Does anything exemplify Los Angeles more than the Hollywood Bowl? OK, maybe Dodger Stadium, Pinks Hot Dogs and Tommy’s Burgers (let’s not go there with In ‘N Out).  But still, a summer night taking in the sounds of the LA Phil, some nice jazz or the wondrous works of John Williams is pretty hard to beat. They just announced their 2014 lineup. Check out the joys at www.hollywoodbowl.com and have some fun with Herbie Hancock, Lee Ritenour and Gregory Porter this summer

I’ve been going there since the 60s; my childhood friend Phil actually saw The Beatles there. “I sat next to a bunch of screaming girls, and couldn’t hear a thing!” Back in those days, there was a reflecting pool in front of the stage to enhance the acoustics. Someone smart figured out that $200 seats made more sense than water, and now that area is used for the hoi polloi.

Still, the great thing about the Bowl is that literally anyone can go to it, as there are still seats for $1, and the sound back there is terrific. What I’ve done this month is give a list of the best reasons to go there.

1)      Not only can you still get a $1 seat, but the subway takes you right there

2)      Sorry, but I LOVE that guy that sings opera with his puppet dog. The evangelist, well, at least he’s an institution and believes what he preaches.

3)      Not only is the popcorn the best tasting within 10 miles, but it’s still a bargain!

4)      LOVE THE CUSHIONS! But-you might not need them this year, as they are putting in new wood for the bench seats.

5)      They still do the Star Spangled Banner for many of the shows.

6)      JOHN WILLIAMS! Is he the Beethoven/Mozart of our generation or what?

7)      Herbie Hancock is signed up to be the musical director through 2015. He still plays there at least once a year, and signs up some great artists.

8)      Movie night! Best dinner and flick evening around!

9)      The food at the bowl is actually now really good. Still, if you’re coming from the Valley, a pickup from Poquito Mas is de rigueur. Likewise, from the east, a box from Zankou Chicken or Palms Thai restaurant makes the evening a total delight.

10)   The video screen. Some snobby people don’t like it. Get over it Mr. Pay a Ton Not to Stack Park!

11)   Over the years, they’ve had incredible shows. One night they had A Bowlful of Blues. For $7 I saw Big Mama Thornton, Big Joe Turner, Muddy Waters and BB King with a hot horn section. Can anyone top THAT?!? The gig a couple years back with Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten was a sonic wonder.

12)   OK, so it’s sponsored by a sexist magazine, but the Playboy Jazz Festival does have some of the greatest artists each year. I went to the first one. Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams, Joni Mitchell with Mingus Alumni.  Yes, it was once a “Jazz” festival. The seats were under $10!

13)   The illuminated cross. Just seeing it under the stars yet overlooking the Bowl, it puts music in its proper perspective, and reminds you that “All good things come from God” and all music ultimately gives praise to Him.

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