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L.A. beats Philadelphia -- in admission price to upcoming African American exhibition

October 24, 2009 | 12:00 pm

Phillies After what the Philadelphia Phillies did to our Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, we Southern Californians need something to feel superior about vis a vis the City of Brotherly Love.

We could pray for the Angels to complete a semi-miraculous comeback against the New York Yankees this weekend in the American League Championship Series, followed by the Halos devouring the Phils like so much cheesesteak in the World Series.

Barring that -- here's something: Philadelphians had to shell out $17.50 for adult admission to the traveling historical and cultural exhibition, "America I Am: The African American Imprint," which was launched during a Jan. 15-May 3 run at the National Constitution Center.

When the show, a 200-plus artifact display that's the brainchild of public radio and television talk-show host Tavis Smiley, arrives Oct. 30 at the California Science Center in Exposition Park, regular adult admission will be just $9.50 -- the $8 savings amounting to almost enough for a Dodger Dog and a soda next season if our fallen heroes don't see a need to jack up concession prices to pay for an ace starting pitcher or two.

Jeffrey Rudolph, president of the California Science Center, said that because admission to the state-owned venue is usually free, he's keen on keeping the cost down when special exhibitions come through -- such as the "America I Am" display that includes a stockade door from 17th century Ghana that captive Africans were forced through to board ships that carried them to slavery in the New World; the fingerprints police took from Rosa Parks in 1955 when they booked her for refusing to go to the back of a Montgomery, Ala., city bus; and the arrow-headed guitar Prince played when he was the halftime entertainment at the 2007 Super Bowl.

"Part of our mission is accessibility to all. In this case we were quite clear we should try to keep the price below $10," Rudolph said. In addition, school groups will get in free during the show, which runs through April 15.

Officials at the National Constitution Center wouldn't release attendance figures. In its second stop, at the Atlanta Civic Center in Georgia, "America I Am" was popular enough over the summer to be extended three more weeks -- with the top-priced tickets at $12 each.

For more about "America I Am," read our story in Sunday's Calendar section.

-- Mike Boehm


Tavis Smiley brings touring blockbuster on African American history to L.A.

Photo: The Philadelphia Phillies, after defeating the Dodgers this week, will go to the World Series. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times