“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl!

“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl!

And we are back! We went to the Hollywood Bowl last week and it was good fun! We’re having a heatwave again in Los Angeles and it’s been 90 degrees+ and into the 100s on some days. So, it has stayed warm at night and it was really perfect weather for an outdoor concert.

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl

Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra performing “West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl on a Tuesday evening in July!

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl

We were invited to the Bowl again. Well, there was a “small” brush fire on the mountain across the 101 freeway at Cahuenga Blvd from the venue at 4pm and we watched on the television as the Los Angeles Fire Department responded and made quick work of it!

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Fire on the Mountain! (That yellow dot is three firefighters)

By 5:30pm the fire was out, they were handling the hot spots and traffic was f*cked. So we left the San Fernando Valley for Hollywood at about 6pm. After some miles of “stop and go” traffic, the Highland exit ramp jam and Lot B parking ($20 cash) we were walking past the crowd of picnickers that occupy any convenient spot they can find out front at 7pm.

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Picnickers Out Front at the Hollywood Bowl for “West Side Story”

NOTE: It wasn’t as crowded as usual! It was a Tuesday night and a lot of people must have stayed home to watch the Republican National Convention night #2 from Cleveland, Ohio. Of course, that meant more people arrived around 8pm as the performance was starting…

We decided to go directly to our seats (Super Seats! not benches) behind the light and sound booth and have our dinner there instead of going to one of the picnic areas. And picnicking at the Hollywood Bowl in the super seats or bench seating is even more of a challenge than dining in one of the boxes because you have no table and very limited space.

Picnic time! On the Menu: Roast beef sandwich, veggie chips, dill pickle, bottled water and 1/4 of a chocolate tart from Sweet Lady Jane. We remembered to take a pic just before finishing the sandwich, but didn’t take one of the sides and desserts. We also brought red and white wine, a bottle of bubbly water, carrots, cole slaw, a rice dish and a berry cobbler.

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Roast Beef Sandwich and Veggie Chips

Show time! The orchestra took the stage  a little after 8pm, just as the sun was setting. They always begin with the “Star Spangled Banner” (note the flags flying at half mast).

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl

Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing under a full moon on a warm summer evening in Southern California, no complaints here.

“West Side Story”

The musical “West Side Story” has special meaning for us.  We participated in building and and presenting a production on the Performing Arts MainStage at UC Santa Cruz in Spring of 1986.

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Directed by Michael Edwards
I was a Set Builder, Costumer and then Wardrobe Master for the run of show.
I also did the hair/makeup and hand inked tattoos for the actors.

The Jets were “Glam Punks” circa early 1980’s in ripped denim and studded leather.
The Sharks were 1970’s “Cholos” complete with bandanas, pleated flannels, pressed white t-shirts and tan khakis. The Shark girls were hot!

A truly professional production with a live band, great singing and dancing and a truly amazing set design! The program cover above is one of the design sketches, but the freeway was left unfinished with exposed rebar extending out over the audience and then we added chain link fencing, lots of graffiti and debris for texture.

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

Very proud of this production and the work we did. Also of note is the level of talent and the future professional career paths of some of the participants.

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl

 

 

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Audra McDonald, the LA Phil & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald, the LA Phil & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the American Ballet Theatre at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Traffic was light and we were early!

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

It was a fun program, the music was great, the ballet was terrific and the weather was perfect. Audra McDonald is a fantastic performer with a truly amazing voice!

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Picnic time! Spaghetti Bolognese, Caesar Salad, bread with olive tapenade, Clos du Bois red wine & cheesecake

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

– 1st act Overture from “West Side Story”, Audra McDonald sings popular songs!

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

– 2nd act ABT recreates the original “Fancy Free”

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

Audra McDonald & the ABT at the Hollywood Bowl

 

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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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All Photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

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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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Where is the Best Place to see 4th of July Fireworks in Los Angeles? 2015

Q: Where’s the Best Place to see Fourth of July Fireworks in Los Angeles?

A: Here’s my short list of Independence Day events for 2015:


Grand Park BLOCK PARTY!  July 4, 2015 >>> 3:00 pm – 9:30 pm

200 North Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90012

FREE!  www.grandparkla.org #GO4THDTLA

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

From the Grand Park website:

LOS ANGELES! Grand Park is the place to celebrate together with music, food, and an incredible fireworks display launched from the civic center skyline. Grab the best friends, the whole family, and main squeezes and enjoy a bit of togetherness under the beautiful Angeleno sky. **Safety for everyone is número uno. Please read all event info to know what to bring and what to leave at home:**

PICNIC and OUTSIDE FOOD is welcome. SIZE OF BAGS AND BACKPACKS/TOTES and COOLERS must be standard backpack size or smaller (16.75 inches x 13 inches x 8.5 inches). NO OUTSIDE BEVERAGES including juice and soda. ONLY EMPTY (non glass) WATER BOTTLES allowed. FREE WATER FILLING STATIONS will be available in the event space, provided by LADWP, in addition to several booths with water for sale. HANDHELD UMBRELLAS allowed, no tents, large umbrellas or anything that spikes into the ground

NOTE: This will be an alcohol-free event: no beer garden or point of purchase / no outside alcohol permitted in event space. All bags will be checked.

SCHEDULE: Doors open at 3pm for early birds (no prior admittance). Rooftop fireworks show at 9pm. Event ends at 9:30pm. 

FIREWORKS!  HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!

FIREWORKS! HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!

PLEASE LEAVE AT HOME: Grilling gear, alcohol, narcotics, fireworks, sparklers, candles, large coolers (handheld coolers OK but subject to search), lawn furniture including low folding chairs, tents, lawn umbrellas or sun umbrellas (handheld umbrellas OK) or anything that spikes into the ground or would obstruct views of stages.

THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES ARE PROHIBITED: Public Intoxication / Rollerblading / Skateboarding / Smoking / Vaping / Unauthorized Vending / Aggressive Solicitation / Staking Objects to Ground

Grand Park is an LA County park powered by The Music Center. 

http://grandparkla.org/event/4th-of-july-block-party/



The Rose Bowl Stadium and outside the Rose Bowl – Pay to see the 89th Annual “Americafest” show inside, pay for parking to see the fireworks show from the outside. It’s the biggest and longest running 4th of July party in the L.A. area.

Join in celebrating our nation’s independence with the 89th Annual Fourth of July Celebration at AMERICAFEST! The largest fireworks show in Southern California! 

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

2 PM: Festival begins outside the stadium (parking lots open at 9am)

There will be food vendors, entertainment, crafts, exhibits and inflatable rides for the kids outside the stadium starting at 2 pm and closing following the fireworks. Fanfest is located in Area H southeast of the Rose Bowl marquee sign.

Live Motorcycle Stunts by TNT Action Sports

Celebrating, “The 50th Anniversary of when Elvis Met the Beatles in Los Angeles”

9 PM: Fireworks Spectacular! produced by Pyrospectaculars by Souza

In celebration of the upcoming Universal Pictures “Minions” movie there will be a viewing of “Despicable Me 2” on the videoboard directly following the fireworks.

General Admission $13 Reserved Seating $25 TicketMaster 800-745-3000

General Admission children 5 years and under will be admitted free. Reserved Seating children 2 years and under require a ticket in these sections.

Day of event tickets will be available 10am– 9pm at the ticket booth at Gate B. Before 2pm guests may park in Lot B at no charge for 15 minutes to purchase tickets and leave or they can pay to park in any general parking lot and remain. After 2pm guests will be required to pay to park in general parking as directed to purchase tickets. After 2pm there are no in-and-out privileges.

Active military who present a valid Military ID will gain free admittance (up to 4 per family). Tickets can be obtained from the ticket booth at Gate B beginning at 3pm on July 4th only. Veterans who present a valid Military ID will gain free admittance (1 ticket only). Tickets can be obtained from the ticket booth at Gate B beginning at 3pm on July 4th only.

Parking is $25 per car payable at the parking lots. Advanced parking for $20 per car will be available at the Rose Bowl Will Call Booth by Gate B beginning Sunday, June 28; hours-10am to 5pm; everyday through July 3.

Parking lots will open to the general public starting at 9am on July 4. Guests will be directed to the closest available lot.

For your safety and the enjoyment of all, we ask that you please help by observing the tailgating guidelines. (READ THE RULES!)

Pasadena Police and Pasadena Fire Departments will be patrolling the lots. There is a zero tolerance policy regarding illegal fireworks.

A shuttle from Old Town Pasadena will NOT be in operation this day.

http://www.rosebowlstadium.com/events/detail/americafest-1



3-Day July 4th Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl

FIREWORKS! Hollywood Bowl 4th of July!

FIREWORKS! Hollywood Bowl 4th of July!

Smokey Robinson, the King of Motown will be headlining the three-day Independence Day celebration with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a Fireworks Spectacular each night at the Hollywood landmark. July 2-4th, 7:30pm $15-$250 + fee

www.hollywoodbowl.com



Marina del Rey Fireworks 9:00pm

Celebrate the 4th of July in Marina del Rey with a spectacular fireworks show over the water! Fireworks are shot from a barge across the Marina’s main channel, lighting up the night sky and water below. The show begins at 9 pm and lasts approximately 20 minutes.

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

Depending upon weather and cloud cover on the night of the show, the fireworks can usually be seen throughout the marina, and from the waterfront side of most hotels, restaurants, beaches, apartments and anchorages. Popular viewing locations include:

Fisherman’s Village, 13755 Fiji Way (2 blocks west of Lincoln Blvd.)
Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way (1 block west of Admiralty Way)
**This location will have speakers set-up near the Helmsman statue, allowing spectators to watch the display and  listen to synchronized music 
Marina Beach (Mother’s Beach) 4101 Admiralty Way (1 block south of Washington Blvd.)

Parking
Come early! There is no on-street parking inside Marina del Rey. Parking is available in 14 self-pay public lots. Park early because most public parking spaces are filled by 6pm!

The Marina del Rey Visitors Center (at the corner of Mindanao & Admiralty) will also be open from 10am – 4pm with festive giveaways like complimentary flags , red & blue bead necklaces, and other items to celebrate the 4th!

http://www.visitmarinadelrey.com/events/4th-of-july



Santa Monica 4th of July Parade 

July 4, 2015 – Parade starts at 9:30am

This year’s theme: Inspirational Heroes!

Main Street from Pico Blvd, turning on Marine to the beach in Downtown Santa Monica

The entire stretch of Main Street in Santa Monica will be closed. http://www.opa-sm.org

The Flag of the United States of America

The Flag of the United States of America


The annual Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach  July 4, the 2015

Pre-Judging begins at 10am, Finals at 1pm

Sign up the morning of the competition. No Late Fee! Registration is 7am – 9:30am.

Muscle Beach – 1800 Ocean Front Walk, between Navy Street and Washington Boulevard, at the Venice Recreation Center in Venice, California.

Bodybuilding.com presents the Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach, Saturday July 4, 2015. Hosted by Profight Supplements. BB, Figure, Bikini, Men & Women’s Physique, Couples (Mixed Pairs). Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach features men and women amateur athletes competing in a muscle and fitness competition. Categories include figure, bodybuilding, women’s physique, and men’s physique.

FREE and OPEN to the public. All are welcome!

http://www.musclebeachvenice.com



“Top Gun” + Fireworks! Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Gates open at 7:15pm, Screening at 9pm, Fireworks to follow!

Admission $25 (SOLD OUT!)

6000 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood

http://cinespia.org/event/top-gun/

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!



There are many good options for the 4th of July in L.A., and there are many other smaller celebrations, both public and private events, happening all over Southern California. Check the local listings! LA Weekly, LAist, LA Times & google.

The Queen Mary and Disneyland have special events and extra-special fireworks for the holiday. Disneyland has special fireworks all week long!

Disneyland Fireworks!

Disneyland Fireworks!

The Dodgers are playing the Mets at Dodger Stadium at 4:15pm with Fireworks after the game, but we are BOYCOTTING the Dodgers until we can watch the games on television.

BOYCOTT THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS AND TIME WARNER CABLE!

Read the Blog> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1qL


Happening the weekend before:

Celebrate America!

Saturday June 27 at 5pm – Corsair Stadium​ at Santa Monica Community College

SMC’s Independence Day Celebration, the biggest, most sensational patriotic community event on the Westside! Bring your family and friends to SMC for a star-spangled salute to our nation’s independence. Come early, picnic on the lawn, enjoy continuous entertainment and special exhibits (with plenty of refreshments available for purchase), and cap off the evening with a spectacular fireworks salute to America.
Celebrate America 2015 Flyer

Celebrate America – June 27th, 2015 at Corsair Field at Santa Monica Community College

http://www.smc.edu/ACG/Marketing/Events/Pages/Special-Events.aspx


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Yo-Yo Ma and Dinner at the Patina Rooftop Grill at the Hollywood Bowl!

Yo-Yo Ma and Dinner at the Patina Rooftop Grill at the Hollywood Bowl!

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Another Thursday night concert at the Hollywood Bowl on a beautiful summer evening in Los Angeles! The staycation-vacation continues!

5:45pm Arrive at the Bowl and pay $18 to stack park the car in the “B” lot on the hill.

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl – Auto $18 stack parking (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Very early! We had a 6pm dinner reservation at Patina Rooftop Grill, so we were allowed in  before they opened the house to the public.  I took a couple pictures of the empty Bowl:

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl – empty house before opening (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl – empty house before opening (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And after dinner, I took this pic of the Bowl filling with people from the same spot:

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Patina Rooftop Grill

Dining al fresco on the open air patio is a real treat at the Hollywood Bowl.

 

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dining al Fresco at Patina Rooftop Grill at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Patina Rooftop Grill at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Patina Rooftop Grill at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

On The Menu: Ahi tuna poke, caesar salad, bread & butter, BBQ grilled shrimp, Tillamook mac’n’cheese, classic cheesecake with berries and whipped cream, a coke, and a double espresso. (Made steak the night before and had a steak sandwich for breakfast, so I went with the tuna and shrimp starters and mac’n’cheese side instead of the steak entree.

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ahi Tuna Poke at Patina Rooftop Grill at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Caesar Salad at Patina Rooftop Grill at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

BBQ Grilled Shrimp at the Rooftop Grill at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ribeye Steak at Patina Rooftop Grill at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

House Wines at Patina Rooftop Grill at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert! Classic Cheesecake with berries, whipped cream, and a double espresso (not pictured) at the Patina Rooftop Grill at the Hollywood Bowl  (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

7:45pm Dinner completed. Time to find our seats for the show!

Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Showtime! Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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Beethoven at the Hollywood Bowl! Box Seats! Life is Good!

We went to the Hollywood Bowl again last night! – Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl – sign on the hill (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl – entrance and box office (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl – Bowl Store (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl – Search and Turnstyle (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl – escalator going up (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl – dining al fresco on the patio (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl – are you ready for some Beethoven? (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

It was a warm Los Angeles summer evening, and after enjoying a wonderful middle eastern picnic and a little red wine:

On The Menu: Shwarma sandwich (pita stuffed with lamb/turkey meat, rice, hummus, taboule, avocado, tahini and spicy sauce), baby carrots, celery, cheese & crackers, watermelon, strawberries, cherries, red grapes, white peach slices, coke and red wine.

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl – picnic dinner (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I sat in my Box Seat listening to Gustavo Dudamel conduct the L.A. Philharmonic through  Beethoven’s Concerto in C Major for Violin, Cello and Piano and then the 5th Symphony. The Capucon brothers and Jean-Yves Thibaudet were tremendous! And from the opening notes of the 5th, it was a robust and wonderful rendition of one of Ludwig’s finest.

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl – warm summer night (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl – the program and ticket (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And while sitting there enjoying the concert, relaxed, fully sated and comfortably entertained, I gave thanks for my good fortune and the fact that no one was shooting rockets at me, and thought “Life is good.”

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl – Behave yourself, you’ve been warned! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Don’t you wish this happened in everyday real life? People might behave better…

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Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl Parking – going home (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

Hollywood Bowl with Joshua Bell & Friends!

Hollywood Bowl with Joshua Bell & Friends!

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Tuesday night in Los Angeles? How about a concert at the Hollywood Bowl?

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Arrive Very Early! Get parking or take the Shuttle, Allow plenty of time and avoid the rush. Don’t be the latecomer just starting your picnic when the concert starts! Proper Hollywood Bowl etiquette is FINISH your dinner BEFORE the start of the show!

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

We had Box Seats and brought a picnic dinner. The boxes are nice because they provide a fold-down table for dining which they will remove before the concert begins. Two things about dining in the box: you’ll be at a different level than your table partner because of the raked theater seating and the boxes are tight and a little close quarters. It can be difficult to maneuver, but the canvas seats in the boxes are so much better than the benches (even with a cushion). Note: They recently replaced all the old wood benches with new stadium benches, and there are also a couple non-box sections with stadium seating.

The Hollywood Bowl is fully accessible for guests with special needs, just be aware of the steep hillside terrain and large crowds that can at times be difficult to navigate.

The best dining option at the Hollywood Bowl is to bring your own picnic dinner. They even let you bring wine, beer, and other beverages for the classical concerts, but you should always check because they have restriction and are pretty strict about them at the rock and family events, and at big events where they are selling alcohol.

They also have a sit down outdoor patio restaurant, Patina at the Bowl, but you’ll need a reservation in advance! And they have concession stands that serve overpriced snack food and drinks, alcohol service varies.

TIP: You can park and picnic at the Ford Theatre across Highland when they don’t have a conflicting event. Or, the best place to picnic is at the top of the Bowl! Ride the escalators all the way up to the picnic area with tables, benches, and a great view of the city. Seating is first come, first served so arrive early and allow time for parking, walking and dining!

ON THE MENU: Lamb/Turkey Shwarma, rice, hummus, tabouli, falafel, pita bread, tahini and hot sauce, baby carrots, avocado, string cheese, sweet potato tortilla chips, cherries, an apple, Hershey’s chocolate bar, red wine, Pellegrino water, and a coke.

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

We like to bring too much food and take home the leftovers. It’s also nice because you can share your food with total strangers while you picnic. We ordered dinner from California Mediterranean Cafe and packed the sides, dessert and beverages from home. As I mentioned dining in the box can be difficult, but after going to the Bowl for years, it’s a practiced affair. Dinner was good. I was hungry. We finished eating, and put the food away.  They took away the garbage and the folding tables as the orchestra was tuning up.

Every show at the Hollywood Bowl begins with “The Star Spangled Banner”, and it’s okay to sing along, most people do it badly…

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Moon Over the Hollywood Bowl – “The Star Spangled Banner” (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Singing “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The program was Joshua Bell & Friends:

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The weather was perfect. Not hot, nice breeze, not too cold. Perfect. The concert was good. A little too much “slow sleepy music” and not enough flourish on the pieces. The L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra is always great! The choice of the pieces and the flow of the show was a little “jerky”. Glenn Close singing two of the pieces was a nice touch, the Eleanor Rigby with Frankie Moreno from Vegas was different but very entertaining, and the quartet with Joshua Bell and Time for Three was just plain cool. The classical pieces were played and conducted well and the concert was very enjoyable.

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Going Home at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday at the Los Angeles Music Center

Los Angeles Music Center – Downtown Los Angeles – Sunday Afternoon

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion – 3,197 seats:  Opened on December 6, 1964, with then twenty-eight-year-old Zubin Mehta conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

On Sunday, May 4, 1969, “Peace on Earth” by Jacques Lipchitz was dedicated in the plaza. His sculpture portrays a dove descending to earth with the spirit of peace, symbolized by the Madonna standing inside a tear shaped canopy, supported by a base of reclining lambs within the fountain. The architects of The Music Center, Welton Becket and Associates, opposed placing sculpture in the plaza between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Mark Taper Forum. However after a two-year search, the Art Committee of The Music Center commissioned Lipchitz. Today, no work of public art in Los Angeles is more photographed.

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Mark Taper Forum Theatre – 739 seats:  Opened in 1967, and renovated in 2007, the perfectly circular Taper features a distinctive design of a decorated drum with its exterior wrapped in a beautiful precast relief by Jacques Overhoff.

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Downtown Los Angeles at night with City Hall in the background:

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ahmanson Theater – 1,600 to 2,007 seats based on configuration: Opened April 12, 1967 and renovated in 1994.

Walt Disney Concert Hall – 2,265 seats (photo from another day): Opened October 24, 2003, designed by Frank Gehry, Lillian Disney made an initial gift of $50 million in 1987 to build a performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and a tribute to Walt Disney’s devotion to the arts and to the city.

Disney Hall (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Walt Disney Concert Hall (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The L.A. Music Center (officially named the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County) is located in downtown Los Angeles. The Music Center is home to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theater, the Mark Taper Forum Theatre, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Each year, The Music Center welcomes more than 1.3 million people to performances by its four internationally renowned resident companies: the L.A. Philharmonic, the L.A. Opera, the L.A. Master Chorale and the Center Theatre Group (CTG) as well as other performances, community events, arts festivals, outdoor concerts, participatory arts activities, workshops, and educational programs.

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Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl with Beethoven, Mozart and the L.A. Phil

Tuesday evening with Beethoven, Mozart and the L.A. Philharmonic!

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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