Our group of 14 was rapidly shrinking. Tom and Laurel went home last
night, Norm, Olivia and Grandma left after breakfast (and another long goodbye), AliceNan
and Joe left late morning, and the Baurs have gone back to stay with Cousin Gerald and his
That left Walt, me and Jeri, who planned on going to The Big Voice tonight. We
had several hours to kill, so we went for a walk (it was my suggestion). I wanted to walk
along the canal, which is about four blocks from here, so we set off. I knew this place
was called "Venice," but I didn't realize how extensive the canal system is. No
gondolas, but the area is maybe the equivalent of three or four blocks in one direction
and four or five in another, with quaint, colorful houses bordering all the walkways,
ducks begging for handouts, lovely arching bridges going from one side of the specific
canal to another, hanging flowers, etc., etc. A smaller version of the Italian Venice,
down even to the dirty water.
I was sorry we didn't have bikes. At one point there was a series of arched overpasses
that would have been a challenge to climb and fun to descend, one after the other.
We ended up back at the beach, so walked through the vendor stalls again. It was more
overcast today, but more active-more street performers, none of which was very good.
However, we did stop in a t-shirt shop, where I bought a real souvenir t-shirt (they fit
"off the rack" now, you know!) this design is of a line of guys biking on Venice
Beach. Since I just went biking on Venice Beach, I felt it was appropriate.
walked onto the beach itself to see a guy doing rock sculpture and then to "take off
our shoes and socks and paddle" (a line from HMS Pinafore ), walking down at
the water's edge, watching the waves crashing onto the shore. Some guys set up drums in
the middle of this vast expanse of sand and started playing - kind of neat hearing them
with the sound of the water as a backdrop. Another guy was tossing bread up in the air for
the seagulls that flew overhead.
When it was time to start heading home, we got our shoes back on again and
went in search of lunch. Unforunately the area's one open air café had a waiting line and
we didn't think we'd have time, so we picked up some sausages and fries (yeah-yeah-I know.
"diet." Tomorrow.) and sat on the grass to eat them while watching a guy
standing on the seat of his bike coast down the hill, then ride back up hill again to
repeat the performance (until he crashed and broke his bike). A one-man band was setting
up to start playing. I never did figure how how many instruments he had, but his
contraption didn't include a guitar to play with his toes like the guy down the road a
bit--the one next to the costumed rappers who didn't have much rhythm (and definitely no
An all white Jack Russell terrier puppy played in front of us, chasing seagulls and
pouncing on pieces of newspaper blowing across the grass. When we picked up one of the
papers and looked at it, what did we see? A notice for a new show that was opening this
weekend: The Big Voice . It was obviously an
We returned to the motel, packed Jeri's things in the car and drove into Hollywood,
where we met my friend Michael for dinner across the street from the theatre. Lovely
dinner. Incredible bread. Diet tomorrow.
The show was, of course, wonderful. They've tightened things up, honed their
performance through a month of workshop performances, and managed, in only 10 days, to get
an original cast album recorded, produced, burned on CD and ready for sale. This show
is turning out to be as much of a miracle as The Last Session .
Jeri had an 11:30 p.m. plane to catch back to Boston, so she and her friend Marcus took
off right after the show ended and they had a minute to hug Steve.
Walt and I came back to the motel, and now we're packing in preparation for checking
out of here at 6 a.m. in order to catch our 8:30 flight back to Sacramento. I have to be
at work at noon.
So our very busy weekend is coming to an end. I'm exhausted, but it certainly has been
a full one. Next weekend we're taking off for the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon,
and yet another experience. After the fun we had riding bikes here in this area, I think
we're going to take bikes with us up to Ashland, "just in case," especially
since they are so easy to pack on the back of the car (easier than putting on a plane!)