Ending the summer with some hot jazz and cool bubbly

Hot Flashes

BIG BAND BASH— The American Bandstand at the Gardens of the World concert on Aug. 27. The Thousand Oaks site offered summer concerts, including this one with Joe Gray and his Late Nite Big Band. ELIZABETH KIRBYSpecial to The Acorn

BIG BAND BASH— The American Bandstand at the Gardens of the World concert on Aug. 27. The Thousand Oaks site offered summer concerts, including this one with Joe Gray and his Late Nite Big Band. ELIZABETH Kirby Special to The Acorn

I made two stunning discoveries during the final days of August. And the last time I did anything stunning was when I performed the Charleston in the sixth-grade talent show.

The first involves bubbly at breakfast. And it’s not Christmas either, Betsy.

Perhaps you visited The Stonehaus restaurant in Westlake Village on Aug. 23, the first day of school for Conejo Valley, Las Virgenes and Moorpark school districts. If you did, you’d think it was New Year’s Eve without the sparkly hats and some over-served fella stealing extra kisses.



At 9 a.m., champagne corks were popping, toasts to lifelong happiness were flying in all languages, even newly invented ones, young women were casting smiles of immense passion to any sucker who would catch one, and as far as this reporter knows, no one was bailed out of the fountain while searching for three coins or a misplaced pair of Tom Ford sunglasses.

Why, you ask, would I see a display of such utter joy and revelry before the burgers were sizzling at P&L? I discovered what young mothers do after their children are sent off to school— and it isn’t laundry.

Apparently, their dear darling offspring—you know, the ones they celebrate on Facebook and Instagram as the most marvelous creatures ever unearthed, the ones bearing the subhead “I can’t,” implying their hearts are so overwhelmed with love and adoration for their uniquely marvelous children they “can’t” even find words to express just how divine their babies are—by summer’s end have outlasted their welcome and have driven their devoted madres to drink. To Stonehaus.

Forget “Days of Our Lives.” No grand slam with the gang at Denny’s. No yoga with Lucy on the lanai. No, baby, it’s champagne at 9 a.m. for this crowd after they have delivered their children unto their new teachers, followed by slugging down magnums of bubbly and, in the process, depleting the restaurant’s supply.

Yes, sports fans, I write only the truth. These mothers-on-the-loose decimated the champagne cellar by 10:30. Hopefully, anyone driving carpool decided to stay home and clean grout.

It’s now an official holiday known as the Back to School Booze Fest. BSBF.

Just days after the celebration, I made my second stunning discovery.

For several years, Mr. Fixit, who’s always searching for interesting things to do that involve car crashes and naked women, lofted the idea of attending a concert at Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks.

How lovely the gardens, how nice the setting, how great the music, yadda yadda yadda. No cars or nymphs, but still might be fun?

Since the last concert of the summer would be held Aug. 27, we thought we’d grace them with our presence.

So Mr. Fixit and I packed up our dinner from 3 Amigos (just try the burrito supreme with steak . . . it’s muy marveloso) and schlepped our schvetty loveliness to the Gardens of the World. Or just the ones in T.O. across from the Civic Arts Plaza.

And discovered another jumping joint—no, not with champagne crazed mommas on the loose—but with Joe Gray’s Late Nite Big Band.

As my dad would say, “They played the good stuff.”

It’s the kind of concert that makes you smile. That takes you into that sweetness of a summer night, with toes in the cool grass and a delicious bite of the past. That great band raising the roof, saxophones cranking, drums pounding and horn players letting it rip.

A beautiful lady, Anne King, performed a solo on the flugelhorn that made Mr. Fixit forget about the car crashes and the nymphs. A couple of soloists, Bonnie Bowden and Mark Koptizke, added depth to the entire performance, and all in all it was a bit of bubbly for our hearts. Thank you, 3 Amigos and the Late Nite Big Band.

So that’s my end-of-summer report. Some crazy mommas, some hot jazz, and you know what? I can still do the Charleston, baby.

Elizabeth Kirby has been a resident of Thousand Oaks since 1983. To contact her, email kirby@theacorn.com or kirby. hanson@verizon.net. To read all her columns, check out www.facebook.com/#!/elizabethkirbyandhotflashes.