I broke a vow last night never ever ever to set foot on the sculpted slab of pre-fab that is Glendale’s Americana at Bland. Not that I went there directly or on purpose. Hell no. My wife and I were across the boulevard at the decidedly not-bland repertory theater A Noise Within for its marvelous production of Richard Nash’s The Rainmaker, and on our way in the door we heard another patron wonder about the ridiculous traffic crush in the vicinity — a minor mystery solved by the ticket taker who told us that the mall was having its official Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Other than something along the humbuggy lines of “It’s too dang early for that shit,” I didn’t give it a second thought until midway through the play’s first act when I thought the theater’s sound system had gone bonkers with a thunderstorm effect only to realize what was breaking the fourth wall the wrong way was a monstrocity of a fireworks display going off at Carusoville. And off. And off. It was pretty much at some point during that seemingly endless aural intrusion that A) I thought what better time for a fireworks show than on a day when pretty much all of Southern California is on fire, and B) I decided afterwards we needed to go see what all the pyrotechnic fuss was about.
What we found was an awesome spectacle of a huge skyscraping conifer festooned with a brazillion ornaments and an equivalent number of lights (click image to biggify).
“In this fake place, that can’t possibly be real,” I thought. I hoped — especially in a new era when even Disneyland, for the first time in its 53-year history, has installed an artificial arbor on its Main Street.
But sure enough, a signpost up ahead showed me the truth: Rick Caruso had signed off on the order to take a chainsaw to a previously perfectly living 106-feet-tall white fir from Northern Califonia, that no doubt then was cosmetically enhanced it to absolute conical-icious perfection.
The information even goes so far to boast that Americana’s conifer kicks 36-feet of cross-country ass over the Rockefeller Center’s relatively puny 70-footer. Boo-yah! You just know the tree-selection committee over there south of Black Rock in the Big Apple has to reeeeally be pissed off!
Holiday spirit, indeed.