SoCal Halloween wedding not so bad after all | Latte Guy | Nov. 4

Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: I spent Halloween this year in Culver City, Calif., a city in West Los Angeles named after a guy named Culver.

Its chief attraction for me, one might say its only attraction for me, is that it was the site of my niece Melissa’s wedding held the day before Halloween, which I guess is technically the Eve of All Hallow’s Eve.

Wendy and I stayed at the Culver Hotel “conveniently located in the heart of Downtown Culver City,” according to the hotel brochure, which obviously takes a liberal view of the concept of “convenience.”

The hotel was built in the 1920s by Harry Culver himself, and was a landmark in the entertainment industry during Holly-wood’s Golden Era.

The hotel is within walking distance from both Culver Studios and Sony Studios, formerly known as MGM Studios.

From our window we could almost see a replica of Tara from “Gone With the Wind.”

While we were there, Tara was Gone With the Smog.

The hotel gets most of its notoriety these days for being the place where the actors who played the Munchkins in the original “Wizard of Oz” film stayed during the filming.

As near as I could tell, they had all checked out before we got there.

The hotel was actually very nice, and if I’m ever in Culver City on Halloween again, I’d definitely stay there.

Melissa’s wedding was held just up the street from the hotel at a place called The Smog Shoppe.

The Smog Shoppe was formerly an auto repair shop specializing in testing cars for compliance with California’s auto emission standards.

Judging by the air quality in Culver City during our visit, The Smog Shoppe is doing a far better job as a venue for weddings than it ever did in helping with the air quality of Culver City. As a wedding venue, it was both charming and funky, a difficult balancing act to master.

The wedding featured all of the things that make family weddings so much fun to attend:  beautiful warm weather, beautiful, smiling young people dressed to the nines, beaming older folks suddenly feeling younger and happier, and the spectacle of my brother dancing.

At least I think he was dancing. Perhaps his pants had caught fire and he was just trying to put out the fire without using his hands. I’ll have to check the film to be sure.

The wedding food was delicious, and featured all the tacos and cookies you could eat and/or slip into your purse or jacket pocket for later.

My mom and my Aunt Ruth were both there.

Their combined ages are 180, so I spent as much time as possible sitting between them so I could either absorb a little of their collective wisdom or, better yet, look a little younger than I actually am.

Sitting between them also turned out to be a pretty good place to hide when the dancing broke out.

Actually, I think they had both left by the time the dancing started, which is a good thing; otherwise they might have felt compelled to change their wills.

Besides attending Melissa and Glenn’s wedding, Wendy and I managed to work in a couple of stops at In-N-Out Burger, and I helped my sisters with a visit to the Flower District in downtown Los Angeles to pick up flowers for the wedding.

My oldest sister speaks fluent Spanish, so she handled the flower negotiations, and my next older sister handled the map-reading and navigation duties, which left me free to offer unsolicited (and largely ignored) advice about freeway lane selection, optimal parking opportunities and our relative proximity to various preferred lunch venues.

I flew home on Halloween. For someone who doesn’t like to fly, I was a little concerned to see that I’d been assigned seat 13A.

This led me to speculate about whether we had a real pilot or just some guy who had rented a pilot’s costume for the day. I guess I’ll never know, but whoever he was, he got us home safely.

In fact, it was such a pleasant flight that as I exited the plane I slipped the pilot a couple of wedding cookies from the stash in my pocket.

Tom Tyner is an attorney for the Trust for Public Land. He is author of “Skeletons From Our Closet,” a collection of writings on the island’s latte scene.

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