Let me preface the rest of this entry with one important fact: I love the Hollywood Bowl! As a native Angeleno, I've spent many a summer evening (for as long as memory serves) under the stars, nestled in the bosom of the golden Hollywood Hills, gazing at the historic bright Bowl shell, listening to the sweet sounds of the LA Philharmonic or the ever-so consistent Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, oftentimes combined with pyrotechnic wonders even Gandalf would be proud of. Summers at the Hollywood Bowl are a right of passage for any self-respecting Angeleno. Even if the symphony is not your thing, you can bask in the glow of many au courant performers such as Femi Kuti, Oasis or Dead Can Dance (I am definitely getting tix for this Lisa Gerard/Brendan Perry extravaganza - I know I am so 80's, early 90's, whatev-a).
Oh, almost forgot. Sacre bleu! Audience members are required to bring their picnic baskets loaded for bear accompanied by cases of wine and beer (well, we bring cases - hey, it's a long night) or hard liquor if that's your drug of choice. Just kidding...You're not required to join the leagues of picnickers and/or drinkers, but it IS tradition to bring your accoutrements to the Bowl or alternatively looking the looooooooser! And anyway, it's fun! So there.
The newly renovated Bowl shell:
The Bowl shell taken with my camera phone after having a few sips (yes, sips) of wine:
Sit back a moment and picture this: it's a beautifully cool summer evening under the stars, complete with good friends, laughter and a fabulous movie projected on a screen that rivals the one in Zeus' home theater on Mount Olympus. Oh yeah, and there's wine (just in case you've forgotten already). As I stated above, the vino was flowin', so much so that we ditched our Dixie cups in exchange for Slurpee straws. Ah, that's better. Anyone got an IV??? Anyway, there were cabernets and pinots, merlots and sauvignons, chardonnays and even some white zinfandels (charlatans). Now, combine two hours of pre-film drinking, eating, and blissful merriness, shaken not stirred. The result? A well lit crowd that sings, well, more like BELTS OUT, those beloved Rogers and Hammerstein tunes immediately recalling memories of days gone by where nuns sing incessantly and steal carburetors, children wear drapery, couples tryst in gazebos...oh, and Nazis abound. However, nothing chases away an evil Nazi faster than a Julie Andrews tune sung off key by the tone-deaf drunk in the seat next to you. You see, consuming several bottles of wine is a PUBLIC SERVICE. Bet ya didn't know that...thank you LadyLinoleum for showing us the way. Your very welcome.
Did I mention the props? OMG, I've forgotten about those. I am sufficiently detoxed. Really, I am. Anyway, upon entering the seating area at the Bowl, trying desperately to wheel our dolly of wine crates successfully through the crowd, we were handed our bags of props for use during the film. The flimsy, yet FREE, neon yellow plastic bags of goodness containing: (i) a card with a pic of Maria on one side and the erudite term, flibbertigibbit, on the other; (ii) a card with a large question mark on one side and pic of a will o'the wisp on the other side (we were told upon examination by our host for the evening, Reba star Melissa Peterman, that this image was in fact a will o'the wisp and thank God she enlightened us - believe me, it would have troubled me the entire evening, had she not shown us the way); (iii) an invitation to the ball given by that hottie Christopher Plummer and his soon-to-be-thrown-to-the-curb fiance, the Baroness; (iv) a little plastica champagne popper for use during the first kiss between Hottie and Maria; (v) a swatch of drapery; and (vi) a highly pertinent piece o'pvc edelweiss. Think G-Rated Rocky Horror people.
It's all about the props (yes, in addition to the wine).
In fact, my mother looked on in awe as I flawlessly rendered my card-flashing performance of How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria. I was amazing. Knowing each and every instance when to flash each card, the correct side with the correct song lyric even. Okay, so I practiced. So what.
Other memorable moments:
- the entire audience waving their lit cell-phones (new school version of waving cig lighters) in the air during a heart-wrenching version of Edelweiss;
- hearing my 12 year old daughter yell (um, scream) YOU GO MARIA, when Julie Andrews tells Christopher Plummer that she will not answer to a whistle;
- counting how many times someone in our group accidentally kicked an open bottle of wine thereby spilling the entire contents remaining in said bottle onto the concrete beneath our feet (hel-lo, this is why we bring ca-ses);
- watching my mom laugh and have a spectacular time despite the tough year she's been having; and
- feeling the warmth of my husband and daughter as they snuggled up next to me in the cooling evening.