This week has been so good and I am a blessed person! First off, I managed to make it to The Velvet Margarita last week! Fortunately, for me, my AT&T friend is always enthusiastic to get out with me and discover the Hollywood that I know and love. And, oh, how I love showing it to people.
Especially The Velvet Margarita.
That place, now, that's my place. I put in my time there back in the day! It was like family. It was one of those places I could go to by myself and just hang out for a while, on nights of wanderlust, when I just felt like being out in the world. I don't go there very much anymore, but I still know I can always walk in there and get a hug or two and it's sort of like, "Welcome back. We had a good run, didn't we?" And we all get it. Because those really were the good old days there.
It's still wonderful, though, every time. And I love taking people there who haven't been, because I sort of get to see it afresh, through the eyes of another. There's a lot to take in. It's really dark and red and velvety and there are two screens above the bar playing old black and white movies, usually ones with Elvis in them, with subtitles. In the walls are Mexican puppets and the bathrooms are tiled with Mexican tarot cards (my favorite, as you may recall).
The food is incredible, but even if you don't want to get dinner, their chips and salsa are possibly the best I've had. And anyone I know who's been there, when we confer about the place, gets all dreamy about the chips and salsa. Because they serve their chips with a salsa tree, of sorts. A metal stand with four branches holding different delectable dips. It's pretty memorable.
Going there and feeling so at home always reminds me how very enmeshed I am in this place, Hollywood. It's a good feeling. And I felt it again this week when I walked up to the Hollywood Bowl to buy my tickets for the season. Hooray!
And I'm relieved as well, because it was still a cinch, when it sounded like this year it was going to be a hassle, as they changed the system that I knew and loved. Distributing wristbands and such. But, no, all went well.
I walked up there early on Tuesday with my coffee and a book thinking it would be a mess of people. But no one was there yet, so I wandered the grounds alone for a while. Walking into the empty amphitheater in the early, cool morning was so beautiful. I looked up at the bleachers and walked onto the stage and just sort of welcomed it back and thanked it for giving me all of these years of happiness and love and memories. It felt somewhat ceremonial for me in that moment.
And it might sound dramatically romantic to be so touched by a hill full of bleachers, but I couldn't help it. I've just had such a string of vast and favorite experiences there with so many lovely people and picnics and music. Some of my heart will forever remain on that hillside. It truly will.
Well, finally, I interrupted my sentimental tribute to go wait in line at the box office. I was first! Unbelievable. But somehow, believable.
I was a bit worried, because it seemed like this year the prices were going to be a lot more than previous years, and all the good tickets may have sold out over the opening weekend. Except, I must just have some really good luck with that place, because when I asked the price for one of the shows on my list, the clerk was like, "Oh wow! I have two $1 seats still available! I thought we sold all of those!"
Well, with that news, I broke into a brief, inadvertent and unrestrained happy dance while singing unmelodically, "It's like the good old days!" She got a good chuckle out of that. I didn't check, but probably the people waiting in line did too.
Really, though, that was a large part of the appeal when I started going there so long ago. The charm of buying multiple tickets for a bunch of shows in the cheap seats because those seats went for 1 to 4 dollars. I realize, now, in writing that, that I sound like I've been going there since 1937 and should just get over inflation already, but really, this was in the aughts of this millennium!
So, I'm happy and thankful that, so far, I've managed to maintain my small tradition every summer. At this point everyone knows the whole routine is pretty sacred to me.
But, I know as well as anyone that things just continue to change. Traditions like that can't last forever. So, I tend to stay prepared for the eventual and inevitable shifts.
I do, however, keep feeling blessed about the things that are still intact as I've always known them, like The Velvet Margarita and my Hollywood Bowl ritual. Because who knows what the future holds with either of them. Or with me. Or with anything, for that matter. Love it while you've got it. That, I know. Which might just explain my enthusiasm for chips and salsa and impulsive dances of joy.