Monday, July 09, 2007


While I’m as patriotic as the next person, given that the next person isn’t some bloody religious thug intent on destroying the Great Satan America, I would like to know exactly where in the Constitution it guarantees the citizenry “life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness AND the right to wear the most dreadful outfits imaginable to public events…”.

There we were, comfortably ensconced in our rather expensive garden box at the Hollywood Bowl, ready for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Annual 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular and preparing ourselves for a delightful meal to be served by the always reliable Patina restaurants, when what should plop itself down in the seats next to us but what appeared to have been a group of badly dressed refugees from the United Colonies of Wal-Mart! Already overripe from what must have been a steady twelve year diet of pie, this ghastly lot had apparently barely had time to squeeze themselves into their ill-fitting denim shorts and “novelty” t-shirts before rushing out of their trailer homes. Panting and heaving, they settled into their seats and then began to TALK OVER the musicians on stage about how bad the traffic was in LA and how “people here are so shallow” and blah blah blah.

Look, if you don’t LIKE Hollywood people, the best way to avoid them is to stay OUT of Hollywood, you dreadful Hillbilly!

Just listening to them was a pain akin to dental surgery and it was all I could do to keep from lifting my chair and whacking the loudest of the bunch across the back of her hair-don’t.

Our party of course was dressed to the nines.

The Sister was a knockout in an exquisite summer dress, my long suffering Boyfriend utterly divine in a perfect combination of seersucker blazer and cotton trousers, and me certainly no slouch in a darling little white linen suit from my dear friends at Hugo Boss. Even The Sister’s gentleman friend – The Cowboy - not normally known for his sartorial expertise, looked quite presentable in a lightweight summer shirt and – well, granted, he WAS wearing cargo pants, but this is still an improvement over his usual “Found On Floor Next to Bed” fashion sense.

So we were, as the young urban folk say, “poppin’”.

(In spite of myself, I must admit I adore these delightful hooligans and their rampant abuse of the English language. On one hand, I realize they are destroying the culture one syllable at a time – on the other hand, I am relieved to know we will continue to have an inexhaustible supply of The Working Class. One worries about the yards of tomorrow.)

Now I’m sure there are some of you out there thinking “really, Ron, don’t you think you are overdoing it a bit? White linen suits and seersucker blazers to attend an outdoor concert in what is, essentially, a parking lot?”

Well my answer to that is this – if the LA Philharmonic can show up on one of the hottest nights of the year in full evening garb and play their little hearts out for us, the least WE can do to show our appreciation is dress up a bit. Imagine how they must feel, those hard working musicians – many of whom probably only own the ONE tuxedo or gown they are wearing on stage – as they look out over a sea of ill fitting ensembles, many of which proclaim “My Parole Officer Went To Hollywood And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt”. It certainly can’t help their rhythm.

I blame it all on the Hippies. The Flower Power Generation might seem like a wonderful time of innocence when viewed through the rosy lens of nostalgia, but as far as I’m concerned that grisly era wrought nothing more than the utter dissolution of proper manners and decent bodily hygiene.

While “Do Your Own Thing” sounds lovely in principle, I’m afraid “tie dye” is not fashion, it is Arts and Crafts and as such belongs on a table at the local Community Fair, right next to Mrs. Cassidy’s prize-winning Date Squares. It should not, as a rule, be worn in polite society.

But in spite of the glaring “impolitesse du mode” of our fellow attendees, the Concert itself was simply magical. For those of you who’ve never been to the Hollywood Bowl for their Independence Day Spectacular, may I recommend you put aside some of your Doritos and lager money each week until you can manage to swing the cost of a ticket. The musicianship alone is worth the price of admission, but on this particular night we were also graced with the talents of Riders In The Sky, a country/western quartet who yodeled and warbled their way into even my admittedly non-country/western appreciating heart.

And of course the finale, with fireworks and Sousa, was utterly delightful. In fact, as I stood shoulder to shoulder with my fellow audience members, I couldn’t help but get a little teary eyed at the sheer patriotic romanticism of it all. For those of us who are immigrants to this country, in my case having escaped the smiling oppression and suffocating woolen sweaters of Mother Canada, the peculiar mix of Ambition, Talent and Hard Work – wrapped up in something as utterly “campy” as a bunch of overdressed cowboys singing under a gunpowder Stars and Stripes - is like salve to the wounds of our souls.

Naturally, The Boyfriend had to inject a little reality by reminding me that it is this EXACT jingoism, which is currently dragging the country through two very messy desert “wars”, not to mention the possible commission of untold crimes against, if not exactly “humanity”, at least civility around the world.

I glared at him there on the other side of the box, sipping his wine and looking smug in his Brooks Brothers. He always gets so self-righteous when he drinks Voignier!

But I suppose he has a point. That the same hands which have wrought so much destruction over the centuries are also capable of great art is truly one of the sublime ironies of the human race.

However I HARDLY need to be reminded of this while we’re sitting in $600.00 worth of box seats at the Hollywood Bloody Bowl – and that DOESN’T include dinner thank you very much!

Next time, if he really wants the true American Political experience for the 4th of July, if he REALLY wants to discuss the Immigration, Employment, Education and Health problems of this country, I’ll just take him to Del Taco and let him try to explain something to the Counter Person.

That should make for some fireworks…


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home