We have lived in Westlake Village since 2004. As the years have passed, when it came down to easy access to performing arts and entertainment, we have found ourselves increasingly challenged by traffic on the 101. Anytime we wanted to go to Los Angeles for theater, music, museums, dining, sports or shopping, it was difficult. An evening of world-class jazz at the Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood often included an overnight stay at a nearby hotel. Ridiculous if you consider the fact that Hollywood is only 30 miles away. Not ridiculous if you want to enjoy yourself and avoid a two-hour crawl into Hollywood. Bottom line is that we do not go that often anymore. Unfortunately, I no longer get to see Tierney Sutton, Arturo Sandoval or other jazz artists I so very much enjoy.

I don’t remember the last time I was at the Hollywood Bowl, the Music Center or the Pantages. Too bad, since I love musical theater, ballet and much of what those fine venues have to offer. Rather than continue complaining, it’s time to live and enjoy life locally. The Conejo Valley, Malibu and Pacific Palisades, the communities we serve with our Lifestyle magazines, have a great deal to offer. Pepperdine University offers full seasons of diverse entertainment at their Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza has multiple venues offering a broad array of choices, especially from their resident companies Pacific Festival Ballet, 5-Star Theatricals and New West Symphony. Getting down to a smaller scale, we live in (or at least near) Los Angeles, a world-class entertainment capital. Excellent musicians can be found in our communities every week, for example, at Bogies or at the NABU Wines tasting room, where I was recently blown away by the incredible guitar work of the Paul McCallum Jazz Trio and the 70’s blues and rock of the Vinyl Gypsies.

We still need to trek into L.A. for museums, a must-see show like “Hamilton” or a visit to the new Eataly in Century City. But there are many choices right here. So, save some gas and mileage and relax and enjoy what our communities have to offer.