Remember Santa Monica Place? Up until now, it was an ’80s-era indoor mall used in various films (most notably in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Terminator 2 (where the Governator and John Doggett get into the first of many fisticuffs)) but overlooked by almost everyone else in favor of Third Street Promenade and its merry band of street performers. It shut down in early 2008 for a massive renovation to, you know, catch up with this decade. This Friday, the mall sheds the shoulder pads and other relics of the Decade of Excess, takes a page or two from the outdoor Century City Mall and The Grove, and adopts an open-air policy. To celebrate its grand opening, the first 500 people in line at 3rd and Broadway, waiting eagerly for the (out)doors to open, will receive gift cards ranging from $5 to $100. The cards will be handed out between 7:30am (!) and 9:30am. Not to be outdone, the Disney Store also will be giving out its own version of happiness: Mickey ears to the first 500 guests. If you have the time and the inclination, free gift card money and Mickey ears are awfully hard to turn down. The full list of stores to spend your winnings can be found here.
I’m actually not much of a shopper, so quite possibly the best part for me is The Market, which is intended to rival the artisan marketplace at The Ferry Building in San Francisco. But, unfortunately, The Market doesn’t open until later this year (or even early next year! Womp womp). For now, I am more than happy to settle with the Second Best Part: every Friday between 5 and 7pm from now through September, KCRW DJs will provide a little background beat on the mall’s rooftop dining patio (the Dining Deck). Several of the six main restaurants anchoring the Deck will provide appropriate happy hour nosh and libations. I’m hoping that Bay Area import Pizza Antica will have some great pizza-and-beer specials. On Deck for the first SunSets series is the station’s Music Director and Morning Becomes Eclectic host Jason Bentley.
Have we gone from the Decade of Excess to the Decade of Recession But At Least We’re Outside? Maybe – but at least we got rid of those shoulder pads.