LA Auto Show, a rainy Sunday afternoon pictorial

This is how my mind operates. Before I leave the house to do anything, I have one overriding concern that preoccupies me. For instance, in preparation for a trek to downtown L.A. and its conjoined amusement of mobs of LA Live strollers and annoying throngs of people blocking walkways at the annual Los Angeles Auto Show at the Convention Center, I only cared about one thing. It’s the one in yellow:

The Los Angeles auto show is an annual madhouse. It takes place at the Convention Center which architecturally predates the Staples Center and LA Live by decades and though it has been upgraded, it is a relatively “ancient” structure within the context of area landmarks. It’s located on the grimy streets near the junction of the Harbor and Santa Monica Freeways. You’ll typically have many wayward visitors, many whom don’t visit downtown very often. Traffic clogs up the streets, everyone seems to be in the wrong lane, and parking is precious and expensive. I hate crowds and I absolutely hate lines. For me, it’s all about the FAQ #7. Not that it mattered because I had decided to attend the show today, so it came down to minimizing the human torment the best I could. My son and I left the house about 10. I figured Sunday morning should be tolerable. People are at church or eating breakfast. My gamble worked because I nabbed a pretty good spot right off Figueroa on the first floor of a parking structure. $12 was the rent. The sky was gray and the forecast warned of rain, but it was dry when we arrived.

The crowd entering with us was sparse. Just my speed.

We handed our home-printed tickets and the guy scanned them and we were in. The first and largest collection of exhibits is in the South Hall. Here you’ll find almost all the major auto manufacturer’s exhibits. We meandered about, checking out the concept cars which are a main reason to come to auto shows. These mainstream auto company exhibits tend to be the most boring because most of the cars you see here are the same ones you can see in your neighborhood shopping market parking lot. I didn’t sit in any of the cars this time around. That’s one of the more fun aspects of the auto show. It seemed all the cars were full of gawking adults and bothersome kids. After we had seen all the cars here, we walked outside to look for West Hall where the rest of the domestics were displayed but we stopped at Concourse Hall on the way and had a look at some exotics and other pricey shit…Rolls Royce, Lotus and one of my favorites, Aston Martins. I love the Aston and if I were a profligate earner and spender, that is what I would be driving. What a sweet car.

After the Concourse Hall, we got a little “turned around” and ended up outside looking for the West Hall. It was raining now and walking in the rain like a lost dog in search of a car showroom is not ideal. My son was not wearing a jacket even though he brought it. It was sitting uselessly the backseat of my car. If his mom or grandmother found out about this, I would be in a “river of shit” as Don Draper said in an episode of Mad Men. We looked at a map and figured out that the West Hall was actually accessible from inside through the South Hall. There had been no reason for us to get wet. Sigh. We stopped at Petree Hall on the way and checked out the Porsche’s which were the sole occupant here. I couldn’t find the Ferrari’s, sadly. I don’t think Ferrari had an exhibit this year. Big sad face. How could this be? If they allowed conspicuously consumptive Rolls into the party, why not the beautiful, sexy Ferrari? Ferrari is the King Cobra of automobile joy. The thunderous sound, the racing heritage planted on city streets near you…even if you can’t touch them, it’s exciting to stand just feet from their glistening Red sheet metal and gawk like a MILF wets her pants at your current teenage vampire cast. From Petree, we scooted over the West Hall and checked out the remaining “commoner” auto makes, ie Fiat, Lincoln, Honda, Mitsubishi,etc.

Here are some of this afternoon’s sights.

Phil Spector

I believe the red car was a Scion concept model if I remember correctly. It was beautiful. My attention however was distracted by the oldster with puffy gray hair. He talked seriously in his phone while orbiting the car, no doubt scouting his next mid-life crisis mission of mercy.

Hybrid Chillin’

Each auto manufacturer attempts to dress up its exhibit with a personal, pampered touch and the Toyota Prius area sported this fancy urban outfitted shaggy lounge worthy of a penthouse suite. Walking through an auto show can be exhausting. People come here to drive, not walk. The faux living room works wonders.

Spoiled Eurotrash Brat

I like to look at random photos of 2 people talking and imagine a conversation based on the surrounding photographic elements. Photographs are silent frozen flickers of time. There is no narration, no movement, we must make up a story. I do. In this case, the mother at the far right of the frame is promising her son, “Yes dear, when you turn 16 we’ll buy you a new S4 if you maintain at least a 3.6 GPA.”

You Are Not Men!

Perhaps they are handy, but these front-loading baby harnesses fathers wear irritate the hell out of me. You cannot carry a baby in such a monstrous contraption and call yourself a man. It’s impossible. I don’t care how bad you are, or how thoroughly you can kick my ass. You look ridiculous with that little blob of newborn flesh squeezing your non-existent man-breasts. In my day, a man just carried his baby, and once he was tired, put the baby back into a stroller. This shit is meek. The harness holds a baby…does it also have a pouch for your abandoned testicles?

Prole Exhibit

This photo captured an odd sort of trilogy of intersecting elements. 1) Balding man with folded arms appears to kill time reading about electric cars. Will he buy one? More likely, he’ll end up, 2) Riding a motorized cart through an auto show and snubbing his wheels at the proud electric car exhibitors with a flourish that exclaims, “Electric car? I’ve been driving one of those for years” as he speeds away toward the geriatric Buick exhibit. That is, provided he avoids colliding with 3) A rotund woman using her baby stroller to house an infant and a big gulp of some high-fructose waist-expanding elixir.

This Sums Up The Maze

The entrance to the Convention Center and the crisscross confusion of the atrium symbolized my maze-like confusion trying to find my way around the Convention Center. Especially for someone like me who wouldn’t be able to find his way out of a box if his life depended on it.

Poor Multitasking Role Model

I don’t want to single out the balding father with the Nike backpack because a lot of parents are equally distracted to the point they can’t keep track of their child’s location. Still, I don’t understand how a parent can lose track of their 5-year-old. I never did that. I was always able to manage more than one train of awareness in my mind when carting my son around at that age. On the one hand I constantly kept tabs of his presence, but I found it possible to engage other activities required by my environment. It’s called multitasking and this Nike father was so intent on trying to wend his way through the ticket line at the entrance that he forgot his son was wandering around out of his sight. Suddenly awareness jolted him and he jumped and spun when he realized his son was not around…his son was behind us, fascinated by a baby in a stroller. How can you forget your 5-year-old child for even the span of 5 seconds when you’re in this kind of large random crowd? I don’t get it.


I once liked the Smart car until I heard its engine. What an uninspiring, rough sound. Small displacement engines need not sound like crap, not nowadays. That killed my infatuation. It’s like hearing that cute girl you have a mild crush on fart for the first time. This crayon box killed it some more. Hideous.

Wrong Turn

The Scion exhibit is youthful and bouncy because after all, Scions do appeal to the college-aged entry level car-buying market. I wonder if the gray-haired black gentleman got the memo or didn’t understand the directions to the Lincoln exhibit.

Lexus Is Happy Endings

Lexus is seeking to conclusively capture the high-end market. Female display models are also encouraged to satisfy affluent clients in every way possible.

Beaners Need Not Apply

Most of the public faces the car companies proffer at these auto shows are composed of tall, model-caliber men and women. Anglo, Asian, Black…but no Mexicans! Oh wait, the public Mexican face is present. They are the ones who dust and wipe down the cars.

Where Are The Cargo Vans?

Perhaps I can’t relate because I’m not a caregiver for anyone who is confined to a wheelchair, but I can’t imagine an auto show is high on the list of events I would want to take such a person. Mazda’s “zoo zoom” advertising slogan seems ill-at-ease here.

What Do You Know About Continuous Variable Transmission?

They’ve got some real lookers manning the fort at these auto shows. Do they know anything about their product? I imagine they know enough to get by and not sound like complete morons, and besides, what kind of man asks these girls intricate automotive questions, and furthermore, really cares about the answer as much as he does about getting a glimpse of some leg or titty?

This Means Green

Even though you can still find many high-horse-powered V8, V10 and V12 beasts on the floor of the auto show, there is assuredly a new sympathetic acceptance of practicality and economy in the new breed of automobile, and the plethora of forward-thinking electric cars and hybrids is to be found in most exhibits. Real live vegetation has become a new prop symbolizing its synonymous display as an ecologically-friendly allusion. Pretty actually.

Just A Little More

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