Friday, February 8, 2013

Winspear Opera House

My mother likes to tell a story about a family car trip. She likes the part where we were driving through Las Vegas. She doesn't tell why we would have ever gotten off the freeway, why we would have taken the time to drive down the Vegas strip, but she'll tell you that there were lights everywhere. Every color of neon tube, endless round bulbs, all of it wired to blink and flash and spin. I remember our skin colored by the light. And my mother will say that she heard not a peep from the back seat until, in unison, my brother and I issued an awed "McDonald's!"

Her point is that surrounded by the spectacular, what we noticed was the familiar. My point, when I challenge her interpretation, is that the spectacle was clearly supposed to be spectacular, but a fancy McDonald's doesn't happen every day.

I mention this now because last night I went to the Winspear Opera House for the very first time. It's a handsome building, with a very pretty view of downtown out its glass shell. Inside it is five levels that rise ever steeper, cupped like a nest and filled with 4,500 people. The auditorium has a central chandelier that looks like fifty strands of metal dripping into light, and the whole thing retracts into the ceiling when the performance starts. Certainly these are the things I should mention, never mind the show we saw. But what I feel deserves note is the parking structure, receding into the earth, well run and comfortably designed with an attractive central escalator that doubles as a light well. And what I really want to say is that the Lexus Red parking structure has a special zone set aside just as you drive in marked "Lexus Parking"and sure enough it's already full up with Lexi! What an exotic and esoteric perk. It is indeed so random and ridiculous that I do not begrudge the privilege, am still smiling as I pullinto a corner of the bottom most level, flanked on either side by Lexus overflow.

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