I was with my husband for our last concert at the Hollywood Bowl for this season and as I sat back enjoying myself listening to the scores written and conducted by the great John Williams, I stopped to appreciate the evening for what it really was and just had to share my thoughts. It is a slight departure from my party planning, interior design, and baking, but it is right on par with my budget.
For those who have never experienced “The Bowl” or live outside of southern California, it is an outdoor arena carved into the side of a mountain in the Hollywood hills. It’s a place where the entertainment is provided by the LA Phil and the ambiance is provided by nature. I often sit there in disbelief as I take a sip of wine and just stare at the surrounding hills. I get to enjoy this venue and it’s talented performers with barely a blip on my financial radar. Patrons are actually able to bring in their own food and drink (alcohol is almost required) and you can get tickets as cheap as $1 (on some nights). As much as I want to make the trip super cheap, I often feel fancy when I am preparing food for The Bowl and opt for a doozie of a meal that I cook myself of course. Maybe it’s because we are usually pairing it with wine or maybe it is the fact that us Cheap Seaters get to hob knob with the wealthy folks that have box seats that they purchased for a couple hundred bucks. Yet, in a crunch, we will not hesitate to grab a $5 subway footlong, a bottle of 2 buck (that’s slang for Charles Shaw wine at Trader Joe’s for $1.99) and hurry on our way. We park our car on the free lot and pay our $5 per person for the shuttle and get curb side service at the bowl and by service I mean the buses drop us off right in front.
As you enter or walk through the venue, there is a sense of community. Despite the glasses of wine that are steadily flowing, people behave as if they are visiting a well respected family member’s home. I am always first in awe of the structure and its location and then by the amount of people peacefully walking along side me or having a picnic on the ground. This may seem so cliche, but it really feels magical. If you arrive early enough it is light out and you can really take in the nature surrounding the bowl while you eat at a picnic table or at your seat and as the evening progresses the hills disappear and the glow from the stage is your only light (everyone knows LA smog prevents the stars from sparkling overhead). I honestly feel like the cheap seats have a great advantage over the up close and personal box seats, you really get to appreciate your environment while you’re being entertained. There is no other place to my knowledge in the area where you don’t have to be wealthy to experience sophisticated entertainment often associated with the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It adds more culture to ones life without breaking the bank. It is truly an experience.