Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Walt Disney Concert Hall

It's been a work-hard-play-hard kind of week (and my aching feet can attest to it).  In the last six days, I've gone to three cocktail parties, a fundraiser for the Creative Visions Foundation (check them out!), an L.A. Phil concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and to top it all off, I got sworn in to the state bar of California!  I'm afraid I didn't get to take many pictures of all the social events, but I do have some pics from the Disney Concert Hall to share!

I've wanted to check this place out since I moved to L.A., so when I saw the Groupon for tickets to "The Hollywood Sound" in my inbox, you bet I clicked that "Buy!" button faster than you can say "the deal is on!"  As you probably could guess, unlike some of my other Groupon purchases (<ahem> the Bar method that expired four months ago), this one turned out to be money well spent.

The Disney Concert Hall itself is absolutely breath-taking.  It was designed by Frank Gehry, who lives in a crazy-cool house he designed right here in Santa Monica (which I will now commence stalking...I will find him if he's findable).  Everywhere you look, the lines of the building soar up, and around, and then plunge down again.  It's so big that it's hard to take it all in.  I am so in awe of Gehry's creativity.

One reason I loved this concert was that all the music was from old(ish) movies (hence the name, "The Hollywood Sound").  Before each set, the composer would explain a bit about what movies the songs came from, and how they fit into Hollywood history - it was so interesting!  Did you know that each movie studio used to have its own orchestra that would record soundtracks?  My favorites were the suites from To Kill a Mockingbird (the piano and flute solos made my heart hurt - the composer said they are supposed to echo the childlike simplicity of the narrator, Scout) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (the organ gave me chills!).  Brian liked "The Hunt" from Planet of the Apes best, and everyone gave a standing ovation after the orchestra played the Superman theme song as an encore (oh Superman...).

The inside seating area is all wood, and the design feels very Scandinavian.  But somehow, despite it's sleek, modern lines and high ceilings, it still feels intimate and warm (there were no pictures allowed in the seating area sadly).  And the "acoustics"?  All I can tell you is that from the perspective of someone who has used the word "acoustics" maybe three times ever, it sounded like I was standing in the middle of the orchestra and they were playing a special concert just for me, and maybe we were in a field with sunshine and fairies involved.  It was that good.

When I was little, every time I went to a museum, I wanted to be a painter; every time I went to the ballet, I wanted to be a ballerina.  I've grown up enough to know that I'll never be a painter, a ballerina, or a concert pianist, but I still leave every performance, every exhibit, every concert, feeling a little more hopeful, a little more optimistic, a little more like a dreamer. Watching artists perform is still the ultimate source of inspiration for me.

The world was a little brighter after the concert today.  I left feeling honored to have had the opportunity to enjoy such talent, and thankful that I live in L.A., where $47 and a 30-minute drive will get me here.

No comments: