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Fodor's Southern California 2014
Hollywood Bowl Review
Classic Hollywood doesn't get better than this. Summer-evening concerts have been a tradition since 1922 at this amphitheater cradled in the Hollywood Hills. The bowl is the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but the musical fare also includes pop and jazz. A new much larger shell arrived in 2004, improving the acoustics and allowing the occasional dance and theater performance on stage with the orchestra.
Evoking the 1929 shell structure, the revised shell ripples out in a series of concentric rings. The 17,000-plus seating capacity ranges from boxes (where alfresco preconcert meals are catered) to concrete bleachers in the rear. Most of the box seats are reserved for season ticket holders, but the ideally located Super Seats, with comfortable armrests and great sight lines, are a great alternative. Dollar tickets are available for some weeknight classical and jazz performances. Come early to picnic on the grounds.
Hollywood Bowl Museum. Before the concert, or during the day, visit the Hollywood Bowl Museum for a time-capsule version of the bowl's history. The microphone used during Frank Sinatra's 1943 performance is just one of the pieces of rare memorabilia on display.
Throughout the gallery, drawers open to reveal vintage programs or letters written by fans tracing their fondest memories of going to the bowl. Headphones let you listen to recordings of such great bowl performers as Amelita Galli-Curci, Ella Fitzgerald, and Paul McCartney, and videos give you a tantalizing look at performances by everyone from the Beatles to Esa-Pekka Salonen. Be sure to pick up a map and take the "Bowl Walk" to explore the parklike grounds of this beautiful setting. During the summer, the store stays open until showtime. 323/850–2058. Tues.–Fri. 10–5, Sat. by appointment.
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