The Getty Villa was the site of the formal state dinner on June 9. President Joe Biden and the First Lady Jill Biden hosted more than 20 heads of state from countries across the Western Hemisphere at the museum in Pacific Palisades.
Although there was some advance warning that Pacific Coast Highway would have one lane closed for emergencies, at times all lanes were closed, including the California Incline in Santa Monica. That Thursday afternoon and evening the result was massive traffic tie-ups on the Westside.
One Circling the News resident wrote, “There so many new restaurants in the downtown area with lovely views of Los Angeles especially at night for this dinner, but they have to schlep all these people out to the beach for a dinner at the Getty Villa with all the inherent traffic problems … reallllly!”
Another reader sent a link to a Getty story (“Getty Villa Holds Dinner for the 9th Summit of the Americas”) click here.
Although the Getty plans hundreds of events each year, this was the first time it hosted a state dinner. According to the Getty, the supporting staff included hundreds of people from various agencies, including 200 staff from the Getty. It was covered by 45 journalists from more than 20 foreign press agencies and the White House travel press pool.
According to the Getty, “After a tasting with State Department Protocol Office officials, Getty’s catering vendor Bon Appétit was selected to prepare the meal with Executive Chef Fernando Cayanan at the helm.
“I am truly grateful and humbled to be given the opportunity to craft a menu for this event. Everyone’s been working so hard to make this happen,” Cayanan said.
The sit-down dinner was in the outer peristyle garden among the colonnades, which parallel the pool in the center of the Villa’s main garden. The dinner was made with local, sustainable and regional ingredients. California wine was served.
Dessert included white chocolate medallions embossed with the presidential seal.
Afterwards, guests went to the outdoor theater to hear the United States Marine Band, vocalists and 17 trumpeters.
Guests received special souvenirs from the Getty Museum Store, but there was no mention of what was given.
Why did the guests go to the Villa? Politico reported in a June 11 story (“Biden Ducks Summit ‘Debale’ in Los Angeles. But It Wasn’t Smooth.”) that Governor Gavin Newsom welcomed the travelers “You are in one of the most diverse cities — LA — in the most diverse region in the most diverse state — California — in the world’s most diverse democracy.”
The story noted, “Outside, however, the unmistakable smell of urine wafted through the warm night air. The deteriorating condition of downtown Los Angeles — where rows of tents housing the homeless lined the street—didn’t go unnoticed by the foreign dignitaries. Nor did the 7-Eleven where store clerks keep the door locked during operating hours because they’ve been robbed so often.
“‘The best and worst of the Americas,’ Belize Prime Minister John Briceño remarked about the host city. Here, amid the hotel restaurant with $16 avocado toast and the 71st-story steakhouse with its $175 seafood towers, ‘too many have too much, and too many have too little,’ he noted.”