TUNEFUL WORDS? GO TO THE LIBRARY, GIRL!
Silly me. I thought the Library Girl spoken word series, every second Sunday evening of the month at 7 p.m. at the Ruskin Group Theatre at the airport, was all about… spoken word. And cupcakes.
Oh sure, they always have a musical interlude, usually at the beginning, usually singer-songwriter Mason Summitt (and friends, sometimes), but here’s how LG creator/curator (9 years now) Susan Hayden set me straight recently.
“LG is a words + music series,” she wrote, “featuring not just poets, playwrights, essayists and novelists but also singer-songwriters. Nearly every month’s theme is a lyric of a song or an album title. For July (8th) I am co-curating the show with playwright Sharon Yablon. The theme is The Warmth of the Sun, inspired by The Beach Boys.”
I will further illuminate that this Sunday they will present new short plays by Marc Jensen and Sharon Yablon, poetry by Stephen John Kalinich (who co-wrote “Little Bird” with Beach Boys Dennis and Brian Wilson, from their 1968 album “Friends”) and “poetic text” by Mike M. Mollett, and I will add two things: every time I go to LG I enjoy myself, usually more than I expected, and then I always ask myself, why don’t I go more often?
It’s a tucked-away treasure of the LA literary scene, and it’s here in our backyard, every month. It’s only $10, and for that you also get a cupcake. Come on.
Last weekend was a cornucopia of excellent to outstanding music, some unanticipated, just from Thursday night through Sunday morning. Maybe I’ll recount my musical adventures next week, but keep in mind, you Santa Monica carousel aficionados, grab those brass rings when they come around because there’s no guarantee for the next round. Choose wisely.
RECOMMENDED: JIM KWESKIN, Meredith Axelrod (if the first thing that comes to mind is the Jug Band — you’re really old, and second, you may not remember or know that Kweskin created one of the bedrock guitar styles of the folk revival, adapting the ragtime-blues fingerpicking of artists like Blind Boy Fuller to the more complex chords of pop and jazz, and still overlays a communal folk simplicity onto his sophisticated jazz sensibility, while Axelrod’s vocal style is usually described as “unusual,” her love of 1890s-1930s American music having led her to imitate vocal styles from 78s and wax cylinders), Fri 8 p.m., McCabe’s, Santa Monica, $25.
Summertime in the LBC with SNOOP DOGG, METHOD MAN, THE ISLEY BROTHERS, ICE CUBE, THE GAME, THE MANHATTANS, ASHANTI, WARREN G, JA RULE, REDMAN, HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES, DJ QUIK, TOO SHORT, THE DRAMATICS, more (Old School and Really Old School, if this is your music you’d better be in Long Beach Saturday ‘cause heaven will drop down on the decks of the Queen Mary with a resounding pfunk! — a full quarter century ago we looked at LB native Snoop and wondered, will this guy still be standing in five years? and now he’s the King of All Media), Sat 12 N, Queen Mary, Long Beach, $85-$200.
BOOTSY COLLINS (yes, Bootsy the James Brown Parliament Funkadelic Rubber Band Bootzilla Space Bass thumb slapper, set loose in the middle of downtown LA, hide the wimmin and children, this should be a show but definitely definitely get there early or you will be shut out, it’s happened to me), Sat 8 p.m., California Plaza, downtown LA, no cover.
L.A. SALSA FESTIVAL (probably literally tons o’ salsa to sample and buy, and live music and drinks to go with, for five bucks, on a gorgeous day in Southern California, try the pineapple jalapeno lemonade, how can you go wrong?), Sat-Sun 12 N, Pershing Square, downtown LA, $5.
LIBRARY GIRL spoken word series, “The Warmth of the Sun” (see above!), Sun 7 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, Santa Monica Airport, $10 (includes cupcake).
BARRY GOLDBERG (I was going to send you off to the Observatory in distant Santa Ana tonight to see BARRINGTON LEVY because he is a reggae legend, well worth the drive and because there is so little else going on this week, but then, to my surprise, I discovered this, much closer by: keyboardist Barry Goldberg, he of ‘60s distinction with the Electric Flag blues band and the great Super Session album with Mike Bloomfield, Stephen Stills and Al Kooper, playing keys for Dylan at his infamous “electrified”/boo! performance at the Newport Folk Festival, before that as a teen in Chicago sitting in with Muddy Waters, Otis Rush and Howlin’ Wolf, his first professional recording session a 45 I wore the grooves off of in high school, “Devil with the Blue Dress On”/”Good Golly Miss Molly” by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, later featured on landmark albums by Leonard Cohen, the Ramones and the Flying Burrito Brothers — versatile! — now throwing a release party for his brand new CD “In the Groove” at a cool bar venue in the Valley, with frequent collaborator Carla Olson and an impressive band, many of whom are on the album, who knows, maybe Mick Taylor will drop by, and it’s free!), Wed 7:30 p.m., the Write-Off Room, Woodland Hills, no cover.
BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: Chin Up Kid, Faster Pussycat, Dead Meadow, Camp Cope, Lunch Lady, Backbiter, The Kevin Crabb Jazz Jam, Registered Offender.
LYRIC OF THE WEEK: “Uh! Your bad self! Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud, say it louder! I’m black and I’m proud, look a-here!
Some people say we got a lot of malice, some say it’s a lotta nerve, but I say we won’t quit movin’ until we get what we deserve, we’ve been ‘buked and we’ve been scorned, we’ve been treated bad, talked about as sure as you’re born but just as sure as it take two eyes to make a pair, huh! Brother we can’t quit until we get our share.
Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud, say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud, one more time, say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud, huh!
I’ve worked on jobs with my feet and my hands but all the work I did was for the other man and now we demands a chance to do things for ourselves, we tired of beatin’ our head against the wall an’ workin’ for someone else.
Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud, say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud, say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud, say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud, oh!
Ooh-wee, you’re killin’ me, alright, uh, you’re out of sight! Alright, so tough you’re tough enough! Ooh-wee uh! you’re killin’ me! Oow!
Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud, say it louder! I’m black and I’m proud.
Now we demand a chance to do things for ourselves, we tired of beatin’ our heads against the wall and workin’ for someone else, look a-here.
There’s one thing more I got to say right here, now, now we’re people, we’re like the birds and the bees, we rather die on our feet than keep livin’ on our knees.
Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud huh! Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud huh! Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud Lord-a, Lord-a, Lord-a, say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud, ooh!
Uh! alright now, good God, you know we can do the boogaloo.” — James Brown (from “A Soulful Christmas,” 1968).
Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,000 live shows. He 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 email@example.com