10 Degrees Cooler
4th of July - Hillside Style
By Joann Deutch
Jul 22, 2012 - 11:50:47 AM

BEVERLY HILLSJust like everyone has a favorite barbeque recipe for the 4th - Texas style; Kansas City style; sauces and rubs, we celebrate the 4th of July Hillside Style. Planning for the 4th of July seemed to have crept up on me over the course of maybe a week.  Just how should I celebrate it?  Go to a barbeque; ignore the whole thing; watch the fireworks from Washington DC on TV?  I moved to LA, but never made it to Santa Monica; too far-too creepy-too complicated.  Then CBS started its fireworks show several years ago.  I knew the primo viewing site for their fireworks.  Now that the kids are grown, the celebration no longer needs to be kid-centered, it’s become more low-keyed.

Joann Deutch reporting from Mulholland on the 4th of July


However, it would seem that the kid inside me still rules, and watching fireworks was to be the foundation of my holiday celebration.  I rounded up a friend and off we went along Mulholland to find a viewing spot for the fireworks.  The first dilemma ”“ watch the city side fireworks, or the valley side?  Tough one.  We decided that hanging around the Hollywood Bowl Amphitheater Overlook on Mulholland might be a zoo with mobs of people.  We made up our minds, valley side it was going to be.  So at about 8 PM we cruised over to Wrightwood, thinking that we’d have a good view of the CSB Studio Center fireworks. 


Just as the red streaks of the sunset began warming the northern horizon, we started to see fireworks off in the distance.  First random illuminations, but as dark crept over the horizon more and more fireworks started popping up.  We counted about 30 separate fireworks displays.  The small crowd of people began to accumulate, with ohhs and ahhs, accompanied by chatting in different languages.  One poor soul drove her car over the cliff, stopping 2 feet from a tree.  Cops showed up, the crowd made offers of advice and help.  Someone happened by and dragged her car back onto the roadway.


By then a cloud cover had moved in such that the booms from the explosions seemed to come from everywhere. They went on for over an hour.  It was boom, boom, boom without a let up. What crossed my mind? Was this what Baghdad sounded like during Shock and Awe.  It took a little of the childlike glee away from the event. My friend said yup ”“ “rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air”.


Were fireworks a celebration, or a reflection on warfare?  The colonists used fireworks to celebrate events, but also to intimidate the native population.  1776 it was John Adams , who, in  letter to his wife, said that  Independence Day "will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America...It will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews [performances], Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations [fireworks] from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."


We got the bonfires and illuminations part right, but it seems we’ve lost the rest of the celebratory import of the 4th of July.


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