A few weeks ago, I was back in L.A. for Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. A friend from college, G., picked me up at the airport on Saturday morning, then I took him to breakfast. (We’d just reconnected in May, having not seen each other since 1981!) Since he knew my afternoon plans were to be at the Playboy Jazz Festival, he offered to take me to Ralphs to pick up some picnic supplies before dropping me off at my rented AirBnB apartment. At Ralphs I bought some watermelon, fruit salad, a chicken Caesar wrap, some Italian meatballs and a 6-pack of Heineken (though the Heinies were actually for an ex that would be dropping by later).
My AirBnB apartment was very close to Melrose and La Brea, about 4-5 blocks from my old apartment in West Hollywood. Although the owner of the apartment was vacationing in Mexico, she assured me that she could buzz me into the front door from her cell phone regardless. Lest there were any problems with that, she’d also given me the number of a friend in the building that could let me in. I’d gauged my arrival to be between 11:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and had told her as much in an earlier E-mail. We arrived at the apartment building a few minutes after 11:00 a.m. I called her cell phone, but got no answer. I waited a few minutes, then buzzed her apartment; still no answer. I tried the cell phone directly again, to no avail. I looked up the number of her friend and called it, but received a message that the number had been changed or disconnected. I was starting to panic a little, but called her cell phone a final time and left a message. I told G. that he didn’t have to wait, that surely SOMEONE would let me into the building within 15 minutes. He didn’t want to leave me, though. As we were standing there discussing options, a woman DID enter the building and let us in as well. Just to be safe, G. waited downstairs with my suitcase while I made sure that I found the key to the apartment itself and was able to enter. All went well, I got into the apartment, went back down to get my suitcase and bid G. adieu. He said to text him as to what time my flight was on Monday and he’d take me back to the airport, too.
Since about a year ago, I’ve stayed at several AirBnB apartments, of which only one appeared to be the actual abode of the owner. That one, in Bali, was owned by a young Aussie woman who traveled as a dancer about half the year. When she traveled, she rented it out; her mother lived upstairs. It didn’t really feel as if anyone lived there, though, as she locked up her personal items in a few armoires. It was evident, however, that someone lived in this apartment. Not only was her bike in the living room, but her clothes were in the closet, her jewelry and hair accessories were laid out, and her bras were neatly folded in a plastic organizer. She was kind enough to leave a bottle of wine for me, though. Even so, it felt a little strange to me, but I figured I’d get used to it. I put my groceries in the refrigerator, placed my toiletries in the bathroom and took a nap!
The Playboy Jazz Festival started at 3:00 p.m., but I packed up my food (and wine) and walked to the bus stop around 4:00 p.m. I exited the bus at Hollywood and Highland, then walked up Highland to the Bowl, arriving around 4:45 p.m., more or less. I texted my friend, A. (another college friend), who’d arrived shortly before me. As I was walking to her section, I ran into S., the ex-roommate of one of my exes. We chatted awhile. During that chat, I spied B. (sort of an ex from college) and his friend, C., walking to their section. To make a long story short, A., B., C. and I all ended up sitting in S.’s section. I believe it was a “handicapped” section. He could sit there because he had his walker and had recently, as in that week, gotten out of the hospital. There were extra seats; some women had already left and said that they wouldn’t be back, telling us to take their seats. Later in the day, when the sun had gone down, a large group of older people arrived in that section. They come as a group every year. They were quite the partyers and insisted on sharing jello shots, moonshine, other flavored alcohol, cookies and neon bracelets with us! Even though B. had said that mainstream jazz isn’t one of his favorite genres, we were all there mainly for the comraderie and fun experience. You can’t help but make a few new friends at the Bowl. Our favorite performer by far was Aloe Blac. I’d been looking forward to seeing Eddie Palmieri as well, but his set was much more low-key than I’d expected. I was planning to leave around 9:00 p.m. as I had a rendezvous with my ex at 10:00 p.m. A. was leaving as well, offered to drop me off. The boys were still having a good time, though B. razzed me quite a bit for leaving him.
Sunday started out quietly for me. I was a little hung over! My friend and former co-worker, B., was meeting me for lunch at Pizza Romana. At 12:30 p.m. I was sitting inside the restaurant. She was outside calling me, slightly confused as to which restaurant it was! We had spicy chicken tenders, Italian meatballs and roasted cauliflower. I even ordered another of the spicy chicken tenders to take with me to the Bowl!
None of the boys showed up on Sunday, but A. was there with her nephew’s fiancée and the fiancée’s bestie. They’d brought their own jello shots in TWO different flavors. We sat together and drank quite a bit, as well as eating plenty of chicken (as they’d brought chicken, too), but toned it down in comparison to Saturday. Our favorite performers on Sunday were Terrence Blanchard, Ledisi and Third World.
We agreed that all of us want to get seats next to each other next year, so ONE of us will buy all of the tickets at once and the others will pay him/her back. I love going to the Bowl and miss being able to go at any time during the summer. Yep, I think the Playboy Jazz Festival will be my annual tradition!