Photo courtesy of Yelp


At the Ruskin, the Ruskin Group Theatre at the airport. All you folks who just want to stay comfy right here in Santa Monica, don’t want to make the trek to Hollywood for good theater or spoken word, why aren’t you filling every seat every show? I’ve gone to a lot of performances there over the last few years and never been disappointed, often moved.

I‘ve more recently discovered the monthly Library Girl readings there and am really glad I did. Their last two were outstanding, with last Sunday’s presenting a one-of-a-kind performance with a Texas troubadour and far out beatnik jazz dudes from both coasts, playing together. I left Albuquerque precisely because that sort of thing didn’t exist and wasn’t going to. I’m sure glad I fought to land in Santa Monica.

The Ruskin will be starting a run of “Paradise — A Divine Bluegrass Musical Comedy” this Saturday (Friday is already sold out) and I strongly suspect I will like it a lot. I’ll let you know.


TONIGHT! — THE TIPTONS SAX QUARTET (what’s not to love if they’re good and they are and the concerts at the Hammer are a groove anyway but very popular so get there early, early, okay?), 8 p.m., Hammer Museum, Westwood, free.

TONIGHT! — 4 LADS FROM LIVERPOOL (missing the summer Pier concerts? — move it on over to Culver City, where they’ve been doing these outdoor shows for years, you just never went there because they’re also on Thursday evenings, and who can’t enjoy a good Beatle tribute band, covering early-Sgt. Pepper-and late eras, costumes and all), 7 p.m., Culver City City Hall Courtyard, free.

TONIGHT! through Sunday — ECHO PARK RISING, gazillions of bands (many stages and venues all over EP, starts early this morning with yoga classes, roars through till past midnight Sunday, if you’re older than 19 and have lost touch with the great current music scene, this is your four-day crash course), Thurs – Sun, 10:30 a.m. through whenever, all ages, free.

CHRIS STAPLETON, Marty Stuart, Stray Cats, Brent Cobb, the Paladins (I just love me some Chris Stapleton, Waylon would’ve loved him too, and the rest of the line-up’s not too shabby either, why, I had the Paladins on my cable TV show in the ‘90s and now look at ‘em), Fri 7:30 p.m., Pacific Amphitheatre, also Sat, 7 p.m., the Forum, no Cats or Paladins, $39.75-$89.75.

VERY BE CAREFUL, Weapons of Mass Creation (besides having one of my favorite band names of all time, VBC are acoustic monsters who can play the heck out of Colombian vallenato, a traditional cumbia centered around the accordion, founded by the Guzman brothers here in LA 20 years ago, leader-squeeze box maestro Ricky G. oozes charisma you wouldn’t expect, like a rock star), Fri 6 p.m., Levitt Pavilion at MacArthur Park, downtown LA, free.

X (yeah X, free in the park just south of here, it is going to be a madhouse, you’d better leave now, if you have never seen X live in their hometown LA you haven’t lived, get the picture?), Sat 7 p.m., Burton W. Chace Park, Marina del Rey, free.

ANGEL AWARDS with CHARO (I always wanted to go to one of these, this is the 28th annual, my wife did once, but while their work to feed those in need is so important, I could never come up with the price of even a cheap seat, but maybe you can, and if you think a show by Spanish-born Charo, that frantically effervescent, English-challenged pouffy-haired past-her-glamor prime showgirl wife of bandleader Xavier Cugat might be something better enjoyed in the ‘60s, you’d be wrong on every count, she’s quite intelligent, a multi-millionaire businesswoman, and can still play the blazes out of Spanish and classical guitar, having been instructed from age 9 by none other than Andres Segovia), Sat 6 p.m., Project Angel Food HQ, Hollywood, $500-$2500.

JAZZ ON THE LAWN with El Twanguero (the last two concerts of our outdoors summer music series go Latin, this Sunday with Goya and Latin Grammy winner Diego Garcia, a pioneer in the Latin twang genre who “connects tango and flamenco with American folk, blues and rockabilly,” about whom Rolling Stone wrote, ”El Twanguero is a journey into the heart of the music,“ with an intermission concert by the Samohi Jazz Combo, with food trucks, families and friends on blankets with picnic dinners, spreading out all over the park and taking advantage of one of the great perks of living here), Sun 5 p.m., Gandara Park, Santa Monica, free.

JACK WHITE (you either think he’s possibly the greatest electric axe slinger of his generation, or you want to slap and strangle anyone who would even think that, let alone write it — go watch “It Might Get Loud” for some perspective), Sun 7 p.m., Santa Barbara Bowl, $64.50-$84.50.

TONY JOE WHITE (if all you know about Tony Joe White is “Polk Salad Annie,” his funky 1969 hit single that seemed like a one-off, you’re in a big club, but this is your chance to join a better one, to see an entire show, because TJW is one of the great, distinct American voices, still echoing the Louisiana cotton farm he grew up on, playing spare and low down guitar and harp for that rumble of a voice, like a rainy night in Georgia, which he wrote — when he performed “Annie” on the Letterman Show four years ago, accompanied by the Foo Fighters, Dave pointed to him after the last notes and declared, “Holy cow! … if I was this guy, you could all kiss my ass. And I mean that.”), Tues 7:30 p.m., the Grammy Museum, downtown LA, $20.

REGINA SPEKTOR, Kimya Dawson (we didn’t know quite what to make of the quirky, Russian-born New York singer-pianist when she burst uniquely onto the New York anti scene nearly 15 years ago, you either loved her off-kilter songs and vocals or hated them, I loved them and have been listening ever since, my daughter loves Dawson, we should probably go to this show), Wed 8 p.m., the Theatre at Ace Hotel, downtown LA, $39.50-$59.

BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: Santa Monica Peers, Andy & the Great Mouse Parade, Jeff & the Jerks, Jerry & the Rest, Gary Wilson & the Blind Dates, Bart Davenport & the Bedazzled, Labretta Suede & the Motel 6, Sherif Serag & the Time Travelers, Albert & His Dreamboats, Inspired & the Sleep, Skatin Satan, Entire Universe, Parents, Cold Showers, Alison Wonderland, Very Be Careful, Lunch Lady, Argument?, Punk Bunny, Pinky Pinky, Peyote Radio.


“Texas Girl At The Funeral Of Her Father” (1977), Randy Newman —

Here I am lost in the wind, ’round in circles sailing like a ship that never comes in, standing by myself.

Sing a sad song for a good man, sing a sad song for me, sing a sad song for the sailor a thousand miles from the sea.

Here I am alone on the plain, sun’s going down, it’s starting to rain.

Papa, we’ll go sailing.”

In honor of the funny little man who for decades has put music to his poetry and fearlessly challenged our thinking, our meanings for words and ideas, knowing most would not understand and probably say mean things about him. He performed recently at the Hollywood Bowl. I spoke with him when his 1974 solo tour with Ry Cooder came to Popejoy Hall at UNM, seating a few hundred. He started off telling me, “Look, I hope you’re not too excited about this interview, because I’ll probably disappoint you. I’m pretty boring. I live in the suburbs in LA with my wife and kids and I mow my own lawn.” And he wasn’t kidding. He was a terrible interview. But I now suspect he did that to keep anyone from prying into what was really going on in that little criminal mind of his. God bless Randy Newman.

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