Martin Mull once said, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

Maybe you remember Mr. Mull, maybe you don’t, doesn’t matter. He was an odd bird and I’m not sure how to sift the sarcasm from the truth from the nonsense in his words. But I love this quote.

More than once in a lifetime of writing about music, I took solace in that pronouncement, because it so accurately portrays the impossibility of trying to put into words that most ethereal of the arts, music. Or, I took mental flight sometimes, in panic, at the impossible (and thankless, and low-paying) life’s work I had taken on. Was I a brave, bold rockin’ wordsmith, or on a fool’s errand?

Without ever deciding, I did decide to give it up when I took my year’s camping trip across Europe and North Africa in 2011-2012. Enough was enough, and I wanted to write about other things.

So, “Curious City.” So much in the world, so much just in Santa Monica to write about. But like Michael Corleone, just when I thought that I was out, they pull me back in.

Who does? People. Your neighbors, blame them. They walk up to me and say, “I love it when you write about music.” “I find it so interesting.” “I learn something.”

Stuff like that. I smile and thank them, and I mean it, but I also think, “Really? I thought I was done with that.”

But as Nietzsche once wrote, life without music would be a mistake. God knows I’ve made enough mistakes, so I’m not about to make that one. So music does make it into my columns — sometimes. I’ll use an exaggerated “by popular demand” as my excuse. But, as Sinatra sang, that’s life.

Which brings me to Halloween. Was I really going to do this? Drive all the way to Long Beach to a punk club and stand through a couple of bands I might hate to hear a band my daughter and her boyfriend, music prodigies of impeccable taste, both love insanely (Fartbarf — yes, that’s their name), climaxing with a set by the legendary Jello Biafra, frontman of the notorious hardcore Dead Kennedys, still going at it nearly 40 years later? That itself could be a fat bust, not a climax.

But it was totally exhilarating and one of the best live music shows I’ve been to in years.

There was only one preceding band (Death Hymn #9), and they were really good. Fartbarf would be a band I would hate if you described them. No guitars or bass, just drums and two guys on synths. All in bright orange NASA jump suits, wearing goofy rubber Neanderthal masks with ugly protruding teeth, and singing only through vocoders, that robotic sound I despise. And … they were brilliant. Nonstop rockin’ hard, great songs and great stage presence. They’re one of the few bands I would go see again, and again, proving it’s all in the songs (and the arrangements).

The name Jello Biafra took, at a time in the late ’70s when Biafra signaled white Western anguish over war and its starving victims in mother Africa, tells you how completely irreverent this guy was. And, it turns out, still is. The band’s name was Dead Kennedys, c’mon.

I found it remarkable that, except for a few extra pounds, Jello seems to have not changed a whit. He ran all over the stage for 90 minutes, dove into the crowd, even sang the hits “California Uber Alles” and “Holiday in Cambodia” while being held aloft by fans’ hands. There was a good mosh pit. The lead guitar player nearly knocked me off my feet as he charged into the crowd one time.

Am I getting too old for this? Not if the musical and cultural goods are there, and they were. Dang, I love L.A.

Can’t say I didn’t warn you

I told you a couple weeks ago in my “Art, Bernie and vegetables” column that you had to hurry on over to the airport — no, not for a protest to save the runways, nor a stealth operation to steal all the jet fuel, but for art’s sake.

I told you the “Made in Cuba! Recycling Memory and Culture” exhibit was “really good and really important” (quoting a famous art critic) and would be there for only a month. So now you’ve got only two weeks — 12 days, really. I’m not going to tell you again.

It’s at Arena 1 (3026 Airport Ave.), open only Wed.-Sat., from 12 to 6 p.m. Next Tuesday at 7 p.m. is a book signing and Q&A by Lorne Resnick of his “CUBA – This Moment, Exactly So,” a coffee table book of 250 of his photographs taken there over the past 20 years. I took a sneak peek online, and would use the words “sumptuous” and “moving” to describe them. Of course, going to that event gives you another chance to view the exhibit, too.

But this time look deeper at the way “found” materials are used by these artists, all still living in Cuba. The U.S.-led economic embargo has painfully squeezed the economy and the people for more than half a century, but never brought about the goal of ending Castro’s rule. We think of food and gas shortages, but normal supplies of art materials also dried up.

Curator Sandra Levinson mentioned a painter who was formerly known for his thick textures, literally gobs of paint that he would use for expression. When he could no longer get it, he improvised by using cloth for those bulky textures, and found himself in a new arena to explore.

As Cuba inevitably rejoins the world community, you will no longer see art like this created of necessity. It’s in our backyard now. Go. Yes, definitely, go.

Swipe wrong

I thought the SMRR convention Sunday might be painful for me, but it didn’t really strike me until after I left. The big fat black SUV that was parked next to me in the lot east of the school, with tires right on the line so I had very little room to slide in, sideswiped my black Prius going out, about 4 feet worth. Please do the right thing and contact me at the email below. Thank you. And … no, I won’t say it.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “One thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” —Bob Marley

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for almost 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. You can reach him at