be back home on a Saturday afternoon. About 24 hours. Because of the never-ending demands of my short sale business, that's about all I can spare in early spring. If you're in the same boat, you might consider this trip.
This was a birthday present for my husband. He's not a materialistic kind of guy and things don't mean much to him. He hates to shop. He's practical. His motto is: if it works, it ain't broken. He's really hard to buy for. Giving him a trip to see Jon Brion perform in person sounded like a good idea. He's been yakking about it for a long time.
To say that Jon Brion is talented is to say it snows in Minnesota in the wintertime. It's an understatement. Brion is an enormous talent. He's a musical genius. Songwriter, musician, composer, producer and he plays a bunch of instruments. He's done the soundtrack to movies such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Huckabees, Punch-Drunk Love and has produced albums for Aimee Mann and Fiona Apple.
Brion brings a noticeable passion to his craft. He strutted on stage looking like he just rolled out of bed. Maybe he did. I coveted his aqua socks. Sitting on a small table waiting for him were a variety of beverages: Coke (not the diet stuff), water and a tall glass of what looked like foaming Guinness. He consumed several of the latter during the show. He plucked a guitar among the 10 or on stage and began to strum the Scarecrow song from the Wizard of Oz. Ya gotta love this guy.
Jon Brion plays once a month, generally the last Friday in the month, at Largo at the Coronet. This place was once a strip club back in the day. Now, it's a theater, gathering spot and club for local talent and fans who enjoy the offbeat and oddities that make up the other side of mainstream entertainment. It's located around the corner from the Beverly Center on La Cienega. You can buy tickets online for about $25 a piece. If you get to the theater when doors open, they'll hand you your seat assignments and you can wander off to dinner.
We settled on the Fig & Olive for dinner. This French restaurant is just off La Cienga at Melrose Place. Its menu is awe-inspiring and mouth-watering. Being on a diet, I felt a little foolish asking them to bring me something without olive oil in a restaurant known for infused olive oil. The nose, the finish, the herbs. I wanted it all. But I chose sensibly a fish steamed in paper and surrounded by vegetables.
Celebrating my wise gastronomical choice, I topped it off with dessert. Two. A "Dessert Crostini" with my new-found love: amarena cherries. And a caramelized apple tart with vanilla ice cream. So much for a diet. Only because we couldn't decide whether to share Andrew's Tasting and Sharing Plate of desserts.
We stayed at the Hotel Sofitel on Beverly Blvd. If you call the hotel in advance, it will arrange for a car and driver to meet you at baggage claim at LAX. While a cab will run about $50, for about double that with gratuity you can lounge about in the back seat of a Cadillac as you are quickly whisked away without having to stand in line. You can easily blow $50 on a couple of cocktails in L.A. Do yourself a favor, splurge and hire a car.
Everything is within walking distance. If you're lucky, you can get a hotel package that includes breakfast for two. The only drawback is you have to get out of bed, get dressed and go downstairs for it. Flights from Sacramento are available almost hourly. We flew Delta roundtrip for about $400 for the both of us. That's about what you can get on a Southwest flight, too, and through Priceline or Hotwire, probably much less.
Speaking of luck, Jon Brion often brings other musical talent to the stage. During our show, Liam Finn, the son of Neil Finn of Crowded House, leaped from the floor to the stage in one hop to play a few numbers. Bet he couldn't do that again. We also spotted Liam at breakfast the following morning at Hotel Sofitel. In addition, we were treated to several songs by singer-songwriter and fiddle player Sara Watkins. She has an ethereal voice, the voice of a space alien if a space alien could sing. Hauntingly beautiful.
It was a delightful trip, and I would do it again, the next time I have 24 hours to spare.
Largo at the Coronet, 366 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048, 310-855-0350
Hotel Sofitel, 8555 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048, 310-278-5444
Fig & Olive, 8490 Melrose Place, Los Angeles, CA 90069, 310-360-9100
Delta Airlines, 1-800-221-1212
The photo you see at the top is of my husband holding up his iPhone at Fig & Olive to show me a photo of our cat, Jackson.
Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.
Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.