Rhiannon Giddens (center)


Did I get “played” by playwright James Harris and director Paul Sand? Were they going to extend their Theatre in the Merry-Go-Round play “An Illegal Start” anyway, to this Friday night and next weekend? But led me to believe last week that if you were going to see this unusual, excellent show, performed entirely on and around the carousel on the Pier, you had to run right out to not miss it at the end of its run? Or… did my raving about it create a stampede at the box office that could not be denied?

Perhaps we’ll never know.

Meanwhile, out at the airport, the Ruskin Theatre Group has extended the heck out of their terrific “The Alamo,” Fridays through Sundays, through April 15. I raved, justifiably, about that one too. Do I see a pattern emerging here? Am I Santa Monica’s most inexperienced AND most powerful theater critic?

Who knows? All I can say is, I’ve decided now to switch arts loyalties. Screw music. No one ever added a second concert after I gave their first one a good review.

— what’s that, you say? Word of mouth? No, never heard of it.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: RHIANNON GIDDENS (oh lordy I love this woman, she is a throwback marvel, an ethnomusicologist expert on all sorts of American music going back centuries, as well as a gifted player, banjo mainly, and singer, and a captivating storyteller, she makes olde tyme music come alive and rockin’, and what a great place to hear her), Sun, 7 p.m., First African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Baldwin Hills, $40 & $50.

RECOMMENDED: TONIGHT! — THE MORMONS (caught them at Harvelle’s recent Punk BBQ, great act, in their white dress shirts, ties, backpacks and bike helmets, with a wild lead singer who spends very little time on his feet, pretty good musicians too), the Shell Corporation, Lysol Gang, Johnny Madcap & the Distractions, 8:30 p.m., Cafe NELA, Glassell Park, $5.

The JAZZ at LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA with CHICK COREA (you’ve either seen him in the last 50 years and know, or you must), jazz vocalist Kurt Elling opening, Fri, 8 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, downtown LA, $62-$108.

“AN ILLEGAL START” — Theatre in the Merry Go-Round by Santa Monica Public Theatre, Fri, 8 p.m., and next Fri, Sat, Santa Monica Pier (carousel building), $24 – $30.

BIG SANDY & His Fly-Rite Boys (known for his rockabilly but Big Sandy can sing the pants off of any style song), Fri, 9 p.m., Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill, Burbank, $15 & $25.

“THE ALAMO” (superbly written, acted and directed, gets deeper as it progresses), Fri, Sat, 8 p.m., Sun, 2 p.m., and Fri, Sat, Sun through 4/15, Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $17-$27.

Tramp for the Lord, Coma Girls, Glen Meadmore & His Kuntry Band (there’s no telling what Meadmore will do, but this is another really interesting night at the ol’ Cinema Bar), Fri, 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.

I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. (ALWAYS go see this class LA country-rock-bluegrassish Americana band), plus Great Willow, Fri, 8 p.m., Coffee Gallery Backstage, Altadena, $18.

STEWART COPELAND (there he goes again, ex-Police drummer and gifted arts polymath, getting out there with the inspired crazies at the) Long Beach Opera, “The Invention of Morel,” Sat, 7:30 p.m., Sun, 2:30 p.m., Beverly O’Neill Theater, $49-$150.

3 days ago Bach would have turned 333. SATURDAY, a 10-HOUR BACH MARATHON unfolds at Union Station, important to know the long schedule so here it is, but someone should hang out all day and report bach … uh, back, to me.

Begins at 9 a.m. with a “Coffee Conata,” with free Starbucks coffee, then:

9 to 9:30 a.m., Jillian Lopez, harp;

10 to 11:10 a.m., 30-piece LA Recorder Orchestra;

noon to 1 p.m., organ concert in the Tickethall;

1 to 1:50 p.m., LA Bachtet (8 voices sing Bach);

2 to 2:25 p.m., Freelancer Series Brass Ensemble on the Patio;

3 to 3:50 p.m., Noir Saxophone Quartet in the Waiting Hall;

3 to 3:25 p.m., Jonathan Schlitt, marimba + Bubbles! on the Patio;

4 to 4:20 p.m., Niv Ashkenazi (violin) plays the Chaconne;

5:45 to 7 p.m., finale: The BACHESTRA with Phillip Levy (violin), Claire Brazeau (oboe), Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra with Beth Peregrine, soprano, Master Chorale.

FISHBONE (in Malibu! ya never know with them, but worth the gamble) plus five bands (Fishbone scheduled for 11:15), Sat, 7:30 PM, Casa Escobar, Malibu, $20-$150.

2018 SANTA MONICA AIRPORT ARTWALK (always a good time), Sat, 12 – 5 p.m., Santa Monica Airport, no cover.

LYNDA CARTER (yes: Wonder Woman, can croon), Sat, 8:30 p.m., Catalina Bar & Grill, Hollywood, $45 & up.

JOHN MCEUEN (that Nitty Gritty Americana music multi-instrumentalist icon) & the String Wizards, Sat, 8 p.m., Don the Beachcomber, Huntington Beach, $20-$60.

THE BLASTERS (even if it’s ¾ of the Blasters, worth it), Sat, 8 p.m., Alex’s Bar, Long Beach, $20.

Blues harp master CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE and guitarist-singer legend-in-the-making BEN HARPER, Wed, 8 p.m., Grammy Museum, downtown LA, $30,

WONDER ROOM, theatrical event with visual-performance artist Emily Mast and composer-arranger Alan Chan, live music by LA son jarocho master Cesar Castro, alongside new visual artworks and dance pieces, featuring Santa Monica video installation artist Kate Johnson’s work that promises to bring the park’s century-old Moreton Bay Fig tree, Morty, to life in new and surprising ways, they tell us, Tongva Park, across from City Hall Santa Monica, Wed, 7:30 p.m., no cover.

BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: Bleeding Harp, Staggering Jack, Dusty Covers (Irish pub bands), Swearing at Motorists, the Dollyrots, Teenage Goo Goo Muck, Pretty Vacant, Release the Bats, Shattered Teeth, Bear with a Car on Top, Organ Freeman, Skating Polly, Vicious Cousins, 13 Frightened Girls, Autosex, Acid Dad, Your Mom, Philthy, Psychotic Reaction, Young Jesus.

LYRIC OF THE WEEK: “Sam Stone was alone when he popped his last balloon, climbing walls while sitting in a chair, but life had lost its fun and there was nothing to be done but trade his house that he bought on the G. I. Bill, for a flag-draped casket on a local heroes’ hill.” — John Prine (“Sam Stone” — one of the best songs written about the aftermath of war, particularly Viet Nam)

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 32 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at therealmrmusic@gmail.com