The City of Santa Monica will be hosting a community birthday party in honor of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium’s 50th birthday with musical performances and other activities this Saturday night starting at 6 p.m.
The “Santa Monica Civic” was designed by architect Welton Becket & Associates and opened its doors in 1958, and since then it has been the site of the Academy Awards, numerous other award and trade shows, rock and benefit concerts, and sporting events. It also has been the home for the Santa Monica Symphony since it opened. The Symphony played their inaugural concert there on June 16, 1958, which included a performance of “Symphony Moderne,” written by their conductor at the time, Peter Meremblum.
A unique hydraulic floor that allows the Santa Monica Civic to quickly convert from a 3,000-seat performance space to a 27,000 square foot exhibit space has encouraged its diversity of uses over the years. It was designated as a historic landmark by the City of Santa Monica in April of 2002 and it will be updated as part of Santa Monica’s Civic Center Specific Plan.
The celebration will include a performance by rock group the Gary Mendell Quintet, and the Tropical Paradise Dancers of Orange County will hula dance and give hula lessons. Also part of the festivities will be the opportunity to have your photo taken with vintage band gear on the historic stage where Aerosmith, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra and so many others performed. There will also be a display of historic memorabilia from the Civic Center’s archives such as programs and pictures from the Academy Awards and tickets and passes from rock concerts.
There will also be a showing at 8 p.m. of the surf classic The Endless Summer in the auditorium’s parking lot to commemorate the Santa Monica Civic’s role as a venue for surf movies and its link to the growth of California’s surfing culture. Filmmaker Bruce Brown will introduce the film. An exhibit by The Surfing Heritage Foundation will also highlight the auditorium’s surfing history and guests will also have the opportunity to play a Robo surf game. Robo surfing simulates surfing.
Lastly, there will be a yo-yo expert demonstrating and teaching guests how to do classic tricks with yo-yos that will be given out free of charge at the event.
Louis Lind who is the Santa Monica Civic’s Facilities Superintendent told the Mirror it seems like almost “everyone has been to the Civic for something so the celebration will help bring back memories for everyone.”The entire event including food and parking is free to the public. Those wishing to watch the screening of The Endless Summer should bring a lawn chair to sit on. More information on the celebration can be found at civicmemories.smgov.net.