Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Date Night

We spend a lot of Saturday nights at home watching television. I'm into cocooning when there's rain out here. A fire place is a better choice that bucking traffic in a storm.

Despite a forecast of rain, Saturday night after my whirlwind trip to Equine Affaire and a visit to the Arabian prince, Len and I headed into Hollywood to see Mandy Patinkin at the Kodak Theatre. We were there about 4 hours, half of that time trying to park or leave the lot. We wound up on the sixth level of hell and the competing event involving Pepperdine's Law School got out at the same time we did. It was a mess and there were no people really directing traffic trying to leave the lot under the Hollywood and Highland complex.

We had not been in the Kodak Theatre before. It's the most recent location for the Oscar(R) ceremony. It is very big, although I think it is actually possible to cram more people into the Shrine Auditorium--a place that looks a whole lot nicer when the SAG Awards or the Emmys are held there than it is in person. It's really a ratty venue without makeup. The Kodak is only a few years old and still looks nice, albeit a little gaudy. The Democratic candidates debated there last week, so you've probably seen it once or twice on television. Wolfgang Puck is the exclusive purveyor of foodstuffs, according to the program book. If he also does the catering at the ballroom on the third floor of the complex, it would explain the excellent food we had at the Batman Begins premier two years ago.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to eat Puck cuisine on Saturday night. The parking issue gave us about 45 minutes to eat and get to our seats, so the nicer restaurants were out. We ate at "The Dip" owned by Sasha Baron Cohen's co-star in Borat--the one he wrestles with (so I've been told; I didn't get further than Borat's arrival in New York when I tried to watch it on TV.) There's another one in the Valley that Len eats at a lot. They had a vegetarian sandwich and I'm willing to try almost anything that includes eggplant. It was o.k. I was in a rare mood for dessert, but there was no time.

We had great seats in the third or 4th row of the mezzanine. The seats were made even better by the price we paid, about the same as a service charge on the seats. I think they may have been trying to fill the theatre.

The stage was open to the back wall, stark, with some props somewhat scattered about. Patinkin came on stage with two big floral arrangements, which he put on opposite sides of the front of the stage. He was accompanied by a pianist. He sang Sondheim, Rogers & Hammerstein, some Yiddish songs, and a few other things. The Yiddish songs included "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and "The Hokey Pokey." Pretty funny.

There were times when I thought that Patinkin was in love with the sound of his own voice, but overall I had a good time. He has a tremendous range. I was disappointed he didn't include anything from Assassins, my favorite Sondhein (I am not a Sondhead) and Len was disappointed he didn't sing anything from Into the Woods (I wasn't.) He did a medly from Sweeney Todd, which I napped through. The audience got to sing along with "Oklahoma" and dance to the Yiddish version of "The Hokey Pokey."

Because of the parking problems, lots of people arrived late and Patinkin zinged them as they came in: "Good thing none of these other people drove." "Can I help you." "Please sit down." There was one song he did in which he kept repeating a few words of lyrics as people kept coming in. Finally, he had to tell the ushers to turn off their walkie-talkies because it was interfering with the show.

There was no intermission and the show got done about 10 p.m. It took forever to get down the escalators (we'd still be waiting for elevators) to the 6th level below ground and then the very slow trek back up to Highland began. I'm surprised people don't die of carbon monoxide poisoning under those circumstances. Being in an underground parking lot in L.A. is not my idea of a good time under any conditions, but I was ready to barrel through the cars in front of us. It was a good thing I wasn't driving.

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