Sunday, August 31, 2008

Up Close and Personal

Friday night I was a guest in the prestigious Reed & Davidson box at the Hollywood Bowl. It's a much fuller experience to see a show at the Bowl so close to the stage.

The evening's concert was the music of John Williams which, frankly, I found a little boring. All of his music sounds exactly the same to me. Da Da DA DA. Is that ET? Star Wars? Indiana Jones? Whatever it was, the crowd loved it.

But I loved visiting with everyone in the box before the show and during intermission. Our box, unlike those around us, was quiet during the show. Except when the violin solo by Bing Wang made me cry a little bit. Others seemed to find that quite funny. (Where's my light saber?)

Saturday night I went to the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood to see Hershey Felder's one-man show, "Beethoven: As I Knew Him." Much like his show about George Gershwin, Felder mixes Beethoven's music with stories about his life to tell about the maestro and how a man who lost his hearing at the age of 30 wrote some of the most beautiful music ever composed. Following the show Felder answered questions from the audience about Beethoven for about 20 minutes.

I was pleased to hear Felder mention the Beethoven Institute at San Jose State University during the show. It's directed by my friend, Bill Meredith. As part of the show Felder described how the Institute came to be in possession of two pieces of Beethoven's skull. During the Q&A I asked Felder to talk more about the Institute. He went on to describe it as a world-renown research institute unparalleled in the world.

I meant to take a picture of the theater's marquee on my way out. But I was thrown off stride by an elderly lady behind me complaining that I was dawdling in the aisle while the audience was exiting. Apparently she thought the story I was telling my guest was slowing down her egress from the theater. I stepped aside and offered to let her go ahead of me to "take advantage of the six inches of space I was wasting" between me and the person in front of me in the aisle. She refused and I wouldn't budge either. Back and forth we went three times. Seriously. Finally she stepped forward and we all left the theater in peace. I forgot to take the picture because I was contemplating the fact I had probably just met the female version of myself from thirty years hence.
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