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Road trip to Los Angeles for a concert and catch up with friends on the way

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At 65 miles per hour, my closest friend and I set out on a mini adventure on Highway 101 to Los Angeles to catch a concert on Oct. 17. The concert happened to fall on a Tuesday. Yes, we're in our mid 20s, but we're both riddled with responsibilities that include working multiple jobs and volunteer work. So, going on spontaneous adventures isn't really something we do anymore. But we decided to go anyway, heading down the highway at 4 p.m. trying to avoid what the Central Coast calls rush hour traffic—we're both originally from Southern California and made it through the 405 alive.

MODERN TWISTS The Ace Hotel Theatre is the perfect place for an intimate show, the best place for band and sisters Tegan and Sara. - PHOTO BY KAREN GARCIA
  • Photo By Karen Garcia
  • MODERN TWISTS The Ace Hotel Theatre is the perfect place for an intimate show, the best place for band and sisters Tegan and Sara.

We're on our way to see Tegan and Sara, a Canadian indie pop band that came about in 1998. This was something I wasn't aware of, but my friend knew all about it. She's a huge—no—mega fan of the band and knows a lot about their history and past albums. What I do know is that the band consists of lead vocalists Tegan and Sara Quin, twin sisters that are now in their 30s.

When we hit Ventura County, the sun has started to sink into the water on our right. By that time we'd already recapped the day and the previous week. She pops in the CD that's the reason Tegan and Sara are on this special tour, The Con X: Covers. It's an album that was originally released in 2007, titled The Con when the sisters were dealing with breakups and long distance relationships. So the album is very dark and is said to be a reflection of growing up and the ending of things. This re-release of the album features the original 14-track list reinvented with various artists.

As we near the Valley, the song "Nineteen" starts and it's performed by Haley Williams of Paramore. We talk about these bands and artists that we used to listen to during our angst-filled high school years, before we met and became friends. As we navigate our way to downtown LA, we point out the places we've been to and the restaurants we grew up going to as well.

MILLION MILES A MINUTE It was great to see Tegan and Sara live. The best part of the show is their back and forth banter between sets. - PHOTO BY KAREN GARCIA
  • Photo By Karen Garcia
  • MILLION MILES A MINUTE It was great to see Tegan and Sara live. The best part of the show is their back and forth banter between sets.

Taking out our tickets, I realize that this concert isn't just the 10th anniversary of The Con but it's also a way to benefit the band's foundation. The Tegan and Sara Foundation works to raise awareness and funds to address economic justice and representation for LGBTQ girls and women. One dollar from every ticket sold would go directly to the foundation and its efforts. Not only are we excited to enjoy the concert, we're also happy that we're able to contribute to the foundation.

Just minutes away from the concert venue, The Ace Hotel Theatre, we enter the realm of downtown LA. The land of never ending streets, ever changing stoplights, and crowded street corners. I have to admit, although I would never live in the heart of LA, I miss the bustling of people when I go to a concert, museum, restaurant, or brewery. We've talked about this at length: We enjoy the Central Coast but there's something special about LA. We agree that we don't know if it's the mash-up of cultures and creativity or the pace at which people travel to get to their destination—it's a rush.

As we arrive at the Ace Hotel, we have to take a minute to marvel at the building's beauty. It was originally built in 1927 and was the home of United Artists, a movie production company. Silent film stars Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin founded the company. The building was sold in 2011 and later opened as the Ace Hotel Downtown LA in 2014.

HIGH SCHOOL MEMORIES I remember listening to Tegan and Sara in high school, and the concert brought back a lot of memories of teen angst. - PHOTO BY KAREN GARCIA
  • Photo By Karen Garcia
  • HIGH SCHOOL MEMORIES I remember listening to Tegan and Sara in high school, and the concert brought back a lot of memories of teen angst.

This building is unique because its architecture stands true to the era of its founding. It also stands out as many buildings surrounding it have a more modern flair.

As we shovel out $10 for parking—it is LA; parking isn't free—we gather with the rest of the Tegan and Sara fans. The theater is amazing; a long lobby with checkered flooring and a beautiful chandelier greet us. It's dimly lit with colored lights that match the old Hollywood feel.

Our seats are on the second floor of the venue, but the theater is small enough that we still feel close to the stage. Once we take our seats, we can't help but laugh at ourselves for driving almost four hours to busy downtown LA to catch a concert. But we were glad we did; we were able to catch up and learn more about each other. We also had to laugh because we both had to work the next morning. That meant once the concert ended at 10 p.m., we would be making our way back to San Luis Obispo. What are your 20s for, right? It's about building on friendships and enjoying events in great company. Δ

Karen Garcia is driving down the 101 at 70 miles per hour at kgarcia@newtimesslo.com.


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