There are advantages to living in a big city, and we enjoyed one of them last night: We rang in the new year at the Walt Disney Concert Hall watching Lyle Lovett and his Large Band. Lovett is a singer-songwriter who has escaped genre boundaries; he plays and sings country, gospel, jazz, blues, pop, standards, and rock -- sometimes all in the same song. The experience was delightful, and marred by only one problem: We had the "Terrace" seats, which are balcony seats that overhang the edge of the stage. That meant we were extremely close to the stage; but Lovett, apparently not used to "theater in the round," faced forward throughout the performance. The only time we got to see his face was when he turned to thank the backup singers to his right. The folks sitting to his left, and behind him, probably had it worse.
We opted out of trying to attend the Rose Bowl Parade in person this year, and instead watched it on KTLA. This was the first broadcast in years where Bob Eubanks' traditional sparring partner Stephanie Edwards was absent. Last year, when it rained on the parade, Edwards was exiled to the precipitation-soaked streetside while Eubanks luxuriated in broadcasting pavilion with his new (younger) female co-host. Apparently, she was on her way out, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Eubanks, meanwhile, was as crotchety as ever. He waxed enthusiastic whenever horses were mentioned, but snarled random imprecations, Tourettes-like, at other attractions. His most noteable attack came when a cadre of Star Wars fans from around the world marched in perfect formation as the "501st Legion,"clad in Storm Trooper armor. He first snapped, "They're groupies!" as his co-host explained who they were; then shouted, "There's a bunch of guys who need to get jobs!" He finished the broadcast by announcing that his contract was up, in an apparent bid to renegotiate it. I liked him better on "The Newlywed Game."