Last night we headed out to go to the Hollywood Bowl because I had been given comps to see “Hair” by the sound designer, my colleague Phil Allen. All day it had been kind of overcast and cloudy, but really really hot.
I knew that the Hollywood bowl was going to be like Mount Everest for my 87-year-old husband. But karmically, things seemed to be falling together neatly. On Friday, at work I had to call a student to find out if he had the units to do a lighting design this fall. Kevin has been working as a parking attendant at the Hollywood Bowl since the age of 14. Please don’t think less of me because honestly, I didn’t call him to take advantage of this fact.
But when I did reach him, he told me that he could help me out with parking. He said he would put my name on the list, and that I should drive up the hill to Lot A and look for him.
We left the apartment at 6:00. I had a beautiful basket full of poached Salmon, a lovely quinoa salad, and for dessert, berries and some brownie bites from Smart and Final. I was feeling very, very Martha Stewart.
We got to the Hollywood Bowl and it was a complete cluster f–k. I didn’t know what lane to get into, because I literally hadn’t come to the Hollywood Bowl in five years, and the cop was pointing me to turn left when I need to go straight ahead. I said to him “My names on the list” and he waved me into the right lane, after admonishing me with a good natured retort: “We can’t read minds, here! Have a nice evening!”
I got to the bottom of the hill. I said “My name’s on the list.” (Surely the sweetest words in the history of theatre.) Sure enough, miraculously, it was. We drove up the hill and Kevin was there and said “Park right here,” pointing to his left to an area which was clearly not a parking spot.
I unloaded my husband’s walker, and gave the keys to Kevin and we walked into the bowl.
We were now standing in front of the black macadam Mount Everest. A rise which is probably 50° and my husband turned to me with woeful eyes and said, “How far is it?”
I looked down at the tickets and I could see that we needed to go about hundred feet further up the hill to the entrance. People were walking by shooting me dirty looks for bringing somebody with a walker on this hill.
Some kind Bowl usher helped us and pointed us to the elevator which eliminated 20 steps up. We took the elevator up and went our way up the longest handicap ramp in history. Now were on the flat area between the seating heading towards our seats. It was still really early and the boxes in the Bowl were full of happy picnickers but the upper levels were still pretty empty.
We got to the entrance to the seating area where we needed to leave the walker and my husband looked up and said “What row are we in?” Again, woeful eyes.
I was thinking, ” Yeah, it’s a great idea to come to the Hollywood Bowl as the last event in one’s life.”
We climbed, my husband holding onto the backs of the benches and we finally got to row 11. We sat down on our Hollywood Bowl blanket and I opened the basket for dinner. Things were looking up.
Two pretty girls were sitting in front of us who asked us to take their picture. I did and they then took our picture, too.
It was only about 6:30 and the show was scheduled to start at 8:00. Two other people I knew came to sit down next to us because they, too, had been given tickets by our friend. We were very jolly. The show began. It was magical. We were having a great time.
After intermission, I felt the first drops of rain. The chatter amongst the audience as these drops began to fall and intensify in frequency and weight rolled through the audience so that the show could have stopped for all we were aware.
I was trying to cover us up with the little blue cotton shawl that I had brought to put across our laps so that we wouldn’t get salmon on our pants.
Pretty soon, one of the actors came out and said-“Don’t leave! “We’re bringing you ponchos!”
Keep in mind that here were 17,000 of us sitting in the audience. I thought, Yeah, and I have some swamp property in Florida….
My husband’s hat was drenched.
I couldn’t stop laughing with Annie Wareham who was sitting to my right, her hair beginning to plaster itself to her head. The irony of being in the middle of a 3 year drought in Southern California on the one time in 5 years we had attended a show at the Bowl in the midst of what was becoming an enthusiastic episode of rain was too much. Show? What show?
I think it was somewhere around this time that the purportedly naked people came onstage, because I completely missed them.
One of the girls to my left, a former student USC, was wearing a USC poncho. Good planning, Sara! Her friend got up and offered to bring us ponchos and disappeared. 10 minutes later this goddess of mercy came back with the ponchos and handed me a flat packet with two inside. And just like were instructed to do on the aircraft, I helped my husband on with his poncho before putting mine on. Oh no, it’s the opposite, right?
Now Annie and I were taking selfies to text to the sound mixing area which we could see was tented with a poncho or clear tarp under which Phil had a flashlight and was mixing the show. Which, miraculously, was proceeding apace. Those poor wet actors. To their credit, they used this event to unify the audience so that by the final number, “Let the Sunshine In!” we were all singing at the tops of our lungs. The audience filed out of the bowl, chatting amiably with each other, in love with the performers, each other, the rain.
It was the best time I’ve had at the Hollywood Bowl in years. After the show, we waited for a lot of the people to leave and then we made our way back to the car. Kevin was waiting and pulled the car around right to us. I gave him 20 bucks. And that, I think, was our last trip to the Hollywood bowl.