On the stage of the Hollywood Bowl (Pinch me.)

I'm going to write about the Hollywood Bowl today.

Just as a warning - this post may get all emotional and gushy (<--is that a word?) because I LOVE the Hollywood Bowl. I love it so much I want to marry it. There's going to be gushing. And photos. And videos. And more gushing. Yes. It's uber-nerd heaven.

The Bowl is just so thoroughly So-Cal-Iconic. And I am totally enthralled and in love with its rich history. I'm pretty sure my first exposure to the Bowl came from Bugs Bunny in Long-Haired Hare, where he plays Leopold Stokowski. (Yes, I'm nerdy enough to know this stuff, but that's not important right now.)

Bugs bunny at the Hollywood Bowl

In case you've never seen it, here you go. Watch. And love.

I happen to agree with Bugs: The Bowl is "acoustically poifect." You're welcome.

Of course, one of the most magical Hollywood Bowl Moments happened in August 1964.

The beatles onstage at the hollywood bowl

The Beatles came to Southern California and performed in this iconic venue. *insert teenage girl scream here*

*sigh* That's history right there. 

I'll also never forget the magical night I saw Tito Puente and Celia Cruz there. I was massively pregnant with Lucy at the time and thought my child might be a few weeks early because I started having contractions during the concert, and then I was conflicted because it was CELIA and would I really have to leave if I was having a baby? (That last factoid might have been an over-share. Or it falls under their tag line: There's a story in every seat.)

All that to say this: I love the Hollywood Bowl. It is unparalled as a concert venue and during a show you can even see the Hollywood sign peeking out from the next ridge over. It's quite magical.

So you can imagine my excitement when I was cordially invited to "the Hollywood bowl stage for a cocktail party to celebrate the upcoming summer season" by my friends at the LA Philharmonic.


Wait! Did that say "to the Hollywood Bowl STAGE??"

The evening was beautiful in that perfect Spring-evening-in-Southern-California way.

It's always surprising to me that the Hollywood Bowl is in such an accessible spot. "Yay! We're here!"

Hollywood Bowl sign

And to my everlasting delight, the party was ON. THE. HOLLYWOOD. BOWL. STAGE!

Someone pinch me.

Reception at Hollywood Bowl

So, I start hyperventilating just a little as we walked on to the stage.

Marta Hollywood Bowl

The restaurants in the Bowl venue were all beautifully represented. My particular favorite is the Rooftop Grill. Of course, when you go to an event at the Hollywood Bowl, you must plan on arriving early and either bringing or pre-ordering a picnic. The picnic is  a mandatory part of the magic of the experience.

Rooftop grill

So it was that I found myself with Lucy. Having a picnic. At the Hollywood Bowl. ON THE STAGE. (I may just have to frame this one.)

Sitting on stage of Hollywood Bowl

Wait! Is that Gustavo Dudamel? The conductor of the LA Philharmonic? I may or may not have knocked over a few people to get to him. (My nerdiness knows no bounds.)

Gustavo Dudamel & Marta

He is from Venezuela, and I briefly spoke to him in Spanish (of course) and told him I was Cuban, at that exact same moment a musical piece was playing written by a Cuban. Full disclosure: He was the one who pointed that out. I was in Star-struck Super Fan mode.

"Hola, Maestro! You are my biggest fan!"

Okay, maybe I didn't say exactly that, but I was excited and tongue tied and thrilled to be in the presence of such greatness. By the way, if you live in Los Angeles or the surrounding areas and want to experience classical music in the most engaging way, do yourself a favor and go see Gustavo Dudamel conduct the LA Phil. Seriously.

Let me take a moment from documenting my craziness to tell you about the awesomeness that can be found at the Hollywood Bowl over the summer.

They have THE BEST program for kids called Summer Sounds. I have a friend who religiously takes her kids every summer and swears it's the best thing in town. Watch this:

You can thank me later.

There's way too much fabulousness for me to list here in this one post (please click here for more information) but let me just tell you that we are already looking forward to John Williams (right?!), Ruben Blades (yes, please!), and Placido Domingo, and perhaps even the Grease Sing-a-long. (I have very ecclectic taste in music, okay?)

Did I mention we were standing on THE SAME STAGE where all this amazingness will take place?

Lucy & me Hollywood bowl

I was completely giddy thinking of all the times I had been here and all the amazing acts that have stood on this very stage. So I gushed to Lucy (much like I'm doing to you now) and sighed and laughed out loud. And I pointed to the different seats I had occupied and of course, I told her once again the story of when I thought she might be born prematurely in this same spot because I just couldn't bear the thought of leaving this magical place in the middle of a show.

And then she turned to me and said, "I didn't get it until just now."

Lucy on stage at Hollywood Bowl

Summer can't get here soon enough.

{A special thank you to the Hollywood Bowl, the LA Philharmonic, and alPunto Advertising for a magical evening.}