Fog on the Golden Gate Bridge! August Road Trip to Oregon!

Fog!

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin county to San Francisco on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

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Fog on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Fog on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Well, it was a beautiful day in Marin with great weather and blue skies. San Francisco was totally “socked in” in the fog as soon as you hit the Rainbow tunnel. I love that the tourists still walk the bridge with almost zero visibility.

There is still a toll to enter the city from Marin, and they don’t take cash or have toll takers! You have to pay by “fasttrak” or by credit card online, otherwise they’ll invoice you…. F*CKERS! (another reason to hate San Francisco)

I have returned from my August 2015 Road Trip to Ashland, Oregon. On the return trip, I decided to cut over to the coast on Saturday afternoon through Marin and San Francisco and take Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Cruz.

Pacific Ocean south of Pacifica on Highway 1

Beach on the Pacific Ocean south of Pacifica on Highway 1

Pacific Ocean south of Pacifica on Highway 1

Pacific Ocean south of Pacifica on Highway 1

Pacific Ocean south of Pacifica on Highway 1

Pacific Ocean south of Pacifica on Highway 1

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MORE TO COME!

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

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Road Trip - Rest Stop at Sunset on Saturday

Road Trip – Rest Stop at Sunset on Saturday

 

 

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Going “Off The Grid” for a week!

Please Read The New Blogs!

Please Read The Old Blogs!

Going “Off The Grid” for a week.  Will Return Shortly. Be Back Soon! 

Somewhere, over the Rainbow....

Somewhere, over the Rainbow….

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New BLOG coming…The Las Vegas Blog is almost done. You can see some of the trip below, but the full Blog is coming soon. Please FOLLOW us and LIKE us on facebook.

 

 

 

 

HAIKU – Poetry! Yes, I wrote these.

HAIKUPoetry!

Yes, I wrote these. – Please enjoy them.

Once I was a boy.
Many days passed friends.
Now I am a man.

Ghosts of old friends
Remind me of the good times
We had together.

I am not dead yet.
Those gone too soon to Skyfaire,
I remember them.

Hey! F*ck you Monday.
Another week of weekdays.
When is the weekend?

I am awake now
Night has passed into day
My eyes are open

Dude with a Cello
Playing classical music
In my living room

The sky opened up
A hard rain is falling down
Here comes the thunder

I went to the Faire.
And saw old friends out there.
They were unaware.

pizza for dinner
next time leave off the onions
that would be better

I am home alone.
They went to Pasadena.
Time for a nice nap.

Happy Saturday!
Listening to the rain fall
On the Patio.

Why am I so conflicted
about my dinner?
Steak and eggs sounds good to me.

Sushi for dinner:
Tasty little fish to eat
And sake to drink.

It is a new year!
What will you do different?
Will you be the same?

Overlapping haikus (for a friend)

What the f*ck is up?
Your haiku is depressing.
Stop with the bullsh*t.
I hope you feel better now.
Don’t try suicide.
Why do you need a semi-colon?
You have survived.
You are loved by many.
Have a nice today.

Now read it from the bottom to top!

stop being afraid
of things you are afraid of
it will be okay

Don’t try suicide!
It doesn’t solve anything.
You just make a mess.

Going out for dinner.
Oh, what fun we’ll have tonight.
I’m thinking sushi!

Wet earth and sunshine
You can smell it in the air
After the rain

Will you tell the truth?
Inquiring minds want to know
“what is your problem?”

Are you still with us?
There’s only one of you!
Don’t try to be two!

Write a poem for me,
And the whole world will hear it.
Thank you for your Love!

All poems copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

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Late Dinner at Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas

Late Dinner at Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas

We were hungry on Thursday night, but didn’t want to eat at a big buffet or an expensive restaurant. My traveling companion wanted to try the new Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar Las Vegas Original Buffalo Wings. And I was okay with that.

FOOD COURT!

Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Food Court at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas

Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar Original Buffalo Wings!

Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Single order – spicy boneless Buffalo wings with celery, carrots and ranch dressing

Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel – Original Boneless Buffalo Wings! $12

Food was good. These were good Buffalo wings and very similar to WingStop. They have different levels of “HOT” from regular to suicide…which are really too hot to enjoy. They were overpriced for spiced fried chicken nuggets, a few vegetables and some dressing.

I got a drink at the Panda Express, but all the vendors in the Venetian food court only have Pepsi products and NO COKE. We sat at a table and enjoyed our food, and since I couldn’t eat it all we got a “to go” box and took the leftovers up to the room.

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Late Lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas

Late Lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas

After the long drive into Las Vegas, and after checking in at the Palazzo and dealing with the room, luggage and housekeeping, we decided to grab a bite at the Grand Lux Cafe.

The restaurant is “Casino adjacent” at both The Venetian and the Palazzo hotels, the food is good and it’s reasonably priced for luxury hotel restaurant dining.

We were quickly seated in the dining room and I ordered the Fried Chicken & Waffles and the Asian Nachos. We received a basket of their fresh baked bread and drinks, and the food was delivered in a very short time.

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – The Bar!

The portions are huge! It’s a Cheesecake Factory enterprise, so you know it’s going to be good and there will be leftovers. The fried chicken strips were tasty and the waffle was cooked just right. It was served with a maple-pecan syrup which was a little sweet, but that’s what syrup is all about.

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe – Fried Chicken & Waffles with maple-pecan syrup

The Asian nachos are really good too. I only had a taste, but I would order them again.

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe – Asian Nachos Appetizer

We enjoyed our meal, and ate quickly, anticipating the Las Vegas adventure ahead! The service was excellent and the food was tasty and delicious. A good start to the party!

AND

Before leaving Las Vegas on Saturday, we had another late lunch. I had the Asian Chicken Salad. The “lunch size” was enough for two people and it was very good.

Grand Luxe Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas

Late Lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel – Asian Chicken Salad (lunch size)

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

NOTE: You can get food “TO GO” and take it up to your room for a private dining experience or any-hour meal. I like their pizzas.

Grand Lux Cafe – Locations at both the Palazzo and Venetian Hotels 

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Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Tuesday evening. Not very much traffic. And we’re back at the Hollywood Bowl for more!

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Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

The escalator going uphill was broken. So a lot of people had to hump it up the hill, coolers and picnic baskets in tow….a lot of tired old people trying to make it up the stairs.

We had a nice box (No wood bench seats tonight!) and picked up our picnic dinner from The Coral Cafe on the way. The weather was perfect, a beautiful warm summer night.

On The Menu: Roast beef sandwich, Caesar salad, dill pickle, chocolate & cinnamon bread pudding and a bottled water.

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Roast Beef Sandwich & Caesar Salad

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Chocolate & Cinnamon Bread Pudding

The food was okay, but not great. I was not impressed by the roast beef sandwich (might have been better with mustard) or the bread puddings, and what can you really say about a “to go” caesar salad? It was fine for what it was, but the food was overpriced and I hate the plastic packaging.

NOTE: The people in the box behind us were still having their picnic during the first act, and decided to pack their trash and turn their chairs around after the program began. **FINISH YOUR PICNIC BEFORE THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER BEGINS!!!!!**

**AND DON’T TALK DURING THE PERFORMANCE!!!!!**

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Showtime on Tuesday Night!

Joshua Bell & the LA Philharmonic playing Mendelssohn, Bruch & Beethoven tonight:

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Mendelssohn, Bruch & Beethoven

It was a short program! The Bruch Concerto was beautiful and Beethoven’s 7th was very well done, but needed to build more before the finish, in my opinion. The concert was over  and we were back to the car and on the freeway before 10:30pm.

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Beethoven’s 7th Symphony in Concert

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – A Beautiful. Warm Summer Night!

It was a lovely evening with wonderful music on a beautiful, warm summer night. I had a nice picnic dinner and listened to first-rate musicians perform classical pieces in a fantastic environment. Happy Birthday to Me!

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Happy Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the Palazzo Las Vegas!

Happy Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the Palazzo Las Vegas!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Friday night! We were celebrating in Las Vegas at the Palazzo Hotel and made a dinner reservation for 7:15pm. We arrived on time and were seated without having to wait.

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – The Carnevino Bar!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – The Carnevino Bar!

We had a choice of the Dining Room or a table in the Carnevino Bar with a view of the casino. We chose the Dining Room which was almost full, so we were seated at a 4top in the back of the house by the service doors (more about this later) and the entrance to the “group” and private dining rooms.

The Dining Room has a large metal cow in the center. We were sitting in the back of the house with a nice view of the cow’s ass. The space has an “old-world” rustic Italian theme. There are bottles of wine used as window display, and there’s a nice view of the Wynn and Encore hotels.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – View of the Wynn & Encore Hotels

The service was excellent and the large restaurant staff is very well trained and extremely well managed and monitored! There is a defined procedure for every step of the meal followed by the waiters, servers and bus people. The meal was perfectly timed, done to order and everything we ate was excellent!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

White linen tablecloths, a great menu with lots of variety, tasting menus and an extensive wine list were on the table and available.  As I mentioned before, we were seated at a 4top in the back of the house by the service doors. There’s a very large staff and they move very quickly. They also have carving carts for table presentations and large group rooms beyond the Dining Room accessed through the back of the house. I know this because of the constant stream of traffic rushing by our table, and the carts trying to fit between the chairs. There was also a clown car length line of business people that walked past our table to get to their party in the group room, probably 50 or so people parading past our table. It was a little distracting, and almost annoying, but we were enjoying the food and this is really my only complaint about the dining experience. I would advise requesting a table away from the service doors and back of house to anyone eating here.

The food was terrific. Everything was cooked to order and prepared with care. The presentation and plating was clean and simple, the food being the focus. We made our choices and chose a glass of wine (rather than a bottle) from their extensive list. I really enjoyed each delicious dish, which is the sign of a great kitchen.

On The Menu:

Cheese puff appetizer starter, Grilled octopus appetizer, NY Strip steak (bone in, cooked medium), charred asparagus, mashed potato with poached egg & bacon, bread with butter & lardo, a glass of red wine and a coke.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Cheese puff appetizer starter course

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Bread with butter & lardo (pork fat)

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Grilled Octopus in Limoncello

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – NY Strip Steak (bone in, cooked medium)

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Mashed potato with poached egg & bacon

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Charred Asparagus

A fine wine: 2009 Ciacci Piccolomini d’ Aragona Brunello di Montalcino

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Fine Wine!

ROSSO DI MONTALCINO DOC – Tuscany, Italy
The Grape varietal of this wine is 100% Sangiovese Grosso; fermented & refined in stainless steel & glass concrete vats w/temperature controlled through cooling plates & jackets, aged roughly 12 months in 20-85 Hl Slavonian oak barrels. Rosso di Montalcino fruit-forward, spicy & floral. Red berry fruits notes are enriched by slight floral & spicy hints. Warm, soft on the palate w/great structure & round tannins.

The wine was a wee bit tannic at first, but was great with the perfectly cooked meat.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – a coke and a smile

For Dessert: Birthday tiramisu, peanut butter & chocolate torte with almond brittle and caramel sauce, an espresso and shortbread cookies with black currants to finish.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Happy Birthday Tiramisu and an iced espresso

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Double Down on Dessert at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Peanut Butter & Chocolate Torte with Almond Brittle and Caramel Sauce! Like a Snickers on Crack!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Shortbread Cookies with Black Currants to finish

Thank you Carnevino! Thank you for a wonderful birthday dinner! I really enjoyed the food and the service was terrific. I would definitely return and recommend it to my friends. It really is one of the best steaks in Las Vegas.

GOOD SHABBOS!

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

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Vegas Leftovers!

Vegas Leftovers!

Vegas Tip! (or tip for any hotel stay): Request an in-room mini-refrigerator for a “special diet” or “medical reasons”! They usually provide them without a charge (ask them to waive the fee if there is one) and you’ll have a place to store leftovers, food you bring/buy outside the hotel, and a place to keep beverages cold (much better than the ice bucket). My Vegas leftover breakfast: cold NY strip steak, cold boneless buffalo wings with ranch dressing, pineapple juice, tiramisu, slightly stale donuts & a banana (not pictured)

The Venetian – Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – Suite View!

The Venetian – Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – Suite View!

Vegas baby! Vegas!

Here’s the view from my suite on the 9th floor of the Palazzo Hotel:

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas – Suite View!

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas – Suite View of the Pool & Treasure Island Hotel!

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas – Suite View of Trump Hotel & Fashion Show Mall

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas – Suite View of Treasure Island & Trump Hotel at night!

MORE TO COME!

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Hiking in Maui and other Travel Answers about Hawaii

Hiking in Maui and other Travel Answers about Hawaii

Road to Hana, Maui (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Road to Hana, Maui (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Best spots for hiking in Maui?

I’m looking to escape the cold for a bit sometime in the next couple of months. Where can I find the best hiking trail in Maui? Willing to drive far for a beautiful hike and I’m not worried about the difficulty or length. Thanks!

A: Hiking in Maui?

HIKE THE PIPIWAI TRAIL to Waimoku Falls in Hana, Maui

Waimoku Falls - Hana, Maui (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Waimoku Falls – Hana, Maui (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Take the long drive on the Road to Hana and continue to Haleakala National Park and the Seven Pools aka Pools at Ohe’o.

Come prepared and bring your towel, for a beautiful hike on the Pipiwai Trail through the tropical rainforest, across (dry) stream beds and into the bamboo forest. Eventually you’ll come to Waimoku Falls. It’s a beautiful waterfall, a wonderful journey and well worth the trip.

Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: Don’t try to make the hike if there is heavy rain because there are flash flood warnings along the trail.

Top: Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls Bottom: Road to Hana (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Top: Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls Bottom: Road to Hana (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

While in Hana, be sure to visit the Hasegawa General Store and the Travaasa Hana (the original Hana-Maui hotel).

Hana Bay - Hana, Maui (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Hana Bay – Hana, Maui (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Hiking in Maui? (part 2)

A: Wai’anapanapa State Park in Hana Maui is an amazing place!

Black sand beaches, beautiful natural sea arches created from lava flows and ocean weathering, and camping/picnic areas. Very nice hiking trails in the park along the ocean and lava cliffs!

Wai'anapanapa State Park - Maui, Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Wai’anapanapa State Park – Maui, Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Tell me your favorite secluded beach in the islands?

My girlfriend and I are looking to explore some secluded beaches during our honeymoon to Hawaii. We don’t mind hiking into a remote area to visit a secluded beach. Can someone suggest some places we can explore? Secluded beaches on Maui?

A: The Road to Hana-Maui and Waianapanapa State Park Black Sand Beach.

If you take the Road to Hana you’ll come to Waianapanapa State Park and it’s black sand beaches and amazing polished lava rock shore.

http://www.hawaiistateparks.org/parks/maui/waianapanapa.cfm

Wai'anapanapa State Park - Maui, Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Wai’anapanapa State Park – Maui, Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Wai'anapanapa State Park - Maui, Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Wai’anapanapa State Park – Maui, Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Have lunch at the Travaasa Hana Hotel (which once was the original Hana-Maui Hotel)

Be sure to stop at Hasegawa General Store before you visit the Seven Sacred Pools.

Seven Sacred Pools - Hana, Maui (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Seven Sacred Pools – Hana, Maui (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

If you’re feeling adventurous there’s a great day hike to Waimoku Falls across dried river beds and through tropical and bamboo forests.

Drive the long road on the Piilani highway on the backside of Maui and visit the Palapala Ho’omau Congregational Church where Charles Lindbergh is buried before heading back to central or west Maui.

Hana-Maui Sunrise - Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Hana-Maui Sunrise – Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Q: Most remote beach?

A: Southpoint – Kalae on the Big Island Hawaii is a green sand beach and the southern most point in the United States.

p.s. You’re not supposed to drive your rental car down the dirt road.

Waikiki Beach - Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii - CLICK TO ENLARGE!

Waikiki Beach – Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Oceanfront Hotel?

We are staying 4 days in Honolulu and would love an oceanfront hotel without all the extra charges—ie. internet, parking, etc.  Can anyone recommend one?

A: A great value in Honolulu on the beach is the The Kahala Hotel & Resort Oahu.

It’s on the other side of Waikiki and Diamond Head, and far away from the major strip traffic, but close enough (10 minutes) to be convenient. You get free daily buffet, free WiFi and there’s NO RESORT FEES! Book direct with them online or by telephone. I always recommend telephone and get the name of the person you book with.

Great reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor too.

See my other answers for more about Hawaii.

Hiking to Waimoku Falls in Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Hiking to Waimoku Falls in Hana, Maui, Hawaii

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Duke Kahanamoku Statue on Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Oahu (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Duke Kahanamoku Statue on Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Oahu (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Monty Python’s “Spamalot” and “A Midsummer Night” at the Hollywood Bowl

Monty Python’s “Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

Saturday night performance at the Hollywood Bowl on a beautiful, warm, summer night in August! And what a great show! The celebrity cast was awesome! It was so much fun!

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – A Beautiful and Warm Summer Night!

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

Picnic on the bench:

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl – No ham, jam or spam. (there was bacon)

On the Menu: steak & bacon sandwich, potato chips, celery, carrots, cucumber, dill pickle, pineapple juice, Heineken, and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

NOTE: Our bench seats were in section K2, which is high up and way off to one side. The wood benches are really uncomfortable, even with seat cushions. I prefer the Box Seats!

FINGER OF SHAME! This couple insisted on using bench space for their bag! And when asked if they would make more room, they refused and copped an attitude! This is a picture of their shame after being TOTAL A**HOLES in a fun place!

Look at their facial expression and body language!

FINGER OF SHAME

FINGER OF SHAME! – They know they’re being Total A**holes!

Well the show must go on! And the a*ssholes were ignored.

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl - Sunset!

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – Sunset!

It was great from the opening national anthem, when the orchestra began with “Hail Brittania” before being interrupted and playing the Star Spangled Banner, to the “England” introduction by Eric Idle as The Historian, and the opening number celebrating Finland with the Fish Slapping Dance!

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

The Historian: “I SAID ENGLAND!”

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – “What happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot!”

Loosely based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail there were great bits from the film: “He must be a king”, debating the airspeed of the European swallow, taunting by the French, “large tracts of land” and storming the castle, the Trojan Rabbit, the Ballad of Sir Robin, the Knights who say Nee, Tim the Enchanter, the Vorpal Bunny and of course Camelot!

Warwick Davis gave a fantastic performance as Patsy, King Arthur’s squire complete with coconut shells and amazing facial expressions! He is such a gifted actor.

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

Tom Deckman was hilarious as Not Dead Fred, Prince Herbert and the French Guard. Merle Dandridge was dazzling as the Lady of the Lake and her musical numbers were mesmerizing!

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

Kevin Chamberlin, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Rick Holmes and Christian Slater were just terrific as Arthur’s Knights (and the many other minor roles they alternately played). And Craig Robinson was a very entertaining King Arthur, smiling and “tap dancing” his way through the whole thing.

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – King Arthur & his Knights on a Quest for the Holy Grail

There were wonderfully entertaining musical numbers with inspired dance and fun choreography. And a number of jokes were tailored to the Hollywood Bowl audience including a jab at “overpriced dinner in the Pool Circle” and a little “Uptown Funk”.

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – “The Ballad of Sir Robin” on the big video screen

Wonderful performances by the entire cast! You could tell they were having a great time performing. I was really impressed by how great they all were!

And big kudos to the Hollywood Bowl for their live video on the big screens, as well as the costumes, sets, sound, lighting and projections which really make the musical productions special.

Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

The Grand Finale with the entire cast and chorus was an audience sing along to Eric Idle’s

“Always Look On The Bright Side of Life”

Some things in life are bad…They can really make you mad.
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble, give a whistle,
And this’ll help things turn out for the best……….
And, always look on the bright side of life…(Whistle)

Always look on the light side of life…(Whistle)

If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten!
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing!
When you’re feeling in the dumps don’t be silly chumps,
Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing.
And…always look on the bright side of life! (Whistle)

Come on. Always look on the right side of life! (Whistle)

For life is quite absurd and death’s the final word.
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin, give the audience a grin!
Enjoy it! It’s your last chance anyhow.

So always look on the bright side of death. (Whistle) 

Just before you draw your terminal breath. (Whistle)

Life’s a piece of shit, when you look at it.
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true.
You’ll see its all a show, keep ’em laughin’ as you go,
Just remember that the last laugh is on you!

And…Always look on the bright side of life…(Whistle) Always look on the right side of life…

I mean – what have you got to lose? You know, you come from nothin’.

You’re going back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing.

Always look on the right side of life…

Nothing will come from nothing ya know what they say?
Cheer up ya old bugga c’mon give us a grin! There ya go, see!

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – Finale sing along “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life”

Everyone knows the words! Whistle and sing along! A good time was had by all! The full Blue Moon was shining brightly overhead as the large crowd exited the Bowl at 10:30pm. It was packed and we were on the far side, so I sat and waited for the audience to disperse a little and then cut through the seats directly to the exit. I went right when I should have gone left and ended up half-stepping down the hill with the crowd to the escalator and made it back to the car in about 15 minutes.

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – Full Blue Moon over the departing audience

It was warm and humid all night, so by the time we got back to our parking space I was really looking forward to going home and taking a shower. (and yes, my shower was really refreshing later after midnight…)

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

They stacked parked the cars (unnecessarily) for this performance, so it required a little maneuvering to exit the lot. Traffic is always tough after a full house, but we were able to get back to the freeway and headed home in a reasonable amount of time without too much trouble. A wonderful evening, a nice picnic and a great show. Huzzah!


And the week before we went to

“A Midsummer Night” at the Hollywood Bowl

Tuesday night and we had great Box Seats with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra playing Mendelssohn on a warm summer night in July!

Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Bowl – Midsummer Night’s Dream with Dudamel & the Los Angeles Philharmonic

Terrible traffic on the 101 freeway from the San Fernando Valley to Hollywood. The price of Parking at the Hollywood Bowl has increased $2 this year from $18 to $20 per car.

TIP: GO EARLY! Traffic is always unpredictable, but you can bet it will take at least 20 minutes to get past the light coming off the 101 freeway at Cahuenga and Highland. Provide extra travel time for walking uphill, bag check, ticket turn stalls, refreshments, restrooms and managing your picnic dinner.

NOTE: It is really bad form to arrive 5 minutes AFTER the performance begins and then start your meal! Finish eating before the Star Spangled Banner (snacks and beverages are acceptable during, but avoid any packaging that makes noise. Wait for intermission if you need to have that dessert! And please don’t set up your picnic blanket in front of the restrooms (seriously, they were sitting on the concrete in front of the restroom doors!).

Midsummer Night's Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

Midsummer Night's Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

Dinner in the Box Seats is great because they provide removable folding tables, trash service and if you choose, expensive catered food delivered directly to your Box.

We ordered from Amer’s Mediterranean restaurant in Encino and picked up our “to go” food on the way. They recently changed ownership again, and the menu changed too. We also packed in our own beverages (advisable at events when they’re permitted) and also brought dessert and ice. The only refreshments we bought were a couple bad cups of coffee at intermission.

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl - Middle Eastern food: the wrong order!

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl – Middle Eastern: the wrong order!

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl - Cheesecake for dessert!

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl – Cheesecake for dessert!

On the Menu: Middle eastern food, it was supposed to be an “Amer’s Special” shwarma meat with hummus, tabouli, rice, falafel and pita bread. They screwed up the order. I hate beets. They gave us a “mixed grill” with chicken and ground beef kebabs. And they forgot the rice and falafel. At least there was good cheesecake for dessert.

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Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

The first act was Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor with an exceptional performance by Gil Shaham on violin. The second act was “Midsummer Night’s Dream” accompanied by dramatic Shakespearean readings by Bryce Dallas Howard, and guest vocal performances by Deanna Breiwick and Jennifer Holloway with the Women of Los Angeles Master Chorale. It was beautiful.

Hollywood Bowl

Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

The lighting and inspired projections enhanced the wonderful musical performance. The first act was better than the second, and I thought it was a little weird to hear the wedding march played as a classical piece in concert. There was also a lot of noticeable cricket noise during the quiet parts of the show, which I found distracting during the second act.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show! What’s not to like about Tuesday night at the Bowl with Dudamel and the LA Phil? It was a real good time.

Our box was positioned close to the exit, so we were out of there fast. We quickly traveled the long walk to the car and made a fast getaway from the parking lot and onto the 101 freeway home.

The Hollywood Bowl is a great venue! And once you know the “procedure” and tricks to traffic, parking and picnicking it’s a very pleasant experience. I’m looking forward to seeing more shows at the Bowl this summer.

Hollywood Bowl - Parking Lot after the show

Hollywood Bowl – Parking Lot after the show

All Photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel (except the Cast Press Photos)

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