Gordon and I went downtown early last night for a bowl of French onion soup and a glass of wine (in my case, iced tea for Gordon) before the concert last night. We hadn’t been to Kendall’s since before Christmas so we were surprised to see the much-needed changes. The restaurant was created sixty years ago when the Music Center was built and I don’t think it’s been re-decorated since. The bar was designed for martinis but the old-style lip got in the way of my soup. I don’t think they anticipated so many pre-production diners. Well, they changed both bar areas to a more artisanal feel. The divider between the bar and the dining room was replaced to accommodate more soup eaters–and every stool was full. We managed to squeeze into a family-style table and ordered our wine and soup. The place was packed and noisy–which I found annoying. Gordon and I used to have to place by ourselves and we played Jeopardy. Now it’s popular. When did that happen? We couldn’t play Jeopardy but at least we weren’t subjected to CNN. The station was turned to a sports channel; Gordon thought it was to keep the peace–politics has gotten so super-charged these days. Gordon wondered at the absence of our favorite bartender, Chris. I speculated that he got fired because the last time I was there he said loudly that he liked Trump and that’s a death sentence in Los Angeles. One of the women sitting next to us overheard (hard not to; we were so crammed in) and said he was still employed but just not working that night. That’s a relief. We got into a conversation with the two women sitting next to us. They’d been talking about traveling in Ireland, Scotland, and England and I threw in that we’d just been in Ireland so we compared stories. They asked what show we were going to see and I told them we were going to the symphony at Disney. They told me that they were costumers with Zoot Suit at the Taper and I told them we were going to see it next week. When they left they told us to pay special attention to the costumes–smiles all around. As we were finishing our soup the only other conversation we could hear was the bitching about girlfriends from the lesbians next to us. I had to smile. They sounded like me bitching about boys 45 years ; only the pronouns changed. We finished up and walked across the street.
Dudamel opened with ‘(K)ein Sommersachstraum’ by Schnittke (never heard of the piece or the composer before). It was lots of fun but the big treat came when the Phil performed Tchaikovsky’s ‘Violin Concerto in D Major’. The soloist was Lisa Batiashvili from Georgia–like in Eastern Europe not our South. Wow. I’d never heard of her before but she was amazing. Normally, the Phil audience is sophisticated enough not to applaud between movements of a piece but she almost got a standing ovation after the first movement. Dudamel didn’t seem surprised by the interruption but she blushed and smiled. When she finished she got her standing O–and she deserved it. She has beautifully toned arms and I see how she got them. What a master–or mistress–of the violin. I look forward to hearing her again. The only downside was when one of the little old ladies behind us started unwrapping candy in the middle of quiet moment of this extraordinary performance. She must have turned off her hearing aid during the announcement to unwrap candies BEFORE THE MUSIC STARTED. Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle right in my ear. I turned in outrage and I must have Medusa’d her because the crinkling stopped. What does it take to get through to these idiots? Gordon’s afraid I’m going to come over the seats at one of these rude barnacles but I told him not to worry; it’d be old lady on old lady and I’m betting on me. The program finished with selections from Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. It was wonderful, of course. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. I’ve been threatening to leave LA but I would miss the access to performances like this. We’re spoiled. I recommend this concert highly.