We know it’s only rock ‘n’ roll but…

March 6, 2012 

Don't expect to see any horses when The Rock arrives in Long Beach, its first urban stop in its journey.

It’s a long way to the top, as AC/DC would put it, but the big city star treatment is about to begin for The Rock.

After wending its way for more than a week through cow pastures, truck routes and far-flung suburbs, the 340-ton centerpiece of Michael Heizer’s new “Levitated Mass” sculpture is finally beginning the urban leg of its trip to LACMA.

From here on in, “it’s going to be a real rockapalooza,” predicts Blair Cohn, executive director of the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association, which will be hosting a daylong welcome bash on Wednesday in Long Beach. Pulled together at the last minute with the help of Long Beach City Councilman James Johnson, the party will feature food, games, live music and a DJ playing songs with the word “rock” in the title from noon until 7 p.m.

Cohn says song requests and ideas have been pouring in all week via email and Facebook. “It’s the talk of the neighborhood.”

The bash will mark The Rock’s first stop in a densely populated part of Southern California since last Tuesday when it left its quarry near Riverside.  Riding in a massive red transporter and traveling only by night, it has mainly stopped on surface streets and lots on Los Angeles’ outskirts, and its reception has mostly been one of open-mouthed wonder.

On Wednesday, however, it will spend the day on Atlantic Avenue between 36th and 37th Streets in the urban heart of Long Beach. From there, it will move to Vermont Avenue near Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, then to Figueroa Street north of Florence Avenue near Exposition Park and finally to LACMA late Friday night and early Saturday morning.

Long Beach officials say they saw The Rock’s stop as an opportunity both for fun and culture.

“Right away, I took out my notebook and started brainstorming,” said Cohn. “Rock painting, pet rocks, Pop Rocks, Rocky Road ice cream. Rockstar energy drinks. Rock-Paper-Scissors tournaments.”

The party will feature all those attractions, plus two live bands and Bill Child, a disc jockey who performs as (dj)misterbill at many of the events sponsored by the business improvement association. Child says he will be spinning not far from The Rock on the patio of Patricia’s Mexican Food at 3626 Atlantic Avenue.

Cohn hopes Child will kick things off with Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” but Child’s personal favorite is “I Am A Rock” by Simon and Garfunkel.

Also likely to make the long play list, Cohn and Child say: “Rock Lobster” by the B-52’s, “Rockin’ In The Free World” by Neil Young, “Rock With You,” by Michael Jackson, “Rock You Like A Hurricane” by The Scorpions, “Like A Rock” by Bob Seger, “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” by John Mellencamp, “Sorry For Party Rocking” by LMFAO and “I Wanna Rock” by Twisted Sister, not to mention AC/DC’s famous caveat to those who “Wanna Rock And Roll.”

“But we’ll try to keep it as fresh as possible,” Child says. “There’s going to be a lot to choose from. Just say that anything with ‘rock’ in it will be played tomorrow. I’ll be there for seven hours, so you can count on it.”

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