Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pas de Oohs and Aahs

Dudamel and Stars of Ballet
Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood, CA
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

After all of the craziness trying to get home from NKOTB, I decided that I would take the shuttle to the Bowl.  I had a dentist appointment, so I needed to leave work early anyway, and caught the shuttle from Arcadia.  Liz took the shuttle from Lakewood and she arrived a little while before me.  She got some popcorn while she waited for me to arrive.  She regretted getting it, though, because it was cold.  Yes, she still offered some to me after giving the popcorn a bad review. Because, you know, I'm all about eating blechy popcorn.  I declined and got sushi at the Marketplace (again), and we went to our seats.  We weren't sitting together, but we were in the same section, a couple of rows apart, so we were able to pass stuff to each other before other people rudely sat in their designated seats and got in our way.  

I guess I haven't been to an actual Bowl performance in a while, because I forgot that the orchestra starts the event by playing the Star-Spangled Banner.

Dudamel



Tchaikovsky: Selections from The Sleeping Beauty: Introduction - The Lilac Fairy; Panorama; Valse
  • I love this music, and I enjoyed watching the LA Phil play.
  • I also enjoyed seeing people sway in their seats with the Valse, which Disney fans know from the film as "Once Upon A Dream".  I forgot how quickly the piece is actually played when Aurora isn't singing it.
Tchaikovsky: Selections from Swan Lake: Act II No. 10 - Scene; Act II No. 13 Moderato assai; Act II No. 13 - Tempo di valse; Act II No. 13 - Moderato assai
  • When Marcelo Gomes jeted onto the stage, a lot of folks gasped to see his striking makeup as the White Swan (from Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake).
  • Misty Copeland also had a White Swan solo, and it was as gorgeous as you'd think, if you've ever seen her dance before.  I had seen her dance on Colbert's LSSC and was amazed, so you know I was looking forward to this.  She did not disappoint me in the least.
  • I was eager to see Marcelo and Misty dance together later in the program.
    Copland's White Swan as Dudamel Looks On
<Intermission>
Gustavo Dudamel talked to the audience about how amazed he was at the dancers' movements.  He said that some people like to watch him conduct, but he feels like he's just waving his arms around when compared to them.  I like listening to him.  I wish I could have played violin in one of his orchestras.

Adam: Selections from Giselle: Act I - Introduction; Act II No. 17 - Hilarion is killed by the Willis; Act II No. 21 - Giselle and Albrecht
  • Natalie Osipova and Sergei Polunin performed a Grand Pas de deux and Variations.  I reference pas de deux occasionally in my drum corps write-ups, mostly because that is usually my favorite part of any dance program.  
  • How?  How does she do those little jumps like that and go across the stage like she's a bird?   I know what you're going to tell me: "Practice, Sherry."  I wish my pictures had come out during this piece, but she moved so quickly that they're all blurry.  So here's a video of the two of them at another performance.  It should start with her little jumps at 7:25, then he dances as I reference below.
  • The way he lifts her like he's helping her float across the stage is just beautiful.
  • Then he does his entrechats and it was wow.
  • So I'm not familiar with this ballet.  Does he die, and she brings him back to life or something?  Or maybe they were playing different characters now that I'm looking at the scene titles.  Duh.
Prokofiev: Selections from Romeo and Juliet: Montagues and Capulets; The Young Juliet; Romeo and Juliet (Balcony Scene); Death of Tybalt
Romeo and Juliet
  • The Montagues and Capulets was orchestra only, and I loved it.  I love this piece.  I refrained from humming along, but it was in my head for a couple of days afterward.
  • Misty was wonderful as Juliet, and she danced with such light feet!  Sigh.
  • The Pas de deux made me sigh a lot with happiness.  It may help to know that this is my favorite story, so this was just sublime for me.  Beautiful music, beautiful dancers, people falling in love...aaaaahhhhh.
  • Marco did a bunch of Double Tours and it was amazing.

What a treat for us to see!  I really enjoyed it.  I need to watch a full ballet someday.
Brava! Bravo! Bravi!

Dudamel, Copland, and Gomes


We were also treated to the orchestra playing an extra piece, but I'm sorry that I don't remember what that was.  I do remember that I liked it. Does that help?  

Liz and I went to our respective buses. I sat in the back corner, and with every pothole or dip, I thought the wheels were going to fall off.  I texted Liz when I got home, and she pretty much had the same experience, and thought the driver was going 90 mph.  Well, at least we got home quickly!

Next up:  Sondheim on Sondheim

Monday, July 24, 2017

Abe's Adages 07/24/17

Abe's Adages: Week 18

On Communication:

"I determined to be so clear that no honest man could misunderstand me and no dishonest one could successfully misrepresent me."

Source: Gene Griessman, The Words Lincoln Lived By

Sunday, July 23, 2017

New Kids At The Bowl


NKOTB: Total Package Tour
Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood, CA
Friday, June 2, 2017

I worked on Friday, so I drove up to Hollywood and Highland and parked my car, then walked over to the Bowl.  Karla took the shuttle near her house and met me there.  We checked out the merchandise, and I didn't want a shirt, but I bought a duffel bag because I needed a new one.  I did like a Boyz II Men shirt, and a Paula Abdul one, but didn't want to buy them.  We bought something to eat at the marketplace and walked up to our seats.  They were high up, but I was just happy to be there.  

Boyz II Men started off the evening.
  • I know I say this whenever I see them, but they need a bass.
  • One lady near us that arrived late said, "Where is it that Boyz II Men goes on FIRST?!"  Well, I guess that would be right here.  I get why she said that, but Paula hasn't been on tour for a lot longer than them, and maybe they wanted to bookend the guy acts around her.
  • All of the guys still have amazing voices, but Shawn blew me away tonight.


After an intermission, Paula Abdul took the stage.  Some women tried to get to their seats and accused us of sitting in them.  I told them my seat number, and they went to the seats more toward the middle of the row. THEN they looked at their numbers and realized they were wrong later on, and moved back to where they were supposed to be sitting after the act was over.  Do not mess with me and seating.  I was an usher!
  • Paula did a great job, and you would never know that it had been a couple of decades since she last toured.  She's in great shape and still dances great, and she still sounds the same.
  • She told her story of auditioning to be a Laker Girl, and changed her clothes and hairstyle about four times before basically forcing them to watch her dance.
  • Scat Cat!  Wish Arsenio had been there to do his rap, though.
  • "Cold Hearted Snake" is still my favorite song of hers.
  • Woman in back of me as the performance continued: "How many hits did she HAVE?!" 
On the big board during intermission

Another intermission followed, then came New Kids On The Block!  We saw big NKOTB balloons on a terrace backstage and figured maybe the people who bought special ticket packages would be there later with the guys.


  • Sometimes I forget how much I love these guys.  Then they get on stage and I remember all over again.
  • Joey had his son, Griffin, sing a little bit of "Tonight".
Joey and Griffin

  • Poor John.  The day after this show, he posted that he felt he had the worst concert ever because he was totally out of his element.  I didn't notice: he seemed fine when he was singing "Happy Birthday" to the lucky Birthday Girl of the day.
  • Danny is still the B-Boy.
  • One of these days, Donnie will go out into the audience far enough to be in my section.  This was not the day.
    The piano is ON FIRE

  • They had a Quick Change Cam and showed the guys changing their shirts and mugging for the camera.  They sure know how to keep us happy.
    Popsicle
  • Alas, This One's For The Children instead of for Sherry:
    No Funky Funky Christmas
  • I liked that they sang the old stuff in a historic progression.  It was cool to hear the REALLY old stuff:  "My name's Donnie.  Lovable Leo!"
    My name's Jordan.  I'm a Taurus.
  • Joey sang "Please Don't Go Girl" with the accompaniment of a cellist from the LA Philharmonic.  He got emotional.
    Please Don't Go, Cello Player
  • They sang 2Pac's "California Love" for the Block Party segment.
  • Joey found the girls from "Full House" in their box seats and sang with them.  I didn't realize it was them until I saw his Instagram post the next day. 
  • JORDAN!  Let's get hard!   I missed "Baby, I Believe in You", though.  But you know, I was still good and probably ovulated when he lifted up his shirt.  Then when he was...ummm...on the floor...OK, I need to stop thinking about that.
    I mean...
  • When they sang "Thankful", they posted pictures of people whom had tagged them #ThankfulForLA during the day, and it ended with a collage of all of them.  I didn't see us, though.
    #ThankfulForLA
It took me forever to get to my car after the show because of the amount of other people walking that way, trying to get around all of the hot dog carts and people looking for their Uber drivers.  Karla had already gotten home by the time I was going to leave the parking structure.  It didn't help that I couldn't find my parking stub so I could pay to get out, either.

Once I got home, I let KP know, and sent her emojis of cucumber, banana and eggplant to remind her that I lost my mind during Jordan's new song.  She laughed so much that she woke up her cat.

That was fun.  Thanks for joining me, KP! I wonder who will be their guests on the next tour.  I'm hoping for New Edition.  Make it happen, Boy Band Universe!


I'll Be Loving You Forever, Jordan!

Vikings Don't Have Parasols

So Cal Classic
West Coast Open Class Championship
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Ron Yary Stadium -- Bellflower HS
Bellflower, CA

I arrived at the stadium parking lot a little bit before 4:00 p.m.  The gate had opened at 3:30, so there were already people inside, but I needed to give my extra ticket to Jen.  I also wanted to make sure that Dodie was able to find me at this entrance as her directions had her park in a lot that was far away.  Once I got everyone together, Jen told me that I needed to get a wristband from the ticket booth to let me into "the special section".  I'm glad she got tickets in the premium section for herself and the family, because I forgot to tell her to do so.  Bro was unable to attend this show, so the extra ticket went to Larry.  Jen had also brought her daughter Rebecca (current baritone at her high school), and Rebecca's friend, Layla.

The seating was General Admission, so we made sure to get to the seats we wanted before getting refreshments.  Our seats were in Section B, about midway up the stands, on the 50.  As Jen predicted, I wanted aguas frescas, so Dodie and I got in line for our drinks and also some food.  I've decided that I am just not fond of the grittiness of Tostitos, even when I'm eating them as nachos.  I finished my nachos, though, because I wanted the protein; the chips were basically, as my friend Cindy says, "a delivery system".

Larry saw four people several rows in front of us whom were using white, lacy parasols.  He lamented that he didn't bring one.  I asked him if he had one.  "No, but if I had thought of it, I would have bought one to bring."  Larry makes me laugh.  

The Freelancers Alumni Corps played the Star-Spangled Banner.  I wondered if I was being unpatriotic because I was holding my nachos in one hand while putting my other hand on my heart for the anthem.   Yes, I was standing.  No, I wasn't wearing a hat.

BLUE DEVILS C
Larry was puzzled at first as to why the silver tubes weren't all the same size, then realized that they were like real airplane wings and tapered down.  "Oh, it's a plane!" They didn't have that narration before.  I now understand that they play "Stayin' Alive" because they survived the turbulence, but I was fine with the show without the narration. The bass drum heads have a "BD Air" logo.  Cool.  NIce "Stayin' Alive" solo.  I kept pointing out the littlest kids because they're so cute. The cymbal player even had small cymbals!  The drummer stances are so very BD with their squats.

BD Air




INCOGNITO
I thought that they were already dropping stuff on the field during the pre-show, but the fans were being purposefully placed on the ground in designated places.  Go, Contra solo!  Dodie likes the flag colors.
Incognito


IMPULSE
Why do the cave people have red on the lower part of their legs?  Is it blood because they don't wear shoes?  Is it fire?  Then Jen saw the rifles and said, "Cave People don't have rifles."  I suggested that someone went back in time and gave them rifles.  
Jen: "That's what happened.  They didn't know how to use them and their legs are bloody."
Nice solos all around, like the tympani on the Also Sprach, the Mello on the Khatchaturian, the trumpet on the de Falla, and the marimba on the lead in to the de Falla.

!


Larry:  I want a Viking hat.
Jen: I thought you wanted a parasol.
Sherry:  Would you rather have a Viking hat, or a parasol?
L:  Do I have to choose?  Why can't I have both?
S:  If you wear a Viking hat while you're holding a parasol, you'll poke holes in the parasol with the horns!
L: A Viking hat, then...but then it's not really good for much except Bugs Bunny cartoons.
S: You can use the horn to drink out of!
L:  I can do that.
S: A Viking hat is useful!  It prevents arrows from being shot into your head.
L:  OK, a Viking hat it is.

Yup, somebody was wearing a Viking hat for the Watchmen show, but it was a different person than when we were in Riverside.  I wondered if they take turns.  


WATCHMEN
J:  Why don't they just shoot them with the guns?  Then it would be over quickly.  
I told her that Bro was thinking of the same thing the other day.
J:  Brass players would have figured out how to use the guns.  That's why you don't give guns to brass players.
I finally noticed the Viking funeral and the reason for the Death cloth.
J:  Don't they have to dump him in water?  It would suck to have to play tenors at your own funeral.
Viking Funeral

So here's my theory:  Watchmen isn't wearing hats because they all wanted to have Viking hats and it wasn't in the budget.  So we just have one representative on the sidelines in honor of the Viking hats they couldn't afford.  Also, if they were all wearing the hats, they'd poke everyone's eyes out.

<Intermission>
Freelancers Alumni Corps entertained the folks in the stands.

GOLDEN EMPIRE
Earlier in the day, Jen mentioned her fear of midgets.  I told her that there were dwarfs in the show.  I mean, they're miners, right?  "Someday I'll Fly Away" is still the weakest piece.  The intonation still needs improvement, as it does in the Diamond portion, but it's not as noticeable as it was before.

Conducting from over the mountain


GOLD
The acorn hasn't changed.  Jen thinks it looks like a poop emoji.  
D:  From mighty acorns, pieces of poop grow.
Great battery feature!  I saw the "grow" movements by the brass this time.  I guess Rudy and Glenn weren't making that up after all.  I like when the cymbals "grow" at the end.

Gold Drums with Contras "growing" in the back


SANTA CLARA VANGUARD CADETS
This is the first time I've seen the new uniforms.  They don't wear Aussies, either.  I like that the DM uniforms incorporate both the corps black/white/grey and the colors of the CG uniforms.  The show has changed a lot since I saw it last, and it's even better than before, now that the colors from the other sides of the props have been incorporated into it.  Now we get to see pink, yellow, purple, and green.  The pieces have come together!  Nice call and response between the trombone soloist and the rest of the corps.  The Vanguard yell comes right before that portion.  Lots of people in the stands were stamping their feet in approval.  This is a Vanguard crowd, I guess.  Is that a tribute to SCV's "Ouroboros" that I see in the circle formation?
New Uniforms

How?

Purple!

I like this color combination

BLUE DEVILS B
There is way too much talking in this show.  The CG uniforms -- are they clowns, or are those balloons?  Dodie thinks they're just clowns.  You can't be CG lead in BD unless you have long hair.  
J: Those long plumes make them look like bunnies.
S: That pink feather over there is coming down...or it's having an erection, I can't tell.
Saber Toss

Wait.  What is on those flags?
Is this what happens to the children?

Probably just happy to see me

We got a full retreat tonight!  Impulse provided the cadence.

Retreat

Scores
8) 48.10 BD-C
7) 50.40 Incognito
6) 53.70 Impulse
5) 58.60 Watchmen
4) 59.70 Golden Empire
3) 63.25 Gold
2) 69.75 SCVC
1) 70.40 BD-B

All of the corps gave us one more song as each marched off the field.  Gold decided to stay in their place to play, then marched off in silence.  Yeah, so their part was a lot longer than the other corps', and I was annoyed.  SCVC played their drum cadence, no music.

Encore
Impulse played parts of their show.  As we left, I found myself humming the de Falle piece.  I think I need to buy that.
Impulse Encore


That was fun, and now I have several long weeks before I get to see another drum corps show in person.  Until then, I know they'll all keep cleaning up their shows, and I look forward to Finals Week!






Wednesday, July 19, 2017

DLR LotD 07/17/17

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Monday, July 17, 2017

"There's no pirate flag, so I can ride it." -- Sherry, in New Orleans Square

Happy Birthday, Disneyland!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Apes Together Strong

AAAAAAAAPES!  Yup, it's that time again!  Linda and I saw "War for the Planet of the Apes" on Saturday because you know I'm not going to miss opening weekend for this.


  • Love the music during the 20th Century Fox logo, because it was drums.  Apes don't have fancy brass instruments, you know.
  • Cornelius!
  • War and death in Planet of the Apes movies make me cry at least three times.  Lots and lots of tears streaming down my cheeks.
  • Steve Zahn as Bad Ape was hilarious, and welcome comic relief from all of the tears and tension.
  • Andy Serkis is a genius performer. If you haven't seen the video that he shared on Colbert's show of the transformation from his face to Caesar's, you need to do so.  There's some funny Gollum stuff going on in the video, too.  Enjoy!
  • What is up with that whole scene of the Colonel shaving his head in front of everyone?
  • Why is it that tyrants always want to build a wall?  
  • Why is it that I can't get enough of watching apes ride horses?
  • So when they named "Winter", was that Ape-Racist?  I don't know if that's OK.
  • So, is this the last one?  Because I need to see how we end up with Cornelius having to deal with Charleton Heston's histrionics.  I guess we humans die by avalanche, or maybe by killing each other over how to treat the apes.  And what happens to Nova?  Oh, wait.  Per IMDB, a fourth movie is planned. YAY!
I love these movies, and this installment did not disappoint me in the least.  Loved it.
  • I also love the official GIFs, so I need to share them here.


via GIPHY



via GIPHY



via GIPHY

via GIPHY



via GIPHY



via GIPHY



via GIPHY



via GIPHY

Sunday, July 16, 2017

DLR LotD 07/15/17

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Saturday, July 15, 2017

"My thing doesn't work anymore." -- Cindy, at the Salon

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Abe's Adages 07/08/17

Abe's Adages: Week 17

On Responsibility:

"I am here; I must do the best I can, and bear the responsibility of taking the course which I feel I ought to take."

Source: Gene Griessman, The Words Lincoln Lived By

Catches Thieves Just Like Flies

My friends invited me to join them in a 10:00 p.m. showing of "Spider-man: Homecoming".  I don't care how tired I still am from ID4 at Disneyland, I was up for it!  It's Spidey!  We viewed it in LFX.


  • Original theme song!!!!  YAY!
  • Hilarious opening with Peter taking video of his experience in Captain America: Civil War
  • So...Batman is Birdman, but a bad bird-Vulture guy, and my head hurts now.
  • "Spider-man is fighting the Avengers in the bank across the street."
  • "How long have I been in here?"  "37 minutes."
  • Spider-man banter is what made me love him when I was a kid.  I'm glad they included it in this one.
  • Tom Holland, the youngest actor to play Spider-man, did an awesome job as the teenager who wants to be cool with the big superheroes while trying to balance his school and social life.  He's so young-looking that I actually believe he's in high school.
  • Spider-man eats Doritos!
  • "If you're nothing without the suit, then you shouldn't have it."
  • "Guy in the chair!"
  • "I've been carrying this in my pocket since 2008."
  • How can she be MJ?  Her name is Michelle.  The MJ stands for "Mary Jane".
  • Cap's PSA spots were hilarious.  "How many more of these do I have to do?"
  • Aunt May's reaction in that last shot.  Hee hee!
That was a lot of fun, as I expect Spider-man to be.  I would definitely see it again in the theater.