John Williams and Me at the Hollywood Bowl!

Ever since I saw Bugs Bunny torment an opera singer there, I’ve always wanted to go to the Hollywood Bowl.

Every year, film composer John Williams does a concert there where he conducts his own and other composers’ music, in his Maestro of the Movies concert.  This year, Certain Someone and I were able to go!

The Maestro himself, John Williams

Our chat room on Streamingsoundtracks.com (see link in the blogroll) has several members who go every year.  We met up with some of them for food, and a group trip to see JW, as we call him, at the Bowl.   The hotel where we stayed was within a short walk and not far from other famous Hollywood locations.

The Bowl

Some quick impressions of the Hollywood Bowl:

Smooshy seat cushions for rent.

Hills.

Expensive water.

World’s fastest bathroom line!  (because there are like 500 stalls in there)

Here it is!

Yes, that date stamp should be 8/27/11...stupid camera.

I have to say that the Hollywood Bowl is one of the better venues I’ve visited.  It’s huge, and stuck up in the hills on Highland Avenue.  There are numerous refreshment vendors selling water, snacks and light sabers (I’ll get to that in a minute).

Seat cushions can be rented for a buck and trust me, if you’re in the bench seats, you’ll need them.  The Bowl is an open-air venue and the old wooden benches are hard.  To sit in the boxes, you have to have a season pass.  If I lived in L.A., you bet I would have one.

Benches. There are many. This place is HUGE.

 

You can bring outside food and drink in but no glass bottles.  They do search purses and bags, so be ready for that.   It’s very much a family-friendly venue, so if the show is appropriate, bring the kiddies.

The Concert

Here’s a scan of the playlist; I hope you can read it.

Click on it and then magnify.

William Faulker’s story The Reivers, accompanied by music, was supposed to be narrated by Morgan Freeman but that didn’t happen.  So JW got his old buddy James Taylor to do it, which he did very well.  Yes, THE James Taylor!

This guy.

Then JW said “I know we didn’t bring you here to SING…”  and the audience went nuts.  So Taylor got his guitar and sang a cowboy lullaby he wrote for his nephew James.  It was fabulous. I was never a huge fan of his, but always liked him and this was really a treat.

JW did a cool thing with the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade music.  He showed the opening scene, with Young Indy stealing the Coronado Cross from the bandits, without music, and talked us through the though process that went into what music to use where.

He said “Of course, first I have to WRITE it…”  Hee hee.  Then he played the scene again with the orchestra accompanying.  Pretty neat to see how that worked.

JW’s most famous score, Star Wars, capped the evening.  Now I’ll explain the light sabers.  Repeat concertgoers (and Star Wars nerds) brought light sabers to the concert, which you could activate with the flip of a switch.  They sell them at the venue too, because apparently this is a JW tradition.

First was “The Asteroid Field” and “Princess Leia’s Theme,” and across the Bowl, people were holding back, you could tell.  On the beginning notes of “Main Title,”  the entire audience lit up with a sparkly sea of sabers.  Ultra nerdy, and indescribably beautiful.  Next year, I’m getting one.  Yes, we’re going back!

I didn't take this picture; this is from the opposite side where we were, I think.

Three encores! The Star Wars Imperial March; all the lightsabers were bobbing in unison.  That’s Darth Vader’s music, for you non-nerds out there.  Then E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, followed by Raiders of the Lost Ark.

And then it was over.

That was the best concert I’ve ever seen in my life, and you don’t have to be a scorephile like me to love JW and the LA Philharmonic, one of the most famous and talented orchestras in the country.   Do go there, to any concert of your choosing.  Help support arts programs whenever you can.  You may discover something amazing!

Some Neat Things from Bad Wolf Software

So what do you think of the new blog design?  I like it.  Had this picture at the beginning, and decided to go back to it.  It’s a picture of a very old library in Wolfenbuettel, Germany that I found on a stock photo site.

Speaking of sites, a couple of years ago a colleague recommended a really cool software for writing called PageFour, from Bad Wolf Software.  I tried it and loved it.  They have something new, which is why I wanted to write a post about them.

DISCLAIMER:  I am a licensed user of the PageFour software and a happy one.  I am not being compensated for plugging the software.   I just want to let you know about it.

This program has these little notebooks that you can write chapters or scenes in.  It’s very simple and easy to use.  It has several features I like:

  • The notebooks hold each chapter separately.  This means you can search a chapter instead of going through an entire manuscript.   Much easier to find bits you want to move around.
  • AND…when you are done, you can MERGE them into one document!
  • Simple interface without stupid auto-formatting.
  • Search functions seek out repeated words.
  • Can be used on more than one PC.
  • Updates included.  And it’s not that expensive.  If you use it for freelancing work, it pays for itself pretty quick.
  • You can import and export things to Word easily for formatting when you are ready to do that.

The reason I thought to share this with you (and I should have shared PageFour before) is that they have a new thing called AtoZ Notebook.  It’s a simple data management program that is password encrypted.   There’s a free version with only one notebook, but it never expires so you can use it with no upgrades forever.   I was just wishing that my little secret contact document was encrypted.  How did they know?

Go to the AtoZ Notebook site and watch the demo video on the Screenshots page, and listen to a fantastic Irish-accented voice tell you all about the software.  Okay, there’s a typo on the home page, but no one is prefectt.

If you tried it and liked it, or if you know a writer who might like PageFour, pass on their links.

This is How Not to Pay Attention… Sheesh!

I AM SO DUMB.

Way back in April, during the A-Z Blogging Challenge, I garnered a blog award from writer, artist and animator Deirdra Eden Coppel, who commented that she was enjoying my blog.

You can see it in my sidebar, the Powerful Woman Writer Award.  Isn’t her picture dynamic!  I wish I could draw like that.

Thank you, Deirdra, and I promise to do my best to try and keep the content standards up on here.   And I apologize for being so spacey that I didn’t even see your comment.  :P

I welcome comments and as long as I can I will continue to try and read and respond to as many of them as I can.  Since I don’t get very many that shouldn’t be too hard.  I broke my own rule and let my day job get to me.  NO MORE!

From now on, my writing comes FIRST!*

And another thank you to everyone who has been reading, from A-Z bloggers to my friends.  I wish I had more news to tell you re publication, but not so far.  I’m still working, though.  Got a new book to finish and edit.  I’ll keep you all posted.  When I begin querying, perhaps I’ll post an excerpt or two.

Happy weekend, everybody.  For those still stuck in the heat wave, stay chilly.

* would love to say I’ve moved to a private island where I’m happily scribbling away on the beach, but no.

 

Vocabulary: Kickin’ Letter K

K is for kookie…oh wait.  No dessert for me.  I have to be skinny shortly for a trip to Los Angeles.  I will post pictures if I get any good ones (not of me!).  No, Psycho Kitty is not going.  Yes, Certain Someone is.  :)

 

“Meh. I didn’t want to leave the yard anyway.”

Kake – dammit, I did it again…

Karabiner (also carabiner) – a clip ring with a spring closure used in mountaineering and rappelling to connect ropes.

Keelhaul – Yarr!  A pirate cap’n’ll keelhaul ye –drag yer carcass under the keel o’ the ship by a long rope—iffen ye don’t shape up, matey!

Khmer – the official language of Cambodia.

Kinesthesia – the sense of muscle movement.  In Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory of learning, having kinesthetic intelligence means you have control over your body and learn physical skills easily.  I do not have this.

Me.

 

Klingon (Star Trek)  – a warlike race who opposed the Federation but in the Next Generation series became cautious allies.  Klingon is also an invented, fictional language that some Trek fans actually speak.  Kind of like Tolkien’s Elvish.

Knackered – an old slang term for worn out, exhausted.  From the English knacker, which is a person who renders animals that are not fit for human consumption (at the dreaded glue factory!).  Knacker is also a derogatory term for an Irish traveler.

Kohl – soft eyeliner, easily smudges.  The ancient Egyptians used it frequently.

Kraken – a sea monster believed to attack ships and carry sailors down to the depths.

A sailor’s worst nightmare…other than a leak.

Kuru – brain disease similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (similar to mad cow), transmitted by eating the brains of infected individuals.  Yes, you heard me.  Cannibalism.  0_o

Kwashiorkor –what you get when you don’t eat enough protein.  This is the one the big-bellied kids in the commercials have.  Treatable if caught early; will kill your ass if it isn’t.

Kyphosis -  a condition where the shoulders pull inward to the front, making a hump on the back.  Can be corrected with exercises.  I’m on a medical kick today.

KZAAMM!! Okay I made that one up.

That’s all for today, kids!