View from the top of the Ace Hotel, OR, We were packed in like sardines

When last I left you I mentioned that I would share my experiences from a week ago at the Ace Hotel rooftop bar. I said I’d tell you about my experience with “clubbing.”

Working in a university provides an education and ease with many “twenty-something” cultural references and I can keep up with the language.  But I thought to be absolutely certain I was using the term “clubbing” accurately–I have a reputation to protect– I’d better check with another source.

Here’s what the Urban Dictionary has to say about clubbing:

“A favourite activity of the moronic majority, this involves being shunted like cattle into a converted warehouse… sadly not to be slaughtered, but to wear ridiculous trendy clothes, listen to crap eardrum-shattering music, try to pick up brainless members of the opposite sex, and generally stand around aimlessly in a desperate but pointless attempt to show how cool you are.”

Gheesh! A little harsh, don’t you think? We weren’t in a converted warehouse…we were at the top of pretty spectacular building.  We’ll get to “eardrum shattering” in a minute.

DSCN1863This shot is of the pool area and the bar extends from there to inside those gorgeous doors, with a larger bar and then out to another patio space.

DSCN1881

There are no photos from our after hours party. There certainly was no room for me to take a photo. It was enough that I got myself in past the bouncers without making someone laugh.

I should have had an ear-trumpet, however. Free flowing alcohol probably contributed to some of the din; standing 18 inches from others in our group I still couldn’t understand more than a few words. I nodded enthusiastically from time to time and did my best.

DSC_9367

No problem. I didn’t actually think I had the hearing of a twenty-five year old. I’m  also reasonably sure I was the only person eyeing the exits and thinking about crowd behavior if we had an earthquake. I always identify emergency exits, but in this case, there were too many people for me to strategize any reasonable exit plan.

I may have been somewhat out-of-place, yet I still had a good time. It was kind of fun to be in an environment that wouldn’t ordinarily have welcomed me and it is a bit of a hoot to know that I made it past the long, long line of hopefuls at the lobby door waiting for their opportunity to be invited inside. I was occupying crowded, but prime real estate.

At first I found the heavy, monotonous electronica really perplexing. I don’t know what a DJ actually does under these circumstances.  What I heard seemed to me a continuous loop of nearly indistinguishable pulsations.  A large screen reflected rapidly flashing images in sequence with each pulse.

Not my music. Not my crowd. But I enjoyed watching young people be young people. I’ve thought about my interpretation and the lens with which I made my judgments. I seem to remember that I was young once, too. It’s useful to think about that.

Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” has a permanent slot in my car CD changer. For forty years I’ve loved this concept album with its steadily synethesizer-punctuated  unusual sound effects. The band is often referred to as psychedelic or techno-rockers. The album is considered a classic, listed 43rd on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “500 Greatest Albums of all Time” (2012).

I’m pretty sure my parents and grandparents weren’t too impressed with Pink Floyd.

We stayed with the momentum for a couple of hours. Or maybe it only seemed like a couple of hours. And I was pleased to have made it through without causing a stir of embarrassment to myself or others.

It was very dark, so I don’t think anyone noticed when I had to scream over the crowd to get Jay’s attention and then use hand signals to indicate there was no way I could get myself out of the low-to-the ground overstuffed chaise that had saved me from standing in heels.

I think it was in my best interest that no photos were taken!

Tempus Fugit

In my daily experience there are few time-related mysteries. I don’t need to question where time goes, I know where I spend the precious commodity. But I do believe time flies.

A few of you have very kindly contacted me to find out if I’m still planning to continue blogging. I didn’t at first realize so much time had passed since I last left you with tales from our whale watching experience.

I really hope you enjoyed some of what I was able to share from our wedding trip to Kauai, because I have more to share at some point.

Our son and daughter-in-law have been married six weeks and it’s been that long since we  returned from Kauai, but the festivities continued into this past weekend.

Jay and I were amused to note that January’s island charm, seclusion and beauty stood in dramatic contrast to the boisterous family and friend post-wedding reception at the Ace Hotel, Los Angeles.

IMG_5180

The Ace is definitely a “happening” place. In fact, young people congregate at the rooftop bar in intimidating numbers. I wandered up that way to see for myself, and commented upon returning to the rest of our party that I’m sure the poolside revelers were quite impressed I was getting along so well without my walker! I was more than a little out of my element.

DSCN1881

Other facets of the hotel were very interesting to me. The Ace was built inside the 1927 United Artists Theater building. The decor is starkly urban with few, if any, “soft and plushy” seating areas and the use of concrete and hard surfaces suit the neighborhood environment. The urban modern complements the original vaulted ceilings and detailed plaster and metalwork, also sensitive to its location in Los Angeles’ historic core.

The guest rooms are industrial, modern, functional and spare, but the reception area was warm and beautifully transformed to reflect the couple’s wish to create intimate and personal space. I found the dinner and overall ambiance to be delightful, but that isn’t what I’ll be talking about in years to come.

What most impressed me was the warmth and life brought to the occasion by a gathering of friends and family.  How special it was to see our children’s old friends, now mature professionals, enjoying the occasion along with children of their own. What a hopeful combination of family history and toasts for the future shared among close friends. Each person represented a distinctly unique relationship to the bride and groom.

I suppose it is true that the curtain has come down on this special wedding season, but as we move on to new seasons in our lives I think  the memories that were made during the last several weeks will continue to infuse us with a deep joy.

And I also predict that I will experience a little reclaimed time and energy that might be devoted to contributing more frequently to this blog. I have quite a backlog of story possibilities. Maybe next time you’d like to hear how I experienced the midnight “club scene” at the Ace Hotel?

That was a first! It’s a wonder I still have my hearing. But that’s a story for another time.

I’m glad you didn’t forget about me in my absence, and thank you for stopping by and reminding me how much I enjoy hearing from each of you!

A summer Beatles-fest…Looking back but enjoying today

Of course I loved the Beatles from the time they hit the American shore. I sing with gusto to the music that marks my life from about 12 years old until they broke up my senior year in high school. As they moved into solo careers and formed new band configurations I wasn’t always as interested as I had been when the Fab Four performed, but they were never completely off my playlist.

Through the years I’ve met a few people who were fortunate to have seen the Beatles in concert when they first came to Los Angeles 50 years ago and it’s always struck me that it would be a real treat to have that remarkable memory.  I can’t make that claim, but I am still smiling after seeing Paul McCartney return to play at Dodger Stadium, the first time since the Beatles braved screaming and hysterical fans 48 years ago.

IMG_4185

McCartney returned to Dodger Stadium Los Angeles as part of his Out There Tour, an ambitious performing schedule including 41 concerts in North America, 8 in South America, 6 in Asia, 3 in Europe and 1 in Central America. Starting in May 2013 and ending in October 2014 the total  59 concerts is impressive for anyone, and especially for 72-year old McCartney who puts on a fantastic and energetic show.

For more than 3 hours, no intermission, McCartney never left the stage, performing 40 songs, if I counted correctly, spanning his entire career from Beatles to songs new and recently recorded.  It was a beautiful summer evening with the Supermoon as the perfect backdrop for Paul’s verbal and musical salute to John Lennon and George Harrison.

IMG_4167

I could go on and on about all the ways this concert filled my nostalgia cup!  I have many little clips of the concert saved on my computer and at one point I thought about sharing them, but if you’re really interested you can always take a little trip over to YouTube and get your fill.

See this guy?

IMG_4202

Double-fisted video recording. Was he even enjoying the concert? Maybe he’s responsible for this nearly 90 minutes of boot-legged concert. You can get a little of the flavor HERE.

And that could have been quite enough, but this past weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearance at the Hollywood Bowl, August 23, 1964.

IMG_4258

I wanted to help celebrate, and I’m  never disappointed at the Bowl. My friend Linda and I  had a wonderful evening and spent a few hours together reminiscing about our teen years and the music we loved.

Was it just the music that kept me glued to my little turquoise transistor radio?

I was so happy to see Bob Eubanks and Dave Hull (The Hullabalooer) introduce the show.  I was a fairly average teenager with a love for the music of the day, and I feel really fortunate that in my youth the disc jockeys were such vibrant and energetic personalities, delivering background on the artists and mixing in humor and entertainment that was compelling enough to make the deejays local stars.

One long summer in the middle of my high school years we briefly entertained the idea of moving to Northern California. I was at my aunt’s house 550 miles away from Los Angeles, missing my friends and feeling very homesick, and somehow my little radio, the same little turquoise transistor, picked up Pasadena-based KRLA and I was thrilled. The radio was my friend, and so were those on-air personalities.

Bob Eubanks was responsible for the Los Angeles promotion of the Beatles coming to the Hollywood Bowl and Dodger Stadium and in the early 1960’s Bob was a fixture in Los Angeles teen radio, KRLA. It was only right he should introduce the evening’s commemorative performance. And he also introduced Dave Hull–sometimes referred to as “The Fifth Beatle” because of all he did to have the inside story on the band.

In the 1960’s every teenager knew Dave Hull. Oh my goodness! He had a massive fan club and was always up to mischief somewhere. For instance, there was the time he gave out the Beatles phone numbers on-air or the time he stowed away on their plane. He appeared at events all over the Pasadena area, knew all the big names of the day and no one was off-limits or immune to his wickedly playful sense of humor.

Sunday I walked up to shake his hand at a book signing at the Bowl and had a wonderful walk down memory lane with this charming 80-year old Los Angeles legend.

He inscribed the book, “To Debra. You and I go way back! Don’t tell anybody! We hope you enjoy our story!! Dave Hull (the Hullabalooer) 2014

I can’t wait to read the book and continue with fond reminiscence. Do you have a favorite radio personality? I wonder if young people today can even imagine how much fun it was to listen to music on a scratchy, raspy sounding little turquoise transistor–what IS a transistor? Those were the days! *sigh*