Hooray for the Hollywood Bowl
Mary McNamara hit the nail on its head with her column about the Hollywood Bowl celebration [“It Doesn't Get Any More L.A. Than Right Here,” June 5].
The only thing missing was the so-not-L.A. $1 seat cushion rental — the best bang for the buck in all of SoCal. Our Hollywood Bowl should take its bow for all its glory days.
I attended a concert there just days after 9/11, and it was just the salve this soul needed.
From Elton John in the ‘70s to Gustavo Dudamel today, I have enjoyed many a night at the Bowl, always with a picnic.
From the boxes, complete with linens, to the top section, it is always an enjoyable outing.
The Hollywood Bowl museum is also worthy of an hour or two.
Regarding Bob Dylan’s performance at the Hollywood Bowl, Sept. 3, 1965 [“20 Pop and Rock Moments That Powered the Stage,” June 5]: Although two future members of the Band accompanied Dylan for the rock portion of the show, his European tour with the group would be the following year, not a few months before the Bowl appearance. I was there that night and the audience was not audibly polarized. Few of those in attendance would have been unaware that he would be playing with a rock band; he had already released one album featuring electric accompaniment, and audience reaction to his electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival was old news.
In addition, he had a hit record heard on L.A. rock stations all summer.
Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the show lacked the polish that future Bowl performers would offer. For the final song of the night, after some group discussion, Dylan stepped to the microphone and asked, “Does anybody have a C harmonica?” Apparently some audience member did, and one landed on the stage. Following surprised laughter from the audience, Dylan picked it up, put it into the rack around his neck, and launched into the top 40 hit “Like a Rolling Stone.”
The sampling of Hollywood Bowl concerts throughout the years brought to mind one I attended on a glorious October night in 1963. The headliner was Sammy Davis Jr. The second act was an up-and-coming singer with an unusual spelling of her first name, Barbra Streisand. The third performer was the jazz immortal Dave Brubeck.
How lucky I was to be there for this magnificent concert. Could there have ever been a greater one in the history of the Bowl?
Mention of “Sound of Music Singalong” [“Joyful Musical Salutes to the Past,” June 5] reminded me of Rodgers and Hammerstein evenings at the Bowl in the late ’50s — lovely performances with soloists, ensembles and the orchestra performing familiar songs and rarities from their many musicals.
Rolling Hills Estates
I want to express my thanks for theater critic Charles McNulty's column on the timelessness of Anton Chekhov's plays [“Really Makes You Stop To Think” June 7].
McNulty’s analysis was informative about the current resurgence of Chekhov's plays being performed and of his influence in film and novels. I was reminded of how much his plays and stories have resonated with me in the past, and my interest in his work is renewed.
Lost and found and restored
A truly remarkable story by Christopher Knight about the recovery and restoration of the stolen De Kooning painting [“It Looked Dead. Now it's Revived,” June 2].
As a total aside, I’m curious as to whether David Van Auker, who found the artwork, received any reimbursement for his “ownership” of it.
I understand he was in possession of a stolen work of art. However, he also obviously wasn’t a participant in its theft and he did the right thing by reporting it when he became aware that it might be the real thing. Speaking more generally, is there law covering such situations, recovery of stolen goods from a subsequent holder of the goods who came by them innocent of their status?
Where has the arts coverage gone?
For many years, faithful readers of The Times could count on getting listings and reviews. No more. Arts groups need audiences and audiences need a source for relevant information. Los Angeles is a vibrant city of the arts, but you might not guess it from reading The Times recently.
My guess is that ticket buyers for the L.A. Phil, the L.A. Opera, the Music Center, the Wallis Center, the dozens of small theaters, museums, galleries and countless other arts venues are loyal or potential subscription holders.
Might this become one more reason to give up Times subscriptions in the same way that most people have abandoned landlines? Must I turn to the New York Times to find out what is happening in our own backyard?
These movies don’t just make themselves
I totally agree with the letter writer who complained about the lack of credits for shows [“Hollywood's Last Movie Star, or Not?,” June 2]. Some channels squeeze them so that they can’t be read even on my 55-inch screen. Netflix makes you choose to watch them, and only if you are quick enough to click that choice. Strangely, the first time I saw squeezed credits many years ago was on PBS. I wrote and complained back then. I like to know the names of the stars or even the minor players, directors, etc. I especially like the way some 1930s movies show the names of the actors over pictures of them in character at the beginning of the film.
In movie theaters, I can’t read the end credits because they’re blocked by of people leaving the cinema. Yes, we still have movie stars, but the way credits are ignored makes it more difficult to find out who they are if you don’t already know about them.
Disclosure: my late husband, Biff Elliot, was an actor — which makes me more interested than most — but I was reading credits when I was a teenager.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.