by Stephen Sachs
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is a longtime member of the Fountain Family. His parents, Gil and Sukey Garcetti, have been Fountain subscribers for more than a decade starting back with our LA jazz play Central Avenue in 2001 when Gil was the Los Angeles District Attorney. Eric was elected to the LA City Council in 2001 and served as our Councilman in our 13th District for twelve years. We were thrilled and proud when he was elected mayor in May of this year.
Over the years as our Councilman, Eric and his staff were always there when the Fountain needed him. We will be forever grateful for his friendship and support in our darkest hour of grief. The day after learning of the brutal slaying of our Fountain colleague Ben Bradley in 2010, Eric Garcetti’s office immediately contacted us, asking “what can we do to help?” Members of Eric’s staff personally came over to the Fountain to help us plan Ben’s memorial. They arranged to make the 300-seat City-owned Gallery Theatre in Barnsdall Park available to us free of charge for the service. And Eric Garcetti attended the memorial and spoke.
Last night was a happier time to see now-Mayor Eric Garcetti. A reception honoring him was held at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center in Hollywood. Fountain Co-Artistic Director Deborah Lawlor and I were invited to attend. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
The cocktail event was held on the outdoor plaza of the Center. It was a warm, pleasant night. Before Garcetti’s arrival, about 200 invited guests enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres. It was nice chatting with East West Players Artistic Director Tim Dang, whose husband, Darrel Cummings is the Center’s Chief of Staff. And connecting with Jon Imparato, the Center’s Director of Cultural Arts and producer of their upcoming production of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.
After a lively introduction from Center CEO Lorri L. Jean, Mayor Garcetti spoke. His remarks were casual and friendly and sprinkled with humor, emphasizing social inclusion and his longtime commitment to the LGBT community. He was intelligent, poised, and articulate. Our new Mayor balances charismatic star power with the skill to connect with people as fellow human beings.
Deborah and I grabbed him briefly after this remarks. He seemed happy to see us. “My parents were just at the Fountain a few weeks ago to see Heart Song,” he exclaimed.
Eric and I had a short conversation about how the Fountain can best take advantage of the surge of redevelopment in Hollywood and achieve the Fountain’s goal of acquiring a larger venue. We bemoaned the loss of the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency). But Eric had some ideas and suggestions. And, as always, offered to help.
As someone snapped a photo, Garcetti held a postcard from our upcoming Fountain production of The Normal Heart, opening September 21st, and declared with a broad grin:
“The Mayor says ‘Everyone Go See The Normal Heart!”
You heard him. Better do what the man says. He just might be President some day.
Stephen Sachs is the Co-Artistic Director of the Fountain Theatre.
The Normal Heart Sept 21 – Nov 3 (323) 663-1525 MORE